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Support for truckers needed to get supplies to Canadian destinations

There are currently 9,663 cases of COVID-19 in Canada with 2,204 cases from B.C. to Manitoba.

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Truck drivers are still working to ensure our store shelves are filled and fresh produce is available – and they need supports too.

News reports of truck drivers being denied access to washrooms and food at drive-thrus have been noted around the country.

Alberta Transportation has reopened a number of highway rest stops along Highway 2 but asked that drivers carry their own toilet paper and hand sanitizer in case the rest stop is out.

The province closed a number of rest stop washrooms as “cost saving measures’ in October but have since reopened some along common transport routes to accommodate drivers who must be on the roads to deliver goods.

“Keeping these washrooms open is a priority as the trucking industry and the movement of goods is crucially important,” Alberta Transportation said.

The Alberta Motor Transportation Association has provided a new rest stop database on their website for drivers who are still making the trips along Alberta highways and some restaurants such as McDonald’s are offering curbside delivery to drivers who cannot go through a drive-thru.

Tim Hortons has also announced that Truckers can order through the Tim Horton’s app and pick-up at the door. The company has take-out and washroom access in over 2,000 locations, a recent statement said.

Jeff, a driver who runs from Calgary to Medicine Hat, AB, says the traffic has dropped and is mostly trucks now.

“I feel for the drivers who are far from home. I see many at the rest stops overnight and I wonder if they have food or a restroom break or a shower,” he said.

Advocates have been trying to raise awareness of the needs of drivers who may be on the road for long periods and leadership is taking a stand.

“Trucking is an essential service — that’s not the opinion of the Manitoba Trucking Association, that’s the opinion of the Prime Minister of Canada,” Prime Minister Trudeau said on March 18.

Provinces across the country have asked businesses to do what they can to accommodate drivers who are bringing necessary goods to towns and cities across the country.

Social media users are encouraged to use the hashtag #thankatrucker with their stories and thanks to those who are working to ensure we have everything we need here at home.

Alberta

Alberta announced 117 new cases Wednesday, bringing the province’s total to 871.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Albertas Chief Medical Officer of Health, also reported two additional deaths in the province.

There are 41 cases of COVID-19 at long-term or continuing care centres in the province.

Additional information for Alberta residents can be found here.

British Columbia

B.C. reported 53 new cases bringing its total to 1,066.

There are 22 care homes in the province with positive cases, up from 19 Tuesday.

Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.s health official, announced one new death, for a total of 25 COVID-19 related deaths in the province to date.

Additional information for B.C. residents can be found here.

Manitoba

The province announced 24 new cases on Wednesday bringing the province’s total to 127.

Four individuals have been hospitalized and three of those are in intensive care.

Chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin says public health officials have begun to see community transmission in Winnipeg.

“Public health investigations have not been able to confirm several cases to travel or other confirmed cases. We knew to expect this as more cases are introduced in a jurisdiction, community transmission is going to be inevitable.”

Additional information for Manitoba residents can be found here.

Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan identified nine new cases on Wednesday bringing the province’s total to 193.

The province also recognized the COVID-related death of a third resident.

Eight cases in the province cannot be traced either to travel or known cases.

At this time, Dr, Saqib Shahab, Chief Medical Health Officer for the province, said aside from the four individuals in hospital, all other cases are recovering at home.

Additional information for Saskatchewan residents can be found here.

Provincial tallies:

  • Quebec: 4,611 confirmed and presumptive cases, including 1 recovered and 33 deaths
  • Ontario: 2,392 cases including 501 recovered and 37 deaths
  • British Columbia: 1,013 confirmed cases including 507 recovered and 24 deaths
  • Alberta: 871 confirmed cases including 120 recovered and 11 deaths
  • Saskatchewan: 193 confirmed cases including 30 recovered and 3 deaths
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: 175 confirmed cases and 1 death
  • Nova Scotia: 173 confirmed and presumptive cases
  • Manitoba: 127 confirmed cases including 4 recovered and 1 death
  • New Brunswick: 81 confirmed and presumptive cases
  • Prince Edward Island: 21 confirmed cases, and 3 recovered
  • Yukon: 5 confirmed cases
  • Northwest Territories: 1 confirmed case
  • Nunavut: 0 cases

There are currently 9,663 cases of COVID-19 in Canada with 2,204 cases from B.C. to Manitoba.

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

News

Bigots deface French signs in historic Calgary neighbourhood

Located in the community of Rouleauville, also known as Mission, the stop signs also contained the French word ‘Arret’, French for halt.

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Bilingual signs in a historic Calgary neighbourhood have been defaced, with French words being spray-painted out.

Located in the community of Rouleauville, now known as Mission, the stop signs also contained the French word ‘Arret’, French for halt.

But vandals have recently gone through the community with black spray-paint and covered up the French part.

“Oh look: Calgary’s bigots have been busy -erasing one tiny French word. Come on guys, we’re a better city than this! #frab ⁦@cityofcalgary⁩ ⁦@nenshi,” Sheila Risbud tweeted.

