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BAROOTES: Pro-family policies aren’t government priority – but they should be

A big part of why I put my name forward for the Senate nominee election on October 18 is because there are critical issues facing our province and Alberta needs to be better represented in Ottawa.

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Erika Barootes is a Senate nominee candidate for the Conservative Party of Canada

The last couple dozen months of various COVID-19 waves and the associated cycle of pandemic restrictions and re-openings have made it clear families play a critical role in our social well-being. While last month’s federal election saw some debate around competing visions for childcare policy, it’s readily clear that better policy to support families won’t be the focus of post-pandemic federal government policy priorities — but it should be.

Simply put, the current federal policy framework doesn’t make it easier for people to have families and support them.

While it hasn’t ever occupied the same space in national discourse and media coverage as the latest environment-themed cash grab, the last few Conservative platforms had substantive ideas on strengthening and supporting families.

For example, the 2015 Conservative Party of Canada platform committed to increasing the amount eligible for the Adoption Expense Tax Credit from $15,000 to $20,000 per child and making the tax credit fully refundable. This proposal also made a re-appearance in both the 2019 and 2021 Conservative platform.

With an estimated 30,000 children waiting to be adopted, it’s an important policy change.

The 2019 Conservative platform also committed to making maternity benefits tax free, thereby removing federal income tax from EI maternity and EI parental benefits. It also committed to boosting the Registered Education Savings Plan.

The 2021 Conservative platform committed to substantial support for parents including those facing unbearably difficult situations that are more common than many think. Amongst others, the platform committed to extending EI parental benefits for at least eight weeks following the death of an infant. It committed to eight weeks of paid leave from employment in the event of a child’s death or stillbirth. The platform also had a proposal for paid bereavement leave following a miscarriage.

These are important policy ideas that can have a substantial positive impact for families. They should not have the door shut on them solely because the party proposing them didn’t form government.

In a country as large and internally divided as Canada is today, these are policies that can benefit Canadians across the country, regardless of whether they’re urban or rural, conservative or not.

In fact, Albertans overwhelmingly voted for the Conservatives with these platforms in all of these elections: nearly 60% of the vote and 29 of 34 seats in 2015, nearly 70% of the vote and 33 of 34 seats in 2019, and 55% of the vote and 30 of 34 seats in last month’s federal election.

The counterweight to the regional imbalance in the House of Commons is supposed to be the Senate, even if the dated formula for seat allocation hasn’t kept up with Western population growth and most developments in the country over the last century.

A big part of why I put my name forward for the Senate nominee election on October 18 is because there are critical issues facing our province and Alberta needs to be better represented in Ottawa.

Just because the policies overwhelmingly supported by Alberta voters didn’t fare as well in some Ontario swing ridings doesn’t mean Alberta’s voice shouldn’t be heard.

Better policy to support families is common sense, and if the House of Commons won’t act, our Senate should.

 Erika Barootes is a Senate nominee candidate for the Conservative Party of Canada

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Barbara

    October 14, 2021 at 10:21 am

    She was head of the UCP. Wellwood is PPC. A vote for Barootes would be a vote for Kenny.

  2. Eldon

    October 12, 2021 at 1:02 pm

    Pro family does not align with marxist ideology. So thinking the NDP/ liberals of the province or nationally would be on board is fantasy.
    I agree, we need government to be pro family. Now more than ever.
    The government we need in Alberta. Is the Wildrose Independence Party. They put family first.

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Top Ontario doc says separating vaxxed and unvaxxed best way to get COVID under control

Ontario has had more than 626,000 cases of COVID-19 which has left more than 10,000 people dead.

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One of the ways to bring the COVID-19 pandemic under control is to stop “the mixing of unvaccinated and vaccinated,” says Ontario’s chief medical officer.

“Basic means of protecting individuals is stopping the mixing of unvaccinated and vaccinated,” said Dr. Kieran Moore at a Tuesday press conference.

“And if our cases continue through and after the holidays we would make recommendations of government to continue the certification process in play. But we’ll continue to review the data. We do have a very robust testing strategy in Ontario for the winter months as we’ve released previously. We’ve purchased … 11 million rapid antigen test for all students in Ontario.”

Moore was asked whether COVID-19 is “something we’re just going to have to learn to live with” and whether it would ever go away.

“We have a long ways to go with the World Health Organization and other international organizations to try to decrease the number of individuals in which this virus can mutate and/or spread,” he said.

“But I do see a time when we’ll have low, endemic rates and it will turn out to be like influenza or other winter respiratory viruses where there’s a seasonality to it, where it does have an intermittent impact on our health-care system and like influenza, you need an annual vaccine to protect against it.”

Ontario has had more than 626,000 cases of COVID-19 which has left more than 10,000 people dead.

