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Despite the shun, Gunn not done with political run

“We’re reloading and we’ll be back, that’s for sure.” — Aaron Gunn

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He may have been forced out of the BC Liberal party’s leadership race, but that doesn’t mean Aaron Gunn is putting aside his political aspirations anytime soon.

“It’s been a weird week,” Gunn told the Western Standard Thursday evening, just six days after the BC Liberals said thanks, but no thanks to his leadership bid.

“We were excited. We were rolling, we had lots of momentum, we had a lot of back end data indicating we were going to win this thing or be very competitive and probably play a kingmaker role,” said the man, who vowed if elected to change the Liberal name to something more in common with the party’s conservative base.

“And then we had the rug pulled out from under us, which we really did not expect.”

On October 22, party officials rejected Gunn’s application for the leadership of the BC Liberals, saying approval of his candidacy would clash with the Liberal party’s commitment to reconciliation, diversity and acceptance of all British Columbians.

“I mean, what do you do in that circumstance,” asked Gunn.

“And so there’s been a lot of thinking about what do we do next? We’re reloading and we’ll be back, that’s for sure.”

Gunn was branded as a transphobic and a racist, among a slew of unfounded accusations.

“The ‘official’ explanation for why my candidacy was rejected — as communicated to me by the BC Liberal Party — was that I committed the unforgivable sin of refusing to call Canada a ‘genocidal’ state on three separate occasions over Twitter,” Gunn related to his followers soon after learning the Liberals rejected him.

The 31-year-old said not acknowledging the word is ridiculous and irresponsible.

“It’s allowing a very harmful mythology to take place about Canadian history,” said Gunn, who added that — from private conversations — many current BC Liberal MLAs agree with his position — along with the “vast majority” of conservatives and most historians.

Liberal leadership candidate Michael Lee wrote on social media he welcomed the rejection of Gunn’s candidacy, while another leadership candidate and legislature member, Ellis Ross, said on Twitter the decision to bar Gunn should have been made by “the voting members of the B.C. Liberal Party.”

“This country has a lot of things it can be proud of (and) it has some parts of its history that it should not be proud of; mistakes that were made that can be learned from,” Gunn said.

“The residential school or aspects of the residential school program are 100% part of that, but to call something a genocide …”

Gunn noted Canada recognizes only six genocides in the history of humanity, including the Holocaust and the Rwandan massacres.

“And to compare those with what happened here in Canada, on that kind of level, is so colossally irresponsible.”

Gunn called it a low mark in politics.

“We’re now at a point that begs the question: Is that the new litmus test for running for office in Canada, that you have to basically accuse your country of being a genocidal state?”

Gunn claims the Liberals have already lost members because he was shunned.

“There’s lots of people who reached out that got memberships and were excited, (now) lots of people are forwarding e-mails of messages they sent to the BC Liberals saying ‘please tear up my membership.’”

Gunn said voters will hear from him again soon, but was vague on details.

“One thing I will say for those who think this is the end, they couldn’t be more wrong — this is just the beginning, we’re just getting started,” he said, adding “there’s things happening behind the scenes.”

“We’re exploring a number of possibilities, not a ton, but there’s three or four different options we’re considering right now, but walking away from politics isn’t one of them.”

The BC Liberals are expected to choose their next party leader in 2022.

Mike D’Amour is the British Columbia Bureau Chief for the Western Standard.
mdamour@westernstandardonline.com

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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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. gardenho

    October 30, 2021 at 9:00 pm

    That is a marvel, pretty witty!

  2. Left Coast

    October 29, 2021 at 6:24 pm

    It appears the BC Liberal Party has gone full-on Lieberal . . . now anyone who does not agree with their Jaundiced point of view is a “racist, misogynist & homophobe”!

    That puts the BC Lieberal Party on the same stage as the feckless Idiot in Ottawa Trudope and the Federal Lieberal Party.

    It’s bad enough that the “Cucked” NHL is preaching the indian nonsense . . . which is 90% revisionist history.

    Gunn should start a New Party . . . I even have a suggestion for a Name, The BC Common-sense Party.

  3. Joell Haugan

    October 29, 2021 at 2:46 pm

    Can we just pause for a moment and marvel at this headline.

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Alberta chiefs say ‘no’ to drug decriminalization amid opioid crisis

The chiefs said a modernized public policy framework was needed before decriminalization could be seriously considered.

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The Alberta Association of Chiefs of Police (AACP) says the province is not in a position to welcome decriminalization of illicit drugs due to lack of existing supports. 

In a press conference, Calgary Chief Constable Mark Neufeld, Chair of the AACP; Medicine Hat Police Service Chief Mike Worden; and Blood Tribe Police Service Chief Brice Iron Shirt, stated decriminalization would create additional community problems, such as homelessness, mental health issues, overdoses, and poverty.

The chiefs said they felt it was necessary to be proactive with their stance amid applications in other Canadian jurisdictions and decision makers’ ongoing discussions in Alberta on whether or not to decriminalize some drugs. 

“We simply aren’t ready to do this.” Neufeld said adding he was concerned about “single-issue advocacy” indicating the need for “complex solutions to complex problems.”

