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Scheer appeals for unity at Calgary UCP convention

Federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer told a large Calgary crowd Friday night that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was the biggest benefactor of a divided Tory party.

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Federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer told a large Calgary crowd Friday night that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was the biggest benefactor of a divided Tory party.

Scheer told a crowd of 1,600 delegates at the provincial United Conservative Party convention that party unity was crucial as infighting has seen them “snatch defeat from victory before.”

Scheer talked about a looming federal Tory convention in April where his leadership could be questioned.

As to why he won’t step aside, Scheer said: “I can’t and I won’t give up. Trudeau hasn’t stopped fighting for his version of Canada and neither will I.

“Times of division are dangerous times.”

Scheer vowed to continue to fight for Alberta’s interests in Ottawa, including battling against Bill C-69.

Scheer said he is now reflecting on what went wrong during the last election – and has fired several of his senior staff.

Pressure has been mounting on Scheer to step down after he failed to unseat Trudeau in October’s elections.

Even websites have been set up demanding he leave.

At the start of his speech, a small handful of delegates walked out in protest.

“This country is divided between the east and west…and it doesn’t bother Justin Trudeau,” said Scheer.

“Division is Justin Trudeau’s plan. Trudeau wants us to be divided.

“What they don’t understand is for Canada to thrive Alberta has to thrive.”

The convention, at the Westin Calgary Airport, goes through til Sunday. Kenney is expected to deliver a keynote speech Saturday and answer delegates’ questions on Sunday.

He arrived Friday night into the convention hall escorted by lion dancers.

Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper welcomed delegates with a video message. The room erupted into applause when he face appeared on the screen.

Harper recalled NDP policies – like the carbon tax – that caused “jobs to disappear.

“Thanks to my friend, Jason Kenney, we now stand strong together and united. We’ve provided Albertans with hope, opportunity and a vision that, unlike the NDP, believes our very best days still lie ahead,” Harper said.

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard. 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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Milk being thrown down the drain across the country

“In its 55-year history, Dairy Farmers of Ontario has only once before had to ask producers to dispose of raw milk,” said Cheryl Smith.

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It’s a sad scene – being repeated on dairy farms daily across Canada – perfectly good milk being thrown out.

It a damning condemnation of Canada’s milk supply management system which favours dairy producers in Quebec over those in the rest of the country. Also hurting the industry is the demand falling off from restaurants and coffee shops which are closed because of the coronavirus crisis.

“With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, we had to dispose of 12,000 litres of milk in the last few days…and I can just let you know it was really hard, really heartbreaking for me,” Michael Haak, whose Enderby farm has been in his family for four generations, told CTV.

Roughly 60,000 litres of milk is being dumped in B.C. daily.

The dairy association has donated about 40,000 litres of milk to food banks .

The BC Dairy Association’s Jeremy Dunn said there are huge challenges for the dairy supply chain right across Canada.

“Retail business in this COVID (pandemic) early on was very high. It quickly fell off. Food service business has gone to almost zero,” Dunn told CTV.

“It’s not a good feeling. [This is] something that I’ve worked hard for — and all my hard work is going down the drain,” Remko Steen, a dairy farmer from Tillsonburg, Ont., told CBC.

Last week, Steen said he was forced to dump about 12,000 litres of perfectly good milk down the drain.

“In its 55-year history, Dairy Farmers of Ontario has only once before had to ask producers to dispose of raw milk,” Cheryl Smith, the association’s CEO, told BBC.

Dairy Farmers of Newfoundland and Labrador, another provincial dairy association, asked farmers to dump 170,000 litres last week. The province produces about 50 million litres a year.

“A cow produces a certain amount of milk per day and farmers must continue to milk them to keep them comfortable and well,” said the DFC website.

The website said the dairy industry employees over 23,000 Canadians and contributes $17.3 billion to the economy.

Dairy production in the country is controlled under a system known as supply management.

It has been a controversial system for years, and in the Canada-U.S.-Mexico free trade talks, U.S. President Donald Trump called on Canada to end the practice for dairy.

Canada adopted this model in the early 1970s to overcome production surpluses, according to the Dairy Farmers of Canada website. Egg and poultry farmers started to operate under the system in later years.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter: Nobby7694

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Kenney says up to 3,100 Albertans could to die from coronavirus

But Kenney said those same projections show that 1.6 million Albertans would get sick and 32,000 would die without social distancing measure.

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Premier Jason Kenney said Tuesday night that probable scenarios show 800,000 Albertans will get coronavirus and deaths could hit 3,100 by the end of May.

But Kenney said those same projections show that 1.6 million Albertans would get sick and 32,000 would die without social distancing measures.

If all measures on self-distancing and isolation continue and are respected, Kenney said Alberta death figures could be between 400 and 3,100.

Kenney said those social distancing and isolation rules will last at least unto the end of May which is when he said the virus would peak.

