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Stampede turnout pleases cowboys and organizers

“This is still a bit of a transition phase for the community. Coming out of all the restrictions, people have a different level of comfort,” said spokeswoman Kristina Barnes.




The Calgary Stampede may be smaller than most years, but organizers, rodeo competitors, and attendees are just glad it’s back.

Stampede spokesperson Kristina Barnes told Western Standard attendance has been “about half of what we would normally see,” but will pick up “as people become a little bit more comfortable with the return to live events and that experience and also as they learn more about what’s happening.”

The 2021 Stampede also features a ranch bronc riding event where women can compete against men. The entertainment includes Broncs After Dark, described by Barnes as “a high adrenaline kind of experience” that includes trick riding as well as “amazing” and “incredible” performances by riders from Quebec’s Festival Western de St-Tite.

“One is a pickup race, so one rider does a tight circuit on a horse and a second rider jumps onto the back of the horse. One is an exchange race, so one rider will jump off a horse and another rider will jump on. And then the third one is a Pony Express so that one rider would exchange from one horse to another – all done about 50 kilometers an hour.”

Some subtle changes have occurred to accommodate varying comfort levels. The usual fare of midway rides and food vendors have fewer offerings to allow people a bit more space. The Nashville North music venue has a canopy roof instead of an enclosed tent and there are fewer seats for rodeo spectators.

“They can choose to be seated with more space between them and other people, or they can choose the more densely seated area of the grandstand as well,” Barnes said.

“This is still a bit of a transition phase for the community. Coming out of all the restrictions, people have a different level of comfort.”

Barnes said getting rodeo performers was “a bit of a challenge knowing the border was closed. [There’s] many that have come up across the border through a modified exemption program that we have worked with the federal government on. So it’s been a great first couple days of competitions.”

Calgary’s own Connor Hamilton was glad to return for bareback competition.

“It was kind of a big thing when all the invites got sent out for Calgary. And they were asking everybody to come up and quarantine and if possible, get vaccinated,” he told Western Standard.

“The Calgary Stampede is one of the biggest rodeos of the year and just happens to be my hometown rodeo, but I feel like everybody just kind of accepted that and took it under their own power to make it happen.”

Hamilton has spent six years in rodeo, a sport the Calgary Mustangs Junior A hockey player took up after turning 19.

“I didn’t even have any family [in rodeo], I didn’t really know anyone who did it. I just went out to Olds College and they had practice nights out there. And I went and watched a few of them. And then talked to a few guys and they lent me some gear and helped me out. I ended up getting on a couple [horses] and then I just started entering a few rodeos.”

Hamilton could still count the rodeos he entered on his fingers when he took the title at the Stampede’s Novice Bareback competition. “That was a massive step in my career,” recalled Hamilton, who won the event in 2015 and 2017.

Hamilton is looking forward to rodeos in Medicine Hat and Strathmore later this summer. In the meantime, he is enjoying top-five results at the Stampede.

“As much as COVID hurt the world and hurt Canada, it has been one of those things that we just have to take in stride and take it as it is. But it’s so great to see some smiling faces and people out having fun.”

Lee Harding is a Western Standard correspondent based in Saskatchewan.

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  1. Baron Not Baron

    July 15, 2021 at 6:51 pm

    “The Calgary Stampede may be smaller than most years, but organizers, rodeo competitors, and attendees are just glad it’s back.”

    What is this bullshit? Now the people are happy with anything? What is next time? The people are going to be happy with less and less and finally to be happy to be left just alive, stripped by all rights and freedoms and call themselves happy?

    What a wimp nation!! Don’t worry, when they take your throats, you’ll forget all of this!

  2. Susan Grant

    July 14, 2021 at 7:03 am

    Jason Kenney, lies steals and promise no vax passport all while promoting the Discriminatory event that requires proof. Meanshile YYC people bend over for the party and forget ALL the courage small town Alberta fought for. YYC betrays Albertans for a party that worships Kenney, Shandro & Hinshaw.

