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UCP convention: Party votes for school voucher system

Delegates at the United Conservative Party convention have voted in favour of a controversial school “voucher system.”

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Delegates at the United Conservative Party convention have voted in favour of a controversial school “voucher system.”

The system would ensure that equal per-student funding follows a child regardless of their school of choice – public, private, Catholic, charter or home.

Delegates voted 307-267 in favour of the system.

“We have some schools where children leave thinking Lenin is a good guy,” said one delegate in support of the voucher system

Government officials said there was little chance of the motion would be adopted by the government.

As policy was discussed inside, outside more than 600 protesters marched against Premier Jason Kenney and government cuts. A brief scuffle saw one reporter assaulted by a protester.

Protesters outside the UCP’s convention in Calgary on Nov. 30, 2019. Photo by Derek Fildebrandt, Western Standard

Government letters released Friday by the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees show the government plans to lay off more than 6,400 workers.

During the day on Saturday the delegates had two dozen policy motions for their consideration.

Here’s what they voted on:

  • Delegates passed a motion to hold a referendum in the province on Alberta fighting to change the Constitution to allow the province to freely export its resources, products and services across Canada and internationally.
  • They voted to demand a fairer system of federal transfers.
  • Delegates voted that interest groups who get foreign funds will not be recognized as a stakeholder.
  • They voted to make financial literacy part of school curriculum
  • Delegates voted down a motion that any changes to the health care system comply with principles of the Canada Health Act.
  • They voted down a motion to ensure a timely delivery of surgeries performed in a given time period.
  • Delegates passed a motion recognizing parents and guardians are the major stakeholders in education.
  • Delegates voted to repeal Bill 30, protecting health and well-being of workers. Bill 30 was brought in by the previous NDP government.
  • They voted to advocate for Senate reform.
  • Delegates voted funding should follow the patient when they try and get medically necessary services.
  • Delegates voted that funding would follow the patient when they try and get medically necessary services.
  • They voted down a motion to return Alberta to a 10% flat tax and increase the basic tax exemption to $25,000. Motion was against several items in October’s UCP budget.
  • Delegates passed a motion that the provincial government fight any federal law that contravenes the constitutionally protected rights and freedoms of Albertans.
  • They passed a motion to ensure there is an adequate supply of affordable housing for seniors.
  • Delegates voted to have a robust voter ID process, similar to the federal government.
  • They voted to pass a motion that the government fund actual school transportation costs in rural areas
  • Delegates voted down a proposal to develop a non-partisan list, in which schools to be built are prioritized.
  • Delegates voted down a proposal to create a Education Quality Control Council similar to one in the health system #AbLeg #abpoli

The government is not bound by any of the resolutions.

Meanwhile, delegates voted to change the name of the party to the United Conservative Party of Alberta.

For the United Conservative Party it’s a move to try and differentiate itself and avoid confusion with the federal Tory party.

“Alberta is the leading province and driving force of Canada, and as such, deserves to be proudly included in our Party’s name,” the motion read.

Saturday was the second day of the UCP convention at the Westin Airport Calgary.

The convention concludes Sunday afternoon with a bear pit session with delegates asking questions to Premier Jason Kenney.

— more to come

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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Phillips appeals decision not to fire cops who followed her

The appeal said the decision “fail(ed) to recognize the severity” of the two officers’ actions.

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Shannon Phillips, who as Alberta environment minister was watched and followed by members of the Lethbridge city police, is appealing a decision not to fire the officers involved.

The appeal, sent by Phillips’ lawyer, Michael Bates, to the Law Enforcement Review Board last week, said the decision “fail(ed) to recognize the severity” of the two officers’ actions.

It said targeting a cabinet minister for “personal political reasons,” should be enough to prove that neither is fit to be a police officer.

“I think public confidence in law enforcement was severely shaken in Lethbridge, and in fact across the province with the revelations of what happened,” the Lethbridge West MLA told the Star.

“I also think the public had a lot of questions about whether justice was seen to be done in this instance.”

Phillips had a Good Friday 2017 meeting with stakeholders involved in the Castle Mountain wilderness area.

As Environment Minister, Phillips made a controversial decision to limit access to the area, including the use of quads.

Sgt. Jason Carrier and Const. Keon Woronuk both had an interest in quadding.

