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Blair vows handgun crackdown – giving cities power to ban weapons

Blair said the Liberal government will be introducing a law that gives municipalities the power to ban handguns in their jurisdictions.




After banning 1,500 different types of firearms that Canadians own just weeks ago, Public Safety Minister is now turning is attention to banning handguns.

In an interview with the Star, Blair said the Liberal government will be introducing a law that gives municipalities the power to ban handguns in their jurisdictions.

Blair said new rules will allow municipalities to rule that handguns cannot be legally stored in their jurisdictions, which would get around provinces who oppose a handgun ban.

“My first goal is to work collaboratively with the provinces and territories …but we also recognize that the third order of government, municipalities, have a very significant role to play in this,” Blair told the Star.

“I understand in some parts of the country they may decide not to do anything. But that is unfair to a municipality that really feels strongly that (they) need to do more. And so we will work with them to find ways in which we can support them to do more.

“We are going to impose very strong restrictions on the possession, the storage and the use of handguns everywhere in Canada – but we recognize there are some jurisdictions with greater vulnerabilities, and we want to empower those jurisdictions to impose additional restrictions.

“For example, they may say they don’t want a firearm to be stored within their boundaries. They may say that (handguns) can only be stored at a range. They may say where ranges can be located in their municipality. And they can impose additional restrictions than the regime we impose that will respond to specific vulnerabilities in their community.”

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair

In early May, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday 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.

The Liberals campaigned in the last election to ban assault rifles and introduce legislation allowing cities to ban handguns.

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


TWITTER: Twitter.com/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


UCP bill will allow private sale of blood

Tany Yao, UCP MLA for Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo, has brought forward Bill 204 that will repeal Alberta’s ban on the private purchase of human blood.




The UCP is about to repeal a law in Alberta that bans the private sale of blood.

Tany Yao, UCP MLA for Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo, has brought forward Bill 204 that will repeal Alberta’s ban on the private purchase of human blood.

In 2017, the NDP passed the Voluntary Blood Donations Act, which banned everyone except for the Canadian Blood Services from paying for plasma and other blood products.

“A secure supply of plasma is a cornerstone of a modern twenty-first century health care system. The repeal of the Voluntary Blood Donations Act will help patients by making our plasma supply less dependent on international supply which can be unreliable,” Yao said.

Bill advocate Whitney Goulstone, Executive Director Canadian Immunodeficiencies Patient Organization (CIPO), noted last summer Canada experienced its first IG (Immune Globulin) shortage.

Kate van der Meer, said the bill, if it becomes law, will make her life easier.

“I was originally scheduled to switch to SCIG (Subcutaneous Immune Globulin) in May 2019. Due to the shortage, this did not happen. Instead, I had to continue traveling to the hospital every 3 weeks, and struggle to care for my 3 young children while recovering from each intravenous infusion. This continued until the end of September 2019 when the shortage eased and Canadian Blood Services began allowing patients to switch to SCIG again,” she said, in a statement in the government press release.

“Patients have suffered because of our apathy, and because of the Voluntary Blood Donations Act.”

Canada as a whole only supplies 13.5 per cent of the plasma needed for the production of the IG and other plasma therapies used for the treatment of Canadian patients.

The NDP is on the record as opposing the new bill.

“If passed, this bill will divert donations away from Canadian Blood Services to private buyers, who can then sell them to the highest bidder on world markets,” said NDP Health Critic David Shepherd.

“This is very bad for Albertans. It flies directly in the face of the Krever Inquiry.”

 The Krever Inquiry investigated Canada’s tainted blood scandal, in which tens of thousands of people were infected with hepatitis C or HIV through tainted blood products.

The inquiry’s report led to the creation of a single national agency, Canadian Blood Services. 

Ontario, Quebec and B.C. also have legislated bans on the purchase of human blood. Manitoba has a single paid-donation centre for rare blood types that predates the Krever Inquiry.

Saskatchewan and New Brunswick have private blood purchasing locations. 

