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Alberta health care workers stage wildcat strikes

“Union bosses are creating fear about our health-care system when the reality is, we are talking about letting local businesses put Tide pods in the washing machines,” said the CTF

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Hundreds of health care workers in Alberta staged wildcat walkouts on Monday as the Canadian Taxpayers Federation urged union leaders to tome down their rhetoric.

The walkout took place by hospital Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) workers in Calgary, Edmonton and around the province.

“Shame on this government,” AUPE President Guy Smith said in Edmonton.

“Nowhere in the world, every single government, every political leader across the world is thanking and celebrating the work of their health-care staff during this pandemic. Only in Alberta, during the pandemic, do they tell ya that you’re going to lose your jobs.”

AHS said it has gone to the Alberta Labour Relations Board “to formally ask the board to direct the affected employees back to work.”

In a statement, AHS said all sites remain open but some surgeries and ambulatory care clinics are being postponed.

“AHS is responding quickly to illegal strike action by Alberta Union of Provincial Employees staff at various sites across the province,” the statement said.

“We are doing all we can to address any interruptions to patient care caused by this illegal job action. Our focus is on ensuring patients continue to receive the care and treatment they need.

“Patients will be contacted directly if their appointments are affected. Visitors may be limited at some sites depending on the level of strike action.”

Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced earlier this month the AHS was shedding 9,700 hundred jobs by shifting them to the private sector.

Most of the 9,700 other jobs will now be outsourced in labs, housekeeping, food services, and laundry.

There will be 2,000 laboratory jobs, 4,000 housekeeping jobs, 3,000 food service jobs, and 400 laundry jobs cut.

The province said about 70 per cent of lab results are already contracted out, as is 68 per cent of laundry.

“It’s common sense to let local businesses take care of laundry and catering and we definitely can’t afford office buildings full of managers managing managers,” said Franco Terrazzano, the CTF’s Alberta Director.

“It’s disappointing to see union bosses creating so much uncertainty in an uncertain time while the government is making common-sense changes to keep Alberta’s health-care system sustainable.”

The Alberta government would save $3.6 billion annually if its per-person health-care spending was in line with Ontario, B.C. and Quebec, according to the Blue Ribbon Panel on Alberta’s finances. The Alberta government’s debt is projected to reach $100 billion by the end of the fiscal year. Health spending makes up about 40 per cent of the Alberta government’s program spending.

“Union bosses are creating fear about our health-care system when the reality is, we are talking about letting local businesses put Tide pods in the washing machines and they’re already doing a great job,” said Terrazzano.

“Union bosses need to dial-back the rhetoric and the government needs to follow through with the common sense changes as soon as possible.”

Finance Travis Toews said: “Government’s primary concern is ensuring the health and wellbeing of patients, which has been put at risk this morning.

“Alberta Health Services is taking immediate action with the Alberta Labour Relations Board to end this illegal activity. Those involved in this illegal action will be held accountable.

“My expectation is that all unions respect the bargaining process, stop putting Albertans’ safety at risk and abide by the law.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
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

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Edmonton spends nearly $550K to keep eight public washrooms clean during COVID pandemic

The dollar figures have some Edmonton councillors shaking their heads.

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Talk about pricey Port-a-Potties!

Edmonton taxpayers have been flushing out a pretty penny to keep the Whyte Ave. and seven other public washrooms clean during the pandemic.

A report headed to council on Wednesday shows from April 7 to Oct. 8, 2020, a total of $548,002 was spent on COVID-19 washroom response to ensure residents, especially vulnerable populations, have access to public toilets.

A total of $126,000 was spent just keeping the Whyte Ave. facility clean. There are two attendants on the site, day and night.

Source: City of Edmonton

“The outbreak of COVID-19 disrupted the operation and accessibility of many public facilities including washrooms, libraries and recreational centers (sic). In order to ensure Edmontonians still had access to public washrooms, Administration worked with Boyle Street Ventures to provide washroom attendants,” the report said.

“Public washrooms play a key role in ensuring healthy and equitable urban places.

