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SLOBODIAN: Manitoba newlyweds face Canada customs COVID hell

Why did WestJet allow them on the initial flight, then on the flight to Winnipeg before their test results were available?

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Welcome home to Canada! Hope you enjoyed your honeymoon. By the way, the welcoming committee is here to greet you with $11,500 in COVID-19 fines.

A Manitoba couple returning from their honeymoon received a $5,750 fine each at Vancouver airport Saturday.

Contrary to multiple assurances, they received the wrong COVID-19 test in Mexico and couldn’t read the forms in Spanish to catch the mistake.

The double-vaccinated, mask-wearing newlyweds followed the rules, thought they did everything right, and were repeatedly told all was OK to re-enter Canada.

Chayse and Jaide Warkentin, of Eriksdale, 118 km north of Winnipeg, knew they had to have a COVID test 72 hours prior to returning home from Cabo San Jose. 

They got tested.

Having done their research, they knew antigen tests aren’t accepted for travelers entering Canada. 

The Krystal Grand Hotel where they vacationed sent them to a clinic. COVID-19 tests were part of the all-inclusive. 

They asked the nurse if she was administering the proper test Canada requires. She assured them she was. 

They got the paperwork showing their negative tests results – in Spanish.

Chayse and Jaide Warkentin in Cabo

When they boarded Alaska Airlines to head to Los Angeles, they were told their COVID tests were acceptable.

They were allowed to board their WestJet flight to Vancouver, expecting to catch their connecting flight to Winnipeg without any problems.

But no. They were handed the maximum fines, a huge financial hit for two teachers just starting their careers, marriage; and hoping to buy a house.

“We were fully aware it needed to be a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test. We were under the impression we were getting the correct test,” said Jaide, 24.

“While we were at the hotel, we asked: ‘Is this the correct test for Canada?’ They said yes. 

“At the airport in Cabo, they read it, it was all in Spanish. They said we were good to go.”

At the Los Angeles airport in line to catch a flight to Vancouver they felt bad for people ahead of them.

“They were turned away because they had an antigen test, not a PCR molecular test. We were allowed to board the plane.”

In Vancouver, at Customs, they were sent to the public health kiosk to present their COVID test forms.

“They asked ‘What language is this in?’ We said ‘Spanish.’ They pulled out a phone and used Google Translate. 

They were told it was an antigen test, therefore, they would be each fined $5,750 for trying to enter Canada with an invalid test.

“I asked: ‘Can you explain to me why we made it this far without having any knowledge of this? How were we allowed to board the plane to even come here?’” Jaide asked.

“She literally said: ‘I don’t know.’”

At some point, Jaide broke into uncontrollable sobs.

“It just sucked that this happened. We just got married on July 16 and had a small wedding to respect COVID rules. That is a big financial burden. We’re our first year out of university. It was devastating,” said the new bride.

The RCMP and Chayse, 23, comforted her.

“We are two people who have listened to and adhered to the government restrictions,” said Chayse.

“Seeing her so upset hurt me because we genuinely had no clue we did anything wrong. I also knew she wasn’t crying because of the outrageous fine, but because she felt so bad.”

They were ordered to get tested again, and with no results, allowed to board the Winnipeg flight. 

They have 30 days to pay or dispute the fines. 

“It sounds like they tried to do everything right. So that seems troubling. Unfortunately, it sounds like maybe they were taken advantage of, or maybe not. I would probably encourage them to dispute the allegation,” said Vancouver criminal defence lawyer Sarah Leamon.

“They would have to either travel here or else hire council in the area to represent them. They couldn’t waive the charge to Winnipeg, unfortunately. It would need to be heard in the jurisdiction it was issued,” said Leamon. 

“If they wanted to run a trial on it, if their lawyer wasn’t able to work something out, they’d probably have to come back to give evidence. Or maybe their lawyer could file to have them testify remotely.”

Leamon said many COVID-19 rules don’t make sense. 

“This is another example of that.”

Why did WestJet allow them on the initial flight, then on the flight to Winnipeg before their test results were available? 

Madison Kruger, Westjet’s media relations advisor, told Western Standard it’s the guest’s responsibility to ensure they have the proper test.

The government’s website states airlines have an obligation to ensure passengers are properly tested. It says: Airlines will refuse boarding to travelers who are unable to provide a valid molecular test result.

The airline outlines government entrance requirements on its website stipulating international travelers must provide negative accepted tests. 

“To comply with this regulation, guests are required to present a negative PCR or RT-LAMP test at check-in and Canada Custom. We take every opportunity to inform our guests of current COVID-19 travel restrictions and entrance requirements, including validating that every guest has a negative COVID-19 test result prior to boarding….”

