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Controversial U.S. author hosting Calgary seminar on independence

A man pushing for a citizen-lead take-over of the state government in New Hampshire will be in Calgary Thursday hosting a seminar on Alberta’s current problems in Confederation.

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A man pushing for a citizen-lead take-over of the state government in New Hampshire will be in Calgary Thursday hosting a seminar on Alberta’s current problems in Confederation.

Project Confederation, the Alberta Institute and the Institute for Liberal studies have partnered to host Jason Sorens for a free event called “Alberta: Autonomy, Independence, or Separation” on Thursday in Calgary.

“Jason literally wrote the book on Secession, putting him in a unique position to be able to bring some much-needed historical and international context to Alberta’s current situation,” said Peter McCaffrey, president of the Alberta Institute.

Sorens is the director of the Center for Ethics in Business and Governance at Saint Anselm College in New Hampshire. He holds a Ph.D in political science from Yale and has taught at Yale, Buffalo State and Dartmouth universities.

He is an expert on fiscal federalism, jurisdictional competition, regional inequality, and autonomy, and has studied international independence movements across the world, from Catalonia to Brexit.

Sorens is the founder of the “Free State Project” which officially chose New Hampshire for a “movement of thousands of freedom-loving people,” according to the project website, fsp.org.

It encourages like-minded people to move to New Hampshire where they would join together and get free state sympathizers elected to government.

“Our efforts have the potential to demonstrate the benefits of liberty and to set an example for the rest of the nations and the world to follow.”

The movement has not come without detractors.

In 2012, a Democratic State representative, Cynthia Chase said: “Free Staters are the single biggest threat the state is facing today.”

She encouraged fellow members to “make the environment so unwelcoming that some will choose not to come, and some may actually leave.”

“One way is to pass measures that will restrict the ‘freedoms’ that they think they will find here,” Chase suggested.

The event is scheduled from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday Jan. 30 at the Residence Inn Downtown Calgary. Tickets are free but registration is required as they expect a full house.

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Ottawa still silent on help for oilpatch they promised was ‘days’ away last month

“I don’t have the final answer on the exact hour that that will be delivered, but I’m not talking about weeks. I’m talking about hours, potentially days, that we can ensure that there’s credit facilities for especially the small- and medium-size firms in that sector.”

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When Finance Minister Bill Morneau said help for the oil industry was “hours away” most experts thoughts 24 to 48.

It’s now been 384 hours since Morneau made that statement and climbing hourly.

On March 25, Morneau told a senate committee, the energy industry had been decimated by a combination of the record low price for a barrel of oil caused by a price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia and the coronavirus crisis.

Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau told the Senate committee help for the beleaguered oilpatch could be hours or days away.

“The energy sector is in a particularly challenging situation,” Morneau told the committee.

“We’re also in hourly contact with the energy sector to think about how we can bridge the time by providing some sort of appropriate credit opportunities for them — and that is work that is going on right now,” he said.

“I don’t have the final answer on the exact hour that that will be delivered, but I’m not talking about weeks. I’m talking about hours, potentially days, that we can ensure that there’s credit facilities for especially the small- and medium-size firms in that sector.”

In the first jobs figures since the coronavirus hit, more than one million people in Canada lost their jobs in March and the unemployment rate climbed to 7.8 per cent, the largest one-month increase in history of the country’s jobless rate, which had been 5.6 per cent in February.

In a statement Wednesday, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) said it has been working closely with the federal government to identify important areas for urgent action to help Canada’s energy sector survive.

CAPP said liquidity for companies and regulatory certainty were among the keys to keep the oilpatch alive.

“Urgent action is needed to provide a measure of certainty for Canadian energy producers during exceptionally uncertain times. Since we began our discussions with the Government of Canada three weeks ago, we have lost between $6 billion to $8 billion of investment in the Canadian energy sector. This has resulted in job losses across the country and further damage to every sector of our economy,” said Tim McMillan, president and CEO of CAPP.

“A strong industry creates jobs for Canadians and generates much-needed revenues for government. The oil and natural gas industry is crucial to our country’s economic well-being and can help lead our recovery, as well as be the foundation for long-term resilience.”

Morneau hasn’t given any details of the possible help but the Globe reported last month a $15-billion bailout would give companies more access to credit, especially for struggling small and medium-sized operations, and significant funding to create jobs for laid-off workers to clean up abandoned oil and gas wells.

Bloomberg News estimated Canadian energy companies have slashed in capital spending for the year between $5.3 billion to $6.5 billion.

Former Green Party leader Elizabeth May has called for the government not to bailout the industry and to let it die.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said many oil producing companies have lost 90 per cent of their value in the last month, alone.

Kenney announced last week his government was providing $1.5 billion in equity investment and a $6-billion loan guarantee to TC Energy to get the Keystone XL project completed 

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westewrnstandardonline.com

TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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R.C.M.P. warn against threatening an officer with COVID-19

The public is asked to abide by local, provincial, and federal health orders issued for public safety.

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An Alberta man was charged with multiple offences after coughing on officers and claiming to be positive for COVID-19.

On Sunday afternoon, RCMP officers responded to a disturbance complaint in Wetaskiwin, a city an hour south of Edmonton. The complaint was in regards to a man who was “yelling and swearing” at a residence in the city.

“The male stated he had COVID-19, and coughed intentionally into an officer’s face and again when escorted to the police car,” according to the press release.

