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NDP MLA says Alberta women feeling unfair brunt of fiscal cutbacks

Rahki Pancholi made the comment after UCP Finance Minister Travis Toews said the province was asking nurses to take a pay cut.

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An Edmonton NDP MLA says she’s tired of women bearing the brunt of the province’s financial woes.

Rahki Pancholi made the comment after UCP Finance Minister Travis Toews said the province was asking nurses to take a pay cut.

“Cutting nurses’ pay after all they’ve done during the pandemic is yet “another reminder” of how women’s work holds no value to the UCP,” Pancholi wrote on Facebook.

“I am DONE with women being expected to accept ‘thank you so much, dear’ as compensation for their work.”

Statistics show nursing is a female-dominated profession with 91% of regulated nurses identifying as female.

Toews issued a statement Tuesday night saying the province would be asking for a 3% wage rollback in return for job security for nurses.

The United Nurses of Alberta said the rollback demand would amount to more than 5%

“Alberta’s nurses have worked diligently throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and we respect and appreciate the invaluable role they have played in helping the province emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Toews.

“As we move beyond the peaks of the pandemic and into a more manageable period, we need to continue the important work of getting the province’s finances back on track.

“AHS is offering job security to nurses, despite record unemployment in the province due to the pandemic,” he said.

“On average, Alberta nurses make 5.6% more than in other comparative provinces. This costs Alberta approximately $141 million per year at a time when our finances are already stretched. The need to bring wages in line with other large provinces does not diminish our deep respect for the exceptional work and dedication of public sector workers. It is simply reflective of our fiscal reality, and one that many sectors in the province have experienced.

“The past 16 months have put a considerable strain on the province, following already high levels of debt and deficit. An additional $5.1 billion was spent in response to COVID-19 and to support the Alberta Recovery Plan, which included $1.5 billion in health care spending. This is above and beyond the $23 billion Health expense in Budget 2021 – the largest single-year investment in health care in Alberta’s history.”

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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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Bill Mccann

    July 12, 2021 at 9:49 am

    Humbug, nursing is a career choice, nothing more, certainly not heros.
    Regarding paycuts, as a retired farmer I can’t begin to remember how many pay cuts I received over the years by the Federal governments. The advice given was to suck it up and tighten your belt. There ya go.

  2. Robert Lang

    July 11, 2021 at 2:40 pm

    “she’s tired of women bearing the brunt of the province’s financial woes.” Then the NDP should have supported secession, so we are no longer land locked and could have billions to spare from royalties and the death of the equalization program. However, Kenney and Shandro are two idiots to get rid of.

  3. Susan Grant

    July 10, 2021 at 1:33 pm

    #Plandemic sort of like that perfectly timed fire in Lytton that destroyed a town foull of people who were already siffering from Vax injuries

  4. Claudette Leece

    July 10, 2021 at 11:30 am

    WestCanGuy, there is no greedier organization than AHS, more is never enough for them. The unions are using this as a threat for the ones that fall and believe, every hospital was worked to the bone. Many rural hospitals were no busier, actually less than before because the constant fear mongering to not go to hospital or you could sick, worked well. Many especially seniors did not go until it was serious, then we’re shepherd out quickly just in case, hundreds of Covid people showed up. Most Covid people were sent to cities right away, rural hospitals didn’t deal with them. Do they deserve good pay, of coarse but in these rough times everyone must do their part, or these services they want will not be there.. This happened years ago where the threat of strike was there and look back and see how that went. They are well paid, have lots of perks most Canadians would love. What AHS has to do is trim some of the management fat but we know that never happens. There whole system needs an overhaul because right now it’s a train out of control

  5. Westcanguy

    July 10, 2021 at 8:58 am

    The wage rollback amounts to eliminating shift premium differential and semi annual lump sum payments. I have read nothing about actual wage decreasing. Over 600 nurses make over 130k a year. It’s getting out of hand and time for belt tightening. Other simple servants in the gov’t should be prepared for the same thing happening to their contracts or expect to be looking for a job.

  6. Tony

    July 10, 2021 at 1:04 am

    A bullet proof defined benefit pension guaranteed by taxpayers. Sign me up for some of that kinda “unfairness”!!!

