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Pipeline company vows to move ahead despite aboriginal opposition

The company building a natural gas pipeline in B.C. says they will be resuming construction Tuesday – despite being given an eviction notice from an aboriginal band who claims it is on their land.

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The company building a natural gas pipeline in B.C. says they will resume construction Tuesday – despite being given an eviction notice from an aboriginal band who claim it is on their land.

“Coastal GasLink continues to remobilize construction crews across the right-of-way in anticipation of work resumption and ramp up this week, beginning with safety refresh meetings on Tuesday and Wednesday,” the company said in a statement on their website on Monday.

“Clearing, grading, workforce accommodation establishment and other activities are expected to continue as scheduled across the route. Pipe delivery also resumes this week, with continued receipt of materials at various storage sites, including north of Kitimat.”

On the weekend, Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs issued a letter telling the company that its staff and contractors were trespassing and demanding they vacate the land immediately.

Even though they had a legal right to be there, CGL workers left over the weekend, leaving a small security staff behind.

On Dec. 31, the B.C. Supreme Court granted CGL an injunction against members of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation from blocking the pipeline route near Smithers, B.C.

But the situation has been further complicated after an Jan. 3 indict by the Unist’ot’en, a smaller group within the First Nation, that they intend to terminate an agreement that had granted the company access to the land, effective Friday.

“In addition, early on January 5, Coastal GasLink personnel discovered that trees had been felled on the Morice River Forest Service Road at Kilometer 39, making the road impassable. While it is unclear who felled these trees, this action is a clear violation of the Interlocutory Injunction as it prevents our crews from accessing work areas,” the company said in a statement.

“We are disappointed that after nearly a year of successful joint implementation of the Access Agreement, the Unist’ot’en has decided to terminate it. Our preference has always been to find mutually agreeable solutions through productive and meaningful dialogue. We have reached out to better understand their reasons and are hopeful we can find a mutually agreeable path forward. To that end, we are requesting to meet with Unist’ot’en and the Hereditary Chiefs as soon as possible.

“In granting Coastal GasLink an Interlocutory Injunction, the B.C .Supreme Court made clear that it is unlawful to obstruct or blockade Coastal GasLink from pursuing its permitted and authorized activities.”

The Coastal GasLink pipeline will deliver natural gas from the Dawson Creek area to the LNG Canada facility near Kitimat, B.C., a distance of 670 km.

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter: @Nobby7694

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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Alberta union leader under fire for comparing the UCP to Nazis

“And, yes, I’m accusing the UCP of adopting tactics pioneered by the Nazis,” said AFL leader Gil McGowan

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One of Alberta’s top union leaders – affiliated with the NDP – is being blasted from all sides for comparing the UCP government to Nazis.

“Hitler’s propaganda chief, Joseph Goebbels, famously said “always accuse your enemies of what you are doing yourself.” That’s exactly what’s going on with Jason Kenney’s union-busting Bill 32. It’s the UCP & its corporate friends who are gaming the system,” Alberta Federation of Labour head Gil McGowan tweeted.

“And, yes, I’m accusing the UCP of adopting tactics pioneered by the Nazis and being implemented right-wing authoritarians today. Hungary, Turkey, Brazil, India, Trump’s America. These are all countries led by authoritarians who Kenney calls friends. This is what we’re up against.”

The tweet on Monday drew immediate condemnation.

“Comparing peaceful enactment of legislation…to strategies of the tyrannical Nazi regime diminishes Nazi crimes & is an insult to Cdn democracy. McGowan owes the Jewish community & all Cdns an apology!” said the Michael Mostyn, head of the Jewish organization B’nai Brith of Canada.

The Calgary Jewish Federation also tweeted its disgust.

We are aware of recent comments on social media from Gil McGowan comparing the UCP to Nazis,” the tweet read.

“We have reached out directly to Gil McGowan’s office to discuss our concerns.”

McGowan’s AFL has designated seats on the Alberta NDP’s Provincial Council.

Premier Jason Kenney’s issue’s manager Matt Wolf Monday on Twitter called McGowan “a fool.”

Kenney’s spokesman, Christine Myatt, in a statement to Global, called on McGown to apologize.

“It is disappointing but not surprising to see NDP-affiliated union bosses like Gil McGowan stoop so low as to compare government policy (giving union members choice on whether their wages are used for political purposes) to the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis,” said Myatt.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Premier, Lethbridge police chief shocked after two cops demoted for stalking NDP minister

“It’s deeply disturbing that police officers used their powers for private purposes in unauthorized surveillance of an elected official,” said Premier Jason Kenney

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Premier Jason Kenney called it “appalling” and Lethbridge’s police chief said Tuesday it was “embarrassing” after two officers were demoted for stalking and NDP cabinet minister.