“The male intentionally coughed into another officer’s face when being processed at the detachment.”

Dwight Tootosis, 59, of Wetaskiwin, was charged with two counts of assault on a police officer, two counts of failure to comply with undertaking, one count of mischief under $5,000 and failure to comply with the Public Health Act.

“The threat to transmit the COVID-19 virus is a threat to the wellbeing and health of our members which is a criminal offence,” said Assistant Commissioner John Ferguson, Alberta RCMP’s Officer-in-Charge of Criminal Operations.

“To actually carry out these threats would be (a criminal offence:) Assault on a Peace Officer.”

There has only been one charge laid in Alberta to date.

“We want Albertans to know that their provincial police force is fully operational, and continues to ensure the safety and security of Albertans,” a Tuesday press release said.

“These times are unprecedented… members of the public are reminded to adhere to current public health guidelines with respect to slowing the spread of COVID-19.”

First responders in Canada are more at risk because they are required to interact with the public, Over the past month, more than 200 healthcare workers have tested positive for the virus.

In Calgary, additional personal protective equipment (PPE) has been made available to first responders in the city including safety glasses, gloves and coveralls for Calgary Police.

Calgary Police Superintendent Steve Barlow said members are to take precautions prior to entering residences or premises.

Supt. Steve Barlow also said on Wednesday that Artur Pawlowski, a street preacher who is known to police, was issued a ticket for hosting a public gathering of more than 15 people at Olympic Plaza, and a second charge was laid against a person displaying novel coronavirus symptoms for refusal to self-isolate.

The Alberta government has made testing more readily available to first responders in healthcare including police officers, peace officers, bylaw officers and fish and wildlife officers.

Ontario has also moved to provide additional information on COVID-19 statuses, including whether someone is positive and who their contacts may have been.

“First responders put their lives on the line every day to protect Ontarians and they are at great risk of being directly exposed to COVID-19 as they fulfill their frontline duties,” said Ontario’s Deputy Premier and Minister of Health Christine Elliott, and Solicitor General Sylvia Jones.

A Saskatchewan woman – who was fined for violating the public health order in the province – then tested positive for COVID-19. Saskatchewan officials deemed the public information to override the privacy policies in the province.

The woman was originally fined for refusing to comply with the 14-day isolation period – a problem that has been seen in other provinces, including B.C., where a man visited hospitals and COVID floors to “investigate the real story” behind COVID-19.

“This is just absolutely appalling and completely unacceptable, this individual is just a complete idiot,” B.C.’s Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said.

“There’s absolutely no place for this kind of nonsense, this kind of anti-science moronic behaviour, it’s just totally beyond the pale.”

The public is asked to abide by local, provincial, and federal health orders issued for public safety.

Provinces have granted authority to fine those who disregard health orders anywhere between $1,000 and $25,000 and jail time.

Provincial COVID-19 numbers as of today:

  • Quebec: 10,031 confirmed and presumptive cases, including 175 deaths
  • Ontario: 5,276 cases, including 174 deaths
  • Alberta: 1,423 confirmed and presumptive cases including 518 recoveries and 29 deaths
  • British Columbia: 1,336 confirmed cases, including 838 recovered and 48 deaths
  • Saskatchewan: 271 confirmed cases including 103 recoveries and 3 deaths
  • Nova Scotia: 342 confirmed cases, including 77 recoveries and one death
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: 232 confirmed cases including 74 recoveries and 2 deaths
  • Manitoba: 221 confirmed cases, including 69 recoveries and 3 deaths
  • New Brunswick: 108 confirmed cases and 50 recoveries
  • Prince Edward Island: 24 confirmed cases including 17 recovered
  • Northwest Territories: 4 confirmed cases
  • Yukon: 7 confirmed cases

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

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Government warned quarantining passengers on Chinese flights would be ‘unsustainable’

“If this approach were to be extended to China, it would be unsustainable given the volume of travellers,” the memo said.

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The Canadian government agreed not to test or quarantine tens of thousands of people flying into the country from China in February to not overwhelm the health system, a government memo shows.

The memo addressed to Health Minister Patty Hajdu was sent by federal and provincial health chiefs in February.

The memo is included in roughly 1,000 pages of documents shared by public health officials with the federal health committee last month, reports Global News.

The memo said 20,000 passengers were coming into Canada from China every week and attempting to enforce or track a mandatory quarantine on them would be unrealistic, the memo states.

“If this approach were to be extended to China, it would be unsustainable given the volume of travellers,” the memo said.

“A voluntary self-isolation places less pressure on public health resources.”

Global said the memo sent to Hajdu was prepared following a briefing delivered by the country’s top public health officials to their managers in health departments across Canada about how to address the growing crisis.

The memo said that enforcing the Quarantine Act would require more resources for local public health units so they could “undertake active monitoring of each individual,” as well as an emergency order.

It wasn’t until a month later, on March 25, the federal government ordered under the Quarantine Act that required any traveller entering Canada by air, sea or land to quarantine for 14 days, whether they were experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or not.

Asked about the delay on Chinese arrivals in his daily press conference, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau replied: “We recognized early on that this was a challenge and we did take many measures to try and control or prevent or ensure that Canada was less vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19 that we were seeing elsewhere in the world.

“With hindsight, I’m sure there are lots of things that we could have done differently … but I can tell you that every step of the way, we took the advice of our medical professionals and our public health experts seriously and did as best we could.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

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