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UPDATED: Calgary council drops mask bylaw

When they returned after lunch the motion was passed 10-4, with Farrell, Gian-Carlo Carra, Jyoti Gondek and George Chahal defeated in their attempt to keep the mask bylaw going.

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Calgarians can now go mask-free.

City council on Monday voted 10-4 to repeal its masking bylaw, except on Calgary Transit, city-owned facilities, taxis and ride-sharing vehicles. Those areas will still require masks until the city manager signs off on the bylaw.

But the bylaw was been delayed when Coun. Druh Farrell opposed giving unanimous consent to third reading.

When they returned after lunch the motion was passed 10-4, with Farrell, Gian-Carlo Carra, Jyoti Gondek and George Chahal defeated in their attempt to keep the mask bylaw going.

The administration noted in the last two weeks active cases have gone down while immunization rates have increased. The positivity rate for COVID-19 infections is about 1.1%. Hospitalizations and ICU admissions are also at a low level. Currently, the number of cases is the lowest since October 2020.

“The trends are definitely encouraging after so many months of COVID-19 in our city,” Calgary Emergency Management Agency head Sue Henry told council.

It recommended the mask bylaw – which had been set to run through the end of the year – be dropped, except for Calgary Transit and buildings. Users of taxis and ride-sharing vehicles also have to keep on their face coverings. That rule is also in place from the province.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi said he was “very tired” of the politicization of the issue.

And he blasted Premier Jason Kenney who has blasted the city for keeping the bylaw in place saying the province “begged” the city to do just that. He said Kenney’s recent comments were a “bit rich.”

Nenshi said he was still worried about the increase in Delta variants but he was “comfortable” with dropping the regulation.

Coun. Dianne Colley-Urqhart supported the motion, a switch from June 21 when she voted to keep the bylaw in place.

Coun. Jeromy Farkas said city council by not dropping the bylaw on July 1, had created “needless fear and confusion.”

And he refused to support the part of the motion demanding masks for the public entering city facilities.

Nenshi blasted Alberta Health Services saying they were “extraordinarily frustrating.”

He pointed out the city asked for a drop-in vaccination clinic to be set up on a weekend at the Genesis Centre in the northeast. Instead, AHS opened one on a weekday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Nenshi said AHS has shown “shocking resistance” to city ideas to increase vaccination rates.

Carra said he wants the bylaw to continue, saying wearing a mask “is smart.”

Gondek also opposed dropping the bylaw, saying it’s about protecting children who haven’t been vaccinated.

Farrell voted against and read a letter from a voter who said councillors who vote against it “should be burned at the stake.”

On Canada Day, the province dropped all its COVID-19 regulations across the province but two weeks ago Calgary council voted to keep its mask bylaw in place until July 5.

Council voted to keep it in place as a result of a 7–7 tie.

The seven who then voted against repealing the bylaw were Jyoti Gondek, George Chahal, Druh Farrell, Evan Woolley, Gian-Carlo Carra, Diane Colley-Urquhart and Mayor Naheed Nenshi.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Division of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Claudette Leece

    July 8, 2021 at 11:12 pm

    Nenshi looks better with his mask on, he should keep it

  2. Andrew

    July 6, 2021 at 9:50 pm

    Vote them out!

  3. Del French

    July 6, 2021 at 8:54 am

    What pandemic. Just political and media fear mongering and a lot of people are drinking the kool-aid.

  4. Eddy

    July 5, 2021 at 6:06 pm

    OK, Calgary, you know who to fire now and you know who the leftist communists are. Get rid of the filth.

  5. K

    July 5, 2021 at 4:22 pm

    I vote that the extreme leftists have their 3 layer face nappies sewn on permanently, so they can permanently feel the safeness they desire. It would come with the added benefit of muzzling their screeching voices as well.

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Opposition MPs ask government to ‘show them where the money is coming from’

“Say it’s $10 billion by July. There is no accountability for that.”

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The Liberal’s latest pandemic relief plans may actually be billions of dollars higher than estimated, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

The Department of Finance was in a “continued race to push money out the door,” said one MP.

Bill C-2 proposes benefits including lockdown subsidies for employers and workers estimated at $7.4 billion. The cost covers payments retroactively from October 24 to next May 7, though the bill allows cabinet to extend subsidies to July 2.

“The issue of course that we’re looking at here is accountability,” said Conservative MP Greg McLean (Calgary Centre) at the Commons Tuesday finance committee.

“If there’s an obvious extension, how do we hold the government accountable for that extension when it’s more money going out the door, more on top of the $7 billion you’re already planning to spend?

“Say it’s $10 billion by July. There is no accountability for that.”

Department of Finance managers said they did not know the cost to taxpayers if the program runs to July 2, 2022.

“I can’t answer that at this stage,” said Max Baylor, senior director with the department.

“It would presumably depend on the parameters.”

