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Alberta

Alberta justice minister sorry for saying feds, others rooting for COVID disaster

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EDMONTON — Alberta’s justice minister says he was wrong to accuse Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, Alberta’s Opposition N-D-P, and the media of rooting for COVID-19 to buckle his province’s health system.

“I would like to offer an apology for my recent comments on my personal Facebook account,” Kaycee Madu wrote on Twitter Tuesday night.

“Alberta is facing an unprecedented public health crisis. My comments were wrong, as all Canadians want this global pandemic to end as soon as possible.

“I fully support the premier’s recent call to avoid the divisive political rhetoric during what we all hope is the final period of this pandemic and will continue the important work of government in protecting Albertans from this virus.”

The apology came a day after Madu’s spokesman, Blaise Boehmer, told reporters in a statement that Madu was standing by his accusations, adding, “The minister won’t apologize for stating the obvious.”

Earlier Tuesday, prior to Madu’s apology, Trudeau rejected the accusations.

“It’s a shame to see people pointing fingers and laying blame and suggesting that anyone in Canada wants anything else than to get through this pandemic as safely as possible everywhere,” Trudeau said in Ottawa.

Premier Jason Kenney, also asked about Madu’s comments prior to the apology, said he hadn’t seen them but said, “COVID has caused us a lot of us at various times to say things we regret, and I just encourage everybody — whatever side of the political spectrum they’re on — to give each other a break right now.”

Trudeau noted he reached out to Kenney and Alberta’s big city mayors last week to offer further support if called upon. Kenney declined the offer.

“Every step of the way the federal government has been there to support Canadians, with $8 out of every $10 in pandemic support coming from the federal government,” said Trudeau.

The issues of blame and responsibility have recently been at the centre of debate in Alberta. Kenney’s government has been criticized for waiting weeks to respond with tighter health restrictions to the current third wave that now threatens to overrun the health system if left unchecked.

Alberta has recently had COVID-19 case rates that are the highest in North America.

Kenney acted with renewed rules a week ago, closing schools and introducing sharper limits on businesses and worship services.

He also stressed now is not the time to lay blame. Prior to that, Kenney and his ministers had repeatedly accused Trudeau’s government of hamstringing the relief effort with a slow vaccine rollout. As late as April 29, Kenney blamed Alberta’s entire third wave on Ottawa.

Last Friday, Madu, in a Facebook post, wrote that the province couldn’t risk giving the COVID-19 virus a chance to “overwhelm our health-care system.

“That’s what the NDP, the media and the federal Liberals were looking for and want,” he wrote.

NDP Leader Rachel Notley said her caucus has done its job as the Official Opposition.

She said they’ve pushed Kenney’s government to enact rules to reduce the spread of the virus, while giving businesses financial aid to survive and workers support to allow them to isolate but still provide for their families.

Notley added, “You don’t tend to see that sort of incendiary, thoughtless messaging or tone from someone who takes on the role of justice minister.”

Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the chief medical officer of health, reported 24,998 active COVID-19 cases Tuesday. There are 705 people in hospital with the illness, 163 of them in intensive care — the highest since the pandemic began.

Hinshaw confirmed the province won’t give out more first doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for the time being.

“Based on global supply challenges, we do not know when Canada, and in turn Alberta, will receive additional doses,” said Hinshaw.

There are 8,400 doses left, which will be used for second shots.

Hinshaw also said they will wait at least 12 weeks between AstraZeneca doses, given current research is showing that the interval delivers the best protection.

Alberta has administered more than 255,000 first doses of AstraZeneca.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 11, 2021.

Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Premier Smith announces plan to boost Alberta’s Heritage Fund to at least 250 Billion by 2050

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From CPAC on YouTube

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith delivers state-of-the-province address

In a televised address from Edmonton, Danielle Smith, the premier of Alberta, delivers an update on her government’s vision and legislative priorities.

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Alberta

Alberta looking to ban electronic vote tabulators ahead of next provincial election

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From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

electronic voting tabulators, which were supposed to speed up vote counting, instead saw election results delayed due with workers having to manually enter the results that each tabulator printed out.

The conservative Premier of Alberta, Danielle Smith, has confirmed she is looking to ban the use of electronic vote tabulators in future provincial elections after issues with them in the 2023 election saw massive delays in the tallying of votes.  

Smith, according to a report from True North, while speaking to a United Conservative Party (UCP) fundraiser on January 26 in the community of Bonnyville was asked if she would “end the use of voting tabulators across the province?” 

Smith replied with a firm “yes.” 

The 2023 Alberta provincial elections held in May saw Smith and her UCP win a majority, although a slim one, over the left-wing Alberta New Democratic Party (NDP).

Elections Alberta used what is called a Vote Anywhere Service, which allowed anyone to vote at any voting place regardless of which riding (jurisdiction) they were actually voting in. While paper ballots were used for the election, electronic tabulators were used to count the votes from all hand ballots. A form was then printed out with the result of each riding from the tabulators count of the hand ballots.  

However, the electronic voting tabulators, which were supposed to speed up vote counting, instead saw election results delayed due with workers having to manually enter the results that each tabulator printed out.  

Elections Alberta noted in June 2023, per True North, that “[w]e did not use any electronic data transfer from the tabulators, as the tabulators used for advance voting were never connected to a network at any time.” 

“As a result, it was a manual process to verify and enter these results.”  

As for Smith, before the 2023 election, she noted that she was confident in Elections Alberta’s plan to use electronic tabulators, as “we have the ability to do a hand count as a follow up in the event there are close results, I believe that’s going to be sufficient.” 

“That’s, I think, something that people expect in democracy – that you should be able to verify a vote if results end up very close,” she added.  

Elections Alberta, however, has pushed back on returning to hand counting ballots, saying it would increase the manual workload of employees.

There were many close results on election night, with the NDP losing a few seats by only a handful of votes in some Calgary ridings.  

Smith gave no timeline as to how or when she would make the change.

Many large municipalities in Alberta, including the province’s two biggest cities, Calgary and Edmonton, use electronic tabulators for ballot counting.

Issues surrounding electronic voting machines as well as tabulators came to a head in the aftermath of the 2020 U.S. presidential election, which saw Joe Biden declared the winner over Donald Trump. 

A report published by LifeSiteNews last year documented how a computer programmer, Clinton Eugene Curtis, who had previously testified to Congress on the integrity of voting machines, warned lawmakers in Arizona to never trust them.  

“Don’t use machines, because you can never, ever trust them to give you a fair election,” said Curtis. 

“There are too many ways to hack them. You can hack them at the level that I did when you first build them, you can hack them from the outside, you can hack them with programs that load themselves on the side. It’s impossible to secure them. You will never beat the programmer. The programmer always owns the universe.”  

Of note is that Curtis is a Democrat who had worked as a programmer for NASA, as well as the Department of Defense and other government agencies.

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