  7. Dave Symington

    July 9, 2021 at 9:48 pm

    Nurse take a roll back! How about these over pay politicians take 10 percent roll back. There male nurses also, so don’t get to high on the female lib horse!

  8. d.r.cmolloy@gmail.com

    July 9, 2021 at 8:41 pm

    Nurses to my knowledge did not lose jobs and still are the highest paid in the country. Did they forfil the roll during the covid yes they did and thats what is expected when you are in the elite pay group.Its not difficult to find issue in the AHS just ask many who missed treatment and operations over this period. Quit winning and cash your NDP cheques .

  9. Left Coast

    July 9, 2021 at 6:14 pm

    Remember folks the NDP knows the way to Venezuela . . .

    The Dipper party are far-left loons the party of Marx !

  10. Steven

    July 9, 2021 at 2:58 pm

    I really think the UCP under Kenney & UCP Finance Minister Travis Toews have stepped in another cow pie, that could have been avoided. How incredibly stupid of the Premier & Minister Toews to bring down a pay cut for the AB Civil Services; especially after COVID-19 & while it’s still lingering in the air. A year from now, maybe, but not right after the most intense pandemic Albertans have been through, in sometime.

    This isn’t the first time the UCP had committed political suicide since Premier Kenney took over. Bad timing poor planning terrible execution. Remember the 6 P’s Prior, Planning, Prevents, Piss, Poor, Performance!

    I very much doubt the Wildrose Independence Party of Alberta (WIPA) would lead is such a despicable manner. My vote goes to Wildrose.

  11. Seven-Zero-One

    July 9, 2021 at 2:56 pm

    Please WS don’t waste time on losers.

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News

While calls for Chu to resign grow, the Recall Act still awaits cabinet approval

Bill 52: The Recall Act, now awaiting proclamation, “creates a process that could lead to the recall of elected officials, including members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs), municipal officials and school trustees,” states the Alberta Government website.

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Calls from politicians for Calgary Ward 4 incumbent Sean Chu to resign are growing in light of news around dismissed allegations of sexual misconduct against more than two decades ago.

Premier Jason Kenney said the allegations were “appalling” while mayor-elect Jyoti Gondek has called for Chu to step down.

Michelle Rempel Garner, Calgary-Nose Hill MP overlapping Ward 4 said she’s “formally withdrawing her endorsement of Councillor Sean Chu,” adding he’s no longer a member of her Constituency Association.

A new bill allowing Albertans to recall elected officials throughout their term was introduced in the spring of this year and and was passed by the legislature in June.

But Bill 52, the Recall Act, is still awaiting proclamation, leaving it in a state of legislative limbo.

The Western Standard reached out to Government House Leader, Jason Nixon for comment as to when Bill 52 will be proclaimed into law, but no response has been received as of publishing.

According to the Government of Alberta’s website, the bill “creates a process that could lead to the recall of elected officials, including members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs), municipal officials and school trustees.”

The process to recall a municipal official involves applying for a petition to recall the politician with the city’s chief administrative officer (CAO). If approved, the applicant is charged with gathering signatures from 40% of eligible voters in the official’s ward within 60 days. If successful, the CAO would make a declaration at the next council meeting and the official would be removed at that time.

According to the bill, an elected official cannot be recalled any earlier than 18-months from the date they were elected, meaning that even if the bill was proclaimed by the Alberta government, Chu would still be ineligible for a recall petition until 2024.

The Western Standard spoke with Chu in an exclusive interview before Monday’s municipal election to discuss the incident referenced in a series of documents leaked from the Calgary Police Service just days before the election.

Chu called the leak of the documents “politically motivated”, stating the timing of the release was “decades after those matters were resolved” and denied any wrongdoing.

In 1997, Chu was investigated for complaints alleging sexual assault and threats. The investigation found no grounds for charges, but Chu did received a letter of reprimand for caressing the leg of a minor while in uniform that he said he believed at the time to have been over 18.

The Western Standard had a follow-up interview with Chu the day after winning Monday’s election in Ward 4 by a mere 52 votes when he reaffirmed his innocence, said he would not resign, and responded to allegations first published by CTV Calgary.

