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Kenney cabinet shuffle derided by critics

Drew Barnes and Todd Loewen, both booted from the UCP caucus earlier this year, issued a statement noting Kenney has increased the total size of the cabinet from 22 to 26.




Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s cabinet shuffle was done because he’s hoping to worm his way out of an “internal political quagmire of his own making,” say Independent MLAs.

Drew Barnes and Todd Loewen, both booted from the UCP caucus earlier this year, issued a statement noting Kenney has increased the total size of the cabinet from 22 to 26.

“Once again, Premier Kenney is putting his own short-term political interests first,” the pair said.

“This shuffle has nothing to do with strengthening our province or helping Albertans. It was a crass attempt to buy the loyalty of disheartened and frustrated MLAs.

“It is a rather transparent attempt by the premier to emulate the tactics of another deeply unpopular Premier from Alberta’s recent past. As Premier Alison Redford’s scandal-plagued administration continued, she also increased the total size of cabinet, with members representing more than half of the PC caucus at the time.”

On Thursday, Leela Aheer learned the hard way never to upset the boss.

The Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women minister was booted from cabinet.

Aheer criticized Kenney after the Sky Patio Scandal, which saw the premier dine outside with other cabinet ministers and aides in an event that broke COVID-19 regulations. Kenney finally apologized several days later, but only after initially denying any regulations were broken.

NDP Opposition Leader Rachel Notley said the shuffle was only about managing discontent in the UCP caucus.

“This was about fixing Kenny’s internal caucus political problems, and the complete resistance to change or acknowledgment that they might have been on the wrong path with a number of issues that Albertans are very concerned about … it embodies a Jason Kenney decision to tell Albertans they are wrong, and he is right, and he’s going to continue doing things exactly the same way.”

After being demoted last fall, Tanya Fir returns to cabinet as the associate minister of Red Tape Reduction.

Ric McIver, who was holding two portfolios as minister of transportation and municipal affairs, will stay in the municipal portfolio.

Current Community and Social Services Minister Rajan Sawhney moves positions to the transportation file.

Other changes include:

  • Nate Horner, MLA for Drumheller-Stettler, becomes associate minister of Rural Economic Development, under the Ministry of Jobs, Economy and Innovation.
  • Muhammad Yaseen, MLA for Calgary-North, becomes associate minister of Immigration and Multiculturalism, under the Ministry of Labour and Immigration.
  • Whitney Issik, MLA for Calgary-Glenmore, becomes the associate minister of Status of Women, under the Ministry of Culture and Status of Women, and the chief government whip.
  • Ron Orr, MLA for Lacombe-Ponoka, becomes the minister of Culture. He replaces Grant Hunter who was dropped from cabinet.
  • Mike Ellis, MLA for Calgary-West and currently the chief government whip, becomes associate minister of Mental Health and Addictions.
  • Jason Luan, MLA for Calgary-Foothills and currently the associate minister of Mental Health and Addictions, becomes the minister of Community and Social Services.

Kenney announced the shuffle as his government is riding low in the polls, which show the NDP comfortably ahead.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

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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  1. Trent

    July 10, 2021 at 4:52 pm

    Matt C
    I can get behind those doctors as experts, but I can’t and won’t get behind Modry. He seeks and takes advice from a 2 time convicted wife abuser and proud white supremacist Peter Downing. Google his name and see him posing proudly with a Confederate flag, wearing his little white trash uniform. You literally can’t find a bigger p.o.s. than Downing.
    That tells me all I need to know about Modry.
    Why do you think Western Standard doesn’t refer to him anymore? Because they know.

  2. Susan Grant

    July 10, 2021 at 1:27 pm

    #UCP #OneAndDone #AlbertaFreedom #TurnOffTheTaps #Wildrose #WEXIT

  3. Pamela Bridger

    July 10, 2021 at 8:29 am

    Skippy successfully bribed Kenney with our own money to tow the line and I’m sure he enjoyed the pat on the head he got for going above and beyond and for getting more than 70% to roll up their sleeve.

    Once again, I’ll venture a guess that the death threats Kenney was getting were from thugs in Ottawa.

  4. berta baby

    July 9, 2021 at 10:40 pm

    I’m proud of the job kenney has done…. said no one ever .

