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RCMP set to retreat from Indigenous territory

In Quebec though, Premier François Legault warned protesters police were set to move to clear them away later Thursday.

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The RCMP are set to leave the controversial site of an indigenous blockade in B.C. where members were protesting the building of the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

But the premier of Quebec warned protesters in his province the police were set to move in later today.

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair made the announcement in Ottawa and said because of the RCMP move, rail blockades across the country should be halted.

“The RCMP— I think in a very appropriate pursuit of less confrontation and in the goal of peacekeeping—have agreed to continue to serve the area but by locating their people in a nearby town, which is entirely their decision but I think the right one,” Blair told reporters.

At the campsite near Smithers, B.C, hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation have been opposing the planned Coastal GasLink pipeline.

Blair said the RCMP have offered to move their officers at the camp to the nearby town of Houston.

Blair said it a “sound operational decision” made by the RCMP.

“I’m hoping that… the condition that the people said was the reason for the barricades has now been met,” Blair said.

“I think now the circumstances are such that those barricades should come down… now it’s time to move forward.”

In Quebec though, Premier François Legault warned protesters police were set to move to clear them away later Thursday.

• What the Western Standard says

Legault told reporters there’s a request for an injunction to dismantle the protest site affecting the Exo Mont Saint-Hilaire line.

He said if the injunction is granted “we’ll take action with the police.”

In other developments Thursday

• Justin Trudeau’s cabinet is meeting in Ottawa over the crisis.

• Canada’s premiers have demanded a telecom conference with Trudeau over the issue. It will apparently take place at 4 p.m. MST

• The Tories were set to hold a vote on non-confidence against the Liberals on Thursday but backed down.

• Demonstrators have taken the protest globally with pickets in London, England and San Fransisco.

Last Thursday,  CN Rail announced it was closing down operations in eastern Canada while Via Rail shuttered its entire network because of a Mohawk rail blockade near Brockville, Ont.

Tory leader Andrew Scheer said enough is enough and it’s time for Trudeau to call in the RCMP to clear the blockades.

“Quite frankly, this is getting ridiculous. Radical activists, many of whom have no connection to theWet’suwet’en people, are holding our economy hostage. Meanwhile our prime minister has been out of the country on a vanity project to win a vote at the UN, neglecting his duties here at home,” Scheer said, referencing Trudeau’s jaunt to Africa.

“Do the right thing, Prime Minister Trudeau. We can’t allow a small number of activists to hold our economy hostage and threaten thousands of jobs. I believe it’s time for the law to be enforced. Law enforcement should enforce the law. We have court orders, court injunctions, they need to be respected.”

The protests have been growing across Canada for two weeks since the RCMP raided and tore down an Indigenous camp near Smithers.

Last Thursday, the protesters at the main camp released a new video of RCMP action at the site.

COURTESY GIDIMT’EN CHECKPOINT





RCMP officer seen at Indigenous camp near Smithers, B.C.

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.

Courtesy Twitter

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 a Jan. 3 edict 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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Canada’s cops worried Liberal gun ban will hamper training

“Officers who wanted to frequently practice their patrol carbine skills could purchase their own AR-15 and practice on their own time, beyond the once or twice a year mandated qualification,” Rob Welsman wrote.

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Canadian cops are worried the Liberal government’s new gun grab will hamper their training with their automatic rifles.

Writing for the police’s Blue Line website, Rob Welsman, a police officer and a firearms and defensive tactics instructor, said prior to the ban, most of the patrol rifles in use in Canada were classified as restricted firearms and those models could be purchased privately by anyone holding a restricted firearms licence.

He wrote with the passage of the new law, all private sales of these firearms have stopped. The most common firearm in Canada that appears on the list of banned rifles is the AR-15 (Armalite Rifle model 15) and its variants, which also happens to be the most common type of patrol rifle in Canada for general duty/patrol use, as well as for many specialty teams.

“During its time as a restricted firearm, officers who wanted to frequently practice their patrol carbine skills could purchase their own AR-15 and practice on their own time, beyond the once or twice a year mandated qualification their police service provides. These officers must now be aware that such privately owned firearms are prohibited and can no longer be trained with,” Welsman wrote.

“Because the ban goes beyond the AR-15, any Canadian police officer who owns firearms, AR-15 or not, should carefully review the list of banned firearms and the ban criteria so as to avoid being in criminal possession at the conclusion of the two-year amnesty.

“With the private ownership option gone, officers will be limited in their ability to seek out additional training from private companies who offer, or at one time offered, patrol carbine training.  With this new legal framework, it will be a difficult proposition for an officer to get approval from their department to take a department-owned carbine out of service to go to outside training that hasn’t been reviewed and evaluated by the department.

“In addition, firearms trainers, many of whom are private citizens but with former law enforcement or military backgrounds, will be unable to use for teaching the very firearms platforms that they instruct on.  In the past, privately-owned patrol carbines removed these road-blocks, and now officers will be much more limited in their training options.”

In early May, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced they are banning 1,500 different makes and models of what he called “military-style” and “assault-style” guns in Canada.

The ban came into effect immediately and was ordered by the cabinet without any bill or debate in Parliament.

Previously legal gun owners will be allowed to export the weapon or send them back to the manufacturer.

Guns like the M16, M4, AR-10 and AR-15 rifles will be banned. It is estimated there are now 125,000 of these guns – purchased legally – which are now illegal. Licensed gun owners will no longer be allowed to sell, transport, import or use the guns.