Defaced signs

Leela Sharon Aheer, Alberta’s Minister of Culture, Multiculturalism and Status of Women, responded with disgust.

“These actions have no place in our province and must be condemned. Our government values the role of Franco-Albertans and is committed to ensuring the French language and culture flourish in Alberta,” she tweeted.

Rouleauville, now Mission, was originally named for Charles and Edward Rouleau — brothers who moved to Calgary from Quebec in the late 1800s.

The village had been founded by French Canadian priests. 

In 1907, when the village was annexed by the Calgary its French street names were replaced with the current numbered street system.

Council voted in June to add French to the signs.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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News

UCP hires fired federal Tory official as new executive director

Dustin van Vugt was fired in December after the federal Conservative party’s fundraising arm (the Fund) launched an internal audit into how the party handles expenses.

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The Alberta United Conservative Party has a new executive director – the man fired over the Andrew Scheer private school controversy.

Dustin van Vugt was fired in December after the federal Conservative party’s fundraising arm (the Fund) launched an internal audit into how the party handles expenses.

van Vugt was the executive director of the Fund.

The firing came less than 24 hours after Global News reported that Conservative leader Scheer was using Fund money to send his children to private school, an arrangement van Vugt took responsibility for.

In a statement, van Vugt described the arrangement as “normal practice for political parties” and said “all proper procedures were followed and signed off on by the appropriate people.”

The seven-person board, which included former prime minister Stephen Harper, were furious over the arrangement, Global reported at the time.

Other Tories said van Vugt was being made a scapegoat.

Van Vugt replaces Brad Tennant, who left the job to become a vice-president at the lobbying firm Wellington Advocacy. 

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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News

Biden again vows to shutdown KXL pipeline calling Alberta oil ‘tar sands’

“I’ve been against Keystone from the beginning. It is tar sands that we don’t need — that in fact is very, very high pollutant,” Joe Biden said in an interview on CNBC.

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Likely U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden trashed the Alberta oil industry Friday and again vowed to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline expansion project.

“I’ve been against Keystone from the beginning. It is tar sands that we don’t need — that in fact is very, very high pollutant,” Biden said in an interview on CNBC.

“We’re gonna transition gradually to get to a clean economy.

“But the idea of shutting down Keystone, as if that is the thing that keeps the oil industry moving, is just not rational. It does not economically, nor, in my view, environmentally, make any sense.”

Biden was repeated statements made earlier this week by a campaign official that drew the ire of Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.

Kenney noted the pipeline is part of “sensitive” Canada-U.S. relations and he would “hate to see thousands of miles of pipe pulled out of the ground” if Biden revokes the permit.

Kenney said he was “disappointed” in Biden’s stand and said Alberta officials hope to work with his campaign on the issue.

“It is supported by Americans and all the governors along the pipeline route,” said Kenney.

“KXL would guarantee North America energy independence.”

Kenney announced in April his government was providing $1.5 billion in equity investment and a $6-billion loan guarantee to TC Energy to get the Keystone XL project completed but so far no details have been publicly released. 

After the project is completed, Kenney said the government would sell its shares back to TC Energy but he did not say at what price.

Kenney said while the $1.5-billion has been used to put thousands of people back to work, the $6-billion part of the deal remains untouched.

The premier noted the cross border section of the pipeline has been completed and without the government’s $1.5 billion, work “wouldn’t have been able to start this year.”

He said the remainder of the money would be for the 2021 construction season which TC Energy won’t make a decision on until next January.

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi called the Biden news “terrible”.

He noted TC Energy has had many stop-and-gos in the process and “it would be ridiculous to revoke the permit at this time.

“There has been an enormous amount of work gone into the project… and it fits into Canada’s climate goals,” said Nenshi.

If it is stopped “I would feel very disappointed…it feels very late in the game now,” Nenshi said.

 In 2015, Biden was then vice-president to Barack Obama who cancelled the permit.

“It’s still the right decision now. In fact, it’s even more important today,” Stef Feldman told the CBC Monday.

“Biden strongly opposed the Keystone pipeline in the last administration, stood alongside President Obama and Secretary [of State John] Kerry to reject it in 2015, and will proudly stand in the Roosevelt Room again as president and stop it for good by rescinding the Keystone XL pipeline permit.”

When he was elected, Trump overruled the Obama decision and approved the oft-delayed pipeline for construction.

Environmental groups in the States have fought tooth-and-nail in an effort to stop the pipeline.

A judge in Montana put a halt to further construction of the pipeline over concerns of what effects the project may have on endangered species.

The federal judge ordered the U.S. Army Corp. of Engineers to conduct a further review and barred it from authorizing dredging in waterways covered by the permit.

The Keystone pipeline runs from Alberta to refineries in Illinois and Texas.

The new pipeline would run from Hardisty, Alberta to Steele City, Nebraska.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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