Again, why were they allowed to board?

Slobodian is the Senior Manitoba Columnist for the Western Standard
lslobodian@westernstandardonline.com

Linda Slobodian is the Manitoba Senior Columnist for the Western Standard. She has been an investigative columnist with the Calgary Herald, Calgary Sun, Edmonton Sun, and Alberta Report. lslobodian@westernstandardonline.com

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Pamela Bridger

    August 12, 2021 at 7:33 am

    Good grief. If you literally have to do everything a non-jabbed individual does in order to travel and go home, what is the point of injecting yourself with unknown, experimental concoctions in the first place if all you took them for was so you coukdvtravel? 🤷‍♀️

  2. Andrew Red Deer

    August 12, 2021 at 6:56 am

    Difficult to fight individual stupidity as well. Why did these “bright” teachers take an unapproved injection and believe that they would walk scot free??? Say NO to your unapproved medical experiment! Dont become the rat in the maze….

  3. Bryan

    August 11, 2021 at 4:25 pm

    Not unexpected that there would be such a cock-up, given the Prime Mistake that we have in d’Ottawa. That little turd cannot stand it, that Canadians, the peons, would go on vacation OUTSIDE of Kanadahar. Foreign travel is OK only for the ELITE, like he and his pals. How DARE mere peons travel abroad!

    All that said, I suspect that this couple likely are libtards, as they are so young and products of the Canadian edjumacashun, er, indoctrination system, ESPECIALLY since they trained to be teachers, er, indoctrinators. I have SOME sympathy, though as they are likely lefties, just call it a ‘life lesson’ and hopefully it will open their eyes to how rotten socialism is.

  4. Matt C

    August 11, 2021 at 2:08 pm

    Canada is becoming a corrupt banana republic.

  5. Fergus Hodgson

    August 11, 2021 at 10:24 am

    Do not pay this! These fines are pure parasitism and control-freakery. They have nothing to do with the health and safety of Canadians.

  6. Del French

    August 11, 2021 at 9:45 am

    We talk about tyranny in other countries. Canada is now right up there with the rest of them.
    We can kiss our freedoms goodbye because NO ONE is standing up for them.

  7. K

    August 11, 2021 at 7:47 am

    Horrible, no empathy at all. We are being held hostage based on the results of flawed tests for a virus that (probably) doesn’t even exist.

  8. Chris

    August 10, 2021 at 10:20 pm

    “….huge financial hit for two teachers”

    Enough said for this dopey couple. Most teachers are full libtard. We have a few great (conservative) teachers at our school. Otherwise most are brain dead and triggered by anything you would question them on.

  9. berta baby

    August 10, 2021 at 2:27 pm

    Boycott all airlines … guess taking the experiment gets you no where sept broke lol

  10. SaskFreedom

    August 10, 2021 at 2:25 pm

    Well the more mainstream people realize we are living under a public health dictatorship in Canada, the better. If people like this who (try) to placate this tyranny with getting vaccinated and getting tested, and trying to enter their own country, which they have every right to do… still get stung by their tyrannical masters, the more hope everyone has to end this dictatorship. The problem is when people gang together to do whatever the government says, even when it’s illegal, leaving only a small minority of the population to terrorize. If everyone, even the obedient get stung, this won’t last long.

  11. CodexCoder

    August 10, 2021 at 2:02 pm

    Difficult to fight federal stupidity, isn’t it?

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Energy

VENKATACHALAM & KAPLAN: Oil and gas production is essential to BC’s economy

Here’s another slice of statistical bread to consider: In 2017 the BC oil and gas industry purchased $5.6 billion worth of goods and services from other sectors.

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Guest column by Ven Venkatachalam and Lennie Kaplan of the Canadian Energy Centre

British Columbia has been producing oil and natural gas since 1952. In fact, as of 2018, BC produced 32% of Canada’s natural gas production and 2% of Canada’s conventional daily oil production. British Columbia collects royalties from oil and gas development, supporting the economic prosperity in the province.

Want to know how important the oil and natural gas industry is to the BC economy? Using customized Statistic Canada data from 2017 (the latest year available for this comparison), it turns out oil and gas in BC  generated about $18 billion in outputs, consisting primarily of the value of goods and services produced, as well as a GDP of $9.5 billion.

As for what most of us can relate to — jobs — the BC oil and gas industry was responsible for nearly 26,500 direct jobs and more than 36,100 indirect jobs (62,602 jobs in total) in 2017. Also relevant: The oil and gas sector paid out over $3.1 billion in wages and salaries to BC workers that year.

