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UPDATED: Allard, Huckabay resign; other Alberta snowbird MLAs punished

The Western Standard was first to break the story Sunday night when sources said they expected Allard to resign as Minister of Municipal Affairs on Monday.

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In a political bloodbath never seen before in Alberta, cabinet minister Tracy Allard has resigned, Premier Jason Kenney’s chief of staff has been fired and other MLAs involved in the snowbird scandal have lost their government roles.

The scandal has been brewing since it was revealed nine UCP MLAs and staffers ignored provincial guidelines and travelled to warmer climes over the holiday.

The Western Standard  was first to break the story Sunday night when sources said they expected Allard to resign as Minister of Municipal Affairs on Monday.

Here’s the run down:

• MLA Tracy Allard is out of her job as Municipal Affairs Minister for going to Hawaii for continue a “17-year-old holiday tradition.” She will lose out on an extra $60,000 in salary she collected.

• Jamie Huckabay has lost his job as Kenney’s chief of staff for travelling to the UK.

• MLA Jermey Nixon has lost his job as Parliamentary Secretary for Civil Society for travelling to Hawaii.

• MLA Jason Stephan has lost his job as Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury Board for going to Arizona.

• MLAs Tanya Fir, Pat Rehn and Tany Yao have lost their jobs on legislature committees for warm weather travel.

“By travelling abroad over the holidays, these individuals demonstrated extremely poor judgment,” said Kenney in a Monday statement.

“Albertans have every right to expect that people in positions of public trust be held to a higher standard of conduct during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Millions of Albertan have made real sacrifices over the past 10 months to help keep each other safe. They are right to be angry about people in positions of leadership vacationing outside of the country.

“Last Friday, I took responsibility for not having been clear enough with members of the government caucus and others in positions of leadership that they should not travel abroad. Over the weekend I have listened to Albertans who are sending a clear message that they want real consequences for these actions.”

Mount Royal University political scientist Duane Bratt said Kenney’s statement is too late.

“This is three days too late. If this had happened Friday, it would have limited (not eliminated) the political damage. But not now,” he tweeted.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby769

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Division of Western Standard New Media Corp. 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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BREAKING: Alberta relaxing some COVID restrictions

Shandro announced Thursday afternoon personal services – like hair salons and barbers – will be allowed to reopen, but by appointment only.

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Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro says the province is loosening some of its COVID-19 regulations as of Monday.

Shandro announced Thursday afternoon personal services – like hair salons and barbers – will be allowed to reopen, but by appointment only.

Restrictions meaning only ten people are allowed at funerals will be relaxed to allow 20. But receptions afterward are still banned.

Outdoor gatherings will now be allowed, but with a maximum of 10 people, and if they follow COVID social distancing requirements. Indoor gatherings are still banned.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Deena Hinshaw said the province has logged 967 new cases of COVID-19 in the province and 21 more deaths, with a positivity rate of 5.8 per cent.

The numbers are “coming down in a reassuring way,” said Hinshaw, when questioned about the relaxation of the rules.

“Although we’ve seen a decline in transmission, our health-care system is still at risk. We must remain diligent in our efforts to bring our numbers down even further. By easing some measures like outdoor gathering limits, we hope to support Albertans’ mental health, while still following other restrictions that are helping us reduce case numbers,” said Hinshaw.

Premier Jason Kenney said: “This limited easing of restrictions is possible thanks to the efforts of Albertans over the past few weeks. But, we need to be careful that we don’t reduce too early and risk the steady improvements we’ve made since November.”

Hinshaw added there were still openings for health care workers to receive a vaccine this weekend and encouraged them to book an appointment. Shandro said there are 16,000 available vaccination appointments.

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

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WATCH: Police shown beating 64-year-old man in Ontario

The officer takes a quick look back and when he sees he is being videoed, yells out: “Stop resisting.”

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A police officer in Guelph, Ont., has been videoed beating a man on the front porch of his home.

The video, posted to Twitter Wednesday, shows a police officer straddling the 64-year-old man and landing a heavy punch to his face and another one to his head.

The officer takes a quick look back and when he sees he is being videoed, yells out: “Stop resisting.”

Another officer arrives and the pair drag the man into his doorway as they continue to try and handcuff him.

Video from Guelph

“Look at what the the officer is doing,” exclaims the cameraman, who alleges the officer also kneed the man in the head. That is not shown in the video.

“This is an old, frail man they are doing this to.”

The man screams in agony and yells expletives as the video goes off.

Guelph police issued a statement on the arrest.

“On January 12, 2021, at 1:13pm, members of the Guelph Police Service found an adult male out front of a residence. The male was wanted on a warrant from the Huronia West Division of the Ontario Provincial Police,” said the release.

“As police tried to arrest the male, a struggle ensued as he resisted arrest. Ultimately police were able to gain control and placed him under arrest.

“A 64-year-old Guelph male has been additionally charged with Resist Arrest. He will appear in court on April 30, 2021 to answer to this charge and was subsequently released.”

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

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Horgan seeking legal advice on banning other Canadians from entering BC

He has mused about the idea before, but most pundits believe such a move would be unconstitutional.

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BC Premier John Horgan has brought in his lawyers to ask them whether he has the constitutional authority to ban residents from other provinces from entering his province’s borders.

He has mused about the idea before, but most pundits believe such a move would be clearly unconstitutional.

Horgan said Thursday he and other NDP cabinet ministers will discuss the travel ban in a virtual meeting later in the day.

“People have been talking about a ban for months and months, as you know, and I think it’s time we put it to bed finally and say either, ‘We can do it, and this is how we can do it,’ or ‘We can’t,'” Horgan told a press conference.

“We have been trying our best to find a way to meet that objective … in a way that’s consistent with the charter and other fundamental rights here in Canada. So, legal advice is what we’ve sought.”

Horgan wants to put the ban in place to try and stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Section 6. (2) of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms states, “

Every citizen of Canada and every person who has the status of a permanent resident of Canada has the right: to move to and take up residence in any province; [and] to pursue the gaining of a livelihood in any province.”

The premier admitted news across the country of politicians jetting out of the country for sand and surf destinations had “led to a firestorm of frustration and anger.”

“On the surface, a ban would seem an easy thing to do — to just tell people not to come here. That’s not part and parcel of who we are as Canadians,” Horgan said.

In November, Horgan said: “We need a pan-Canadian approach to travel. People in Quebec and Manitoba should stay in Quebec and Manitoba.

“We want to make sure we have an approach to travel not inconsistent with citizenship. Non-essential travel should not be happening in British Columbia,” he said.

So far, BC has had over 59,000 cases of COVID-19 with 1,031 deaths.

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

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