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Parliamentary press to disclose vax status or access denied

In an October 19 order, the Commons Board of Internal Economy said all MPs, press and visitors to Parliament must show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test as of November 22.

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The House of Commons threatened to cancel Parliament Hill access passes for reporters and photographers who do not disclose their vaccination status.

The Parliamentary Press Gallery executive made no objection, said Blacklock’s Reporter.

“I mean, we’re not the ones making it impossible,” said Press Gallery secretary Amanda Connolly, of Global TV.

“The rules have been put in place. If they don’t like the rules and they choose not to follow the rules, that’s their choice. They have a pathway to access.”

In an October 19 order, the Commons Board of Internal Economy said all MPs, press and visitors to Parliament must show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test as of November 22.

On Tuesday, the Press Gallery Commons clerk, Collin Lafrance, went further in stating any reporters who do not comply will have their Hill access passes revoked.

“Anybody who has not been verified this week, your access pass will be cancelled,” said Lafrance, who added reporters and photographers should “get verified ahead of time” so they “don’t hit a wall on November 22 trying to get into the building.”

“I don’t’ see the big deal here,” said CBC field producer Chris Rands who serves as a Gallery director.

“If you feel you need to go into the House of Commons you have got to play by the rules. If you feel you don’t, you know, I think we move on.”

Another Gallery director, Luigi Della Penta, of Global TV, described the measure as prudent.

“As someone who is vaccinated and who is up on the Hill pretty much every day, I want to feel secure that everybody standing next to me when I’m at cabinet is vaccinated,” said Della Penta.

“If they don’t want to get a vaccine, that is totally a personal opinion. I don’t want to be policing that. I don’t think we should be. The rules are laid out by the House of Commons.”

The Press Gallery executive held no vote on the matter nor was there any objection from directors.

“As president, I am going to be respecting any decision the executive goes with,” said Catherine Levesque, of the Canadian Press.

“We are not going to be policing anybody. That is up to the House of Commons and Senate to do that.”

The 44th Canadian Parliament is set to open on November 22.

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

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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Madu out as justice minister

“I have spoken with Minister Madu about the March 10 incident reported in the media today. I conveyed to him my profound disappointment in his decision to contact the Edmonton Police Chief after receiving a ticket for a traffic violation.”

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has removed Justice Minister Kaycee Madu from his job after he called Edmonton’s police chief about a distracted parking ticket he received.

Madu was fined $300 on March 10, 2021 after an Edmonton police officer caught him talking on his cellphone while driving through a playground zone.

Madu soon phoned Dale McFee, the city’s chief of police, and discussed the ticket with him. 

“Minister Madu did contact me via the telephone concerned about a ticket. But just to be very, very clear, he never asked to get out of the ticket,” McFee told CBC News in December, adding he didn’t know exactly what was on the ticket.

“Everybody has to wear their decisions.”

McFee did say during their discussion, Madu brought up the issue of racial profiling by police to stop drivers. Madu is black.

“The officer indicated that he had observed me driving while distracted, alleging that I was on my phone. I disagreed, stating that I was not on my phone, as it was in an inside pocket” said Madu.

“Later, I spoke to Chief Dale McFee. Due to the timing of the incident, I wanted to ensure that I was not being unlawfully surveilled following the controversy surrounding the Lethbridge Police Service. I also raised concerns around profiling of racial minorities that was in the media at the time.

“Chief McFee assured me that that was most definitely not the case, and I accepted him at his word.”

But that wasn’t good enough for Kenney who, after CBC broke the story, removed him from his post because it is “essential the independent administration of justice is maintained.

“I have spoken with Minister Madu about the March 10 incident reported in the media today. I conveyed to him my profound disappointment in his decision to contact the Edmonton Police Chief after receiving a ticket for a traffic violation,” Kenney tweeted.

“Minister Madu told me that he did not ask to have the ticket rescinded, nor was it his intention to interfere in the case, and that he promptly paid the ticket. I understand that Chief McFee has confirmed that at no time did the Minister seek to have the ticket rescinded.

“Nevertheless, it’s essential the independent administration of justice is maintained. That’s why I will appoint a respected independent investigator to review the relevant facts and to determine whether there was interference in the administration of justice in this case.”