The move comes after the worst mass killing in Canadian history April 18-19 where Gabriel Wortman killed 22 people in Nova Scotia. Thirteen had been shot to death while nine died in fires Wortman set. Critics say the Liberals are using the tragedy to push through their new gun ban.

Wortman used illegal weapons from both Canada and the U.S. including one the RCMP said “could be described as a military-style assault rifle.”

The federal government still has to work out the details of a buy-back program to compensate the owners of previous legal firearms.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Alberta orders mandatory masks in schools for reopening

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said students and teachers between Grades 4-12 will have to wear masks to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

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The government of Alberta says masks will be mandatory in provincial schools when kids return next month.

In the Monday announcement, Education Minister Adriana LaGrange said students and teachers between Grades 4-12 will have to wear masks to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Each student will be provided two reusable masks to use.

More than 1.6 million masks will be distributed to 740,000 students and 90,000 staff. Additional single-use masks will be available at schools, if required.

Mask use for kindergarten to Grade 3 students will continue to be optional. The government said mask use for younger children is a challenge due to difficulties with proper fit and compliance. In addition, evidence shows that children under 10 may be less likely than older children or adults to transmit COVID-19.

“The safety of our staff and students continues to be my number 1 priority. Since cancelling in-person classes in March and developing our school re-entry plan, we have been clear that we would continue to adapt our guidelines as necessary based on current medical advice,” LaGrange said.

“These new safety measures will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our schools, and we will continue to work with our school authorities to ensure they are equipped for a successful start to the school year.”

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Chief Medical Officer of Health for Alberta said: “After reviewing the emerging evidence, it is clear that masks can play an important role in limiting the spread of COVID-19. I am not making this updated recommendation lightly, but acting on the best current evidence available.

“While masks are important, I want to stress that they are only one of the many public health measures in place to limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of students, staff and families.”

About 466,000 litres of hand sanitizer will be distributed between all school authorities. The specific volume provided to an individual school authority will be based on student population.

And each school will receive two contactless thermometers to assist with managing student and staff health. Thermometer use will be at the discretion of the school authority.

After the announcement, the NDP’s Kathleen Ganley tweeted: “Masks are good, but an adequate response requires some kind of class size limit – desks are too close together and masks are not required at all times. Classrooms with over 30 kids are a huge problem.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

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WE scandal: Trudeau says he had no clue how much his family was paid by WE charity

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said WE “received no preferential treatment.”

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he had no any how much his family was paid by the WE charity when he approved it for a nearly billion project.

Testifying from Rideau Cottage to a Senate inquiry on the WE scandal, Trudeau said he didn’t even realize the charity was in the running until he was told by “extremely professional” public affairs officials.

Trudeau testified he hoped to give the youth grant to the Canada Service Corps volunteer group but public service officials said they couldn’t do it and a third party was needed.

He said he didn’t hear about WE involvement until May 8, only hours before cabinet met to discuss the program.

Trudeau said because of his family connection to WE, the decision to give it the grant would be “closely scrutinized.”

Trudeau decided to pull the decision on May 8.

He said public officials later told him the WE group was the only group that was able to deliver the program so it was approved at the May 22 cabinet meeting.

Throwing the civil service under the bus was a reoccurring theme of Trudeau’s testimony.

Trudeau said WE “received no preferential treatment.

“I deeply regret how this has unfolded.”

In April, Trudeau announced a new program called the Canada Student Service Grant that promised to pay to students who volunteer over the summer.

Management of what was called $900-million program was outsourced to WE Charity. WE Charity would be paid up to $43 million to run the program.

After controversy erupted, the WE organization withdrew from the program.

Charity co-founder Craig Kielburger told MPs on Tuesday the amount of money involved was only $543 million. The charity has already received roughly $30 million of that but says it will repay the amount in full. They added the charity would be out $5 million they had already spent on the program.

The brothers denied they stood to personally benefit from the deal.

And they admitted they only hired the prime minister’s mother to speak on mental health when Justin Trudeau came to power.

It has emerged Margaret Trudeau spoke at approximately 28 WE events and received honoraria amounting to $312,000. Alexandre spoke at eight events and received approximately $32,000, while Sophie Gregoire Trudeau had more than $1,400 in expenses paid for.

 Margaret had also been paid $167,944 in expenses.

The PM testified Thursday he didn’t know the Kielburgers other than to to see them at the WE events he attended.

Under questioning by Tory MP Pierre Poilievre, Trudeau couldn’t provide figures on exactly how much his family made from WE nor the expenses paid to his wife for a trip to London a month before the final decision was made.

Trudeau said he didn’t even know what hotel in London his wife was staying in.

Poilievre told Trudeau: “Nobody believes you. You had a month to look into this.”

The meeting then degenerated into farce when the power went out for committee chair Wayne Easter.

That saw Poilievre saying he was now in charge of the hearing as the deputy chair.

He kept asking Trudeau how much his family his family made and the PM repeatedly refused to answer.

Liberal MPs then tried to shut down the meeting before Easter got his power back and order was restored.

Trudeau also said he had no idea WE fired their board chair and laid off hundreds of staff before they received the grant.

Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion has announced that his office is investigating.

Alberta’s UCP government has severed ties with the charity as has several businesses including Telus and Virgin Airlines

Just last week, Finance Minister Bill Morneau paid back $41,000 to WE for an exotic family holidays to Kenya and Ecuador.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter.com/nobby7694

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