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Alberta cases of COVID-19 rising

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer said all 14 cases in Alberta have been acquired outside of the country.

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The province of Alberta announced Wednesday an additional five confirmed cases of COVID-19 – three from the Calgary zone, one from central zone and one from Edmonton zone.

All of the new cases are self-quarantined and are expected to recover.

“The situation is evolving very rapidly,” Dr. Hinshaw said Wednesday.

The government will be implementing screening at the Calgary and Edmonton international airports on Friday for passengers returning from Italy and Iran.

The announcement follows Tuesday’s numbers of seven new cases – the biggest one-day jump in the province since it confirmed its first case on March 5.

Three of the new cases Tuesday were from the Edmonton zone.

“They involve a male in his seventies and a female in her sixties who had travelled together, and a female in her thirties who had also recently travelled outside of Canada,” according to the government of Alberta press release.

“The other four new cases are from the Calgary zone. They involve a male in his fifties, two females in their thirties and a female in her forties.”

The Calgary zone includes 1.4 million Albertans and is approximately the size of P.E.I. The Edmonton zone includes outlying areas such as Beaumont, Devon, Leduc, Morinville, Sherwood Park, Spruce Grove, St. Albert, Stony Plain, and Thorsby.

Alberta had tested almost 1,000 individuals over the weekend after the first presumptive case was discovered last week and has tested over 2,000 individuals in total.

“Across all of government, we have been preparing for weeks,” Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer said at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon .

So far all cases in Alberta have been related to travel outside of the country and there has not yet been evidence of community spread in the province.

At this time, neither Alberta Health nor the Public Health Agency of Canada are recommending that mass gatherings should be cancelled at this time. There is a FAQ on PHAC’s website whether a mass-gathering should go forward.

In terms of protecting one’s employment for a two week period, which is the recommended isolation period, Hinshaw said that she would recommend people check the legislation.

“A total of 16 weeks is the duration for employment protection” if an employee has has been employed longer than 90 days Hinshaw said.

The issue of sick leave has been broached in both Canada and the U.S. with companies such as Olive Garden and Uber introducing sick leave for all employees.

USA Today wrote about the “impossible choice” employees must make when they don’t have sick leave benefits – that choice is whether to risk exposure to others or their livelihood and the situation is no less dire in Canada for those who do not have protections.

The incubation period, and self-quarantine, is two weeks but few employers offer such extended sick leave benefits.

Hinshaw said that those who were “under investigation” in Alberta and recommended to self-quarantine would be given a certificate to pass on to their employer.

According to Health Canada, there are 93 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country with 39 of those cases in British Columbia and 14 now in Alberta. Ontario last reported 36 cases and Quebec has reported four cases. Saskatchewan and Manitoba have no reported cases at this time.

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

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UCP MLA calls Alberta CERB recipients lazy ‘Cheezie-eaters’

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The NDP is calling for an apology from Premier Jason Kenney after one of his MLAs called Albertans lazy “Cheezie-eating” people who used CERB money for drugs.

Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland MLA Shane Getson also called the federal emergency COVID-19 cash “funny money” at a recent townhall meeting.

He noted some companies are having trouble hiring workers because people make more on CERB and those Alberta recipients are “eating Cheezies watching cartoons.”

Getson said a friend in B.C. had noted drug abusers there had suddenly gone from earning $700 a month to $2,000 on CERB, a problem he has also noticed in Alberta.

“Now all of a sudden we have addiction problems going through the roof…then what, the funny money runs out.”

It’s unclear in the clip whether at the start Getson was referring to all Albertans or just those on drugs.

Getson video

“It is absolutely vile that a UCP MLA would make such a baseless and harmful statement about the hardworking people of Alberta who were forced to access emergency support during a global pandemic,” said Christina Gray, NDP Labour Critic. 

“People accessed these funds because their workplaces shut down or because they or their families were forced to isolate. The UCP defends their own use of emergency support for their debt ridden political party, while their MLA attacks struggling Albertans who needed support. Premier Kenney and Shane Getson owe all Albertans an apology for these thoughtless and hurtful comments.” 

Statistics Canada said 1,062,640 Albertans applied for the CERB.

“These comments are heartless and appalling,” said Heather Sweet, NDP Critic for Addictions and Mental Health. 

Notley tweet

“We learned just days ago about the tragic deaths of 301 Albertans to opioid overdoses. For an MLA to essentially joke about addictions at this time is beyond the pale. It speaks to the lack of compassion this government repeatedly shows when it comes to addressing mental health and addictions in this province Getson needs to immediately apologize for his ignorant and hurtful comments.”

