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Maverick Party receives official status, plans to hit the trail flying

“Well, I probably could have picked a better time to start a political party from ground zero than during a lockdown for a virus.” —Jay Hill, interim leader of the upstart Maverick Party.




Interim leader of the fresh party, Jay Hill, was inundated with interview requests from various media across the country, but said he welcomes the press.

“Well, as you can guess, ever since we started this 14 months ago, and certainly the last 11 months that we’ve been Maverick … our biggest challenge by far is just to get some exposure for Maverick and get people knowing there’s an alternative and asking them to check us out,” Hill told the Western Standard.

The party received official status on Friday.

Hill’s a familiar face on the political scene. He was previously the Member of Parliament for the BC riding of Prince George-Peace River from 1993 to 2010, the same year he retired from politics.

He said he has no regrets about returning to the game. Well, maybe just one.

“Well, I probably could have picked a better time to start a political party from ground zero than during a lockdown for a virus,” he said.

The Maverick Party is hoping to have a slate of about 30 candidates run in the September federal election, all in just the four Western provinces.

“At the moment, we have 27 (candidates),” Hill said.

“And we’re in the process of announcing 28; another one from Saskatchewan, probably today or tomorrow.”

Only one candidate — Lori Falloon-Austin for the Dauphin-Swan River-Neepawa riding — is scheduled to run for office in Manitoba.

“A least thus far, unless something comes to a head here very quickly,” Hill said.

“We have three from British Columbia, I think it’s about seven now from Saskatchewan. And the bulk, of course, is from Alberta.”

The Maverick Party has a novel strategy for the upcoming election: it will not run candidates in ridings where there’s a realistic possibility a Liberal or a New Democrat might be elected.

“That’s to take away this whole nonsensical argument about vote splitting that will take place in the bulk of our ridings,” said Hill.

Hill went on to explain why he said the majority of vote splitting is going to be between the Conservative incumbents and the Maverick ones.

“The constituents in those ridings are going to have a very clear choice whether to stay with the devil they know kinda thing, and vote conservative yet again —because they know what they’re going to get — or choose our slogan: True Western representation.

“So it’ll be between a conservative and a Maverick — we went up against the strongest conservative ridings. They’re the ones where they got anywhere from 60% to 65% of the vote all the way up to into the 80s. And so, if you split those votes in half, you’re still are way ahead of any of the other parties, the Liberals, NDP or Green.”

Hill said he’s thrilled with the calibre of candidates the Mavericks are floating.

“I’m not just saying that because they’re Mavericks, I would challenge anybody to take a hard look at the quality of our candidates. We’re not (founder and current leader of the People’s Party of Canada) Max Bernier, we’re not just picking people out of the phonebook.”

However, Hill acknowledges one seemingly clear hurdle: Maverick, which grew from the doomed Wexit Party, has much to outlive if it hopes to garner substantial votes.

“I never joined (the Maverick Party) until I actually became the interim leader at the end of June 2020, but my understanding of the mandate or vision of Wexit (a play, at the time, on England’s doomed Brexit strategy to leave the European Union), Canada was pretty much wrapped up in western separatism.”

Hill admits, “That’s been a little bit of an albatross around Maverick’s neck.

“We chose to basically take over Wexit Canada last summer, and then we completely restructured it. We restructured it as far as constitution, we restructured the mission statement, the guiding principles, we basically threw out everything they had … including the name.”

Still, Western independence is not off the table, as far as Hill is concerned.

“Independence does not necessarily mean sovereign Western nation, you know, with our own dollar, our own military, and our own trade agreements — our own everything.

“It could be somewhere else on the independent spectrum, it could be at one in very close to what Quebec has carved out for themselves, control over immigration, your own pension plan, your own tax system, your own your own police force—it could be anywhere along that spectrum where Westerners will say, ‘Well, we’re satisfied there’s enough movement towards autonomy, whereby we can carve out control of our own destiny.”

And Hill said he has a team that could make it all happen.

“These are people who are running for all the right reasons,” he said. “By and large, they’re people of the next generation.”

And that was by design, said Hill.

“We really sought out people that were in that age group from 30 to 50, that had some life experience, but were still young enough to take on this horrendous task.”

Hill said all he can do when votes are cast is watch the returns and hope for the best.

“I mean, are we going to find on election day we’re not dissimilar to the results the People’s Party go — which is abysmal — or will we actually be at the other end of the spectrum where we elect the handful of people of those 28 or 30?

“I don’t know, I don’t have a crystal ball — I hope it’s the latter.

So a final question remains: What happens to Hill after the election?
“I came out of retirement out of concern for my three grandkids, and I speak about that as I travel around,” he said.

