OP/ED submitted to Todayville by Alberta Justice Minister Shandro
Challenging the federal firearms ban
Last month, the federal minister responsible for the RCMP wrote to me to request that Alberta provide resources starting this fall to begin confiscating an estimated 30,000 legally acquired firearms from Albertans. We have rejected their request and will not offer any resources.
The firearms that they are seeking to confiscate were part of a list of over 1500 models that were banned by the federal Liberals in 2020. An amnesty is currently in effect until October 2023, after which time they will be prohibited to possess.
The list of banned models were all previously non-restricted and restricted firearms, including hunting rifles and shotguns as well as historical artifacts almost a hundred years old. Why ban these firearms? A committee of federal bureaucrats decided that these firearms look scary – which is why they describe them as “assault-style.” In reality, we know these firearms, no matter how they may be styled, are in no way materially different from more familiar looking rifles and shotguns.
To challenge this ban, Alberta will apply to intervene in six ongoing lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the prohibition.
I have also been advised that the Commanding Officer of K Division does not support using provincial police resources to administer the federal government’s confiscation program. Despite this, we have been told that the Federal Liberals intend to conscript provincial RCMP officers into acting as confiscation agents.
Alberta taxpayers pay over $750 million per-year for the RCMP and we will not tolerate taking officers off the streets in order to confiscate the property of law-abiding firearms owners.
To take action, I have used the authorities that we have as a province to identify the confiscation program as an activity that is not appropriate for the RCMP to be used for. Should the federal government proceed with their plan, I will launch a formal dispute under the Provincial Police Service Agreement.
However, because the RCMP is a federal entity, we believe that the Federal Liberals will again interfere in police operations – just as they did when they politicized the mass shooting in Nova Scotia in order to bolster their case for the same pending firearms ban – and order that the RCMP act as confiscation agents.
If this happens, we will consider all options at our disposal to protect Albertans and the property rights that they are entitled to.
Minister of Justice and Solicitor General
TC Energy shuts down Keystone pipeline system after leak in Nebraska
CALGARY — TC Energy Corp. says it has shut down its Keystone pipeline after a leak in Nebraska.
The company says it has mobilized people and equipment in response to a confirmed release of oil into a creek, about 32 kilometres south of Steele City, Neb.
TC Energy says an emergency shutdown and response was initiated Wednesday night after a pressure drop in the system was detected.
It says the affected segment of the pipeline has been isolated and booms have been deployed to prevent the leaked oil from moving downstream.
The Keystone pipeline system stretches 4,324 kilometres and helps move Canadian and U.S. crude oil to markets around North America.
TC Energy says the system remains shutdown as its crews respond and work to contain and recover the oil.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 8, 2022.
Companies in this story: (TSX:TRP)
The Canadian Press
Two deputy chief medical officers resign from their positions with Alberta Health
Edmonton – Alberta’s two deputy chief medical officers of health are leaving their roles — less than a month after Dr. Deena Hinshaw was removed as the province’s top doctor.
Health Minister Jason Copping confirmed during question period Wednesday that both of the doctors have submitted letters of resignation.
“They are still continuing to work at this point in time,” he said in the legislature. “We are in the process of actually looking to fill those roles.”
A statement from Alberta Health said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra and Dr. Jing Hu, who are listed as public health physicians on the department’s website, have given notice.
When reached by her department email, Salvaterra responded: “Unfortunately, we are not able to comment.”
She later added that she respects and admires both Dr. Hinshaw and Dr. Hu.
“They are brilliant, hard-working, and compassionate public health physicians and I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to work alongside them for these past 14 months.”
Salvaterra, who has extensive public health experience including as the medical officer of health for Peterborough, Ont., joined the office in October 2021.
Her career in public health includes work in “the COVID-19 response, mental health, the opioid response, women’s health, poverty reduction, health equity, community food security and building stronger relationships with First Nations.”
Hu’s out-of-office message said her “last day at work with Alberta Health was Nov. 18, 2022,” and noted she wouldn’t have access to the department email after that date.
She got extensive training in China and at the University of Calgary before joining the health department in January 2020.
Their resignations came within a month of Hinshaw, who became the face of Alberta’s public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, being removed from her position.
Hinshaw was replaced by Dr. Mark Joffe, a senior executive member of Alberta Health Services, on an interim basis.
“Dr. Joffe will be supported by medical officers of health within AHS, by other staff in the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, and by the Public Health Division,” said the statement from Alberta Health late Wednesday.
“We expect these changes to have no impact on the department’s and Dr. Joffe’s ability to meet the requirements of the Public Health Act.”
Hinshaw’s dismissal didn’t come as a surprise.
Premier Danielle Smith announced on her first day in office in October that she would be replaced.
Smith has made it clear that she blames both Hinshaw and Alberta Health Services for failing to deliver the best advice and care for Albertans as the hospital system came close to buckling in successive waves of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“A lot of the bad decisions were made by Alberta Health Services on the basis of bad advice from the chief medical officer of health,” Smith told reporters on Oct. 22.
Smith has not placed the blame on front-line doctors and nurses but broadly on AHS senior management. Joffe, while serving as chief medical officer of health, retains his role in AHS senior management as a vice-president responsible for areas in cancer and clinical care.
Hinshaw, an Alberta-trained public health specialist, became a celebrity of sorts in the first wave of the pandemic in the spring of 2020, as she delivered regular, sometimes daily, updates to Albertans on the virus, its spread and methods to contain it.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 7, 2022.
— By Colette Derworiz in Calgary.
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