“This conduct is completely unacceptable. It’s deeply disturbing that police officers used their powers for private purposes in unauthorized surveillance of an elected official,” Kenney tweeted.

“I am appalled that MLA (Shannon) Phillips was subjected to this, & thank Min. Schweitzer for taking swift action.”

Phillips thanks the premier for his backing.

Thank you, (Premier), I appreciate this support. This isn’t about me, it’s about our community safety and I’m grateful you see that, too,” Phillips replied.

The pair were commenting after reports Monday two veteran Lethbridge police officers had been demoted for using the police power to stalk Phillips after she blocked accesses to ATVers into the Castle mountain area when she was the NDP environment minister in 2017.

In a statement Lethbridge police chief Scott Woods said the situation was “embarrassing” for the force.

“The actions for which these officers – Sgt. Jason Carrier and Cst. Keon Woronuk – were disciplined cannot be excused. The fact that they admitted to the charges of misconduct indicates that they acknowledge this reality. But acknowledging the wrong-doing does not take away the embarrassment and shame that has been brought upon the LPS by their actions, nor does it mitigate the justified anger and profound disappointment of Ms. Phillips and others in our community who have a right to expect so much better from their Police Service,” Woods said Tuesday.

“While I am deeply disappointed in the actions and attitudes of the officers, I do take some consolation in knowing they have been held accountable. 

“The two officers have been sanctioned for their individual misconduct, but all of us in the Police Service will bear the consequences. It now falls to us to regain the trust of the community that has been lost as a result of their actions.”

Lethbridge Police Chief Scott Woods
Courtesy Youtube

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 on Good Friday of that year.

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.

Both cops had an interest in quadding.

As the two officers left the diner Woronuk said to Carrier that he, “would hate to see Phillips drive away from the restaurant and there was a reason to stop her.”

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 LPS disciplinary hearing’s presiding officer Paul Manuel, a former Calgary Police Service inspector.

“I cannot see any purpose for such an action.”

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.”

Phillips and NDP justice critic Kathleen Ganley called on Monday afternoon for 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.

“Tonight I was informed of two Lethbridge police officers who had been conducting an unauthorized surveillance of MLA Shannon Phillips in 2017. I share in the outrage being expressed by many following this news.,” said Schweitzer, in a statement later that evening.

“To say it is completely unacceptable that members of the police would conduct unauthorized surveillance of any Albertan – in particular an elected official – is an understatement. Law enforcement is entrusted with a great deal of power, so it is particularly egregious when that power is abused. 

“The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) has been ordered to conduct a comprehensive review of the professional standards investigation to determine if there are grounds for a criminal investigation. 

“I have instructed my department to arrange for an out-of-province prosecutor should ASIRT require legal advice in conducting its investigation, including the determination of laying charges.”

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.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

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NDP MLA calls for investigation into Lethbridge police after cops demoted for stalking her

“Using police power to stalk and intimidate a minister is the stuff of a police state,” said Shannon Phillips

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A former Alberta NDP cabinet minister is calling for an out-of-province investigation into the Lethbridge Police Service accusing them of “intimidation for political purposes.”

Former Environment Minister Shannon Phillips made the call Monday after media reports that two police officers in Lethbridge had been demoted for following and photographing her before distributing the pictures on Facebook.

“The Lethbridge Police Service illegally put me under surveillance and harassed me in public,” said the Lethbridge West MLA in a press conference.

“There’s no question I’m worried about my safety…it’s terrifying.

“Using police power to stalk and intimidate a minister is the stuff of a police state.”

Phillips was referring to a Good Friday 2017 meeting she had 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.

CHAT News reported 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, CHAT reported from the 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.

As the two officers left the diner Woronuk said to Carrier that he, “would hate to see Phillips drive away from the restaurant and there was a reason to stop her.”

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.

“I cannot see any purpose for such an action.”

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.

“Tonight I was informed of two Lethbridge police officers who had been conducting an unauthorized surveillance of MLA Shannon Phillips in 2017. I share in the outrage being expressed by many following this news.,” said Schweitzer, in a statement.

“To say it is completely unacceptable that members of the police would conduct unauthorized surveillance of any Albertan – in particular an elected official – is an understatement. Law enforcement is entrusted with a great deal of power, so it is particularly egregious when that power is abused. 

“I was not previously aware of this incident nor was the government involved in the professional standards investigation which resulted in the temporary demotion of the two officers involved. 

“The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) has been ordered to conduct a comprehensive review of the professional standards investigation to determine if there are grounds for a criminal investigation. 

“I have instructed my department to arrange for an out-of-province prosecutor should ASIRT require legal advice in conducting its investigation, including the determination of laying charges.”

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.

Phillips said she was met with a torrent of online abuse “from the far-right” after the Castle decision, something she said would dissuade other women thinking of running for politics.

And she 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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