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Notley apologizes for using child’s cancer death to blast UCP on COVID

NDP leader Rachel Notley and her MLAs used the death to attack the UCP’s handling of the pandemic.




NDP leader Rachel Notley has apologized to the family of a 14-year-old boy who died of cancer for politicizing the tragedy by attacking the UCP on their COVID-19 policies.

On Tuesday, Simone Spitzer took to Facebook to call out Alberta Health for labelling her younger brother Nathanael’s death COVID-19-related.

Nathanael was, in fact, already dying of Stage 4 brain cancer in palliative care, but tested positive for COVID-19 days before his expected death.

The Spitzer family was not only devastated by their loss, but said they were shocked Nathanael’s death was used to add to Alberta Health’s COVID-19 numbers as the youngest COVID-19 death to date, and called it “fake news” in a Tuesday Facebook post.

NDP leader Rachel Notley and her MLAs used the death to attack the UCP’s handling of the pandemic.

“And I am very sorry for any role my posts, which have now been deleted, played in drawing your incredible loss into a debate about how COVID-19 illnesses and deaths are reported,” tweeted Notley.

In a Thursday press conference, Hinshaw apologized to the family.

Hinshaw said she was sorry if her comments added to the Spitzer family’s grief.

She said in their normal reporting to Alberta Health they include deaths where COVID-19 is a primary or secondary cause of death. A primary cause would be where COVID-19 leads to pneumonia and the eventual death of the patient. A secondary cause would be where COVID-19 makes a heart failure pre-existing condition worse.

“At different times we need to adjust the numbers,” said Hinshaw.

“Being transparent and timely means we will need to make adjustments.”

Hinshaw said the death of anyone under 18 will bring “higher scrutiny.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Division of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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  1. Andrew Red Deer

    October 16, 2021 at 1:36 pm

    An apology WITHOUT a resignation means NOTHING, NOTLEY, HINSHAW AND KENNEY. I might believe your words if you put your job behind it.

  2. Bruce

    October 15, 2021 at 4:17 pm

    First and foremost , sadness to the family of their lost Son.

    “ At different times we need to adjust the numbers” Hinshaw stated. Seems like all the time adjusting numbers for your useless narrative.

  3. John Lankers

    October 15, 2021 at 12:46 pm

    The only reason Notley and Hinshaw apologized was that this time they got caught with their lies and publicly exposed. Not for a second do I believe that their apologies were sincere.

  4. berta baby

    October 15, 2021 at 12:45 pm

    Notley lied!? I am shocked and flabbergasted at this turn of events? My life is shaken to its very core ….. I don’t believe it must be fake news.

  5. PEI Bob

    October 15, 2021 at 12:18 pm

    Grant Notley must be reeling in his grave. Ms. Notley got in partly because of her father’s name and reputation. I am sure that he would be horrified to see what she is doing to promote her depraved agenda using the party’s name; a party that he helped to build. She and the party have lost their way and all sense of decency.

  6. CN

    October 15, 2021 at 11:36 am

    Do you think Notley will learn from this and stop doing this, period? It’s positively insane to be politicizing deaths of anyone. She wants every opportunity to get people to think restrictions on everyone should be required when hospital numbers have been steady and even declining for weeks. Even more insane was how she was championing others that think other comorbid conditions don’t matter and shouldn’t factor into the counts?? …it’s like a whole chunk of the population has gone off the rails. Let’s all be hysterically afraid all the time because the self righteous narcissists experiencing a personal psychosis have lost all touch with reality. If our government/healthcare continues a singular focus on COVID this will be at the price to all other aspects of health and wellbeing – doing this has already caused so much damage.

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Sask Polytech ditches vax policy but burdens unvaxxed with testing costs

The Justice Centre is unsatisfied with the response of Sask Polytech and reiterated its intention to pursue legal action against the institution and against the University of Saskatchewan over its requirement for staff and students to be vaccinated for COVID-19.





The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is unsatisfied with the decision of Saskatchewan Polytech to reverse its vaccination requirement for staff and students because the institute does not recognize natural immunity and imposes testing costs on the unvaccinated.

On November 19, the Justice Centre sent Sask Polytech and the University of Saskatchewan letters demanding they reverse their requirement that all staff and students be vaccinated by January 1, 2022. 

On December 1, Sask Polytech reversed its “vaccinated only” policy but now requires unvaccinated staff and students to comply with testing three times a week at their own expense. In a press release, the Justice Centre called this “unacceptable.”

“Such testing requirements for students are even greater than the Saskatchewan government’s requirements for employees of its ministries. Sask Poly has also failed to recognize the compelling scientific evidence of natural immunity for those who have already recovered from Covid-19 and have proof of antibodies,” reads a JCCF press release on Saturday.

“Testing costs, which could exceed $200 per week, mean that only the wealthy and privileged can bear the burden,” stated Andre Memauri, the Justice Centre’s Saskatoon-based lawyer.

“Sask Poly, which has chosen to impose discriminatory testing requirements for staff and students, has the ability to acquire these tests at wholesale cost.”