He said he was giving Albertans the figures with “complete candor” and he “wasn’t going to sugar-coat it.

“For now, let me say we are confident that our health system will be able to cope, and that we have the supplies on hand,” he said.

He said as part of the government strategy to get the economy going, the provice was aiming at doing 20,000 coronavirus tests a day to get the people who are negative back to work.

And he said Alberta would do much more than Ottawa was in testing and, if needed, quarantining travellers arriving in the province.

He said cellphone apps could be used to help track people in quarantine.

On Tuesday, Alberta reported 25 new cases of the virus bring the provincial total to 1,373

“Our per capita number of recorded infections is the second-highest in Canada, after Quebec, but that is in part because our brilliant scientists and lab technicians are conducting one of the highest levels of COVID-19 testing in the world,” Kenney said.

Kenney said Alberta’s curve is similar to countries that have successfully slowed down the spread of the virus like South Korea.

“This is the greatest challenge of our time,” Kenney said.

There have been 26 deaths across the province, including 12 in the McKenzie Town long term care home.

Earlier Tuesday, Kenny said unemployment in Alberta could hit 25 per cent, a mark not seen since the Dirty 30s.

He added the provincial deficit could triple from $7 billion to $20 billion this year.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter: twitter/Nobby7694

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Leaders thank businesses and Canadians

Five more residents die at Calgary seniors home.

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Businesses, non-profits and individuals have been stepping up all over the country to offer products and services that have been identified as necessary. 

ATCO has offered trailers with a potential for remote testing, distilleries began making hand sanitizer, Suncor has donated masks, Shell has donated isopropyl, a major ingredient in producing hand sanitizer, and McDonald’s and Tim Hortons have ensured truck drivers can order food for pick-up. 

“I’m deeply touched by the outpouring of support we’re seeing from private and non-profit organizations, both foreign and domestic. When times are tough, Alberta’s spirit of ingenuity and generosity always answers the call,” Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said Friday.

In Ontario, the government has put out a call for “viable, innovative proposals that can quickly provide critical goods and services and the greatest benefit to the people of Ontario,” a government release said.

“Ontario has an army of innovators, entrepreneurs, and the hardest-working people in the world ready to roll up their sleeves, support our frontline healthcare workers, and beat this virus,” said Premier Ford.

“This mass mobilization of government, business, communities and private citizens to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep people safe and healthy represents one of the largest and most ambitious efforts undertaken by Ontario in generations.”

The Prime Minister announced Tuesday that almost 3,000 Canadian companies have been able to add production to meet critical supply needs of medical and personal protection equipment, as well as test kits, and other companies have donated personal protection equipment they had in supply. 

“Canadian companies are answering the call to provide critical support to our health care workers, who are on the front lines of our country’s fight against COVID-19. As the situation continues to evolve, the Government of Canada will be there to work with Canadian industry to find solutions that will support our medical professionals and protect the health and safety of all Canadians,” the Prime Minister said.

Alberta 

The province reported an additional 107 cases bringing the total to 1,075. The province also announced five more COVID-related deaths in Alberta bringing the total to 18.

Four of the deaths were from the Mckenzie Towne Continuing Care Centre in Calgary, bringing the total to eight from the single senior’s residence.

108 cases may be community transmission meaning they cannot be traced to international travel or known cases. 

174 people have recovered.

British Columbia

The province reported 53 new cases bringing its total to 1,174. Four additional COVID-related deaths were also reported bringing the province’s total to 35.

641 people have recovered.

Manitoba

The province has identified 15 additional probable cases bringing its total to 182. Manitoba also announced its second COVID-related death.

11 people have recovered.

Saskatchewan

The province reported 14 new cases Thursday bringing its total to 220. 

48 people have recovered.

Provincial cases:

·        Quebec: 6,101 confirmed cases, including 1 recovered and 61 deaths

·        Ontario: 3,675 cases including 501 recovered and 105 deaths

·        British Columbia: 1,131 confirmed cases including 641 recovered and 31 deaths

·        Alberta: 1,075 confirmed cases including 172 recovered and 14 deaths

·        Saskatchewan: 220 confirmed cases including 48 recovered and 3 deaths

·        Nova Scotia: 207 confirmed and presumptive cases

·        Newfoundland and Labrador: 195 confirmed cases and 1 death

·        Manitoba: 182 confirmed cases including 11 recovered and 2 deaths

·        New Brunswick: 95 confirmed and presumptive cases

·        Prince Edward Island: 22 confirmed cases, and 3 recovered

·        Yukon: 5 confirmed cases

·        Northwest Territories: 1 confirmed case

·        Nunavut: 0 cases

There are currently 12,909 cases across Canada with 2,608 from B.C. to Manitoba.

Deirdre Mitchell-MacLean is a Senior Reporter with Western Standard
dmaclean@westernstandardonline.com 
Twitter @Mitchell_AB

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