Shepherd said: “This isn’t a partisan issue – our single public voluntary system has served Albertans well for decades, and through this global pandemic.  Allowing private buyers to divert donations away from Canadian Blood Services will cause terrible harm to Canada’s supply. Tany Yao’s bill is a terrible mistake, and I hope members of the UCP caucus will join us in defeating it.”

Peter Martin Jaworski, Ph.D., an Associate Teaching Professor in Strategy, Ethics, Economics and Public Policy at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business has made the case for allowing blood products to be sold.

“In order to meet the demands of patients, every country has come to rely increasingly on plasma from the United States, one of the few countries that permits some form of payment for plasma. The United
States is responsible for 70% of the global supply of plasma. Along with the other countries that permit a form of payment for plasma donations (including Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Czechia), they
together account for nearly 90% of the total supply,” he wrote in a paper called Bloody Well Pay Them.

“This situation is unsustainable, a risk to security, and, most importantly, a threat to the millions of patients who currently depend on plasma therapies, those who will in future, and those who would benefit from them but do not have access.

“In order to ensure a safe, secure, and sufficient supply of plasma therapies, the UK, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia should withdraw prohibitions on voluntary remunerated plasma collections, and thereby ensure domestic security of supply for our patients, and begin to contribute to the global supply of plasma.”

David Clement, Toronto-based North American Affairs Manager for the Consumer Choice Center (CCC), said “We applaud the Government of Alberta and MLA Tany Yao for putting this forward. A ban on paid blood plasma was ridiculous to begin with, especially considering that 70 per cent of Canada’s blood plasma supply comes from the USA, where they compensate donors.

“Blood plasma is used for a variety of medical treatments, and plays and important role in the fight against Covid-19. Our hope is that by allowing for compensation, more Albertans will donate blood plasma and help the province overcome the persistent shortages that occur. Czechia (previously the Czech Republic) legalized paying for blood plasma, and saw a 7 fold increase in donations. If that were to happen in Alberta it would be cause for celebration, not condemnation.” said Clement.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard



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Canada now $1,200,000,000,000 in debt

The projected debt will be $1.2 trillion by March 2021, up from $765 billion a year earlier.




Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced Wednesday a deficit of $343 billion this fiscal year – taking Canada’s debt to more than $1.2 trillion.

In a what he called a “fiscal snapshot”, Morneau said spending from the COVID-19 outbreak was to blame for the massive deficit.

The projected debt will be $1.2 trillion by March 2021, up from $765 billion a year earlier.

Before the pandemic hit, the federal deficit was pegged about $34.4 billion.

“Some will criticize us on the cost of action,” Morneau said in the House of Commons. 

“But our government knew that the cost of inaction would’ve been far greater.

“Those who would have us do less ignore that, without government action, millions of jobs would have been lost, putting the burden of debt onto families and jeopardizing Canada’s resilience.”

Much of the higher deficit comes from higher than projected spending under Ottawa’s two key COVID-19 financial aid programs, the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB)

The snapshot shows that GDP will shrink by projected 6.8% this year — worst since the Great Depression. But the economy is expected to bounce back by 5.5% next year.

One of the reason the deficit is so much higher is the government predicting the amount of money it takes in will drop substantially.

Personal income taxes are projected to dip by 30 per cent and corporate taxes will be 11 per cent lower.

The national unemployment rate hit almost 14 per cent in the second quarter of 2020 but is expected that rate to return to levels closer to the pre-pandemic era — roughly 7 per cent — by the end of 2021.

“The reality is we’ve witnessed an unprecedented shock to our system,” Morneau told reporters.

“With a crisis of this magnitude, someone was going to have to shoulder the costs and the federal government was uniquely placed to take this responsibility on. We took on this role because it was the right thing to do.”

Tory leader Andrew Scheer called Morneau’s fiscal update a “dire picture of Canada’s finances.”

“The prime minister’s track record proves that he cannot be trusted to lead Canada through the recovery,” he said.

Scheer said Canada is the only G7 country that has had its credit rating cut during the pandemic and Canada has the highest unemployment rate among the group of developed nations.