The Justice Centre said it would commence legal proceedings against Sask Poly in the Court of Queen’s Bench unless Sask Poly immediately absorbs the testing costs and recognizes natural immunity. 

On October 28, the U of S and Sask Polytech announced mandatory vaccinations for all students, staff and faculty, removing the alternative of twice weekly testing which had been in place since the start of the school year. The Justice Centre will also commence legal action against the U of S for refusing unvaccinated students. 

On November 26, Global News reported a 19-year-old student was hospitalized briefly with breathing problems after receiving the Johnson and Johnson vaccine. The student’s mother, Michelle Marciniuk, publicly called for the university to reconsider its policy.

The U of S’ policy includes exemptions on medical and religious grounds in accordance with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code. But according to the Justice Centre, the university usually rejects exemption requests or does not respond to them for several weeks. Besides this, the university has made itself the arbiter of faith considerations for religious exemptions. Medical exemptions have become a difficult document for patients to receive in Canada, due to regulatory pressure on physicians not to provide them based on their medical judgement except in very rare circumstances.

The U of S crowns itself for academic freedom, diversity, equality, human dignity and a healthy work and learning environment, yet it has harshly terminated faculty for speaking on the hallmark principle of informed consent for Covid-19 vaccination of children,” stated Andre Memauri, a U of S alum. 

“Now, the U of S seeks to exclude and villainize those who decide for various reasons not to be vaccinated…Without question, our community has been through a great deal of difficulty and it requires these institutions to lead as vessels of science not ideology…The Justice Centre demands both schools follow the science and adopt policies that bring students together in the most safe and lawful manner.”

The letters sent to both schools from the Justice Centre on November 19 warned that the schools are seeking to deprive students from education on the basis of vaccination status, contrary to Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Sections 2(a), 7, and 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Harding is a Western Standard contributor based in Saskatchewan

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CRA wants more tax filers to file online

The government’s own research shows millions of paper filers resist change.




The taxman is angry that too many Canadians are still filing by mail, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

The government’s own research shows millions of paper filers resist change.

“Those who submit their taxes by mail most often say they use paper rather than filing electronically because it is simply how they prefer to do it, e.g. they do it out of habit, because ‘it’s what they are comfortable with,’ they like it, etcetera,” said a Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) report.

“Just 13% cite security issues.”

Data show of 30.5 million tax returns filed this year a total 2.7 million or 9% were filed on paper. Millions of taxpayers, a total 4,234,772 including Internet filers, demanded refunds be paid by mailed cheque instead of direct deposit.

The CRA complained it would be “more timely and efficient” if all taxpayers used the Internet. The Agency spends $6.9 million annually mailing T1 general tax forms alone.

“There is still a sizable proportion of taxpayers who are conducting their business with the Canada Revenue Agency through paper rather than taking advantage of digital services which are much more timely and efficient,” said the report.

Research showed typical paper filers were working age men under 55 who completed their own return without a tax preparer, had a university degree, earned more than $80,000 a year and were more likely than other Canadians to prefer in-person teller service rather than online banking.

“The most important factor influencing why respondents file by paper instead of online is disinterest,” wrote researchers, who added: “Apathy is a barrier. Fifty percent of likely switchers say they are simply not interested in switching. Therefore the agency will have to demonstrate the value of switching.”

Findings were based on questionnaires with 2,000 taxpayers who filed returns by mail. The Agency paid Earnscliffe Strategy Group $130,061 for the survey.

The research follows a failed 2012 campaign to have all Canadians use direct deposit for payment of tax refunds and benefit cheques. The attempt by the Receiver General of Canada, the federal office responsible for processing payments, was intended to save costs. Paper cheques cost 82¢ apiece to process compared to 13¢ for electronic transfers, by official estimate.

An estimated 13% of taxpayers refused to surrender bank account information to the Receiver General. “Cheque recipients have become harder to engage,” said a 2020 Department of Public Works survey.

“A few have a general distrust of the Government of Canada’s ability to protect data,” wrote researchers. A total 23 percent of Atlantic residents said they wouldn’t rely on the government to protect their privacy, followed by 22% in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, 21% in Ontario, 19% in Alberta, 18% in BC and 12% in Québec.

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WATCH: Alberta Oil drives Guilbeault to meeting with Nixon

Federal Environment Minister Stephen Guilbeault’s tour of Alberta has already kicked off with a whiff of hypocrisy.




Attended by a sizable entourage, Guilbeault exited his black gasoline-powered SUV and hustled into the McDougall Centre in Calgary for a meeting with Alberta Environment Minister Jason Nixon.  

Guilbeault has dedicated most of his career to telling Canadians they need to transition from petrochemically fueled transportation. During this meeting though, Guilbeault chose not to find an utilize an electric-powered SUV in order to demonstrate his environmental virtue. With the resources of the entire federal government behind him, one would have thought that Guilbeault could have arranged appropriate transportation for his cross-Canada tour.  

It’s almost as if electric vehicles are still not ready for mainstream use yet. 

At least Guilbeault contributed to the Western economy with his conspicuous consumption of local petrochemical products.  

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