Chu served as a Calgary police officer from 1992 until he was elected in 2013 and is now looking at his legal options for a possible defamation suit.

Because Chu was not charged in the incident, it appears any bid to try and remove Chu at this point would fail.

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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Whistlestop’s Scott launches new anti-COVID lockdown advocacy group

“We never thought we would be in the world that we are in today, yet here we are,” Scott said.

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Whistlestop Cafe owner Chris Scott — who rose to fame fighting Alberta COVID-19 lockdowns — is starting an advocacy group to continue the battle.

The new group, FullSteamAhead, is becoming a non-profit membership association which links individuals and businesses and lawyers affected by government’s plans for forced vaccination for employment in some areas.

Scott said his group has a mission:

• To actively seek out credible information.

• To advocate for those who are mandated out of work.

• To effectively influence change in order to protect Constitutional Rights & Freedoms.

“We never thought we would be in the world that we are in today, yet here we are,” Scott said in a Facebook posting.

“And we want you to know that you are not alone. There are thousands of individuals and businesses across Alberta and Canada that are asking themselves how to navigate this new world.

“We want individuals and businesses to team up with a group of lawyers that are ready to take on the government and companies that are stripping away our rights and freedoms. And we want to help those individuals and businesses that are being discriminated against in order to keep their job or their business running.”

Scott was arrested May 8 after a protest which saw 1,500 people show up in support of his business in Mirror, 50 km east of Red Deer, which has faced repeated crackdowns by the provincial government.

That week saw the RCMP seize all of the establishment’s beer and then days later padlock the restaurant after a dawn raid.

Undeterred, Scott continued cooking pancakes, making burgers and serving coffee to his customers the next day in the parking lot outside his shuttered restaurant. The UCP government had recently banned outdoor patio service for restaurants.

Scott made a solemn promise to Alberta Health Services and the RCMP he would no longer open his establishment.

So when he was inside May 29, cleaning damage up after someone broke the glass in his front door, he was shocked to see AHS and RCMP speed into his parking lot, and re-padlock the restaurant.

Last week saw him receive a $20,000 fine and an 18-month probation period.

The Whistle Stop Cafe has become a flashpoint in resistance to provincial lockdown orders and restrictions imposed by the Kenney government, as Scott defied the orders and “illegally” reopened in mid-January of 2021.

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

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AHS says at least 1,200 employees don’t want the jab

A total of 7% of AHS employees have yet to submit their proof and AHS is “actively working” to confirm their vaccine status.

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Despite Alberta Health Services reporting overwhelming support for their proof of vaccine policy, at least 1,200 AHS staff have requested an exemption.

In a live address to Albertans on Tuesday, AHS President and CEO, Dr. Verna Yiu said, “there is very broad support of the vaccine policy,” referring to AHS requiring all medical staff to have two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by October 31.   

Yiu said 92% of physicians and nurses have submitted their proof of vaccination along with 97% of all ICU staff.

But 7% of AHS employees have yet to submit their proof and AHS is “actively working” to confirm their vaccine status.

Approximately 1,200 medical staff have asked for vaccine exemptions provided for in the policy with 838 already submitting the necessary paperwork to be considered.

Yiu said those seeking a vaccine exemption, whether medical or religious, account for less than 1% of AHS staff and confirmed only 61 employees have resigned to date.

Any staff who have not been vaccinated are encouraged to do so and “address any concerns they may have with their leader or healthcare provider,” said Yiu.

“We stand by the policy and it will be fully implemented.”

Those without accommodations or proof of full immunization will be placed on unpaid leave at the end of the month.  

AHS says with such low numbers, they don’t anticipate “having any significant impact on our ability to provide care to Albertans.”

Yiu also took the opportunity to thank Albertans for helping to bring case numbers down and “reduce the strain on the healthcare system.”

She also confirmed that with “pressures easing” AHS has been able to allow for more surgeries to return to the hospitals.

“It’s a fine balance and we must ensure that we have adequate ICU capacity should COVID numbers increase again,” said Yiu

There are currently 376 general adult ICU beds available with 75% occupancy. The “surge beds” will be reduced incrementally as volume allows.

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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