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Alberta

Province hopes new physician training in Lethbridge and Grande Prairie will mean more rural doctors

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Addressing rural physician shortages

To help bring more physicians to rural Alberta, Alberta’s government is working to offer physician training in Lethbridge and Grande Prairie. 

Alberta has the best front-line health-care workers in the world, and Alberta’s government is working to ensure that Albertans have access to the care they need, when and where they need it. Rural Albertans are disproportionately affected by the nation-wide shortage of healthcare workers and their community members cannot access physician training close to home.

Alberta’s government is investing $1 million to explore ways that regional post-secondary institutions, such as the University of Lethbridge and Northwestern Polytechnic, can help deliver medical education outside of Edmonton and Calgary. Research shows that positive learning experiences in rural health-care settings lead to more physicians choosing to pursue careers in rural areas.

“Over the past year, we’ve made strategic investments to address health care labour shortages, including through the largest expansion of post-secondary seats in Alberta’s history. Partnering with Alberta’s two medical schools and institutions in northern and southern Alberta to train doctors locally is the best path to ensuring we meet rural needs.”

Demetrios Nicolaides, Minister of Advanced Education

The funds will be used by the University of Alberta, University of Calgary, University of Lethbridge and Northwestern Polytechnic to support collaborative planning. This will include detailed plans to support regional health professions training centres in Lethbridge and Grande Prairie.

“Expanding medical training in rural areas creates new opportunities for students who want to remain in their communities while making other students familiar with regions of the province and types of work they may not have considered before. Expanding training opportunities is just one way we’re addressing the shortage of rural doctors to ensure Albertans get the care they need when and where they need it.”

Jason Copping, Minister of Health

Plans for rural training opportunities include hands-on learning experiences in rural communities surrounding regional hubs. These opportunities will support the recruitment of physicians to teach and train medical students and residents, while increasing access to physician services.

“An investment in rural medical training is a direct investment in the future of rural and remote health in Alberta. We look forward to building on our existing relationships with partners across Alberta and significantly expanding the opportunities for future health professionals to learn and enter practice outside our largest urban centres, toward the goal that drives everyone involved in the health professions in this province — readily available, easily accessible, world-class health care for all.”

Dr. Brenda Hemmelgarn, dean, University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry

“We at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine are excited about working collaboratively with our colleagues across the province to provide innovative educational solutions for health workforce shortages particularly in the rural areas. There are many factors and initiatives required to help the situation and expanding physician training capacity in Alberta post-secondaries can lead to a healthier population.”

Dr. Todd Anderson, dean, University of Calgary Cumming School of Medicine

This funding is the latest investment from Alberta’s government to ensure students have access to the education, training and skills students need to succeed in tomorrow’s economy. At the same time giving confidence to industry, businesses and investors that regional workforce needs will be met.

Previously in Budget 2022, Alberta’s government announced the targeted enrolment expansion initiative which invested more than $171 million into Alberta’s post-secondary system to create nearly 10,000 new seats over three years in high-demand programs. More than 2,400 of those new seats were in nursing, health care aide and paramedic programs.

Alberta’s government has also signed a new agreement with the Alberta Medical Association. This includes $15 million annually to support physician recruitment and retention for physicians who practise full-time in underserved areas, an additional $12 million annually for the Rural Remote Northern Program, and a one-time investment of $2 million to increase funding for the existing RESIDE program that provides incentives for family physicians to practise in Alberta’s underserved rural and remote communities.

Quick facts

  • There are two medical schools in Alberta, located at the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary.
  • The Ministries of Health and Advanced Education are jointly responsible for the education of physicians in Alberta. Advanced Education is responsible for undergraduate medical education. Health is responsible for postgraduate medical education or residency training, including international medical graduates, rural medical programs, resident physician compensation, and the Academic Medicine and Health Services Program.

This is a news release from the Government of Alberta.

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Alberta

Coutts Three verdict: A warning to protestors who act as liaison with police

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From the Frontier Centre for Public Policy

By Ray McGinnis

During the trial numbers of RCMP officers conceded that the Coutts Three were helpful in their interactions with the law. As well, there didn’t seem to be any truth to the suggestion that Van Huigenbos, Van Herk and Janzen were leaders of the protest.

Twelve jurors have found the Coutts Three guilty of mischief over $5,000 at a courthouse in Lethbridge, Alberta. Marco Van Huigenbois, Alex Van Herk and George Janzen will appear again in court on July 22 for sentencing.

