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UCP members debate healthcare, seniors and free speech

The first policy resolution of the morning that required a vote count was centred on a resolution that would ensure that public sector employees would see comparable pay with similar positions in the private sector.

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During Saturday morning’s policy debate, UCP members fired shots at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Bill C-10 passing a policy resolution to protect freedom of speech, worship and assembly, without government or corporate censorship of mainstream or social media.

Other policies discussed included:

• There was overwhelming support for a policy resolution designed to protect and defend the rights of Alberta to utilize its natural resources for the benefit of Albertans.

• Members heavily supported a policy resolution that would see the Alberta government exploring more privately-funded and privately delivered health services that remain consistent with the Canada Health Act.

• Members shot down a policy resolution that would oppose the imposition of a federal carbon tax on Alberta consumers or farmers.

• The first policy resolution of the morning that required a vote count was centred on a resolution that would ensure that public sector employees would see comparable pay with similar positions in the private sector.

Proposed by the Calgary-Elbow constituency association (CA), the resolution claims some public sector employees are “overcompensated compared to similar positions in the private sector.”

“To this end, the party should support measures to bring public compensation in line with private compensation in this province.”

The main argument members posed in opposition to the policy resolution was that public sector jobs typically come with greater security, benefits and pensions as a “tradeoff” for less pay.

The motion was defeated by 54% of votes against.

• On the subject of senior care, a motion was carried in support of creating a public-private partnership model.

Submitted by the Calgary-Klein CA, the resolution points out that “Alberta’s population is set to grow by 2 million people in the next 25 years with a senior population set to double to one in five with most of that occurring in the Calgary-Edmonton corridor.”

“COVID has taught us a lot over this pandemic and has revealed some real gaps in our system,” said one member commenting in favour of the policy.

“We will be seeing more seniors in Alberta in the coming years and this is just a common-sense policy we should adopt.”

• Members also showed support for seeing Alberta become a “pharmaceutical powerhouse for North America” voting in favour of a policy resolution focused on the development of Alberta-based pharmaceutical research and development.

• Another count was needed for a policy resolution centred on protecting the rights of health care workers for freedom of conscience.

Brought forward by the Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock CA, the rationale states: “Health care workers, who enjoy freedom of conscience in Alberta, do so through the policies of their different professional associations and organizations.

“Unfortunately, these policies can be changed by those associations as happened in Ontario where the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons required their doctors to provide effective referrals for assisted suicides.”

A Calgary-Elbow member said he felt the resolution was “counterproductive” and would be “used to batter the party as it has in the past.”

A member from Calgary-Buffalo also opposed the policy claiming it promotes “religiously-justified bigotry.”

“Conscious rights are important,” said another member from the conservative organization LGBTory.

“We have to ensure healthcare exists in communities across Alberta.”

Although there was vocal opposition, the motion was comfortably passed.

…More to come

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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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Dennis

    November 21, 2021 at 10:38 am

    More virtue signalling hot air from a failed government.
    The people of Alberta have an important decision to make in the coming months.
    Do we bring this pack of globalists and wokery back to rule over us, OR, do we bring back the other group of Socialists to rule over us?
    There is another choice that stands for an Independent Sovereign Alberta in which elected officials are held accountable to the people who elected them by meaningful recall. The government works FOR the people not the other way around.
    If you are concerned with the future of Alberta the time is now to show your support for the Wildrose Independence Party of Alberta. Go to Wildrosenation.com to buy your membership, make a donation and get involved with your local CA to make this happen. Your choice, by 2023 it will be too late.

  2. Dominic Ieraci

    November 21, 2021 at 10:35 am

    The UCP are dogshit communists

  3. William

    November 20, 2021 at 10:52 pm

    Nothing about an Alberta provincial police force or an Alberta pension plan or collecting our own taxes or any steps at all toward achieving some autonomy for us?

  4. Andrew Red Deer

    November 20, 2021 at 3:18 pm

    Its telling that NOT ONE resolution was about the restoration of FREEDOM! This party is dead and gone, and anyone still with it now will die a political death with it.

  5. Baron Not Baron

    November 20, 2021 at 2:23 pm

    Debate free speech? Why is there even room for this subject? Is this about to have it or not have it? As far as I know, I will always have it because I decide what is good for myself, and these imbeciles should act like they should – and leave the free speech RIGHT untouched! This is all because Kenney is receiving a torrential rain of shit, from his ex-“base” that is leaving and joining WIPA!

  6. Stew James

    November 20, 2021 at 2:01 pm

    WS coverage of the AGM, is high school at best!
    Your video & sound would have been better just using a phone! I trust you are not paying these people very well because the quality shows!
    Step it up! Works as well as this app!

  7. Baron Not Baron

    November 20, 2021 at 1:30 pm

    Rest assured the public workers will not vote for you, and we, the taxpayers got the shaft again.

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News

Ottawa press gallery discusses letting Chinese propaganda agency in

Xinhua has been accused of misusing press privileges at the direction of Chinese diplomats.

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Officials with the Parliamentary Press Gallery held a behind closed doors meeting on Tuesday to talk about letting reporters from Xinhau, the Chinese Community Party’s propaganda agency, into the club, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

“The gallery is not bound by any outside political considerations,” said gallery president Catherine Levesque of the National Post. 

“We are doing our due diligence to ensure Xinhua meets certain criteria and we will be making a decision shortly.”

Xinhua has been accused of misusing press privileges at the direction of Chinese diplomats.

