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Alberta nurses’ benefits should be rolled back, says taxpayers group

A taxpayers group is demanding the Alberta government reign in some of the “golden benefits” given to provincial nurses.

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A taxpayers group is demanding the Alberta government reign in some of the “golden benefits” given to provincial nurses.

“Not only are Alberta’s government nurses receiving big salaries compared to their counterparts in other provinces, they’re also receiving golden benefits that must be scaled back,” said Franco Terrazzano, Alberta Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, in a statement Wednesday.

“Premier Jason Kenney needs to pull Albertans out of the $70-billion debt hole and reining in these golden benefits is the perfect place to start.”

The CTF said they found freedom of information documents that showed some nurses getting double pensions, unfair overtime pay and top-up bonuses.

“In addition to receiving a defined benefit pension plan, which is described as “quite generous” by the pension plan, UNA nurses are also receiving matching RRSP or TFSA contributions from taxpayers up to two per cent of a nurse’s earnings. The second pension could add more than $1,850 every year to the compensation of top registered nurses,” said the CTF statement.

The CTF claims: “Part-time nurses have specific days-off built into their schedules, known as Designated Days of Rest. Any hours worked on those days trigger double-time pay, even if the part-time nurse hasn’t worked full-time hours. This policy has cost taxpayers more than $77 million since 2014 and increased the salaries of recipient nurses by about $4,000 on average in 2018.

“Full-time UNA nurses receive additional lump sum payments of $1,750 every year. The estimated cost of these lump sum payments for full-time nurses is about $20 million every year (based on 43 per cent of Alberta nurses being full-time and number of AHS UNA nursing positions).”

Terrazzano said Alberta’s maximum hourly salary rates are higher than those in every other province, except for one type of position in Ontario.

““Most Albertans would be laughed out of the room if we approached our boss demanding these types of benefits,” said Terrazzano. “It’s not fair to make struggling taxpayers continue to pay for golden benefits on-top of high Alberta government salaries.”

The United Nurses of Alberta said they would be commenting later in the day.

Dave Naylor is News Editor for the Western Standard

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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‘WOE CANADA’: Canucks fire anthem singer for anti-mask support

“I sing ‘O Canada’ as a sign of unity and strength for all Canadians. The true north strong and free,” Mark Donnelly said.

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The Vancouver Canucks have fired their famed anthem singer for being set to perform “O Canada” at an anti-mask rally Saturday.

Mark Donnelly said he will sing ‘O Canada’ at the B.C. Christmas Freedom Rally 2020 at the Vancouver Art Gallery, protesting COVID-19 restrictions. 

“I sing ‘O Canada’ as a sign of unity and strength for all Canadians. The true north strong and free,” he told Postmedia.

Shortly after the Vancouver Sun published its story, Vancouver Canucks owner Franceso Aquilini tweeted: “Hey @VancouverSun change the headline to ‘Former Canucks anthem singer.’ #wearamask.”

The team then issued a statement confirming the firing.

Tweet of Vancouver Canucks’ owner

“Mark Donnelly is acting independently and we hope the public understands he is not representing the Vancouver Canucks,” the statement said.

“We encourage everyone to wear a mask and to follow the provincial health orders.”

BC residents are stay-at-home orders and a mask mandate. People have been told to avoid social gatherings of all kinds.

The singer has achieved world-wide fame with his booming voice and getting the fans to sing along.

He drew attention of a different sort when he took a tumble over a red carpet on the ice in a 2014 junior game – he got up and continued to perform the anthem while skating.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Kenney hits out against anti-mask protesters

Kenney has been under fire for not condemning the 500 protesters who showed up in Calgary to protest mandatory mask regulations. Rallies were also held in Red Deer and Edmonton.

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has lashed out at protesters who refuse to wear masks – telling them to visit his friend in ICU if they think COVID-19 is a hoax.

Kenney has been under fire for not condemning the 500 protesters who showed up in Calgary last weekend to protest mandatory mask regulations. Rallies were also held in Red Deer and Edmonton.

“If you think this is a hoax, talk to my friend in the ICU, fighting for his life,” said Kenney during a live Facebook stream Thursday night.

“If you’re thinking of going to an anti-mask rally this weekend, how about instead send me an email, call me all the names you want, send me a letter, organize an online rally.”

Another rally is planned for Saturday in Calgary. The province has currently outlawed public gatherings of more than 10 people.

If you refuse to wear a mask, Kenney said: “Don’t go where you have to wear a mask.”

On Thursday, Alberta announced a new record daily figure for new coronavirus cases at 1,854. There were also an additional 14 deaths reported.

Alberta has had 63,023 cases of COVID-19 resulting in 575 deaths.

The province currently has the most active cases and second highest hospitalization rate of any Canadian province.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Edmonton server glassed after mask dispute with female customer

“I’m going to have a helluva scar on my face – and it all started over a stupid mask” says Erin Shaw

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An Edmonton pub server was glassed in the face after asking a female customer to put on a facemask.

Erin Shaw, a server at the Crown & Anchor Pub & Grill needed 14 stitches to close facial wounds after the Saturday attack.

“I’m going to have a helluva scar on my face,” Shaw told CTV. “And it all started over a stupid mask.”

The drama began after the attacker was asked to put on a mask as she walked around the pub visiting. She finally agreed and sat back down.

Tensions escalated when the woman tried to order booze after the province’s 10 p.m. cut-off.

Another customer then openly questioned how a person could not know the mask mandatory mask regulations. Shaw said the woman went and begin yelling at that customer.

“She got into a regular’s face, calling her the b-word and the c-word and all this and saying how she’s a young Black woman with rights.”

Shaw intervened and a verbal exchange ensued during which the female allegedly accused Shaw of being racist.

“No one brought up race but her.”

Later on surveillance camera footage at the family-owned pub shows Shaw motioning for the woman to leave. The two then approach each other and the fight is on.

“She stood on her tippy toes and got right in my face and I pushed her back and I said, ‘Please do not touch me. You need to leave. Have a good night. You are not welcome,’” Shaw told CTV.

“But she came up and went right for my throat. I said, ‘Do not effing touch me,’ pushed her back into the corner and said, ‘You need to leave.’”

It was then the woman grabbed a glass and smashed it into Shaw’s face. The server was then able to take the woman to the ground.

“I didn’t notice until after she got up and ran out that I was bleeding,” said Shaw.

“I wanted people to know this is happening and I wanted the government to take note of it and make sure that the workers who are working are safe.”

“I’ve had people saying my guardian angels were there. She didn’t break my nose, she didn’t give me a concussion, and she didn’t hurt my eye.”

But Shaw added she is worried about continually trying to help enforce provincial health restrictions.

“If the government wants me to keep policing people still and doing this, then they’re going to need to start paying me.” said Shaw.

Edmonton police are investigating the attack.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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