“That should be a real wake-up call for this government.”

Canadian Taxpayers Federation Federal Director Aaron Wudrick said the news should alarm Ottawa.

“Unfortunately, Ottawa doesn’t seem to have a plan to manage this deep dive into debt. For all the specifics he provided today, Finance Minister Bill Morneau may as well have posted a picture on Instagram,” Wudrick said.

“Pandemic-related spending has caused the deficit to balloon by more than one thousand per cent in just four months. Much of this spending was intended to temporarily address the COVID-19 crisis, but these programs are extremely expensive and unsustainable. Minister Morneau needs to lay out a plan to turn off the taps, but he failed to do that.

“In particular, it is clear that the government must either end or significantly reform the Canada Emergency Response Benefit which creates a strong unintended incentive for people to stay out of the workforce. 

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard


TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Critics slam Kenney’s patronage appointment of Rodney

Dave Rodney gave up his Calgary Lougheed seat in 2017 for Jason Kenney to run in when he became leader of the UCP.




Critics are lambasting Alberta Premier Jason Kenney for giving the man who originally gave up his seat so Kenney could get into the Legislature a plum government posting earning  $9,635 bi-weekly.

Dave Rodney gave up his Calgary Lougheed seat in 2017 for Kenney to run in when he became leader of the UCP.

This week he was named Alberta’s new trade envoy to the city of Houston for a three year term.

“This quarter of a million dollars taxpayer funded salary would be extremely hard to justify even during the best of times. But it’s completely out of touch with the realities facing the many jobless Albertans who will be paying Rodney’s salary,” said Franco Terrazzano, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation’s Alberta Director.

“The United Conservatives are supposed to be fixing the government’s spending problem, so when are they going to tighten their belts?

“The government should stick to attracting investment by cutting taxes and red tape.”

The government said Rodney will work to establish closer business relationships and pursue new investment opportunities that will revitalize Alberta’s energy sector and create jobs, since the province is a major supplier of energy resources to Texas and other states.

“I am pleased to announce that Dave Rodney has been appointed as Alberta’s agent general to Houston. Texas is Alberta’s second-largest export market in the United States, and it is vital we have an in-market presence to lead Alberta’s efforts to expand our commercial ties to the region. With his extensive government experience and his personal drive, Alberta needs someone like Dave who will engage with American business leaders and investors and put Alberta’s interests first. I have the utmost confidence he is the right person for this role,” said Kenney.

“As economies gradually reopen, Alberta needs to be equipped and ready to rebuild its economic relationships with our trading partners. I am pleased that Dave Rodney has agreed to take on the role of agent general; we are beginning a new chapter in Alberta’s relationship with the United States and we need a person of his calibre to seek out new opportunities for Alberta’s businesses,” said Ministe of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism Tanya Fir.

Rodney, the first Canadian to summit Mount Everest twice, said: “I am humbled by the trust that Premier Kenney has placed in me, since he has asked me to assist as Alberta’s agent general to Houston, U.S.A. It is an honour to serve the people of the province as we seek to advance the interests of Albertans in this invaluable market. Together, we will prove that investor confidence in numerous sectors is best placed in Alberta; with the resultant improvement of the livelihoods and quality of life of thousands of Albertans.”

Quick facts

  • During his mission to Houston in November 2019, Premier Kenney announced that Alberta would formally establish a presence in Houston.
  • Texas is Alberta’s second-largest export market overall, and Alberta’s exports to Texas in 2018 totalled $11.6 billion worth of goods. Energy exports accounted for $8 billion.
  • Alberta is one of the largest suppliers of imported oil and gas to the United States.
  • In 2018, Alberta’s crude oil exports accounted for about 38 per cent of U.S. crude oil imports.
  • Alberta is the largest supplier of natural gas to the U.S., providing about 70 per cent of the country’s imports in 2018.
  • In 2018, Alberta and Texas signed a memorandum of understanding to seek opportunities to enhance trade and investment and to explore prospects for economic development that could contribute to job growth in Alberta and Texas across several sectors.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard


TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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