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SLOBODIAN: Liberals dither as Taliban sharpen knives to kill Afghans who worked for Canada

The Taliban continue to rampage, hunting down, beating, massacring, raping. Their likely sharpening their knives at the prospect of more victims.

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The Liberal government will wear the shame and guilt of whatever fate — and it’s sure to be grim — awaiting hundreds of Afghans forced to leave safe houses Friday.

The beatings, rapes, executions, every terror-filled miserable minute that will occur at the hands of the Taliban going forward could have been avoided.

Important and disturbing fact: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government refused to fund these havens that have kept people alive since the Taliban seized power in Afghanistan.

The money raised under the umbrella of the Veterans Transition Network (VTA), run by retired military officers to feed, offer medical aid, and protect these Afghans in the safe houses has almost run out.

All but about 10% of 1,700 terrified men and women, with children in tow, will be on the vengeful Taliban’s radar, helpless targets as they head into the streets.

They believed in a promise by the Canadian government they’d be protected from retaliation. So these Afghans served, mostly as interpreters, loyally and faithfully alongside the Canadian military between 2001-2014, taking the same risks, running into the same danger zones, saving Canadian lives.

They were lied to by the Liberals. 

And so were soldiers who came to know them, trust them, care for them, and vouch for them. 

Years have passed since Canada pulled out of Afghanistan, yet thousands of these vetted Afghans remain trapped despite dogged efforts by ordinary Canadians and military personnel to help them get out.

When the Taliban violently seized complete power in August, the danger magnified. The hunt for them intensified.

Yet it was left up to a network of military personnel, advocates and volunteers to honour the promise to protect them. 

They should never have had to bear that weight, but these amazing people did and will continue to carry on tirelessly, heroically, faithfully against whatever odds they face. 

How their heavy hearts are breaking as the safe houses close.

They raised nearly $3 million through donations from private citizens and corporations to keep the safe houses open and work on the ground going at a cost of about $20,000 a day.

The federal government recently, finally, gave $1.7 million, but callously stipulated it couldn’t be used to fund the safe houses, only logistics. 

This is the same federal government that also recently pledged an additional $50 million in aid to Afghanistan causes with no one on the ground to ensure it won’t end up directly in the Taliban’s blood-soaked hands.

The safe houses were intended to be a temporary measure while applications and travel documents to come to Canada were processed.

That has been a sluggish process as bureaucrats shuffle papers from one side of their desks to another, processing precious few applications because no policy decisions have been made.

Meanwhile, three retired major-generals — Dean Milner, Denis Thompson and David Fraser — have been working feverishly since July to evacuate these Afghan interpreters through the VTA. They’re all former task-force commanders in Afghanistan.

Retired Canadian Lt.-colonel Eleanor Taylor is chief of staff of Aman Lara, a non-profit running the safe houses.

These retired officers and countless volunteers — decent, compassionate, brave Canadians, some of them facing danger on the ground in Afghanistan — haven’t slept much for months.

Trudeau made a big splash about Canada welcoming 20,000 Afghan refugees, then doubled it to 40,000. A fraction arrived so far, few of them interpreters. 

But Trudeau has his priorities. He’s so busy fretting about climate change and pushing a twisted, useless agenda to save the planet, he’s not bothering to save people.

Canada’s ridiculously bloated delegation to the COP26 talks in Glasgow saw 277 bureaucrats, all of them needless extra baggage, going along for a holiday.

Who knows what the final bill will be, but whatever it is, the cost of 277 less bureaucrats and fewer ministers on the trip would have kept the safe houses open longer, more people alive. Priorities, eh?

Meanwhile, there are whispers of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada maybe, possibly tossing in some cash for the safe houses already being evacuated.

Global Affairs Canada, citing security reasons, has refused to comment on what it maybe, possibly might be doing. Obviously, it’s doing little to nothing. The safe houses shut down and the ongoing nightmare is about to get worse. 

Judging how little they’ve done to protect these vulnerable people despite having had ample time, it might be safe to assume these politicians and bureaucrats don’t care. No one can be that stupid or incompetent. Can they?

Are they unaware of chilling reports regularly coming out of Afghanistan? The Taliban continue to rampage, hunting down, beating, massacring, raping. They’re likely sharpening their knives at the prospect of more victims.

Child brides are being sold in bondage by less honourable Afghans who choose to forfeit their children to feed the rest of the family. Recently, CNN reported that a nine-year-old girl was sold to a 55-year-old pervert. It’s an age-old custom revving up in desperate times.