“A cost analysis showed that despite a significant increase in direct staffing costs for monitoring the washroom (compared with costs of custodial services with no attendants on site), these costs may be partially offset via the overall increase in safety, cleanliness and a reduction in police response to social disorder as well as a reduction in repairs to the facility.

“Attendants provided thorough cleaning of the washrooms, disinfection and ensured users followed physical distancing guidelines to make washrooms safe and mitigate the spread of the virus.”

Source: City of Edmonton

The city will now create a formal long-term implementation plan to address challenges
associated with managing public washrooms.

The dollar figures have some Edmonton councillors shaking their heads.

“I do not understand how we spent over half a million dollars  in half a year to operate eight bathrooms. When we are thinking about cutting everything else in our budget this seems like a prime opportunity. I will be finding out how we can save money here,” said Coun. Jon Dziadyk, vice chair of the Community and Public Services committee which the report will be presented to on Wednesday.

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

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Majority of Canadians want Terry Fox to be the face of new $5 bill

Past Tory voters overwhelming pick Fox

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The vast majority of Canadians want Terry Fox to adorn the new $5 bill, a new poll finds.

The non-profit Angus Reid Institute found that among the eight final candidates, Terry Fox is named more than all others as the preferred new face, chosen by 57 per cent of Canadians.

Angus Reid poll

After losing part of his right leg to cancer, Terry Fox campaigned to raise national awareness and funding for cancer research by running his Marathon of Hope, a cross-Canada 42-km daily run, on his prosthetic leg.

By February 1981, $24.7 million had been raised—or $1 for every Canadian.

His run was interrupted just past the half-way point when the cancer reached his lungs, and ultimately took his life.

Today, annual Terry Fox Runs are held all over the world to raise money for cancer research. In 2020, the Marathon of Hope marked its 40th anniversary.

“Famed Indigenous soldier Binaaswi (Francis Pegahmagabow) is chosen by one-in-five (21 per cent), including one-quarter of residents in Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Atlantic Canada. Crowfoot (Isapo-muxika), an integral part of Treaty 7 negotiations in Alberta, is chosen by one-in-five (19 per cent) as well,” Angus Reid pollsters found.

“Past Conservative voters are much more likely to prefer Terry Fox as their choice (three-quarters do so), while those who support other parties like candidates other than him.

Angus Reid poll

“Residents in Quebec (34 per cent) and young women across the country (27 per cent) show considerable support for Robertine Barry, the first French-Canadian journalist and an advocate for women’s rights, as a candidate.”

Angus Reid poll

More than three-in-five overall, and a majority in each region of the country, say it is a good idea to change the face of the five. But a significant segment, 37 per cent (including 57 per cent of past Conservative voters), disagree.

Sir Wilfred Laurier, Canada’s seventh prime minister, has graced the nation’s sky blue five-dollar bank note for almost 50 years.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is to make a decision early next year about who should adorn the new bill.

Bios on all the finalists can be found here.

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

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Legal fund for arrested restaurant owner Skelly hits $150,000

He’s set to appear in court later Friday to face charges of attempt to obstruct police, mischief under, failure to comply with Reopening Act.

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Legal funds raised for a Toronto-area man arrested after he refused to close his BBQ joint have already topped $150,000.

A crowd of supporters chanted “Shame” as police took Adam Skelly, 33, away on Thursday afternoon.

Skelly being arrested

He’s set to appear in court later Friday to face charges of attempt to obstruct police, mischief under, failure to comply with Reopening Act.

GoFundMe campaign online boasts at least 3,200 people donating over $150,000 for the owner of Adamson Barbecue

More than 10 police cars as many as 18 officers came to the restaurant after a Wednesday raid saw them change the locks and bolt it shut.

Before being arrested, Skelly vowed to remain open.

“The break-in of #adamsonbarbecue by Toronto Police and the city is tyrannical. They CANNOT silence us!” he tweeted Thursday.

He also issued a call for a locksmith to come and help him get into his place in Etobicoke.

“This isn’t just about #adamsonbarbecue. it’s about all small businesses and their livelihoods. spread the word and let’s get back to work. thank you. #IStandWithAdam” he tweeted.

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

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