  3. Susan Grant

    July 14, 2021 at 7:00 am

    Calgary BETRYAS Conservative Values. How disgusting!

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BC healthcare worker says she’s still suffering adverse effects six months after COVID shot

The 39-year-old youth crisis worker is told she must get her second dose, despite having suffered adverse effects.




Dawn Slykhuis, a 39-year-old youth crisis worker has been told she must get her second dose of COVID-19 vaccine, despite still experiencing adverse effects following dose number one.

Slykhuis, who tested positive for COVID-19 in 2020, got her first shot in April 2021.

“I waited a full six months to make sure that I wasn’t going to have a reaction,” Slykhuis told the Western Standard.

“I got the dose on April 28, and then on May 18 I experienced acute sharp pain in my head, like someone was shooting lasers through my brain.”

Slykhuis said the pain lasted for about a week before settling into a more chronic dull pain, and so — fearing the possibility of cancer — she sought medical attention amid an unrelenting series of bad headaches coincided with a sporadically spiked heart rate.

“They expected nerve damage,” said Slykhuis, who began losing feeling in her left arm.

“It got so tingly yesterday I had to go for a CT. I’m waiting to see a neurologist on November 8.”

Dr. Steven Pelech, president and chief scientific officer at Kinexus Bioinformatics Corporation, and chair of the Scientific and Medical Advisory Committee at the Canadian Covid Care Alliance, has been voicing concern over potential health risks COVID-19 vaccines may impose — specifically myocarditis.

“Contrary to what a number of people have said, there is no such thing as ‘mild myocarditis,’” Pelech told the Western Standard in an August interview.

“It’s the destruction of the myocytes, the heart cells that contract. When those cells die, they are not replaced in your body and are instead replaced by scar-tissue, which is from fibroblasts — skin cells which don’t have contractile activity, so the remaining muscle cells have to get a little bigger in order to compensate.”

Dr. Charles Hoffe, a physician who practiced in Lytton, BC for over 20 years raised similar concerns to that of Pelech, and he reported patients suffering severe adverse neurological and cardiovascular effects after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

“It is now clearly apparent with medical evidence from around the world, that the side-effect profiles of the various gene modification therapies against COVID-19, have been vastly understated by their manufacturers, who were eager to prove their safety,” wrote Hoffe in an open letter to BC Provincial Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry.

Interior Health Authority (IHA) suspended Hoffe’s emergency room privileges and he is currently being investigated by IHA and the College of Physicians and Surgeons of BC (CPBC) for promoting “vaccine hesitancy.”

Hoffe is represented by the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF).

Several European countries suspended the use of the Moderna vaccine for people under the age of 30, citing heart inflammation as well as inflammation of the membrane surrounding the heart.

Iceland has halted the Moderna vaccine for all ages.

“I am a healthy 39-year-old that’s never had nerve damage and all of a sudden I have chronic head pain, nerve damage, and I’m experiencing cognitive deficits as well, which is really hard to talk about because now I want to cry,” said Slykhuis.

“I’m like an old lady seeing my brain slip away. Making errors, dropping things. It’s pretty scary, well, it’s terrifying… to be experiencing these symptoms and still be forced to get another dose to keep my job in healthcare.”

Reid Small is a BC correspondent for the Western Standard

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It’s down to the wire for AHS employees as deadline looms for vaccine mandates

Although the statement from AHS says their COVID-19 vaccine policy is mandatory any “employee who is unable to be immunized due to a medical reason or for another protected ground under the Alberta Human Rights Act will be reasonably accommodated.”




Tomorrow is deadline day for AHS workers.

The deadline of October 31 for Alberta Health Services’ (AHS) vaccine mandate is just over two weeks away when all employees and contracted healthcare providers will have to be fully immunized.

The AHS policy was released on August 31 and stated, “the latest an employee could receive their second dose to be in compliance with the new policy is October 16, 2021, which allows for the two weeks that must pass to be considered fully immunized.”