Energy Minister Sonya Savage will take on the duties of Minister of Justice and Solicitor General.

The scandal will be a blow for Kenney as Madu was one of his biggest supporters in an often fractured caucus.

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Home buyers and sellers can now use bitcoin

“This is yet another step towards a bitcoin standard society as we continue to propel bitcoinʼs usability. Our ability to process tens of millions of dollars with ease will allow customers looking to use bitcoin in real estate transactions to transact with confidence.”

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Canadians will soon be able to buy and sell their homes with bitcoin.

Edmonton-based Bitcoin Well announced Tuesday they have signed a deal with Greater Property Group (GPG) where customers use bitcoin and other digital currencies to buy and sell residential and commercial real estate.

The signed letter of intent will see both companies promote the other through their respective websites and real estate transactions involving bitcoin will be conducted through the joint venture.

Bitcoin Well will provide digital currency services and licensing, compliance strategy and required Know Your Customer processes. GPG will provide real estate services, licensing and strategy.

“I canʼt wait to begin working with GPG,” said Adam OʼBrien, founder and CEO of Bitcoin Well.

“This is yet another step towards a bitcoin standard society as we continue to propel bitcoinʼs usability. Our ability to process tens of millions of dollars with ease will allow customers looking to use bitcoin in real estate transactions to transact with confidence.

“Working with GPG is an exciting look at how the bitcoin infrastructure we’ve built can scale. We have the pieces in place to help set the stage to help global industries adopt bitcoin. It’s exciting to see real estate being one of the first.”

Officials with GPG say they welcome the agreement.

“As a brokerage that facilitates buying and selling houses with cryptocurrency, we couldnʼt be happier to be partnering with Bitcoin Well on this venture.” said Nathan Singh, managing partner of Greater Property Group.

“The applications for cryptocurrency in real estate are limitless, and we look forward to bringing that investment power and flexibility to more and more transactions and agents from coast to coast.”

The completion of the joint venture agreement is expected in the first quarter of 2022.

Bitcoin Well is the first publicly traded Bitcoin ATM company in the world and is traded on the TSX.V under the ticker BTCW.V

Publisher’s Note: Bitcoin Well is an advertising client of Western Standard New Media Corp.

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Calgary lawyer applauds Shell’s reversal of vax mandate

“The woke thing to do right now is bring in these mandates. It has nothing to do with science or safety,” said lawyer James Kitchen.

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In the wake of Shell Canada temporarily removing its mandatory vaccine policy at its Scotford site in Alberta, Calgary lawyer James Kitchen called it a “good and lawful” move.

Kitchen — a civil litigation lawyer focused on constitutional rights, human rights, and health freedom — represents a number of clients in the oil and gas sector, including CNRL staffer Naomi Smart who was the first employee dismissed without cause for refusing to adhere to the mandatory vaccine policy.

“There are two potential things happening here,” Kitchen told the Western Standard in reference to Shell’s decision to change its vaccine policy at the Scotford site.

“Either Shell is concerned with defending themselves legally — as the vaccines have little to no effect on transmission — or, there are decent human beings (who) run Shell who are looking at the science and they realize this is the sensible thing to do.”

Kitchen said Shell could be “showing some good business sense” and now, after “spending all this money and realizing nothing we do will stop it (the spread of COVID-19),” they are looking to get back to work.

“The woke thing to do right now is bring in these mandates. It has nothing to do with science or safety,” said Kitchen.

When asked if the move from Shell to reverse its vaccination policy might affect the outcome of current legal cases — including some of his own — Kitchen said he’s doubtful.

“Generally speaking, the court doesn’t care. The industry does what it wants so in a strictly legal sense, no. But in a broader sense, it does matter,” said Kitchen.  

“It’s like a band-wagon effect,” he said adding if other companies follow suit, “it could give pause and change course for policymakers.”

“I don’t expect others to follow, but I’m hopeful,” said Kitchen.

Kitchen applauded Shell for what he called, “the most reasonable, lawful positions I’ve seen in a long time.

“They have chosen not to be willfully ignorant of what is good, right and lawful and have chosen against coercion and tyranny,” said Kitchen.

“I hope it’s a harbinger of things to come.”

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

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