Yet the federal government dithers, showing no signs of shame or guilt. Does ice water run through those veins?

Anyone wishing to donate to VTN can do so here: https://vtncanada.kindful.com/?campaign=1143780

Slobodian is the Senior Manitoba Columnist for the Western Standard
lslobodian@westernstandardonline.com

Linda Slobodian is the Manitoba Senior Columnist for the Western Standard. She has been an investigative columnist with the Calgary Herald, Calgary Sun, Edmonton Sun, and Alberta Report. lslobodian@westernstandardonline.com

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. The Real Kevin

    November 7, 2021 at 9:34 pm

    People who voted for O’Toole, this is what they wanted. All the red tories in the country should be happy; you got what you wanted. You won. Get over it.

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Maskless teen student with asthma ostracized at Calgary Catholic school

“Kids in my class called me an ‘outsider’ which made me feel worse than I already felt,” said 14-year-old Darius.

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A Calgary Catholic school has segregated and since banned a student from attending school for not wearing a mask, says the student’s parents.

And before that, teachers had even taped off an area around the boy’s desk “like a crime scene.”

Darius Lynn, a Grade 9 student at St. Helena Junior High School in Calgary, suffers from asthma and was permitted to go maskless at his desk during the 2020-2021 school year.

When Darius returned to St. Helena for the 2021-2022 school year, without his parents’ knowledge, he was advised he would be required to wear a mask full time.

He complied for the first few months but eventually reported to his parents in late November he was struggling to breathe while wearing the mask.

“I had no idea he was told to wear a mask again this year,” Darius’ mother Stephanie told the Western Standard.

“My husband and I just assumed he wasn’t needing to wear a mask again this year.”

Stephanie said she and her husband Paul reached out to the new principal and Darius’ teachers to request they allow their son the same exemption as the previous year.

They were told he would need a doctor’s note, which Stephanie said they have been unable to acquire.

“Mask exemptions are impossible to get,” said Stephanie.

“Right now, doctors are just too scared to write them.”

Stephanie said the school’s solution was to, “move my son’s desk into the hallway.”

Darius also spoke with the Western Standard and said the teenagers in his class referred to him as an “outsider” after he was moved into the hallway.

“When they did group projects, they would just send me to the library and I had to work on my own,” said Darius.  

“Kids in my class called me an ‘outsider’ which made me feel worse than I already felt.”

Stephanie said she and her husband tried to appeal to the principal, but “she wouldn’t budge,” so they reached out to the superintendent.

“We begged for her to let Darius back into the classroom but he ended up sitting out there for two weeks where he was discriminated against and basically ridiculed so we contacted the superintendent,” said Stephanie.

Stephanie said she emailed Chief Superintendent Bryan Szumlas with the Catholic School Board who helped the Lynns get their son moved back into his classroom.

“So, he was moved back into the classroom, which was good, but what we didn’t know was that his teachers taped off the floor around his desk like a crime scene,” said Stephanie.

“After they put tape on the floor around my desk, some of the kids in my class would step past the tape and pretend they couldn’t breathe,” said Darius, explaining the teasing he endured.

Darius said his teachers had witnessed some of the teasing, but said, “most of the time the teachers didn’t do anything about it.

“They (teachers) also made me wait a few minutes before I could move to my next class because there were basically a bunch of students in the halls.”

“It was just awful what they were doing to him. They were treating him like a walking disease and visibly segregating him,” said Stephanie.

Stephanie said Darius had to stay within his taped boundaries for about a week until Christmas break.

“After the break, the principal notified us that Darius wouldn’t be welcome back if he wasn’t willing to wear a mask,” said Stephanie.

“In fact, one of the communications with the school referred to his asthma as his ‘apparent asthma’ like we were making it up or something.

“They said he could move to the online schooling system or do their D2L system from home,” said Stephanie referring to a web-based learning system offered throughout the school division.

“He doesn’t do well online so we are just trying to do the best we can. He’s in Grade 9, he should be able to be with his peers to finish off his last year in middle school.”

Darius said he has mixed feelings about not returning to school.

“I’m just really upset that I don’t get to see my friends anymore, but I also feel like I have less distractions at home,” said Darius.

Stephanie said it’s been a hard year for Darius as he also had to walk away from community hockey due to the vaccination mandates and additional costs associated with frequent rapid testing.

“He is totally destroyed,” said Stephanie.

The Lynns have two other sons — both attending Notre Dame High School — one in Grade 11 who is special needs and one in Grade 12.