“I don’t know if it’s because things have been lax during COVID but this is something you need to get right for the country,” said McLean.

Bill C-2 was “just a blank chequebook,” he said.

“I know the government has had a blank chequebook for far too long,” McLean said.

Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre (Carleton, Ont.) questioned the bill’s impact on deficit projections.

“My question relates to the cost,” said Poilievre.

“How is the government paying the $7 billion associated with this proposal?”

No official answered, though 10 departmental witnesses appeared before the finance committee.”

“If they have anyone over there who is concerned about where the money comes from, that person could speak up,” said Poilievre:

  • MP Poilievre: “Clearly they’re getting the money from somewhere. Anyone here from Finance Canada?”
  • Director Baylor: “I can provide a high-level response but I’m afraid I won’t be able to answer directly…”
  • MP Poilievre: “Where is the money coming from?”
  • Director Baylor: “That is within the government’s broader macro-economic framework and I’m not responsible. I can’t speak to that.”
  • MP Poilievre: “You don’t have anyone? It’s just that we’re being asked to vote in favour of another $7 billion in spending. The obvious question is, where is it coming from?”
  • Director Baylor: “I appreciate the question, but I can’t answer that question.”

New Democrat MP Daniel Blaikie (Elmwood-Transcona, Man.) called the testimony “a waste of time” and complained the finance committee could not get straight answers to its questions.

“We’ve been here almost four hours and I haven’t gotten one thing I would classify as an answer to a question,” said Blaikie.

“I’ve asked for a breakdown of the budget. I don’t know if they really don’t have that answer or are on a mission of obfuscation.”

“You have to conclude that our civil servants who ought to be treating the legislature with respect aren’t being upfront about some of these questions, or you have to conclude the people who are running the country never bothered to ask them. Neither one is a very good outcome for Canadians.”

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland called Bill C-2 the last emergency appropriation for pandemic relief spending. Freeland is to release a fiscal update on deficit figures next Tuesday.

Parliament last May 5 voted to increase the federal debt ceiling to a record $1.831 trillion. It represented a 57% increase from the previous $1,168,000,000,000 limit under the 2017 Borrowing Authority Act.

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Flights from Vancouver to Kamloops priced more than $1,200 over Christmas

BC flight prices have skyrocketed over the Christmas season following flood damage to highways.

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Following substantial flooding in November, which led to savaged highways and infrastructure, many of those planning to visit family out of town for Christmas are forced to fly — and some will be paying exorbitant prices for it.

For example, a WestJet round trip — listed on Expedia — from Vancouver to Kamloops, BC on December 22, with a return flight on December 27 is listed at $1,264 as of Wednesday morning.

The normally 30-minute flight includes a nearly four-hour layover in Calgary.

On TripAdvisor, the same round trip is priced similarly.

Those planning a round trip from Vancouver to Kelowna, BC on the same dates will save a few hundred bucks in comparison to those headed for Kamloops. For example, one round trip with WestJet from Vancouver to Kelowna — December 22-27 — is listed at $741 on Wednesday, although it includes a six-hour layover in Edmonton.

Normal flight times between the locales are 55 minutes.

Prices on WestJet’s website are comparable. On Air Canada’s site, all are currently sold out for the aforementioned dates and locations.

However, those travelling between Vancouver and Kelowna can find cheaper trips on Swoop if they fly out of Abbotsford, BC. On Wednesday morning, a non-stop round trip from Abbotsford to Kelowna, departing on December 22 and returning on December 29, is priced under $300.

Reid Small is a BC-based reporter for the Western Standard
rsmall@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/reidsmall

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Top Ontario doc says separating vaxxed and unvaxxed best way to get COVID under control

Ontario has had more than 626,000 cases of COVID-19 which has left more than 10,000 people dead.

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One of the ways to bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control is to stop “the mixing of unvaccinated and vaccinated,” says Ontario’s chief medical officer.

“Basic means of protecting individuals is stopping the mixing of unvaccinated and vaccinated,” said Dr. Kieran Moore at a Tuesday press conference.

“And if our cases continue through and after the holidays we would make recommendations of government to continue the certification process in play. But we’ll continue to review the data. We do have a very robust testing strategy in Ontario for the winter months as we’ve released previously. We’ve purchased … 11 million rapid antigen test for all students in Ontario.”

Moore was asked whether COVID-19 is “something we’re just going to have to learn to live with” and whether it would ever go away.

“We have a long ways to go with the World Health Organization and other international organizations to try to decrease the number of individuals in which this virus can mutate and/or spread,” he said.

“But I do see a time when we’ll have low, endemic rates and it will turn out to be like influenza or other winter respiratory viruses where there’s a seasonality to it, where it does have an intermittent impact on our health-care system and like influenza, you need an annual vaccine to protect against it.”

Ontario has had more than 626,000 cases of COVID-19 which has left more than 10,000 people dead.

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