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Trudeau’s beach denier demoted

Trudeau was photographed twice on a beach in Tofino after deciding to skip the first day of a holiday he created — the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation on September 30.

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The Justin Trudeau spokesman who told reporters the prime minister “wasn’t on a beach” when he was, has been demoted, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

Trudeau was photographed twice on a beach in Tofino after deciding to skip the first day of a holiday he created — the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation on September 30.

Trudeau had promised to “set a higher bar for openness and transparency in government.”

Alex Wellstead will be “taking on new challenges” as press secretary to the industry minister, the Prime Minister’s Office said yesterday.  

Wellstead. Courtesy Twitter

Wellstead in a statement called it “a very difficult decision to make.” He had worked as Trudeau’s official spokesman for 20 months.

Wellstead on September 30 issued misleading statements to conceal the fact Trudeau spent the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation at a beach resort in Tofino, B.C.

“He wasn’t on a beach,” Wellstead told The Canadian Press at the time. Global News and the weekly Chilliwack Progress photographed Trudeau strolling on the beach and enjoying a glass of beer on a beachfront patio.

The Prime Minister’s Office claimed Trudeau was in private meetings in Ottawa. Staff flew an Indian Residential School “survivors’ flag” and issued a solemn statement in Trudeau’s name.

“We remember the children who never made it home,” it said.

Wellstead did not explain his conduct.

“You as a communicator need to understand everything,” Wellstead said in a March 30 interview with public relations students at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ont.

The prime minister in 2015 Ministerial Mandate letters said officials must be truthful and transparent.

“Members of the Parliamentary Press Gallery, indeed all journalists in Canada and abroad, are professionals who by asking necessary questions contribute in an important way to the democratic process,” wrote Trudeau.

“Your professionalism and engagement with them is essential.

“We have committed to set a higher bar for openness and transparency in government. It is time to shine more light on government to ensure it remains focused on the people it serves.

“Government and its information should be open by default. If we want Canadians to trust their government, we need a government that trusts Canadians.

“It is important that we acknowledge mistakes when we make them. Canadians do not expect us to be perfect. They expect us to be honest, open and sincere in our efforts to serve the public interest.”

Trudeau on October 6 apologized for the Tofino holiday.

“Traveling on September 30 was a mistake and I regret it,” the prime minister told reporters.

“What made you decide to take a personal trip on a day your government set aside to honour the victims and survivors of residential schools?” asked a reporter.

“Like I said, it was a mistake,” replied Trudeau.

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Feds threaten regulated businesses with COVID fines

The labour department in a statement said it would rewrite the Canada Labour Code to mandate vaccination for some 955,000 private sector employees in federally regulated sectors like air transportation, banking, broadcasting, grain milling, marine shipping, railways and interprovincial trucking.

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If they don’t mandate vaccination of workers, the Labour department is threatening to levy cash fines against airports, banks, radio stations and other federally-regulated employers, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

But the Liberals stopped short of repeating an earlier threat to strip workers of legal rights to challenge vaccine orders.

“It is time to move on,” said Government House Leader Mark Holland.

“Get vaccinated. That’s what Canadians expect to have happen.

“I think the country understands we have now 90% of Canadians who have had their first injection, over 86% with their second. All workplaces across the country” should promote vaccinations, he added.

The labour department in a statement said it would rewrite the Canada Labour Code to mandate vaccination for some 955,000 private sector employees in federally regulated sectors like air transportation, banking, broadcasting, grain milling, marine shipping, railways and interprovincial trucking.

First Nations businesses will be exempt.

“Employers who do not comply with their obligations under the Canada Labour Code may be subject to compliance and enforcement measures including administrative monetary penalties,” the notice said.

“The government will consult with key stakeholders, including representatives of small and medium-sized employers, as it works expeditiously to finalize the new regulations which would come into force in early 2022. The government will also develop resources to help federally regulated workplaces implement the COVID-19 vaccination requirements.”

The notice made no reference to a liability shield proposed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the election campaign. Trudeau on September 1 said a re-elected Liberal cabinet would shield employers from any legal challenge of vaccination orders.

“We’ll stand firm on our commitment,” said Trudeau, adding: “We’ll protect businesses that mandate vaccinations from unjustified lawsuits.”

Canadians who declined a COVID-19 shot were “more than just wrong, because everyone’s entitled to their opinion, they are putting at risk their own kids and they’re putting at risk our kids as well,” said Trudeau.

“What about my choice to keep my kids safe? What about our choices to make sure we’re getting through this pandemic as quickly as we can?”

The Liberal Party in its September 1 campaign platform stated: “A re-elected Liberal government will table legislation to ensure every business and organization that decides to require proof of vaccination from employees and customers can do so without fear of a legal challenge.”

Compulsory vaccination breaches federal law, according to a May 19 statement by Privacy Commissioner Daniel Therrien and 1996 National Immunization Report by the Department of Health.

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