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Where were the leaders during the debate?

That the leaders even had to debate the lack of access to clean drinking water on some First Nations is a disgrace.




The main thing missing from Wednesday’s leadership debate was someone who remotely resembled a masterful leader.

No one on that stage emerged as the desperately needed deliverer with the right stuff to lead Canada out of the debt-ridden, divided, confused mess this country is in.

In fact, many policies of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are largely responsible for much that severely ails Canada.

But there he stood, boldly pitching his tarnished wares alongside Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-Francois Blanchet, and Green Party Leader Annamie Paul.

There was predictable finger-pointing that failed to achieve the desired dramatic effect. There was debate, sort of. It’s impossible to have a knock-down, passionate debate when you’re all in basic agreement on the main issues.

Climate change is bad. COVID-19 vaccinations are good. Health care needs to be funded. Many guns owned by law-abiding citizens must be banned. Childcare is really, very important. All leaders say aye!

These hopefuls pining to get their mail delivered to 24 Sussex Drive certainly breathed a huge sigh of relief when People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier was banished from the debates. The Leaders Debates Commission decided Canadian voters don’t get to hear from him. Our loss. Bernier, who cares not about being politically correct to win votes, would have lit a fire on that tepid stage.

Instead, 30 million voters outside of Quebec got a lack-luster debate in French, one of two of three in all, to appease eight million francophones.

The winner in debates such as this is pre-determined by whom the biased Liberal media favours. The one who delivers the best rehearsed one-liners wins points. The loser is Canada.

Moderator Patrick Roy opened with a question about the chances of another snap election if the September 20 election brings another minority government.

Seriously? Yes, Trudeau decided for his own personal benefit to call an election two years early during a pandemic. Yes, Canadians are furious. How many times must the other leaders express dismay? O’Toole said he’d commit to a four-year interval. Singh called it an “egotistical” decision, but, like Trudeau, wouldn’t commit to a yes or no.

End of discussion. Time to move on.

Did the questions shift to issues Canadians deserve answers to? Well, no.

While Canadians remain trapped in Afghanistan, not a peep about the Liberal’s incompetent failure to heed warnings starting years ago and escalating in recent months from military personnel to get citizens and allies at risk out.

Why did Trudeau stand behind Women’s Minister Maryam Monsef when she called the Taliban terrorists “our brothers?” Is Canada planning to formally recognize these thugs who brutally seized control of Afghanistan? How much money is Canada sending them?

No mention of whether Catherine McKenna — who is leaving politics — will be held accountable for no evidence of 20,000 projects said to be representing half of the Infrastructure Ministry’s $187-billion budget.

What about the Liberal government’s assaults on freedom of speech through Bill C-10 and Bill C-36?

When will 40,000 Canadian veterans — some waiting for years — get their disability pensions?

Why is the Liberal government hellbent on destroying Alberta?

The debate focused on a handful of issues including deficits, healthcare, the environment and Indigenous issues.

That the leaders even had to debate the lack of access to clean drinking water on some First Nations is a disgrace.

How many times has this been debated? How many promises were made? Yet countless indigenous children are still deprived of clean drinking water. Sickening! Trudeau, hungry for the indigenous vote, had years to fix this. The best he could come up with is there’s work to be done.

As for mandatory vaccines creating a two-tiered system in Canada, well, Trudeau stuck to his tyrannical ‘your body, my choice’ stand. O’Toole remains wishy-washy. Where’s Bernier when you need him?

Climate change and the environment debate was predictable, with O’Toole being the only one to promise to create jobs in the energy sector while also working to reduce emissions. Singh would electrify transportation. Paul would end federal support for the fossil fuel industry.

Everybody’s on board wooing votes with big child care promises. Trudeau defended his plan to invest billions. O’Toole would move to a system of tax credits to help parents pay for child care. Paul lost credibility when she played the woman card, saying because she’s female she should get to talk about child care issues.

Speaking of childish, Trudeau got a tad cross and almost hollered at the Bloc’s Blanchet. Apparently, there’s a contest going on to see who is more devoted to Quebec. “You do not have a monopoly over Quebec. You do not get to accuse me of not being Quebecker enough,” said Trudeau.