In an earlier news release the chiefs said “law enforcement in Alberta does not criminalize addiction. We recognize that addiction and substance abuse are complex public health issues, and we are committed to working with all stakeholders to address the needs of our communities.” 

The chiefs said a modernized public policy framework was needed before decriminalization could be seriously considered. 

“Provincial regulations need to be established around key concerns such as consumption around minors, public consumption and disorder regulations, and operation of vehicles. This must be done by balancing the needs of the individual, with the needs of the broader community,” said the chiefs. 

The chiefs said a cross-government approach was a necessary prerequisite. 

“We cannot support a broadly implemented policy of decriminalization until a modernized public policy framework is created involving a thoughtful and integrated approach with all levels of government and across all ministries,” said the release. 

In 2021, Alberta suffered its deadliest year ever for deaths by drug poisoning. The first 10 months of the year saw 1,372 overdoses. 

“Decriminalization on its own will not reduce addiction or overdose rates. There must be clear and working pathways pre-established between law enforcement and public health systems to lead to recovery, with a thoughtful approach on addressing the needs of rural and diverse communities,” said the chiefs. 

Worden said rural communities face additional challenges related to accessing supports like local health and social services. Iron Shirt said First Nations lack funding and resources. 

Gosselin is a Western Standard reporter

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Kenney says Alberta may have reached Omicron peak

Kenney said wastewater test results from 19 areas across the province — including Calgary and Edmonton — shows COVID-19 declining in 15 of them.

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says it’s likely Alberta has now reached the peak of the Omicron surge.

And he said COVID-19 restrictions across the province could be lifted “hopefully soon.”

He said it would take a “sustained decline in hospital pressures” and a similar drop in new cases.

But he warned now is not the time to let the guard down.

Kenney said wastewater test results from 19 areas across the province — including Calgary and Edmonton — shows COVID-19 declining in 15 of them.

And Kenney added the positivity rate for COVID-19 is also dropping. He said last week it was sitting at 41% while on Wednesday it was 33%.

Kenney noted Alberta is now in the fifth week of the Omicron surge, adding jurisdictions around the world have seen peaks after four weeks.

“Hospitalizations continue to rise, but we have the benefit of seeing how Omicron has played out in other jurisdictions. That is why we are taking decisive action now to help our healthcare system respond to the growing demand rising Omicron cases will bring,” said Kenney.

He said more than 1,000 people remain in Alberta hospitals, with 45% of them not admitted primarily for COVID, while 40% were.

Alberta reported 3,527 new cases on Wednesday, and eight more deaths.

Starting Jan. 24 or sooner, if required, some beds in pandemic response units will be opened at the Kaye Edmonton Clinic (KEC) in Edmonton and South Health Campus (SHC) in Calgary, Kenney said.

He said the government’s community resources plan will be put into place to start helping Albertans deal with moderate and low-level cases of COVID-19 to recover at home.

Kenney then blasted Health Canada for the long time it’s taking to get already European-approved rapid test kits into the country.

And Kenney made an impassioned plea to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to reverse course on the quarantine orders for unvaxxed truck drivers.

He said Trudeau must “use some common sense” on the trucker issue with Canadians facing surging inflation and supply chain issues.

He also called for more healthcare money to be granted from the feds to provinces.

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Saskatchewan unions beg for more COVID restrictions

“Quebec has had the most extreme lockdowns policies in Canada since before Christmas, and their current rates are about 40 hospitalizations and 3.3 ICU admissions per 100,000 population – more than double Saskatchewan’s rates.”

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Six of Saskatchewan’s largest unions, representing 113,000 front-line workers, are demanding stricter COVID-19 regulations.

Union leaders in the healthcare and education sectors are demanding the province implement a gathering limit of 10, creation of a new public health order to limit non-essential contacts, establishing a “consistent bubble,” and enforce reducing non-essential travel between communities.

Tracy Zambory, president of the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses, says workers are stretched thin and health-care facilities don’t have staff or space for more patients.

Involved organizations include the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Saskatchewan Federation of Labour, Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation, Saskatchewan Union of Nurses, Saskatchewan Government and General Employees’ Union, and the Service Employees International Union West.

Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahad said a peak in cases could come in the next two weeks, in light of record-high positivity.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe denounced lockdowns last week, and continues to provide justification for that decision. He caught COVID-19 the next day.

“ICU admissions and COVID-19 related deaths remain significantly lower than other provinces that have strict lockdown policies in effect,” said Moe on Twitter.

“Omicron is spreading across Canada and around the world, whether there are lockdown policies in place or not, so we are not going to impose new restrictions and lockdowns that cause significant harm for no clear benefit.”

Moe pointed out there have been zero COVID-19 deaths in the province in nearly two weeks, compared to more than 700 COVID-19 related deaths in Quebec this month.

“Saskatchewan’s current hospitalization rate is 16 per 100,000 population and our current ICU rate is 1.5 per 100,000 population,” said Moe.

“Quebec has had the most extreme lockdowns policies in Canada since before Christmas, and their current rates are about 40 hospitalizations and 3.3 ICU admissions per 100,000 population — more than double Saskatchewan’s rates.”

The Saskatchewan government has not responded to the union demand or updated restrictions since January 12.

Ewa Sudyk is a reporter with the Western Standard
esudyk@westernstandardonline.com

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