Here’s another slice of statistical bread to consider: In 2017 the BC oil and gas industry purchased $5.6 billion worth of goods and services from other sectors. That included $600 million from the finance and insurance sector, $770 million in professional services, and $2.8 billion from the manufacturing sector, to name just three examples.

Spending by the oil and gas sector in BC is not the only way to consider the impact of the industry. Given that a large chunk of the oil and gas sector is next door in Alberta, let’s look at what Alberta’s trade relationship with its westerly neighbour does for BC.

BC’s interprovincial trade in total with all provinces in 2017 amounted to $39.4 billion. Alberta was responsible for the largest amount at $15.4 billion, or about 38%, of that trade.

That share of BC’s trade exports is remarkable, given that Alberta’s share of Canada’s population was just 11.5 percent in 2017. Alberta consumers, businesses and governments buy far more from BC in goods and services than its population as a share of Canada would suggest would be the case. Alberta’s capital-intensive, high-wage-paying oil and gas sector is a major reason why.

If Alberta were a country, the province’s $15.4 billion in trade with BC would come in behind only the United States (about $22.3 billion in purchases of goods and services from BC) in 2017. In fact, Alberta’s importance to B.C. exports was ranked far ahead of China ($6.9 billion), Japan ($4.5 billion), and South Korea ($2.9 billion)—the next biggest destinations for BC’s trade exports.

BC has a natural advantage for market access in some respects when compared to the United States. For instance, BC’s coast is near to many Asian-Pacific markets than are U.S. Gulf Coast facilities. The distance between the U.S. Gulf Coast and to the Japanese ports of Himeji and Sodegaura is more than 9,000 nautical miles, compared to less than 4,200 nautical miles between those two Japanese ports and the coast of BC.

The recent demand for natural gas in Asia, especially Japan (the largest importer of LNG) and price increase for natural gas, presents an exciting opportunity for BC oil and gas industry. The IEA predicts that by 2024 , natural gas demand forecast in Asia will be up 7% from 2019’s pre-COVID-19  levels. 

Be it in employment, salaries and wages paid, GDP, or the purchase of goods and services, the impact of oil and natural gas (and Alberta) on BC’s economy and trade flows is significant.

Guest column by Ven Venkatachalam and Lennie Kaplan are with the Canadian Energy Centre

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Opinion

SLOBODIAN: Schuler the black sheep of the Manitoba Tory family

While piously bleating about responsibility in a pandemic, these sheep are cleverly deflecting from their sinister stand on something they don’t support — one’s right to medical privacy.

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One Manitoba MLA — the only one of 57 — has the courage to fight for the right to protect private health information. 

The rest are either timidly silent or scampering to microphones to vilify this flock member for daring to not run with their sheep in-crowd. 

Progressive Conservative Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler is on the verge of getting ousted from Premier Heather Stefanson’s cabinet and banned from the legislature for refusing to reveal his COVID-19 vaccination status.

Stefanson decreed a COVID-19 vaccination mandate effective December 15 for everyone entering the building.

Years of hard work — Schuler was first elected in 1999, won five subsequent elections, and has held impressive posts — suddenly matter not. 

What about the constituents who democratically elected him to represent them? Pfft. Nobody cares.

Like health workers, teachers, oil workers, police officers, firefighters, restaurant employees, Manitobans from all walks of life who won’t comply with questionable, harsh forced mandates, Schuler may be deprived of a right to earn a living

And the lone elected voice of reason in perennial COVID-19 hysteria will be muzzled. 

The right to work is now taken away just because something irks elected officials. Not providing proof of COVID-19 vaccination irks them so much they casually destroy careers and lives.

Maybe Schuler’s vaccinated. Maybe he isn’t. He says it’s nobody’s business but his.

“As stated in the house, no one in Caucus is opposed to vaccinations, however, my personal health information is a private matter and I do not discuss my personal health information publicly,” said the Springfield-Ritchot MLA in a written statement to Western Standard.

He refuses media interview requests. Can’t blame him.

The Winnipeg Free Press polled all MLAs about their vaccination status. Aha! Schuler and Seine River PC MLA Janice Morley-Lecomte were outed for refusing to cough up personal information. Morley-Lecomte buckled to pressure and confirmed she’s vaccinated.

No one appears to have a problem with media infringing on liberty and freedom by giving itself licence to poke into something that — until COVID-19 was sacred — an individual’s right to keep health information private. 

In this COVID-19 madness, the obliging media increasingly oversteps boundaries it’s supposed to protect.

Angus Reid recently found 70% of 1,000 Canadians surveyed believe employees should be fired if they refuse to be vaccinated. That means they must reveal vaccination status which is private health information.

Would those surveyed feel the same way if a reporter chasing a story asked them about that embarrassing rash in private places, an abortion, reliance on anti-depressants, or any other medical conditions?

