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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

Canadian women's hockey team to play B.C. Junior A men as part of Olympic prep

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CALGARY — Canada’s women’s hockey team will play a pair of games against male Junior A teams in B.C. next month.

The national women’s team, currently centralized in Calgary to prepare for the 2022 Winter Olympics, will travel to face the Trail Smoke Eaters on Oct. 4 and the Cranbrook Bucks on Oct. 5.

Canada is coming off winning a women’s world championship Aug. 31 in Calgary, where the host country edged the United States in overtime for gold.

Twenty-six skaters are trying out for 20 spots on the Olympic roster.

Three goaltenders have already been named to the Beijing-bound side: Ann-Renée Desbiens, Emerance Maschmeyer and Kristen Campbell.

The women are accustomed to a regular slate of games against male midget triple-A clubs as part of their Olympic prep, but games against Junior A teams are more rare.

Goaltender Shannon Szabados made 52 saves in Canada’s 3-2 win over the AJHL’s Calgary Canucks on Dec. 5, 2009.

Canada split a pair of Maritime Junior Hockey League games in September of 2019, when the women lost 4-2 to the Valley Wildcats and downed the Pictou County Crushers 4-1.

“We are grateful to both Trail and Cranbrook for their willingness to be part of our training as we start our season,” said Gina Kingsbury, Hockey Canada director of operations for the national women’s teams, in a statement Monday.

“The level of competition we expect to face is crucial in our journey and we look forward to showcasing our athletes to hockey fans in both communities.”

Fans can buy tickets and attend both games subject to meeting B.C.’s COVID-19 requirements.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 20, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Arrested for double murder of Hinto woman and her toddler

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News Release from Alberta RCMP

Alberta RCMP Major Crimes Unit investigating double homicide in Hinton

Alberta RCMP Major Crimes have now laid charges in relation to a double homicide in Hinton.

Robert Keith Major (age 53) from Hinton, has been charged with two counts of 2nd degree murder and 1 count of indignity to human remains. He has been remanded into custody and is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Tuesday, September 21, 2021 at 10:00 am in Edson Provincial Court.

Investigators have learned that Robert Major lived in the same apartment complex as the 24-year-old female victim and her 16-month-old child. No other connection has been identified by between the victims and the perpetrator and police are not seeking any other suspects in this case.

Autopsies are taking place at the Edmonton Medical Examiners office today, September 18 and tomorrow, September 19, 2021. While no other suspects are being sought, the investigation into these homicides is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact the Hinton RCMP at (780)865-2455 or Crimestoppers, 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), online at www.P3Tips.com or by using the “P3 Tips” app available through the Apple App or Google Play Store.

This tragic loss of life is incredibly difficult for all involved, especially the family of the victims. The family has asked for privacy to grieve at this time and of respect for the wishes of the family, the names of the deceased will not be released by the RCMP.

BACKGROUND 

Alberta RCMP Major Crimes Unit investigating double homicide in Hinton

On Sept. 16, 2021, at approximately 6 p.m., Hinton RCMP responded to a report of a missing 24-year-old female and her 16-month-old toddler who were last seen in Hinton.

Hinton RCMP, along with the assistance of Alberta RCMP Major Crimes, have been investigating this occurrence. The investigation is ongoing in the Hinton area and RCMP can now confirm that both the mother and her child have since been located deceased.

On Sept. 17, 2021, Alberta RCMP Major Crimes arrested a 53-year-old male in Hinton, in relation to this investigation. He remains in custody at this time.

There is no risk to the public at this time.

Further information will be provided when it becomes available.

 

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