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UCP MLA claims Kenney knew about toxic workplace allegations

Kimmel’s lawsuit alleges sexual harassment and heavy drinking by ministers and staff in the premier’s office, which is responsible for overseeing ministries, CBC reported.

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A former UCP cabinet minister says Alberta Premier Jason Kenney knew about allegations of a toxic work environment in his government that included sexual harassment and heavy drinking.

“Ariella Kimmel is an incredible and courageous women (sic). Premier Kenney – you knew! Step down! ” tweeted Leela Aheer, UCP MLA for Chestermere-Strathmore.

Aheer was commenting on a lawsuit filed by Kimmel who claims she was fired after speaking out.

Kimmel’s lawsuit alleges sexual harassment and heavy drinking by ministers and staff in the premier’s office, which is responsible for overseeing ministries, CBC reported.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Kimmel has worked with the UCP government since May 2019, most recently as the chief of staff to the minister of jobs, economy and innovation from August 2020 until she was fired in February.

The statement of claim says Kimmel witnessed Agriculture and Forestry Minister Devin Dreeshen drinking with other ministers and staff and appeared “heavily intoxicated.”

Kimmel had an on-and-off relationship with Dreeshen prior to being appointed chief of staff in 2020,” the CBC report said.

She alleges after expressing her concern about how much Dreeshen had been drinking, she was confronted by the minister who “aggressively yelled at her to the point where she was in tears and a concerned bystander intervened.”

The statement also points to another incident two days later where another group was drinking in the minister of health’s office. Kimmel alleges the minister’s principal advisor, Ivan Bernardo, made sexually inappropriate comments to one of her female staff members.

Kimmel claims her report of the exchange to Chris Thresher, chief of staff in health, and the premier’s director of issues management, Matt Wolf, went unanswered for close to a month.

On November 17, Kimmel was asked to meet with Kenney’s principal secretary, Larry Kaumeyer where she shared about her interaction with Dreeshen and the sexual harassment by Bernardo.

Kimmel said she was told by Kaumeyer that Bernardo was “not going to be fired” but would be leaving his position at the end of the year anyway. Kimmel said her other concerns were not addressed. Kaumeyer is no longer working in the premier’s office.

Kenney’s chief of staff, Pam Livingston, sent a statement to the CBC.

“Sexual harassment is abhorrent and has no place in our workplace and society,” Livingston wrote.

“This government has zero-tolerance for harassment and takes all allegations of this nature very seriously. We are fortunate to have a highly skilled and diverse public service and we are committed to providing a safe and productive workplace for all of them.”

Kenney’s office says they cannot comment as it is a confidential human resource matter and added that Kimmel’s termination was unrelated to the allegations raised in her lawsuit.  

Kimmel was terminated on February 5 even though she has been told by Kaumeyer she would not be fired for bringing her concerns forward. She is seeking more than $399,000 for damages and the salary owed to her until her contract would have expired in May 2023.

Kimmel says she is unaware of any formal investigation launched by the premier’s office surrounding her complaint brought forward against Bernardo, who has since resigned in December 2020 to return to practicing law.

Damages Kimmel is claiming in the lawsuit include: “poisoned work environment,” fabricating and spreading rumours against her, failing to implement a robust sexual harassment policy, terminating her employment in reprisal, causing mental distress and reputational harm, and affecting her future employment opportunities.”

…more to come

Melanie Risdon is a Calgary-based Reporter for the Western Standard. She has over 20 years experience in media at Global News, Rogers and Corus. mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Barbara

    October 28, 2021 at 12:40 pm

    OVER 70% OF COVID DEATHS IN ENGLAND WERE FULLY VACCINATED IN SEPT.

    https://www.globalresearch.ca/alex-berenson-tells-joe-rogan-over-70-covid-19-deaths-england-fully-vaccinated-september/5759946

    The only good news is Notley would be much worse!!!

    The Wildrose it is. If they could get their act together they could win. but they need to start now.

  2. Claudette Leece

    October 28, 2021 at 6:53 am

    WestCanGuy totally agree, sounds like Dereks still trying to show he’s a sore loser, low blow tactics

  3. Claudette Leece

    October 28, 2021 at 6:51 am

    Disgruntle employee and heavy drinking, I know some people who think three drinks is heavy. Little girl mad she was let go, sorry on UCP side here. Kind of funny she represents Strathmore, hey Derek. No fan of Kenneys but this shit is crap and if this is what WS going to promote to get a headline , will be a non member. This kind of garbage can ruin people’s lives even if their innocent. Same with Chu just a smear campaign. Thought you were better than this, low blow to get him out WS

  4. Westcanguy

    October 28, 2021 at 6:45 am

    Kimmel had an on-and-off relationship with Dreeshen prior to being appointed chief of staff in 2020,” In other words, this is a lover spurned trying to get her revenge. Will be interesting to see her personal life exposed in court. Not a Kenney fan but this is a nothingburger.

