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Kenney wants to track COVID cases via smartphone

A spokesperson for Alberta’s privacy commissioner said the potential use of an app to monitor movements of citizens heightened privacy concerns.

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In an effort to contain the spread of the virus, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says his government would be willing to use technology to monitor the movements of Albertans who tested positive for COVID-19.

Such apps have been in use in China, Taiwan, and South Korea but have yet to be introduced to Western countries.

“I have been very clear; we intend to follow the lessons learned from successful countries like Taiwan, Singapore, and South Korea to more quickly reopen our economy and the relaunch strategy involves, in part, the limited and appropriate use of wireless apps, of smartphone apps for individuals who are under quarantine orders,” the premier said Wednesday in response to a question in the Legislature from UCP MLA Shane Getson.

Using international travel as an example, Kenney said it would help the government to “know if that person is going to go home and stay home”.

A spokesperson for Alberta’s privacy commissioner said the potential use of an app to monitor movements of citizens heightened privacy concerns.

“There are several unknowns about how an app would be deployed and what laws would be engaged by doing so,” Scott Sibbald told Postmedia.

“Any option being considered is sure to have privacy implications that would require reasonable safeguards to protect personal or health information. The Commissioner expects to be consulted on the various initiatives being explored by the Government of Alberta.”

Across the border, Kentucky officials have opted to use ankle monitors for individuals who have tested positive but “refuse to stay home”.

Kenney’s brief statement did not suggest the app would be used for those who refused to follow public health orders but rather for the government to monitor their cellular location and be assured targeted Albertans were staying home.

“The thought the government is going to start tracing people everywhere they go is ridiculous,” Kenney said.

“To protect us from a second phase of the pandemic, we might have to do what Taiwan, (China), Singapore and South Korea have done … we want to make sure they’re actually following the quarantine.”

Numbers released from the Alberta government’s modelling on Wednesday suggest the peak of the pandemic will not happen until late May. A second wave, if it were going to happen, would likely come in the fall after physical distancing restrictions were reduced.

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

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UPDATED: Saskatchewan election called

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe will send the province into an election Tuesday.

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Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe will send the province into an election Tuesday.

Moe took to twitter Monday night to tell voters they would be going to the polls in the middle of a COVID-19 pandemic.

“Tomorrow, I will ask Lt. Gov. Russ Mirasty to dissolve the Legislature,” Moe tweeted.

“This will be quite a different #skvotes campaign –but a very important one that will ask Saskatchewan voters one question: Who do you trust to lead Saskatchewan’s economic recovery?”

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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CORY MORGAN WEBCAST: Wild goose hunt, Alberta style

An interview with Jason Siliker of Canadian Premier Hunts on the multiple times that the RCMP interrupted his goose hunt.

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B.C. Liberals vow to cancel PST for one year; return at 3 per cent

“Everybody pays the PST, so everybody saves under the B.C. Liberal plan,” said Andrew Wilkinson

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B.C. Liberals say, if elected, they will help the economy recover by removing the 7 per cent provincial sales tax for one year.

After a year, a Liberal government would set the PST at 3 per cent until the economy recovers.

The federal GST is currently 5 per cent.

“British Columbians have lost confidence in the direction of the province and the weak economic record of the NDP. B.C. families and small businesses need help now, which is why a B.C. Liberal government will immediately eliminate the PST for one year — saving you money right away, getting more people working, and bringing investment back to B.C.,” said B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson.

“Countless people are still out of work, small businesses are facing bankruptcy, and the public health threat from COVID-19 is still very real.

“Eliminating PST puts more money in people’s pockets, stimulates growth for struggling small business, and helps British Columbians who are struggling to get by. This is a vital step to rebuild our economy.”

The Liberals say a family of four earning $60,000 per parent will save $1,714 in the first year, followed by an additional $979 in the second year. 

“Everybody pays the PST, so everybody saves under the B.C. Liberal plan,” said Wilkinson.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is applauding the pledge.

“We pay the PST on everything from used cars to toilet paper so this would save everyone a lot of money,” said Kris Sims, B.C. Director of the CTF.

“The best way to save people money is for governments to stop taking so much of it in the first place.

“We hope all of the parties can match or beat this promise so we can get serious about tax cuts during this election.”

In the 2019-20 budget year, British Columbians paid more than $7.5 billion in the PST.

“We need to do all we can to jolt our economy back to life and eliminating the PST would clear a lot of hurdles for working people and struggling businesses to get things rolling again,” said Sims.

“People know how to spend their money much better than the government does.”

B.C. residents go to the polls Oct. 24.

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

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