“Membership in the Parliamentary Press Gallery allows access to the secure physical buildings of the parliamentary precinct and the opportunity to directly question individuals who drive and shape public policy,” gallery directors wrote in a 2020 code Journalistic Principles And Practices.

“As a result, accreditation is a privilege, not a right.”

Xinhua had been a member until 2020 when its press pass lapsed.

The Department of National Defence in 2012 blacklisted the agency from attending its press briefings, and a Xinhua correspondent in 2012 disclosed he was asked to maintain surveillance on Chinese dissidents in Canada.

The gallery would not discuss the Xinhua application but the gallery code states members must “respect the rights of people involved in the news.”

The Commons by a unanimous 266-0 vote last February 22 condemned China for human rights atrocities including the genocide of its Uyghur Muslim community. MPs also voted to petition the International Olympic Committee to relocate the 2022 Winter Games from Beijing.

“We need to move forward, not just as a country but as a world, on recognizing the human rights violations that are going on in China,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier told reporters.

“This is an issue that matters deeply to me, to all Canadians, and we will continue to work with our partners and allies on taking it seriously.”

Xinhua was originally granted Press Gallery membership in 1964 at the request of then-Foreign Minister Paul Martin Sr.

“It is a step in the direction of mutual understanding between Canada and mainland China,” Martin said at the time. Membership was approved in a press credentials swap that saw the Communist Party permit the Globe & Mail to open a Beijing bureau.

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PHA head says cellphone snooping fears unwarranted

Dr. Harpreet Kochhar said managers at no time collected information that personally identified any of 33 million cellphone users.

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The president of the Public Health Agency (PHA) says Canadians need not fret over the fact his organization snooped on 33 million cellphone users, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

Dr. Harpreet Kochhar said managers at no time collected information that personally identified any of 33 million cellphone users.

“No personal information was asked or was received,” Kochhar told the Commons health committee.

“No individually identifiable data is contained in any part of the work.”

The Commons ethics committee last Friday voted 10-0 to examine the data collection program using cellphone tower tracking. The PHA said it sought the information to monitor compliance with lockdown orders.

“The actual reason why we collected this data is reliable, timely and relevant public health data comes out of it for other policy and decision making,” said Kochhar.

“This is population-level mobility data analysis. This is what we have collected.

“That would help us to understand the possible link between the movement of populations within Canada and the impact on COVID-19. We did that in terms of a very clear way of getting that open and transparent means of collection. We never, ever actually know when we use that information that it is individually identifiable. It is aggregated data.”

MPs on the ethics committee earlier noted cellphone users were never told the PHA was collecting the cellphone tracking data. Conservative MP John Brassard (Barrie-Innisfil, Ont.), noted the scope of the monitoring was only detailed when the Agency issued a December 17 notice to contractors to expand the program.

“It becomes increasingly concerning that government is seemingly using this pandemic as a means and a cause for massive overreach into the privacy rights of Canadians,” said Brassard.

“As parliamentarians, it’s incumbent upon us to make sure we protect those rights, that there is proper scrutiny and oversight.”

“The Public Health Agency was collecting data without the knowledge of Canadians, effectively doing it in secret. We need to know what security measures were in place to protect the privacy rights of Canadians.

“It is vital we do not allow the COVID response to create a permanent backslide of the rights and freedoms of Canadians including their fundamental right to privacy.”

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News

Health Minister Duclos has no info on $150-million COVID contract to SNC-Lavalin

But testifying at the Commons health committee, Duclos had no answer when asked why the contract was issued.

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SNC-Lavalin was given a $150-million sole-source contract to provide “urgently” needed field hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic — but Canada’s Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos doesn’t seem to know much about it, says Blacklock’s Reporter.

The field hospitals were never used.

“This is obviously in support of the needs at the request of provinces and territories,” said Duclos.

But testifying at the Commons health committee, Duclos had no answer when asked why the contract was issued.

“What is the status of the mobile field hospitals SNC-Lavalin was contracted to produce?” asked Conservative MP Shelby Kramp-Neuman (Hastings-Lennox, Ont.).

“It was an example of the significant level of preparation that we did throughout the crisis,” replied Duclos.

“Why have the field hospitals from SNC-Lavalin not been deployed?” asked Kramp-Neuman.

Duclos replied he had no information on “the exact nature of the state of that equipment.”

“Did the Prime Minister’s Office approve of this?” asked MP Kramp-Neuman.

“That’s a public works question,” replied Duclos.

“We’re not getting a lot of clarity here,” said MP Kramp-Neuman, adding: “The buck stops with you. Sadly, I recognize you don’t have all the answers to everything, but it doesn’t seem like we’re getting a lot of answers to anything.”

An unidentified Department of Public Works manager finalized the SNC-Lavalin contract on April 9, 2020 without notice to other bidders.

“A public call for tenders was not issued due to the urgency of the need as a result of the pandemic,” said an internal e-mail.

However, as late as Sep. 9, 2020, the Québec contractor had still not fixed a delivery date, according to staff emails.

Paul Thompson, deputy minister of public works, Tuesday said he knew little of the contract details.

“I personally don’t have all the details at my fingertips,” said Thompson.

SNC-Lavalin was paid to supply field hospitals equipped with 200 hospital beds, ventilators, masks, medical gowns and ten days’ worth of medication, back-up generators, water and oxygen tanks, X-ray machines, shower bays and latrines.

“The self-sufficiency of the unit makes it extremely flexible for deployment where the need is greatest in Canada,” said a memo.

Internal records dated Oct. 13, 2020 disclosed no one wanted the field hospitals.

The department said spending included $2 million for design work and millions more on warehousing medical supplies for presumed future use.

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