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Indigenous protest could shut down CN Rail

Protests supporting a small band of Indigenous activists in B.C. continued across the country Tuesday – with CN Rain threatening to close down major sections of their tracks.

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Protests supporting a small band of Indigenous activists in B.C. continued across the country Tuesday – with CN Rain threatening to close down major sections of their tracks.

The protests – demanding a stop to construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline – have been stepped up in the wake of the RCMP raiding and removing the protesters’ main camp, near Smithers B.C.

In a statement, CN said blockades in Ontario and B.C. “are impacting all Canadians’ ability to move goods and enable trade.

““There are currently no movements of any trains, freight or passenger, at both those locations. Hundreds of trains have been canceled since the blockades began five days ago. The impact is also being felt beyond Canada’s borders and is harming the country’s reputation as a stable and viable supply chain partner.”

CN said unless the blockades are cleared, the company will be forced to close “significant parts of its Canadian network imminently.

“We are currently parking trains across our network, but due to limited available space for such, CN will have no choice but to temporarily discontinue service in key corridors unless the blockades come to an end, said JJ Ruest, president and chief executive officer of CN.

On Tuesday night, Via Rail announced they were cancelling passenger service in central Canada through Thursday.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney called the protests “eco-colonialism,” adding people are projecting their own environmental views on Indigenous people.

In B.C., hundreds of protesters blocked access to the Legislature in Victoria.

From the Victoria blockade

In Calgary, Transport Minister Marc Garneau told reporters the government was extremely concerned about the blockades.

“We are concerned because this has an effect on the transportation of goods by train across the country and those trains in some cases are not being able to operate as they normally do because of the blockades,” Garneau said.

On Vancouver Island on Monday, a citizen who removed part of a blockade was arrested by the RCMP.

The pipeline has the support of all First Nations along the route, but hereditary chiefs of Wet’suwet’en Nation, through which 28% of the 670-km route passes, oppose it.

A group of unelected hereditary chiefs had set up a camp near Smithers and have kicked out Coastal GasLink workers.

The RCMP said they have found traps like felled trees and three stacks of tires along with flammables along the access road.

On Jan. 7, 2019, RCMP arrested 14 protesters along the B.C. logging road. 

International attention was drawn to the issue when a British newspaper reported RCMP were ready to shoot protesters when they broke up the camp. The RCMP denied the story.

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.

The RCMP checkpoint had been set up at the 27-km mark of the forest service road “to mitigate safety concerns related to the hazardous items of fallen trees and tire piles with incendiary fluids along the roadway.”

The $6.6 billion pipeline, to be operated by TC Energy Corp, would transport gas from near Dawson Creek in northeast B.C. to Kitimat on the coast and supply Canada’s largest liquefied natural gas export terminal, called LNG Canada, which is under construction.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of 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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Yahoo! Albertans still choosing Western names for their young ‘uns

A quick review of baby names from 2019 in the province shows a lot of folks are still naming their children from cowboy culture.

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There may be no Stampede this year – but there will certainly be lots of Alberta children toddlin’ around with good ol’ fashion cowboy names.

A quick review of baby names from 2019 in the province shows a lot of folks are still naming their children from cowboy culture.

In fact, one Alberta family actually named their little boy “Cowboy”.

There was also “Clint”, presumably named after everyone’s favourite Western actor Eastwood.

There was “Wyatt”, maybe named after the infamous sheriff Earp.

There was “Colt” maybe named after a favourite horse or gun.

Albertans also named their little fellas Beau, Dirk, Hayes, Maverick and Stryder – all strong Western names.

Cowboy brands aside, as reported last month, the most popular boys name’s in Alberta last year was “Noah.”

With the globe battling pandemics and weather phenomena, it leaves you wondering if the new parents had some inside information.

Olivia continued to claim the top spot for baby girls.

Stampede 2020 was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Calgary police, fire statues desecrated

“I thought it was disgusting,” said Calgary police Supt. Ryan Jepson

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Vandals have desecrated statues to brave Calgary police officers and firefighters.

City crews were forced Friday to clear away red paint thrown on the statues sometime Thursday night or Friday morning.

The statues are in front of city hall.

“I thought it was disgusting,” Calgary police Supt. Ryan Jepson told Global on Friday.

Courtesy Global

“It’s as disgusting as it would be if a memorial site was desecrated anywhere. So, it’s unfortunate that it happened and I understand that it’s likely out of some frustration from some community members.

“That is not OK. It doesn’t solve anything.”

The Calgary Fire Department also condemned the targeting of the statues.

“The statue and the monument, they are there to represent what we do as emergency responders. Firefighters, we’re in service to Calgarians, to help them in their time of need,” spokeswoman Carol Henke told Global.

Police are investigating the incident.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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UCP launches independent probe into 2016 Grande Prairie hospital noose incident

“Racism and bigotry have no place in our health-care system,” said Health Care Minister Tyler Shandro

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The Alberta government has ordered an independent investigation after reports a noose was found hanging in a Grande Prairie hospital four years ago.

“In 2016, a piece of rope tied into a noose was found taped to the door of an operating room at the Grande Prairie Hospital. In August of 2019, I was first made aware of this incident and was reassured by senior officials that the matter was being dealt with appropriately, Health Minister Tyler Shandro said in a statement Friday morning.

“Recently, individuals with first-hand knowledge of the incident have raised this matter again, questioning how AHS handled this matter in 2016. I share their concerns and I am not satisfied that this matter was handled appropriately.

“Racism and bigotry have no place in our health-care system. That’s why I am announcing an independent third-party investigation of how this matter was handled by Alberta Health Services.

“It also appears that the investigation was limited by medical staff bylaws that govern how AHS responds to complaints and disciplines staff. These bylaws have not been updated in more than a decade. Consequently, I have issued a directive requiring AHS to revise their bylaws within 60 days.

“Finally, I will be introducing legislation next week that will increase the number of public representatives on college councils, hearing tribunals and complaint review committees from 25 per cent to 50 per cent – which will increase the public’s oversight of health professions.

“These initial steps are only the beginning. The review, which will be made public, will undoubtedly bring further required changes to our attention. While it may be uncomfortable for some, Albertans demand and expect our health-care system to reject racism and intolerance. If our system failed, we will fix it.”

Former NDP health minister Sarah Hoffman said she was unaware of the incident.

“I am shocked and disgusted to learn of the violent, racist incident that occurred at the Grande Prairie Hospital in 2016. I want to be clear that I was not aware of this incident at the time. If I had been informed, I would have taken swift action and that doctor would have been fired immediately,” Hoffman said in a statement.

“My record on confronting racism is clear. In 2017, when two AHS employees used a racial slur against an Indigenous woman, we moved swiftly to dismiss them. 

“I am deeply concerned that Tyler Shandro, the current Health Minister, has known about this incident for nearly a year and he has not raised this publicly or acted. That’s not leadership. We must confront racism head on. We must be anti-racist.”


CBC reported, a white South African-born surgeon tied a noose and then taped it to the door of an operating room in the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital.

He told another doctor the noose was for a Black Nigerian-born surgical assistant, CBC said.

In a statement to CBC, the surgeon said: “Some years ago, as a foolish joke, I made what I considered to be a lasso and hung it in an operating room door. In no way was it intended to be a racist gesture.

“It was very quickly drawn to my attention by staff members that this was unacceptable I subsequently brought the matter to the attention of AHS and apologized both verbally and in writing to my colleagues.

“At the time, I did not appreciate the heinous symbolism behind the knot I created. I did undertake some self-study and I now have great insight into the symbolism here and I am terribly sorry and embarrassed about this incident.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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