Getson issued a statement later Tuesday.

Today, the NDP has politicized some remarks I made at a recent town hall by taking them out of context for political gain. The context was that a local business owner had raised concerns about not being able to hire workers despite being able to operate.

Clearly, the vast majority of recipients of government support truly need it. At the same time, some legitimate concerns have been raised about these programs that cannot be ignored. 

According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, CERB was the number one reason cited by small business owners for their inability to recall workers. And according to Ottawa Inner City Health, CERB is fueling overdoses in Canada’s capital city.

These are important issues that deserve our attention as they are happening everywhere. I recently spoke about these issues at a town hall in my community. Unsurprisingly, the NDP is now attacking me instead of focusing on how we keep our people safe.

It is important that we look at the evidence objectively. This will help protect our families and businesses in these difficult times.

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

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Moe promises balanced budget in Saskatchewan in four years

“I believe in Saskatchewan. But Scott Moe’s old ideas aren’t working,” said NDP leader Ryan Meili

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Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe kicked off the province’s election campaign with a vow to balance the books by 2024.

The province ran a $2.4-billion deficit for the 2020-21, a figure largely blamed on falling oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moe, during a campaign kick-off in Regina, said his Saskatchewan Party has a “plan for a strong economic recovery with a balanced budget by 2024.”

He said Saskatchewan now, despite a “challenging economy”, has the lowest unemployment rate in the country and urged voters not to go back to the policies of the NDP.

“They closed hospitals, we are building hospitals,” said Moe, whose party is well ahead in the polls.

“This election is about ‘who do you trust.'”

NDP leader Ryan Meili was itching to get on the campaign trail.

“New Democrats are ready to run a great campaign against this government that is old and out of ideas. Let’s go!” he tweeted.

Ryan Meili
Courtesy Twitter

“I believe in Saskatchewan. But Scott Moe’s old ideas aren’t working. We need to invest in healthcare, in our kids’ schools, in getting people back on their feet. Let’s build a better future that puts people first.”

The election will be held Oct. 26, two days after the vote in B.C.

When the legislature was dissolved, Moe’s Saskatchewan Party held a 46-13 lead over the NDP.

Moe was sworn in as premier in 2018.

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

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Report: Trudeau’s second carbon tax would devastate Canada

“It will sacrifice the Canadian standard of living that has made our country a desirable place to live for so long. Trudeau will make it even harder to live in Canada.”

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The second Liberal carbon tax will have a crushing effect on the Canadian economy, a new study shows.

The Clean Fuel Standard will increase the cost of home heating by 60 per cent, drive up the price of gas another 13 cents a litre, cost 30,000 jobs, put at risk $22 billion in foreign capital in Canada and cost every worker an additional $440 yearly, says the group Canadian for Affordable Energy.

Their report claims “the additional emission regulation undermines the efficiency of any existing carbon tax in reducing GHG emissions; that despite its cost the CFS will accomplish very little – especially in a growing economy; and that, depending on compliance options, the CFS may end up creating environmental challenges, not opportunities.

Study of second carbon tax on Alberta

“The problems of the Clean Fuel Standard (CFS) are truly represented in its name, which misleadingly suggests that the policy will deliver clean air. But Canada already has remarkably high clean air standards which are rarely violated,” said the report, written by former Liberal MP Dan McTeague.

“If the (Prime Minister Justin) Trudeau government is to pursue the lofty goal of zero emissions above all else, it will sacrifice the Canadian standard of living that has made our country a desirable place to live for so long. Trudeau will make it even harder to live in Canada.”

Study of second carbon tax on B.C.

The second carbon tax is part of Canada’s plan within the Paris Accord to reduce emissions 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

The Liberals have been planning the CFS since they came to power but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed their plans until now.

Federal environment minister Jonathan Wilkinson said the CFS will diversify the economy and promote investment in clean solutions.

“It will create opportunities for farmers and companies producing renewable fuels, will encourage investments in energy efficiency to help Canadians save money and will promote faster development of zero emissions vehicles,” he said in a statement.

“The cost implications for households and industry are unclear but a study by the Canadian Energy Research Institute in May 2019 estimated the impact of a 20 per cent reduction in carbon intensity. CERI suggested a total fuel decarbonisation cost of $15.3 billion a year, adding $84 or four per cent to household fuel bills; $62 or 2.8 per cent to the cost of gas; and 13 per cent to fuel costs for industry.”

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

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