“(My family) speaks about the irony of this that when I left the family farm in the late 80s, early 90s to become involved in federal politics, it was out of concern for runaway debt in the future for my three young children. Now I came out of retirement for some of the same reasons — such as horrendous runaway debt, thank you to Mr. Trudeau— and the future of my three young grandchildren is threatened by a lot of things that are happening. And so I decided I had to come out of retirement.”

In all, Hill said joining the Maverick Party and leading it was a way to establish a Western alternative to fight for greater fairness, respect and autonomy for Western Canada.

“My view is we get through this election campaign, the chips will fall where the electorate decides and, hopefully, we elect a handful,” he said.

“Regardless, even if we are unsuccessful, we keep this alive and we hold the leadership contest shortly after the campaign.”

Mike D’Amour is the British Columbia Bureau Chief for the Western Standard.

Mike D'Amour is Copy Editor of the Western Standard. He worked as an investigative crime reporter at the Calgary & Winnipeg Suns. mdamour@westernstandardonline.com mdamour@westernstandardonline.com

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  1. Baron Not Baron

    August 22, 2021 at 8:09 pm

    I will give Maverick my vote and I strongly vote for and support WIPA!

  2. Steven

    August 22, 2021 at 10:48 am

    Western Canada & especially Alberta need some Mavericks in Ottawa. Go Maverick !

  3. Andrew

    August 22, 2021 at 10:18 am

    Go Maverick! Go Wildrose!

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Maskless teen student with asthma ostracized at Calgary Catholic school

“Kids in my class called me an ‘outsider’ which made me feel worse than I already felt,” said 14-year-old Darius.




A Calgary Catholic school has segregated and since banned a student from attending school for not wearing a mask, says the student’s parents.

And before that, teachers had even taped off an area around the boy’s desk “like a crime scene.”

Darius Lynn, a Grade 9 student at St. Helena Junior High School in Calgary, suffers from asthma and was permitted to go maskless at his desk during the 2020-2021 school year.

When Darius returned to St. Helena for the 2021-2022 school year, without his parents’ knowledge, he was advised he would be required to wear a mask full time.

He complied for the first few months but eventually reported to his parents in late November he was struggling to breathe while wearing the mask.

“I had no idea he was told to wear a mask again this year,” Darius’ mother Stephanie told the Western Standard.

“My husband and I just assumed he wasn’t needing to wear a mask again this year.”

Stephanie said she and her husband Paul reached out to the new principal and Darius’ teachers to request they allow their son the same exemption as the previous year.

They were told he would need a doctor’s note, which Stephanie said they have been unable to acquire.

“Mask exemptions are impossible to get,” said Stephanie.

“Right now, doctors are just too scared to write them.”

Stephanie said the school’s solution was to, “move my son’s desk into the hallway.”

Darius also spoke with the Western Standard and said the teenagers in his class referred to him as an “outsider” after he was moved into the hallway.

“When they did group projects, they would just send me to the library and I had to work on my own,” said Darius.  

“Kids in my class called me an ‘outsider’ which made me feel worse than I already felt.”

Stephanie said she and her husband tried to appeal to the principal, but “she wouldn’t budge,” so they reached out to the superintendent.

“We begged for her to let Darius back into the classroom but he ended up sitting out there for two weeks where he was discriminated against and basically ridiculed so we contacted the superintendent,” said Stephanie.

Stephanie said she emailed Chief Superintendent Bryan Szumlas with the Catholic School Board who helped the Lynns get their son moved back into his classroom.

“So, he was moved back into the classroom, which was good, but what we didn’t know was that his teachers taped off the floor around his desk like a crime scene,” said Stephanie.

“After they put tape on the floor around my desk, some of the kids in my class would step past the tape and pretend they couldn’t breathe,” said Darius, explaining the teasing he endured.

Darius said his teachers had witnessed some of the teasing, but said, “most of the time the teachers didn’t do anything about it.

“They (teachers) also made me wait a few minutes before I could move to my next class because there were basically a bunch of students in the halls.”

“It was just awful what they were doing to him. They were treating him like a walking disease and visibly segregating him,” said Stephanie.

Stephanie said Darius had to stay within his taped boundaries for about a week until Christmas break.

“After the break, the principal notified us that Darius wouldn’t be welcome back if he wasn’t willing to wear a mask,” said Stephanie.

“In fact, one of the communications with the school referred to his asthma as his ‘apparent asthma’ like we were making it up or something.

“They said he could move to the online schooling system or do their D2L system from home,” said Stephanie referring to a web-based learning system offered throughout the school division.

“He doesn’t do well online so we are just trying to do the best we can. He’s in Grade 9, he should be able to be with his peers to finish off his last year in middle school.”

Darius said he has mixed feelings about not returning to school.

“I’m just really upset that I don’t get to see my friends anymore, but I also feel like I have less distractions at home,” said Darius.

Stephanie said it’s been a hard year for Darius as he also had to walk away from community hockey due to the vaccination mandates and additional costs associated with frequent rapid testing.