Carrier was on-duty but on a meal break with two other officers when Phillips entered the Chef Stella Diner to meet informally with stakeholders, said a decision paper issued July 9 after an LPS internal investigation.

The decision said Carrier texted the acting sergeant Woronuk that Phillips was at the restaurant and sent him a photo. Woronuk arrived at the diner a short time later.

Woronuk also set up surveillance and subsequently following one of the stakeholders while running a police information check on them.

Woronuk found a nearby position of surveillance of the diner and Carrier took position at nearby parkade with a view of the diner, according to agreed facts entered at the hearing. Phillips eventually left the diner on foot.

“The intent of Const. (Keon) Woronuk to target an attendee of Minister Phillips’ meeting is truly troubling,” stated the hearing’s presiding officer Paul Manuel, a former Calgary Police Service inspector.

Woronuk later posted photos of the meeting on a Facebook page under the name “Mike Corps” which included identifying the stakeholders and, “was accompanied by a long caption criticizing Minister Phillips and her NDP government,” CHAT reported.

Phillips and NDP justice critic Kathleen Ganley called on Alberta Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer to order an independent, out of province investigation. Phillips said the investigation is needed to see if the corruption is “more broad” within the LPS.

Schweitzer called in the Alberta police watchdog, ASIRT to investigate.

Woronuk, a 19-year veteran, admitted to five charges under the Police Service Regulation including two counts of corrupt practice and a single count each of deceit, discreditable conduct and insubordination.

He was demoted from senior constable to first-class constable for two years.

Carrier, a 23-year veteran, admitted to discreditable conduct and neglect of duty and was demoted to senior constable for one year.

At the time, Phillips took issue with demotions being the outcome.

“That they can still drive by my house is not an acceptable penalty,” she said.

“I don’t feel safe…these people are still driving around in cruisers, who made a plan to follow me for political purposes.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Alberta experts fear Prussian fish attack in bodies of water

Nicole Kimmel, an aquatic invasive species expert with Alberta Environment and Parks, says the dangerous fish has been spotted in four Edmonton-area ponds.

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The Prussians are coming! The Prussians are coming!

Prussian carp that is. And they could be on their way to killing a lot of Alberta’s native fish.

Nicole Kimmel, an aquatic invasive species expert with Alberta Environment and Parks, says the dangerous fish has been spotted in four Edmonton-area ponds.

Prussian carp

A species of wild goldfish, Kimmel said it’s believed the fish were dumped there by humans.

The government says if you catch a Prussian carp, you are to kill it immediately. Even being caught with a live one will result in a charge.

If you are found dumping the carp into a water body, you could be hit with a fine of up to $100,000.

Kimmel said if the carp is found in a body of of water a pesticide can be used to kill them.

She said the Blood First Nation had a carp invasion a few years ago and “the native fishery is already vanishing.”

Kimmel said the main plan of attack is to educate people not to dump their carp into other bodies of water.

“This should go without saying, but NEVER transplant a species from one area to another. Invasive Prussian Carp are incredibly harmful to surrounding aquatic ecosystems and there are steep fines for letting them loose,” said Environment Minister Jason Nixon.

 In Canada, Prussian carp has only been found in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Alberta brewery shocks Maori people by naming beer after their pubic hair

New Zealand TV presenter Te Hamua Nikora, a member of the Maori community, blasted the brewery on his FaceBook page.

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An Alberta brewery has unwittingly offended the Maori people of New Zealand by naming one of its beers after their pubic hair.

The Hell’s Basement brewery in Medicine Hat used the Maori word “huruhuru” to name its “New Zealand hopped pale ale”.

Unfortunately, in the Maori language “huruhuru” means pubic hair.

New Zealand TV presenter Te Hamua Nikora, a member of the Maori community, blasted the brewery on his FaceBook page.

“Some people call it appreciation, I call it appropriation,” he wrote.

Nikora said he contacted the brewery to inform them of their blunder.

“Don’t call beer pubic hair unless you make it with pubic hair,” he said.

Brewery co-founder Mike Patriquin said in statement to the New Zealand news site RNZ he thought “huruhuru” meant “feather” and he didn’t realise it was a reference to pubic hair.

“We did not realise the potential to offend through our artistic interpretation, and given the response we will attempt to do better in the future,” he said.

“To those who feel disrespected we apologise. We also do not think pubic hair is shameful, though we admit it may not go well with beer.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

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