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Alberta

Hinshaw challenged over violating Charter freedoms of Albertans

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Originally published on October 29, 2020 by The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms 

CALGARY: The Justice Centre today responded to new violations of the Charter-protected freedoms of association and peaceful assembly, announced earlier this week by Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer.

On October 26, Dr. Hinshaw declared that Albertans in Calgary and Edmonton cannot gather in groups larger than 15 for dinner parties, birthday parties, wedding and funeral receptions, retirement parties, baby showers and other social events.

“This Order violates freedom of association and freedom of peaceful assembly, as protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” stated lawyer John Carpay, president of the Justice Centre.

“This Order is based on ‘cases’ of COVID-19 in Alberta, including thousands of ‘cases’ among people who are not experiencing any symptoms or illness. This Order is not properly grounded in relevant considerations such as deaths, hospitalizations, and ICU capacity, and is therefore not a justifiable violation of fundamental Charter freedoms,” continued Carpay.

Prior to lockdowns being imposed this past March, the word “cases” typically referred to people who are actually sick and clearly displaying symptoms. But today’s “cases” include completely healthy people who simply had a positive PCR test. The reliability of the PCR tests is increasingly in dispute, with the number of false positives as high as 90% according to some reports.

Unsurprisingly, the number of “cases” rises with the number of tests that governments conduct. For example, September saw 28,763 “cases” in Canada, as a result of testing almost two million Canadians.

“What really matters is not the ‘cases’ of perfectly healthy people, but rather the fact that 25,000 Canadians die each month,” explained Carpay. “In September, 171 of those 25,000 Canadian deaths were attributed to COVID-19.”

The media continues to hype “cases” and warn of a “second wave.” Yet government data
shows that since May, monthly COVID-19 deaths in Alberta have remained under 50, with more than 2,000 Albertans dying each and every month of other causes, based on 27,000 Albertans dying each year. Deaths peaked in April and May, when 134 Albertans died along with about 4,000 Albertans who died in those same two months from other causes.

In Alberta and elsewhere, COVID-19 significantly threatens elderly people with one, two, three or more serious pre-existing health conditions, as well as a very small number of adults under 60. However, COVID-19 does not have a significant impact on overall life expectancy. The average age of those reported as COVID deaths in Alberta is 83. Life expectancy in Alberta is 82. To date, 309 Albertans, predominantly elderly near the final stages of their life, have died of COVID-19, almost all of them with one or more serious comorbidities.

“Government data shows that COVID-19 is not the unusually deadly killer that Premier Kenney and Dr. Hinshaw made it out to be when they claimed in April that—even with lockdown measures in place—as many as 32,000 Albertans would die of the virus,” stated Carpay.

“Politicians claim that the lockdowns saved many lives, but they have yet to put forward actual evidence that might support their speculation and conjecture,” stated Carpay.

“Each of Alberta’s 309 COVID-19 deaths is sad and tragic, and so are the other 26,917 deaths that occur in Alberta each year,” continued Carpay.

Each and every month, Albertans mourn the passing of over 2,000 friends and family members, who die of cancer, car accidents, alcoholism, drug overdoses, suicide, heart disease, delayed surgeries, and many other causes. In the past seven months more than 14,000 Albertans have died, 309 of the virus and the remainder of other causes.

Since March, lockdown harms such as increase in drug overdoses, which kill more Albertans than COVID-19 does, have been either ignored or accepted, as if dying of COVID-19 is somehow worse than dying of another cause.

“In light of the Alberta government’s own data on COVID-19 deaths, there is no rational basis for forcing all Albertans to continue living in fear,” stated Carpay.

“Alberta’s politicians and health officials should focus their attention on protecting those who are at serious risk from COVID-19, rather than violating the Charter freedoms of the entire population,” stated Carpay.

“Albertans, and all Canadians, should exercise their freedom of association and freedom of peaceful assembly without fear of prosecution or penalty. This is especially true for the young, who are at more risk of being struck by lightning than dying of COVID,” concluded Carpay.

Source: https://www.jccf.ca

Alberta

WestJet extends temporary suspension of international sun flights until June

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CALGARY — WestJet says it will extend its temporary suspension of international sun flights to destinations in Mexico and the Caribbean until June 4.

Canadian airlines in January suspended all flights to sun destinations until April 30 at the request of the federal government. 

WestJet President and CEO Ed Sims said in a release that it made the decision with the clear expectation that as more Canadians are vaccinated, government policy will change.