“He is totally destroyed,” said Stephanie.

The Lynns have two other sons — both attending Notre Dame High School — one in Grade 11 who is special needs and one in Grade 12.

“The real kicker for us is that we have a special needs son who has never worn a mask, doesn’t social distance and we have never been required to show a doctor’s note for him,” said Stephanie.

“They have totally humiliated my son and I’m angry. We just want our son to be treated with dignity and compassion. He has lost hockey because of the mandates and now he isn’t allowed to go to school.”

The family has since been referred to Area Director Deana Helton with regard to their son’s situation.

The Western Standard has contacted the school principal along with Helton but hasn’t heard back yet.

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard

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Copping strikes EMS advisory committee amid system strains, red alerts

The Alberta Provincial EMS Advisory Committee will provide recommendations on a provincial EMS service plan by May.




Health Minister Jason Copping has appointed MLAs R.J. Sigurdson (Highwood) and Tracy Allard (Grande Prairie) to co-chair a new EMS committee to address “unprecedented” demands on the healthcare system.

Alberta Health Services (AHS) is also rolling out a 10-point plan to maximize EMS system capacity.

The government listed many aggravating factors driving the system strains including “EMS staffing fatigue and illness, hospital offload delays, more requests for patient transfers, delays in receiving new ambulances and specialized vehicle parts caused by global supply issues.”

The province has seen a plethora of “red alerts” reported by EMS members and tweeted by the Union of Health Care Professionals @HSAAlbertaEMS. A red alert is when there are no available ambulances for emergency calls.

The government also reported a 30% increase in 911 calls in recent months. There was no mention of personnel shortages caused by the government’s COVID-19 mandate.

“Alberta’s government has been supportive of EMS throughout the pandemic. As we approach the peak of Omicron cases, we know the EMS system is seeing significant strain, which impacts service. We recognize this is a challenge and are taking immediate steps to improve emergency care access while we explore longer-term solutions,” said Copping.

AHS will immediately hire more paramedics, transfer low-priority calls to other agencies, and stop automatic ambulance dispatch to motor vehicle accidents with no injuries. AHS is also “launching pilot projects to manage non-emergency inter-facility transfers, and initiating an ‘hours of work’ project to help ease staff fatigue.”

Dr. Verna Yiu, president and CEO of AHS is confident these actions “will allow us to better support our EMS staff and front-line paramedics, and in turn this will ensure our patients receive the best care possible.”

Additionally, AHS will issue a request for proposals in February to conduct a third-party review of Alberta’s provincewide EMS dispatch system.

“The objective review by external health system experts will provide further opportunities to address ongoing pressures, improve effectiveness and efficiency through best practices, and provide the best outcomes for Albertans who call 911 during a medical event,” the government said.

The Alberta Provincial EMS Advisory Committee will provide recommendations on a provincial EMS service plan by May. Committee representatives include “contracted ambulance operators, unions representing paramedics, municipal representatives and Indigenous community representatives.”

Sigurdson said the committee will consider taxpayers’ needs.

“Albertans expect that when they call 911 in their time of greatest need, EMS will always answer. The committee’s goal will be focused around ensuring and improving service to Albertans while supporting the most critical piece of that equation: our EMS staff across all of Alberta.”

Amber Gosselin is a Western Standard reporter.

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WATCH: O’Toole will not be welcoming the truckers in Ottawa

“It’s not for the leader of the Opposition to attend a protest on the Hill or a convoy, it’s up to politicians to advocate for solutions, in a way that’s responsible and respectable to the health crisis we are in.”




Conservative leader Erin O’Toole was asked six times during a Monday press conference about his stance on the truckers Freedom Convoy 2022, before giving a vague answer.

“We have been talking with the Canadian Trucking Alliance for several months,” said O’Toole told reports.

“We’ve seen a crisis in the supply chain coming for several months and we’ve proposed policies to try to help alleviate that. The most important of which is vaccines. We encourage everyone to get vaccinated.”

O’Toole press conference

Other specific. questions on the truckers’ comments were left with vague answers.

But the end of the conference O’Toole said it’s not his place to get involved.

“It’s not for the leader of the Opposition to attend a protest on the Hill or a convoy — it’s up to politicians to advocate for solutions, in a way that’s responsible and respectable to the health crisis we are in,” O’Toole said.

“We’ve been trying to tackle the supply chain crisis, encourage vaccination, not ignore problems and divide the country like Mr. (Justin) Trudeau does.”

O’Toole said policies cannot be put in place which could contribute to supply chain issues, as Canadians are already worried about their grocery bills.

O’Toole said he was focused on the economic strain Canadians are having, with record inflation, cost of living, 30% higher gas prices and the housing market’s rising costs,.

Ewa Sudyk is a reporter with the Western Standard

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