    He is better than Ford but that’s only because we have a hard azz right wing in Alberta that will send his communist ass packing next election.

  5. Bryan

    July 9, 2021 at 6:38 pm

    The only move that MIGHT have caused me to give ‘Justin’ Kenney’s (anything but) conservative party a second look, would have been moving ‘Shameful’ Shandro to Minister in Charge of cleaning the outhouse, from chief AH at AHs.

    WIPA 100% next Provincial election and Maverick federally.

    It is too bad that the other Justin, True-dope, didn’t take Kenney and Numbskull Nenshi back to ON, where they ALL belong! It could have been billed as the ‘Return of the Three Stooges’.

    Ceterum autem censeo Justinius True-dope-us esse delendam.

  6. Steven

    July 9, 2021 at 2:47 pm

    What a bastard of a Premier Alberta has. The UCP boat is on fire Jason & you are the cause of that fire.

    Punting Leela Aheer who is now the former culture, multiculturalism and Status of Women Minister was very unwise.

    All bow down to Kenney, King Kenney, has no equals. He is just another shell of a man who we thought was a bright light for Alberta. How wrong we all where – even his staunch supporters will now be getting nervous & if they are not. Poop on them.

  7. Matt C

    July 9, 2021 at 2:37 pm

    Kenney is as gutless as Ed Stelmack.
    Does anyone think after the last 2 years, that he is capable of standing up to the federal government? Or finding his balls and calling the media out?

    After 1.5 years, he is still parroting Dr.Birdbrain, and ignoring experts like Dr.Modry, Dr.Hodkinson, Dr.McCollough (cardiologist at Texas A&M), Dr.Malone (inventer of the mRNA vaccine)…etc.

  8. Andrew Pludek

    July 9, 2021 at 1:54 pm

    Moving the deckchairs on the Titanic……end of story for a once proud party.

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Sask Polytech ditches vax policy but burdens unvaxxed with testing costs

The Justice Centre is unsatisfied with the response of Sask Polytech and reiterated its intention to pursue legal action against the institution and against the University of Saskatchewan over its requirement for staff and students to be vaccinated for COVID-19.





The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is unsatisfied with the decision of Saskatchewan Polytech to reverse its vaccination requirement for staff and students because the institute does not recognize natural immunity and imposes testing costs on the unvaccinated.

On November 19, the Justice Centre sent Sask Polytech and the University of Saskatchewan letters demanding they reverse their requirement that all staff and students be vaccinated by January 1, 2022. 

On December 1, Sask Polytech reversed its “vaccinated only” policy but now requires unvaccinated staff and students to comply with testing three times a week at their own expense. In a press release, the Justice Centre called this “unacceptable.”

“Such testing requirements for students are even greater than the Saskatchewan government’s requirements for employees of its ministries. Sask Poly has also failed to recognize the compelling scientific evidence of natural immunity for those who have already recovered from Covid-19 and have proof of antibodies,” reads a JCCF press release on Saturday.

“Testing costs, which could exceed $200 per week, mean that only the wealthy and privileged can bear the burden,” stated Andre Memauri, the Justice Centre’s Saskatoon-based lawyer.

“Sask Poly, which has chosen to impose discriminatory testing requirements for staff and students, has the ability to acquire these tests at wholesale cost.”

The Justice Centre said it would commence legal proceedings against Sask Poly in the Court of Queen’s Bench unless Sask Poly immediately absorbs the testing costs and recognizes natural immunity. 

On October 28, the U of S and Sask Polytech announced mandatory vaccinations for all students, staff and faculty, removing the alternative of twice weekly testing which had been in place since the start of the school year. The Justice Centre will also commence legal action against the U of S for refusing unvaccinated students. 

On November 26, Global News reported a 19-year-old student was hospitalized briefly with breathing problems after receiving the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The student’s mother, Michelle Marciniuk, publicly called for the university to reconsider its policy.

The U of S’ policy includes exemptions on medical and religious grounds in accordance with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code. But according to the Justice Centre, the university usually rejects exemption requests or does not respond to them for several weeks. Besides this, the university has made itself the arbiter of faith considerations for religious exemptions. Medical exemptions have become a difficult document for patients to receive in Canada, due to regulatory pressure on physicians not to provide them based on their medical judgement except in very rare circumstances.