He says guests with affected itineraries will be notified of the cancellations.

WestJet says since Nov. 1, 2020, it has been providing refunds for all travellers where WestJet initiated flight cancellations.

Sims says WestJet continues to advocate for the replacement of mandatory hotel quarantines with a testing regime that is equitable and consistent with global standards at all points of entry into Canada.

“Alongside an accelerated and successful vaccine rollout, this policy transition will support the safe restart of travel and help stimulate the Canadian economy, where one in ten jobs are tourism-related,” he said Tuesday.

“A safe travel-restart framework is the most effective way to support those interests and restore jobs.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 13, 2021

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Canada's world champion beach volleyball duo finally getting games before Tokyo

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CALGARY — Canada’s world champions in beach volleyball are amping up preparations for the Summer Olympics coming over the horizon.

The COVID-19 pandemic kept Sarah Pavan of Kitchener, Ont., and Toronto’s Melissa Humana-Paredes apart and docked from competition for much of 2020.

The Canadian duo plans to compete in at least five tournaments over the next two months starting Thursday in Cancun, Mexico.

The world governing body of volleyball, FIVB, created a hub of three straight World Tour events in Cancun to afford teams the chance to qualify for the Tokyo Summer Games opening July 23.

Pavan and Humana-Paredes booked their Tokyo berth when they won the women’s world title in 2019. 

The upcoming tournaments, however, are crucial game reps for a duo that’s short on them.

“I think Cancun will be a real test for us against every team because it is such a lengthy event, to see where we’re really at,” Pavan told The Canadian Press.

“Other teams are scrambling to accumulate points. Obviously we want to win every tournament we play . . . but to be able to take a very objective approach and just see it as information gathering for Tokyo is definitely a luxury.

“We are able to use all of these events to gather information both on ourselves and the things we need to get better at, but also on tactics teams are using against us, or improvements or changes they may have made during COVID.”

Toronto’s Heather Bansley and Brandie Wilkerson also in the Cancun women’s field have essentially qualified for Tokyo based on their FIVB Olympic provisional ranking of sixth.

Canada can send a maximum of two teams in each gender, but the men have some work to do this spring.

Samuel Pedlow of Barrie, Ont., and Sam Schacter of Richmond Hill, Ont., rank just outside the top 18 in the provisional rankings. 

Calgary’s Ben Saxton and Toronto’s Grant O’Gorman are also trying to qualify.

Pavan, 34, and Humana-Paredes, 28, aren’t facing qualification pressure, but they want to recover their game form in the upcoming tournaments.

“Do I think we’re playing at the level that we need to be in July? Absolutely not,” Pavan said. 

“I don’t think we’re performing at a gold-medal level right now, but fortunately we still have a few months to be able to hit our stride.”

The duo intends to compete in World Tour events in Sochi, Russia in May and Ostrava, Czech Republic in early June. 

They’re also contemplating another tournament in Gstaad, Switzerland in early July to avoid six weeks without a match heading into Tokyo.

Pavan lives in Hermosa Beach, Calif.

Canada’s requirement of a 14-day quarantine for travellers arriving outside the country was a barrier to the teammates crossing the border to practise together.

Neither woman felt she could afford the deconditioning that happens during two weeks of isolation too many times.

Humana-Paredes headed to California on Jan. 2 to join her teammate and stayed there. She doesn’t expect to return to Canada until after the Olympic Games conclude Aug. 8.

“I won’t be able to go home until after Tokyo,” Humana-Paredes said. “That’s the mindset I’ve had to come to terms with.  For the majority of the time, I’m in a good head space and happy to be able to train and be with my team and continue to get better. 

“Sometimes I miss by people back home and than can weigh on me a little sometimes. Last summer was so difficult because there was so much uncertainty.  We do have a schedule to look forward to, a routine and things we can plan for and the Olympics are still on.”

Her boyfriend, Connor Braid of Victoria, is a member of Canada’s rugby sevens team bound for Tokyo.

Pavan and Humana-Paredes finished second in the Katara Beach World Cup in Doha, Qatar on March 12 in their first major international competition in 18 months.

The field didn’t include all of the world’s best teams, said Pavan, but the result was important for the Canadians’ confidence.

“We had signed up for the event, but we didn’t feel ready and we actually made the final decision to go a week before the event,” Pavan said. 

“We were unsure, but we decided to just use it as a measuring stick. There were some teams that weren’t there, but to be able to fight through that event while not being as crisp as we’re used to was good.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 13, 2021.

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press

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