Maybe Trudeau will be comforted to know no one outside of Quebec would ever be delusional enough to accuse him of such a thing.

All in all, a bit of a waste of time. It comes down to who voters distrust the least. Sad.

Hopefully, the September 9 English debate — held in Quebec — will bring fresh questions.

But don’t hold your breath.

Slobodian is the Senior Manitoba Columnist for the Western Standard

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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  1. Dennis

    September 10, 2021 at 7:20 am

    Good article Linda and comment by left coast. Now, when the smoke clears after this charade on the 20th, Albertans need to take stock and refocus on getting our house in order with the Wildrose Independence Party of Alberta in 2023.

  2. Left Coast

    September 9, 2021 at 2:17 pm

    With the Covid Insanity and these feckless useless politicians . . . we are watching in Slo Motion the Destruction of Western Democracies.

    None of these Debate Clowns is capable of turning the Disaster that is Canada around in the next 4 years or EVER. The USA is led by a Senile incompetent as well and fading fast.

    Not much hope for Britain, France or the rest of Europe either, except maybe Poland & Hungary who have mostly figured it out.

    If you value your Freedom and want your Children to not grow up in a country that resembles Communist China . . . Vote For Max Bernier and Freedom.
    The others will make you a Covid Slave!

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Vulnerable Albertans 18+ can receive fourth COVID booster

Eligible individuals can begin booking fourth dose appointments beginning January 20 with AHS or at participating pharmacies by using the Alberta vaccine booking system or by calling 811.




Those 18 and older who have specific immunocompromising conditions can now book their fourth booster five months after receiving their third dose, said Alberta Health.

The decision announced on Tuesday in the provincial COVID-19 address is in line with recommendations from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) and the Alberta Advisory Committee on Immunization (AACI).

“We remain committed to protecting Albertans from the Omicron variant, and vaccinations continue to be our best tool in preventing severe outcomes,” said Premier Jason Kenney in a statement.

“We continue to rely on the latest research to guide our decision-making, and with evidence showing immunocompromised individuals benefit from a fourth dose, we are pleased to provide them.”

Eligible individuals can begin booking fourth dose appointments beginning January 20 with AHS or at participating pharmacies by using the Alberta vaccine booking system or by calling 811.

“I know that the approximately 80,000 Albertans who live with immunocompromising conditions will be relieved to receive these additional doses,” said Minister of Health Jason Copping.

“At the same time, the best way for all of us to protect ourselves and one another is to continue getting whatever dose we are eligible for. I encourage all Albertans to continue to sign up for their booster doses as soon as they can.”

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said the fourth COVID-19 dose will help “individuals with certain immunocompromising conditions” and will provide “additional protection” against the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

Qualifying conditions include:

  • Transplant recipients, including solid organ transplants and hematopoietic stem cell transplants.
  • Individuals with malignant hematologic disorders and non-hematologic malignant solid tumors prior to receiving or receiving active treatment (chemotherapy, targeted therapies, immunotherapy or having received previous COVID-19 vaccines while on active treatment), excluding individuals receiving solely hormonal therapy, radiation therapy or a surgical intervention.
  • Individuals being treated with an anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody such as Rituximab.
  • Individuals with chronic kidney disease on dialysis.
  • Recipients of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T-cell therapy.
  • Individuals with moderate to severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g., DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome).
  • Individuals with Stage 3 or advanced HIV infection and those with acquired COVID-19 immunization.
  • Individuals undergoing immunosuppressive therapies (e.g., anti-B cell therapies, high-dose systemic corticosteroids, alkylating agents, antimetabolites, or tumornecrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors and other biologic agents).
  • Individuals on certain medications for autoimmune diseases, including rituximab, ocrelizumab and ofatumumab.

“Youth ages 12 to 17 with the preceding conditions continue to be eligible for third doses. Fourth doses have not yet been approved for this age group,” said the release adding, “third doses have not been approved for youth under the age of 18.”