If so, it would be useless to run to one’s MLA for help. Readers revealed to me that one Manitoba MLA flippantly told an oil worker who refused the vaccine for religious convictions to just go get vaccinated. He lost his job. Another MLA coolly told a constituent to go hire a lawyer if she didn’t like the rules.

Schuler’s vaccination status commanded new attention when it was revealed that a 70-year-old assistant in his constituency office died of COVID-19. 

No details were provided on whether the assistant was vaccinated or where she contracted COVID-19. 

But NDP house leader and justice critic Nahanni Fontaine pounced, calling for Schuler to be booted from cabinet, saying it would be “unconscionable” if he remained.

To his credit, Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont said it would be wrong to jump to conclusions about the tragic death, but yes, Schuler should be tossed.

Health Minister Audrey Gordon told media she’s a “vaccine ambassador.”

“I’ve always tried to lead by example in my life. I’m a vaccine ambassador, and if others want to follow my lead, I strongly encourage them to do so,” said Gordon, who with two other cabinet ministers was outed for violating mandates whilst frolicking at a gala sans masks and social distancing.

Schuler has been participating in question period virtually for a few months. The chamber already only allows MLAs in who have received two doses.

Nonetheless, Stefanson imposed a tougher rule — get vaccinated or get banished. 

Back to the NDP’s Fontaine who told the Winnipeg Sun MLAs must “step up.” 

“And if MLAs don’t stand up, who the heck is supposed to step up?”

Oh, the irony of chastising an MLA who is doing exactly that. Schuler is stepping up heroically, not only for himself but for all being bullied into sharing personal information.

Former Ontario privacy commissioner Dr. Ann Cavoukian recently told Blacklock’s Reporter she rejects vaccine passports in any form.

“You’re talking about people’s personal health information. That is between your doctor and yourself. Now all of that has changed … I find it abhorrent,” said Cavoukian.

“People’s health status is considered to be the most private, sensitive information they have … The problem is privacy protection measures, once they are lifted in an emergency, are seldom restored.” 

Schuler appears to understand the sinister ramifications of that. This is about more than him.

The premier and MLAs who choose to represent only Manitobans who dutifully obey them may silence him.

While piously bleating about responsibility in a pandemic, these sheep are cleverly deflecting from their sinister stand on something they don’t support — one’s right to medical privacy.

Baaaa….

Slobodian is the Senior Manitoba Columnist for the Western Standard
lslobodian@westernstandardonline.com

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Opinion

LOGAN: It’s time to divest from Suzuki

“It’s time to send a message to Suzuki where it will hurt the most – his donors.”

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Eco-alarmist David Suzuki has become more than just your everyday environmental activist — he’s become a well-known Canadian brand.

And it’s a brand that helped create the David Suzuki Foundation, which in 2020 raised more than $13 million for various environmental causes.

But what happens when the namesake of your charitable foundation not only feeds into, but repeats the dangerous rhetoric being employed by extreme environmental groups like Extinction Rebellion?

It was at an Extinction Rebellion event in Victoria in November that Suzuki crossed the line between peaceful activism and extremism.

“There are going to be pipelines blown up if our leaders don’t pay attention to what’s going on,” vowed the 85-year-old activist, best known for hosting CBC’s The Nature of Things.

And he wasn’t ready to back down following the outrage sparked by his comments, telling Victoria’s CHEK News it was “absurd” for people to think he was inciting violence and didn’t regret his comment.

“I meant it. I said it. I regret that the media … would take the context of that article, which was a fine report, and put the headline that totally slants it as if I’m inciting violence,” Suzuki said.

The Foundation that bears his name was quick to distance itself from the co-founder’s comments, saying Suzuki wasn’t speaking on their behalf.

Suzuki eventually apologized for his remarks, saying they were said out of “extreme frustration,” and not meant to support violence.

But despite the apology, Suzuki refused to condemn Extinction Rebellion’s defense of his own comments, which only further raised the temperature.

“Not only will pipelines be blown up, but we can be certain that world leaders will be put on trial for treason or worse — be killed,” said Extinction Rebellion’s National Action & Strategy Coordinator Zain Haq, doubling down on Suzuki’s comment.

It’s time to send a message to Suzuki where it will hurt the most — his donors.

You can send a letter today to the David Suzuki Foundation’s largest donors telling them that his violent rhetoric is unacceptable. Just click on this link.

If activists like Suzuki won’t hold themselves accountable, you can do your part to make them accountable to the people who write their paycheque.

Let these companies and foundations know that it’s time to divest from Suzuki!

Guest column by Shawn Logan with the Canadian Energy Centre

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