Van Huigenbois, Van Herk and Janzen were each protesting at the Coutts Blockade in 2022. A blockade of Alberta Highway 4 began on January 29, 2022, blocking traffic, on and off, on Alberta Highway 4 near the Coutts-Sweetgrass Canada-USA border crossing. The protests were in support of the Freedom Convoy protests in Ottawa.

Protests began due to the vaccine mandates for truckers entering Canada, and lockdowns that bankrupted 120,000 small businesses. Government edicts were purportedly for “public health” to stop the spread of the C-19 virus. Yet the CDC’s Dr. Rachel Wallensky admitted on CNN in August 2021 the vaccine did not prevent infection or stop transmission.

By February 2022, a US court forced Pfizer to release its “Cumulative Analysis of Post-Authorization Adverse Event Reports” revealing the company knew by the end of February, 2021, that 1,223 people  had a “case outcome” of “fatal” as a result of taking the companies’ vaccine.

On the day of February 14, 2022, the three men spoke to Coutts protesters after a cache of weapons had been displayed by the RCMP. These were in connection with the arrest of the Coutts Four. Van Huigenbos and others persuaded the protesters to leave Coutts, which they did by February 15, 2022.

During the trial numbers of RCMP officers conceded that the Coutts Three were helpful in their interactions with the law. As well, there didn’t seem to be any truth to the suggestion that Van Huigenbos, Van Herk and Janzen were leaders of the protest.

RCMP officer Greg Tulloch testified that there were a number of “factions” within the larger protest group. These factions had strong disagreements about how to proceed with the protest. The Crown contended the Coutts Three were the leaders of the protest.

During his testimony, Tulloch recalled how Van Huigenbos and Janzen assisted him in getting past the “vehicle blockade to enter Coutts at a time during the protest when access to Coutts from the north via the AB-4 highway was blocked.” Tulloch also testified that Janzen and Van Huigenbos helped with handling RCMP negotiations with the protesters. Tulloch gave credit to these two “being able to help move vehicles at times to open lanes on the AB-4 highway to facilitate the flow of traffic in both directions.”

During cross examination by George Janzen’s lawyer, Alan Honner, Tulloch stated that he noticed two of the defendants assisting RCMP with reopening the highway in both directions. Honner said in summary, “[Marco Van Huigenbos and George Janzen] didn’t close the road, they opened it.”

Mark Wielgosz, an RCMP officer for over twenty years, worked as a liaison between law enforcement and protesters at the Coutts blockade. Taking the stand, he concurred that there was sharp disagreement among the Coutts protesters and the path forward with their demonstration. Rebel News video clips “submitted by both the Crown and defence teams captured these disagreements as demonstrators congregated in the Smuggler’s Saloon, a location where many of the protesters met to discuss and debate their demonstration.” Wielgosz made several attempts to name the leaders of the protest in his role as a RCMP liaison with the protesters, but was unsuccessful.”

However, the Crown maintained that the protest unlawfully obstructed people’s access to property on Highway 4.

Canada’s Criminal Code defines mischief as follows in Section 430:

Every one commits mischief who willfully

(a)  destroys or damages property;

(b)  renders property dangerous, useless, inoperative or ineffective;

(c)   obstructs, interrupts or interferes with the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property; or

(d)  obstructs, interrupts or interferes with any person in the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property.

Robert Kraychik reported that “RCMP Superintendent Gordon Corbett…cried (no comment on the sincerity of this emoting) while testifying about a female RCMP officer that was startled by the movement of a tractor with a large blade during the Coutts blockade/protest.” This was the climax of the trial. A tractor moving some distance away from an officer in rural Alberta, with blades. The shock of it all.

No evidence was presented in the trial that Van Huigenbos, Van Herk and Janzen destroyed or damaged property. Officers testified they couldn’t identify who the protest leaders were. They testified the defendants assisted with opening traffic lanes, and winding down the protest.

By volunteering to liaise with the RCMP, the Crown depicted the Coutts Three as the protest leaders. Who will choose to volunteer at any future peaceful, non-violent, protest to act as a liaison with the policing authorities? Knowing of the verdict handed down on April 16, 2024, in Lethbridge?

Ray McGinnis is a Senior Fellow with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. His forthcoming book is Unjustified: The Emergencies Act and the Inquiry that Got It Wrong.

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Alberta

Maxime Bernier says it’s ‘astounding’ Alberta is ‘pushing’ COVID boosters, tells Danielle Smith to stop it

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From LifeSiteNews

By Anthony Murdoch

The People’s Party of Canada leader tells the Alberta government: ‘It’s over! Get over it!’