The U of S crowns itself for academic freedom, diversity, equality, human dignity and a healthy work and learning environment, yet it has harshly terminated faculty for speaking on the hallmark principle of informed consent for Covid-19 vaccination of children,” stated Andre Memauri, a U of S alum. 

“Now, the U of S seeks to exclude and villainize those who decide for various reasons not to be vaccinated…Without question, our community has been through a great deal of difficulty and it requires these institutions to lead as vessels of science not ideology…The Justice Centre demands both schools follow the science and adopt policies that bring students together in the most safe and lawful manner.”

The letters sent to both schools from the Justice Centre on November 19 warned that the schools are seeking to deprive students from education on the basis of vaccination status, contrary to Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Sections 2(a), 7, and 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Harding is a Western Standard contributor based in Saskatchewan

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CRA wants more tax filers to file online

The government’s own research shows millions of paper filers resist change.




The taxman is angry that too many Canadians are still filing by mail, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

The government’s own research shows millions of paper filers resist change.

“Those who submit their taxes by mail most often say they use paper rather than filing electronically because it is simply how they prefer to do it, e.g. they do it out of habit, because ‘it’s what they are comfortable with,’ they like it, etcetera,” said a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) report.

“Just 13% cite security issues.”

Data show of 30.5 million tax returns filed this year a total 2.7 million or 9% were filed on paper. Millions of taxpayers, a total 4,234,772 including Internet filers, demanded refunds be paid by mailed cheque instead of direct deposit.

The CRA complained it would be “more timely and efficient” if all taxpayers used the Internet. The Agency spends $6.9 million annually mailing T1 general tax forms alone.

“There is still a sizable proportion of taxpayers who are conducting their business with the Canada Revenue Agency through paper rather than taking advantage of digital services which are much more timely and efficient,” said the report.

Research showed typical paper filers were working age men under 55 who completed their own return without a tax preparer, had a university degree, earned more than $80,000 a year and were more likely than other Canadians to prefer in-person teller service rather than online banking.

“The most important factor influencing why respondents file by paper instead of online is disinterest,” wrote researchers, who added: “Apathy is a barrier. Fifty percent of likely switchers say they are simply not interested in switching. Therefore the agency will have to demonstrate the value of switching.”

Findings were based on questionnaires with 2,000 taxpayers who filed returns by mail. The Agency paid Earnscliffe Strategy Group $130,061 for the survey.

The research follows a failed 2012 campaign to have all Canadians use direct deposit for payment of tax refunds and benefit cheques. The attempt by the Receiver General of Canada, the federal office responsible for processing payments, was intended to save costs. Paper cheques cost 82¢ apiece to process compared to 13¢ for electronic transfers, by official estimate.

An estimated 13% of taxpayers refused to surrender bank account information to the Receiver General. “Cheque recipients have become harder to engage,” said a 2020 Department of Public Works survey.

“A few have a general distrust of the Government of Canada’s ability to protect data,” wrote researchers. A total 23 percent of Atlantic residents said they wouldn’t rely on the government to protect their privacy, followed by 22% in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, 21% in Ontario, 19% in Alberta, 18% in BC and 12% in Québec.

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WATCH: Alberta Oil drives Guilbeault to meeting with Nixon

Federal Environment Minister Stephen Guilbeault’s tour of Alberta has already kicked off with a whiff of hypocrisy.




Attended by a sizable entourage, Guilbeault exited his black gasoline-powered SUV and hustled into the McDougall Centre in Calgary for a meeting with Alberta Environment Minister Jason Nixon.  

Guilbeault has dedicated most of his career to telling Canadians they need to transition from petrochemically fueled transportation. During this meeting though, Guilbeault chose not to find an utilize an electric-powered SUV in order to demonstrate his environmental virtue. With the resources of the entire federal government behind him, one would have thought that Guilbeault could have arranged appropriate transportation for his cross-Canada tour.  

It’s almost as if electric vehicles are still not ready for mainstream use yet. 

At least Guilbeault contributed to the Western economy with his conspicuous consumption of local petrochemical products.  

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