Hinshaw said the province has recorded 3279 new cases within the last 24 hours while 8995 tests were recorded for a positivity rate of 39%. Hinshaw has earlier stated actual cases are likely 10 times higher due to lack of testing.

Hinshaw also confirmed 1,089 are currently in hospital — 51% of those hospitalized are due to COVID-19 while 49% are cases with COVID-19. Currently, there are 104 people in ICU — 74% due to COVID-19 while 26% are cases with COVID-19. Nine deaths were reported in the last 24 hours.

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard

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AHS uses undercover agents to bust restaurant for accepting dog photos instead of QR codes

The test shoppers entered the restaurant at different times on January 11 and were permitted access after showing a photo of a dog and their personal identification.




Alberta Health Services (AHS) has shut down a Red Deer restaurant for allowing patrons to show dog photos in place of proof of vaccination.

The Granary was ordered closed to indoor dining on Friday after complaints to an AHS executive officer resulted in two test shoppers busting staff for accepting photographs of a dog instead of scanning vaccine passport QR codes.

The test shoppers entered the restaurant at different times on January 11 and were permitted access after showing a photo of a dog and their personal identification. It was reported a staffer pretended to scan QR codes with a tablet.

The owners have been told the indoor dining area is to remain closed until they produce a written plan on how they plan to implement the restriction exemption program moving forward.

The owners will also have to provide confirmation they have trained staff about the program and will be required to attend an administrative hearing with Environmental Public Health.

The restaurant took to its Facebook page on Friday to explain the circumstances to its patrons and offered up free coffee for all to-go orders throughout the weekend.

“To our valued guests, we had an unfortunate circumstance at our front door which involved one of our underage hostesses, and the requirements for the REP program.  We are taking the weekend to retrain and regroup,” it said.

“We look forward to serving you again as soon as we are ready to reopen.  In closing, we would like to remind everyone of the tremendous pressure being placed on front staff, and please remember to be kind.”

The restaurant has since opened again and is currently offering free rapid testing on site.

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard

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MLA Barnes demands greater punishment for corrupt politicians

“This suspension is a staggering under reaction designed to shield one of the Premier’s cronies,” said Barnes.




Independent Alberta MLA Drew Barnes is outraged that Justice Minister Kaycee Madu was only being suspended after he called Edmonton’s police chief about a ticket he received.

That action led to Madu being suspended Monday night by Alberta Primer Jason Kenney.

“This suspension is a staggering under reaction designed to shield one of the Premier’s cronies,” said Barnes, the MLA for Cypress-Medicine Hat.

“It is inexcusable that any minister’s first instinct upon receiving such a ticket is to swing influence in an attempt to get his ticket fixed. It’s just another indicator that the culture of Redford-era cronyism remains alive and well within Premier’ Kenney’s inner circle.”

After being fined $300 for speeding in an Edmonton playground zone, Madu phoned Dale McFee, the city’s chief of police, to discuss the ticket with him. 

“It is particularly galling that this minister is currently overseeing changes that will deny procedural fairness for thousands of Albertans when they face similar traffic fines,” said Barnes.

This follows the removal of traffic courts in Alberta, the previously most accessible part of the justice system now no longer available to citizens.

“Under this minister, you are considered guilty until proven innocent, unless, of course, you happen to have the local police chief on speed-dial,” said Barnes.

“It seems the minister, like the Premier, considers himself above the law. Albertans deserve better. The real question is, why hasn’t he been fired yet?”

“Over the past year, Premier Kenney has repeatedly punished both ministers and MLAs for daring to question his leadership, but when a real case of misuse of power comes along concerning one of his handpicked cronies, the fix is in. That’s not justice; that’s cronyism.”

McFee said he received the call about the ticket from Madu, saying Madu brought up the issue of racial profiling by police to stop drivers.

“This is the Minister who continues to encourage legal action against pastors and small business owners for allegedly violating the very same health restrictions that the Premier and his cronies violated on the Sky Palace patio,” said Barnes.

Ewa Sudyk is a reporter with the Western Standard

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