  5. Barry Williams

    October 27, 2021 at 10:02 pm

    Remember what life was like in high school? Now imagine it without teachers and a pile of free condoms. Now open your eyes. Shit’s bad, you know…

  6. Dennis

    October 27, 2021 at 9:08 pm

    Yes, tell it like it is Stew James. Alberta is sleeping,

  7. Spitfire66

    October 27, 2021 at 8:12 pm

    Kenney the staunch federalist! The only way to pull your fat ass out of the fire is to get on board with the Wexit movement.
    Obviously Crime Minister Trudouche is not interested in what happens out here in Alberta except for dumping a shit load of 3rd worlders into this province to sway a future liberal vote.
    If he can’t see the agenda that scumbag had for this country and grovelling about the equalization tax, you should just walk now and let somebody with a backbone step up!
    An independent Alberta would make us unstoppable economically and mentally.
    Fuck Ontario and Quebec, they only think of themselves…time Alberta started doing the same thing!
    If we don’t do something now this province will be lost to Laurentian elites ass backwards way of doing things.
    We Albertans are strong and don’t need to be told how to think, that we can’t work or should support an utterly useless province like Quebec!
    Grow a set and give the Lieberals and the East in general the bird.
    Take care of our own and fuck everybody else!
    That is all!

  8. j n

    October 27, 2021 at 3:38 pm

    stew james -> i agree

  9. Stew James

    October 27, 2021 at 2:22 pm

    This medium of the western standard is a right leaning news outlet…..then start promoting WIPA and separation!
    If we loose this battle it is only a matter of time before they shut you down, there will be no free speech in this country, PERIOD!

    What a fucking mess this country is in! I just can’t believe how subservant we in Alberta are, or is this how bad we have eroded since the cocksucker in chief came to power in 2015!

    WTF…I’m so disgusted in this province and the weak knee reaction as to what is happening to our province!

  10. The Real Kevin

    October 27, 2021 at 2:18 pm

    Well, I will just default to “believe no woman”. Especially on 25 year old allegations that come up during an election season.

  11. berta baby

    October 27, 2021 at 2:08 pm

    All I want to know is….. was he wearing a mask?

  12. Eugene Gritter

    October 27, 2021 at 1:50 pm

    Only 1 way out now, for JK; he needs to turn off the taps, ostensibly to give PMJT a shake. It’s the only way to change the channel now.

  13. Baron Not Baron

    October 27, 2021 at 1:06 pm

    Told you I love political funeral cake

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News

Canada-Europe take action over COVID variant Omicron

“Emergence of Omicron, a new variant of concern reinforces the need for caution,” said Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam.

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With the discovery of a new COVID-19 variant of concern (VOC) named Omicron in South Africa, the Canadian government is taking steps to limit the risk to Canadians.

Travellers arriving from countries of concern within the last 14 days will be required to quarantine pending negative COVID-19 tests. Countries of concern include South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini.

On Friday, Canada’s Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said the federal government will impose five measures in an effort to limit its spread in Canada.

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam took to Twitter on Saturday to share her concerns over the VOC.

“Emergence of Omicron, a new variant of concern reinforces the need for caution,” wrote Tam.

The WHO has labelled Omicron as a variant of concern due to its high number of mutations and reports that early evidence suggests it could be more infectious than other variants.

Meanwhile, during a news conference on Saturday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK will take “targeted and precautionary measures” after two people tested positive for the Omicron variant.

One case was identified in Brentwood, a town in southeastern England while the other case was located in the central city of Nottingham. Both individuals are linked and had travelled from southern Africa. The two individuals are self-isolating along with their households and authorities are working on contact tracing.

Johnson confirmed travellers arriving in England will be required to take a PCR test and self-isolate until a negative test result is provided. Those that test positive for the new variant will have to self-isolate, along with any of their close contacts, for 10 days regardless of vaccine status.

He also said masks will be required in shops and other public spaces and indicated they will “boost the booster campaign.”

“Right now this is the responsible course of action to slow down the seeding and the spread of this new variant and to maximize our defences,” said Johnson.

Johnson said the new rules will be reviewed in three weeks when scientists know more about the variant.

On Friday, the British government added Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe to the country’s travel red list. By Saturday, Angola, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia were also added to the list.