People’s Party of Canada (PPC) leader Maxime Bernier said Alberta Premier Danielle Smith should tell provincial health bureaucrats to “back off” and stop “pushing” the mRNA COVID boosters on “anyone,” considering a recent announcement from health officials recommending yet more COVID shots.

“I find it astounding that Alberta public health bureaucrats are still pushing the mRNA boosters on anyone, and especially on children who have never been at risk, almost two years after almost all other pandemic measures have been ended,” Bernier told LifeSiteNews.

“Danielle Smith’s government should tell its bureaucrats to back off and stop stupidly feeding a needless sense of fear surrounding the virus that lingers among certain groups of society. It’s over! Get over it!”

Earlier this week, officials from Alberta Health Services (AHS), whose chief medical officer throughout the COVID crisis, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, was fired by Smith in 2022, updated its COVID booster recommendations to every “three months” starting at babies only six months old.

“Starting April 15, 2024, select groups of Albertans at high risk of severe outcomes from COVID-19 will be eligible for an additional dose,” the AHS noted on its website.

AHS health officials still assert that all “vaccines are safe, effective and save lives,” and that one can get a COVID shot at the same time as a flu vaccine.

On April 16, Bernier commented on the AHS’s new COVID jab guideline changes on X, in which he asked, “What’s going on in Alberta with their “conservative” government?

Bernier, who was a firm opponent of both the COVID shots and mandates, told LifeSiteNews that AHS’s recommendations are puzzling, given “more and more scientific evidence is emerging of dangerous side effects when injecting from these experimental substances.”

“Even though these are only recommendations, and nothing is mandated, this ‘guidance’ by government agencies influences people’s decisions,” Bernier said.

Those under 18 still need written or verbal consent from their parents to get the shot.

AHS is recommending booster jabs for seniors, healthcare workers as well as those with underlying medical conditions. They also recommend that First Nations people and “members of racialized and other equity-denied communities,” as well as pregnant women get the shots as well.

The COVID shots were heavily promoted by the federal government as well as all provincial governments in Canada, with the Alberta government under former Premier Jason Kenney being no exception.

The mRNA shots themselves have been linked to a multitude of negative and often severe side effects in children.

Danielle Smith took over from Kenney as leader of the United Conservative Party (UCP) on October 11, 2022, after winning the leadership. Kenney was ousted due to low approval ratings and for reneging on promises not to lock Alberta down as well as enacting a vaccine passport. Smith was opposed to COVID jab mandates.

Bernier: It’s ‘deplorable’ some provinces still mandate COVID shot for Heathcare workers

While Alberta does not mandate the COVID shots for healthcare workers anymore, British Columbia still does as well as some health regions in Ontario, a fact that Bernier called “deplorable.”

“I find it deplorable that nurses, doctors and other healthcare workers in B.C. and Ontario still have to be vaccinated to work in hospitals and that thousands of them have not been reintegrated,” Bernier told LifeSiteNews.

“The authoritarian covid measures adopted by all governments have been traumatic enough for millions of Canadians. All of them should be lifted.”

Last year, LifeSiteNews reported on how the details of the Canadian federal government’s COVID-19 vaccine contract with Pfizer for millions of doses of the mRNA-based experimental shots were recently disclosed after being hidden for over three years.

The contract with Pfizer shows the government agreed to accept the unknown long-term safety and efficacy of the shots. The details of the Pfizer contract do not disclose how much the government spent on the jabs.

A bill introduced by Conservative Party leader Pierre Poilievre that would have given Canadians back their “bodily autonomy” by banning future jab mandates was voted down last year after Trudeau’s Liberals and other parties rejected it.

Adverse effects from the first round of COVID shots have resulted in a growing number of Canadians filing for financial compensation over injuries from the jabs via the federal Vaccine Injury Program (VISP).

VISP has already paid well over $11 million to those injured by COVID injections.

Earlier this year, LifeSiteNews reported on how officials from Health Canada have admitted that there is “residual plasmid DNA” in the COVID shots after a Conservative MP asked the agency through an official information request if the DNA fragments were in the shots.

As for Bernier, earlier this month he called out Poilievre for dodging a question regarding Canada’s participation in the United Nations’ pro-abortion Paris Climate Agreement.

Throughout most of the COVID crisis, Canadians from coast to coast were faced with COVID mandates, including jab dictates, put in place by both the provincial and federal governments.

After much pushback, thanks to the Freedom Convoy, most provincial mandates were eliminated by the summer of 2022.

There are currently multiple ongoing class-action lawsuits filed by Canadians adversely affected by COVID mandates.

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