The Western Standard has heard from a number of lawyers representing thousands of clients on many fronts who are looking for legal support in pushing back against these workplace and post-secondary institution vaccine mandates.

One of those lawyers, Jeffrey Rath, of Rath & Company, was recently retained by MyAPSChoice, a group consisting of over 4,000 public service and government employees.

Based on a number of legal claims including violations of constitutional rights and freedoms, employment laws, human rights laws and breaches to the Freedom of Information Act, Rath has been advising his clients to not cooperate with the mandates.

Rath has also released a “generalized open letter” for anyone to use in any workplace or post-secondary institution where a worker or student is facing a mandate to be vaccinated “against their will.”

The letter states: “It is my legal opinion that any policy that vitiates the consent of an employee (including staff, students, volunteers, contractors, and other persons acting on their behalf) by threatening to either terminate or suspend them in order to coerce the employee into being vaccinated is a violation of Canadian Law.”

The letter goes on to cite laws protecting one’s medical privacy and highlights courses of action available including exemptions.

Rath also advises that people do not reply electronically or provide their consent for access to their private medical information and that demands for proof of vaccination be responded to in writing via regular or registered mail.

Page six of the document includes a legal letter that can be used by anyone wishing to claim a legal exemption based on “the illegality of the policy under section 7 of the Charter (of rights and freedoms).”

“This is my generalized legal opinion without reference to any one individual personal circumstance,” said Rath advising that people are welcome to email him if they have more specific circumstances that may require legal assistance or if they are interested in registering as a class-action litigant.

Although the statement from AHS says their COVID-19 vaccine policy is mandatory any “employee who is unable to be immunized due to a medical reason or for another protected ground under the Alberta Human Rights Act will be reasonably accommodated.”

“This is an extraordinary but necessary measure to help protect our vital frontline healthcare teams and help us maintain a safe environment for all patients and clients” said Dr. Verna Yiu, President and CEO of Alberta Health Services.

An AHS official told the Western Standard that “AHS employee requests for accommodation will be reviewed by an Accommodations Adjudication Panel” which includes members from Human Resources, Employee Relations, WHS, Ability Management, and Organizational Ethics.

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard

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WS EXCLUSIVE POLL: Vast majority of Albertans will vote in Senate election




Near seven out of every 10 Albertans are prepared to mark their ballots in the provincial Senate elections on Monday, according to a new poll done exclusively for the Western Standard.

The Mainstreet Research polls show 67% of Albertans said they would vote in the race to elect three senators-in-waiting.

Courtesy Mainstreet Research

Only 16% of Albertans said they would not participate in the election while another 17% were still not sure whether they would vote at all.

The polling shows a Conservative slate of candidates are currently in the lead, garnering the support of 30% of those surveyed.

Independent candidates are sitting at 17%, People’s Party of Canada candidates at 13% and 28% are still making up their minds.

A total of 12% said they would vote for a combination of candidates.

For those who intend to vote for the UCP in the next election, 75% said they would be voting for the Conservative candidates. For NDP supporters, 37% said they would vote for Independent candidates.

Courtesy Mainstreet research

PPC candidates were the favorite choice of 43% of those aiming to vote for the Wildrose Independence Party.

Mainstreet President and CEO Quito Maggi said while he “expects a slate of Conservatives to be elected” he “was surprised at the number of people who were going to select a mix.”

A full list of the candidates can be found on the Elections Alberta website here.

The analysis in this report is based on results of a survey conducted on October 12-13, 2021, among a sample of 935 adults, 18 years of age or older living in Alberta. The survey was conducted using automated telephone interviews (Smart IVR). Respondents were interviewed on landlines and cellular phones. The survey is intended to represent the voting population in Alberta. 

The margin of error for the poll is +/- 3.2% at the 95% confidence level. Margins of error are higher in each subsample. Totals may not add up 100% due to rounding.

Tomorrow: The Western Standard‘s exclusive poll on party support in Alberta.

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