Other countries are adding restrictions on travellers coming from various southern African countries including the US, Japan, Brazil, and Australia while cases have also been reported in Belgium, Israel and Hong Kong.

Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and the Czech Republic have also reported suspected cases related to travellers arriving from South Africa.

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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Road closures as British Columbians brace for more rain

Closures will impact Highway 1, Highway 3 and Highway 99 on Saturday.

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As BC braces for additional rain, the government has ‘proactively’ closed a number of highways for travel.

“We are actively responding, monitoring and assessing the many highway closures due to flooding and will continue to do so as we work with local and emergency service partners,” said the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

“Safety is our top priority while we deal with a rapidly changing and difficult situation.”

Closures will impact Highway 1, Highway 3 and Highway 99 on Saturday. The ministry said the time and duration of the closures will be weather-dependent.

“The highway infrastructure in these areas is extremely vulnerable following recent storms, and more heavy rain in the forecast poses an additional risk,” said the ministry in a press release.

“The closures of these three highways will be re-evaluated on Sunday morning, with the highways reopened when it is safe to do so.”

The release said Highway 1 will be closed between Popkum and Hope on Saturday afternoon as BC Hydro plans a reservoir release, “crucial to protect the Jones Lake Reservoir, which is also being affected by the heavy rains.”

The release explains the reservoir release will discharge water towards areas of Highway 1 that were affected during the November 14 storm.  

“This additional flow – combined with the increased precipitation and already high stream flows – poses a risk of impact to Highway 1 in the Laidlaw area.”

The ministry is bracing for further damage to Highway 1 in this area and said the reopening time cannot be determined at this stage but will be assessed by crews “when it is safe to do so.”

Highway 7 between Mission and Hope remains open with travel restrictions in place. Essential purposes for travel are defined in the travel restrictions order through the Emergency Program Act

Weather statements are in effect for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, Squamish to Whistler and the Sunshine Coast into next week. Storms are expected to bring more rain which has resulted in high streamflow advisories for all regions of the coast by the River Forecast Centre.

Ongoing road and travel updates are available on the ministry’s website.

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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News

Bill to aid jurors traumatized by testimony up for vote … again

Bill C-206 would amend a 1972 secrecy law to permit jurors to disclose confidential details of deliberations for the purpose of “medical or psychiatric treatment or any therapy or counselling.”

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For the third time in three years, legislators will attempt to pass an aid bill for jurors traumatized by graphic testimony in criminal courts.

“When we ask citizens to be a juror we don’t ask them to be a victim,” said Quebec Senator and bill sponsor Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu.

“There is no excuse not to adopt that bill.” 

Bill C-206 would amend a 1972 secrecy law to permit jurors to disclose confidential details of deliberations for the purpose of “medical or psychiatric treatment or any therapy or counselling,” said Blacklock’s Reporter.

Two identical bills, S-207 and C-417, lapsed in the last two Parliaments.

“That kind of bill should be a government bill, not a private bill,” said Boisvenu.

“I don’t think it’s a matter of private interest. It’s a matter of national interest.”

In 2017, the Commons justice committee recommended the Criminal Code amendment after hearing testimony from former jurors who said they quit jobs, suffered marriage breakdown and were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after being compelled to watch crime scene videos and hear testimony from coroners.

“Everyone’s mental health matters,” Ontario Senator Lucie Moncion said Thursday.

“Yet from a legal point of view, jurors are part of a special category of people who are denied complete health care. The secrecy rule prohibits a juror from disclosing information related to deliberations to anyone including a health care professional. This needs to change.”

Moncion was a juror in a 1989 murder trial and said the experience left her with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

“They show you the whole autopsy,” said Moncion.

“It was very difficult. This is still very difficult for me.”

Alberta Conservative MP Michael Cooper, a member of the 2017 Commons justice committee that recommended reforms, said delays were inexcusable.

“It should have been a no-brainer for the government to have brought this bill forward,” said Cooper indicating the bill has been “studied thoroughly.”

“There have literally been no arguments tendered against this piece of legislation.”

Cooper, in 2019, sponsored a similar bill – C-417 – that lapsed. MPs at the time noted U.S. jurors were free to discuss their experience with friends, family, psychiatrists or media.

“In the United States once a trial is over jurors are generally free to discuss the events of the trial and jury deliberations unless a specific court order bars them from doing so,” said Ontario Liberal MP Arif Virani, then-parliamentary secretary for justice.

“What that means is that jurors in the United States can talk with nearly anyone about juror deliberations including a talk show host on national television or across the Internet. This approach, which offers limited protection for juror privacy, is significantly different from the Canadian model.”

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