“The real kicker for us is that we have a special needs son who has never worn a mask, doesn’t social distance and we have never been required to show a doctor’s note for him,” said Stephanie.

“They have totally humiliated my son and I’m angry. We just want our son to be treated with dignity and compassion. He has lost hockey because of the mandates and now he isn’t allowed to go to school.”

The family has since been referred to Area Director Deana Helton with regard to their son’s situation.

The Western Standard has contacted the school principal along with Helton but hasn’t heard back yet.

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

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Copping strikes EMS advisory committee amid system strains, red alerts

The Alberta Provincial EMS Advisory Committee will provide recommendations on a provincial EMS service plan by May.

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Health Minister Jason Copping has appointed MLAs R.J. Sigurdson (Highwood) and Tracy Allard (Grande Prairie) to co-chair a new EMS committee to address “unprecedented” demands on the healthcare system.

Alberta Health Services (AHS) is also rolling out a 10-point plan to maximize EMS system capacity.

The government listed many aggravating factors driving the system strains including “EMS staffing fatigue and illness, hospital offload delays, more requests for patient transfers, delays in receiving new ambulances and specialized vehicle parts caused by global supply issues.”

The province has seen a plethora of “red alerts” reported by EMS members and tweeted by the Union of Health Care Professionals @HSAAlbertaEMS. A red alert is when there are no available ambulances for emergency calls.

The government also reported a 30% increase in 911 calls in recent months. There was no mention of personnel shortages caused by the government’s COVID-19 mandate.

“Alberta’s government has been supportive of EMS throughout the pandemic. As we approach the peak of Omicron cases, we know the EMS system is seeing significant strain, which impacts service. We recognize this is a challenge and are taking immediate steps to improve emergency care access while we explore longer-term solutions,” said Copping.

AHS will immediately hire more paramedics, transfer low-priority calls to other agencies, and stop automatic ambulance dispatch to motor vehicle accidents with no injuries. AHS is also “launching pilot projects to manage non-emergency inter-facility transfers, and initiating an ‘hours of work’ project to help ease staff fatigue.”

Dr. Verna Yiu, president and CEO of AHS is confident these actions “will allow us to better support our EMS staff and front-line paramedics, and in turn this will ensure our patients receive the best care possible.”

Additionally, AHS will issue a request for proposals in February to conduct a third-party review of Alberta’s provincewide EMS dispatch system.

“The objective review by external health system experts will provide further opportunities to address ongoing pressures, improve effectiveness and efficiency through best practices, and provide the best outcomes for Albertans who call 911 during a medical event,” the government said.

The Alberta Provincial EMS Advisory Committee will provide recommendations on a provincial EMS service plan by May. Committee representatives include “contracted ambulance operators, unions representing paramedics, municipal representatives and Indigenous community representatives.”

Sigurdson said the committee will consider taxpayers’ needs.

“Albertans expect that when they call 911 in their time of greatest need, EMS will always answer. The committee’s goal will be focused around ensuring and improving service to Albertans while supporting the most critical piece of that equation: our EMS staff across all of Alberta.”

Amber Gosselin is a Western Standard reporter.
agosselin@westernstandardonline.com

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WATCH: O’Toole will not be welcoming the truckers in Ottawa

“It’s not for the leader of the Opposition to attend a protest on the Hill or a convoy, it’s up to politicians to advocate for solutions, in a way that’s responsible and respectable to the health crisis we are in.”

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Conservative leader Erin O’Toole was asked six times during a Monday press conference about his stance on the truckers Freedom Convoy 2022, before giving a vague answer.

“We have been talking with the Canadian Trucking Alliance for several months,” said O’Toole told reports.

“We’ve seen a crisis in the supply chain coming for several months and we’ve proposed policies to try to help alleviate that. The most important of which is vaccines. We encourage everyone to get vaccinated.”

O’Toole press conference

Other specific. questions on the truckers’ comments were left with vague answers.

But the end of the conference O’Toole said it’s not his place to get involved.

“It’s not for the leader of the Opposition to attend a protest on the Hill or a convoy — it’s up to politicians to advocate for solutions, in a way that’s responsible and respectable to the health crisis we are in,” O’Toole said.

“We’ve been trying to tackle the supply chain crisis, encourage vaccination, not ignore problems and divide the country like Mr. (Justin) Trudeau does.”

O’Toole said policies cannot be put in place which could contribute to supply chain issues, as Canadians are already worried about their grocery bills.

O’Toole said he was focused on the economic strain Canadians are having, with record inflation, cost of living, 30% higher gas prices and the housing market’s rising costs,.

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

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