Submitted by Red Deer South MLA Jason Stephan
JASON STEPHAN: Conduct of airport detentions violate our fundamental freedoms
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is the “supreme law of Canada”, recognizing in its preamble, the “supremacy of God and the rule of law”.
Under the Charter, everyone has the “Fundamental Freedoms” of conscience and religion, thought, belief, opinion and expression, peaceful assembly, and association.
Under the Charter, “every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada” and “to pursue the gaining of a livelihood in any province”.
This past weekend, the Public Health Agency of Canada forced a young man from Red Deer arriving from the U.S.A. at the Calgary International Airport into isolated quarantine. The young man had in his possession a negative COVID test result, obtained in good faith prior to departure, and was permitted for boarding, however, did not meet the agency’s particular requirements in landing.
All of this was unknown to the young man’s family, who had not seen him for almost two years, were so excited to see him, and were waiting at airport arrivals to take him home.
This federal agency treated the family in an unaccountable, heavy-handed way. The agency would not tell the young man or his family where he was being taken and for how long. The young man did not have a cell phone and the agency tried to prevent them from even seeing each other. This harshness was unnecessary. The young man’s mother stated that all of this “feels wrong”. She is correct.
The onus of proof is on government to justify limits on our Charter freedoms. Under the Charter, government is required to demonstrate “proportionality” between objectives and limits imposed to achieve them. That in turn, requires demonstration of a “rational connection” between the limit and the objective, and “minimal impairment” of no more than is necessary to accomplish the objective. These foundational Charter principles are to be applied with rigour to government health “measures” to ensure they are “reasonable” and “demonstrably justified”.
The WHO defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.
Instead of a societal state of “physical, mental and social well-being”, we are seeing increasing societal contention, disconnection, despair, and hopelessness. This is not healthy.
Principled approaches for every day activities are better than prescriptive approaches seeking to regulate the endless varieties of these activities. A principled approach that supports freedom, is less complex or vulnerable to contradiction.
A principled vision of hope is healthy, requiring government to trust adults to govern themselves, allowing them and their families more freedom to carry on the activities of daily living as they individually see fit, in a good faith respecting reasonable health measures and the rights of their neighbors to do the same.
Jason Stephan is the UCP MLA for Red Deer-South
Sergei Bobrovsky has 40-save shutout as Florida Panthers rout Edmonton Oilers 6-0
EDMONTON — Sergei Bobrovsky made 40 saves for his first shutout of the season as the Florida Panthers defeated the ice-cold Edmonton Oilers 6-0 on Thursday.
Aleksander Barkov scored two goals and added an assist for the Panthers (27-8-5), who improved to 9-1-1 in their last 11 games.
Carter Verhaeghe, Anthony Duclair, Sam Bennett and Owen Tippett also scored for Florida.
Mikko Koskinen stopped 22 shots as the Oilers (18-16-2) lost their seventh straight.
Edmonton has a 2-11-2 record in its last 15 games.
There was no scoring in the first period despite Edmonton peppering Bobrovsky with 17 shots.
Koskinen made seven saves in the Edmonton net in the opening frame.
Florida got on the board first, scoring a power-play goal about five-and-a-half minutes into the second period. Sam Reinhart chipped a puck over splayed Oilers defender Darnell Nurse to Barkov, who fired home his 16th of the season. The Oilers have now allowed the first goal of the game in 23 of their last 27 games.
Verhaeghe was left alone in front of the net and unleashed a bullet to the top corner for his 14th goal of the season near the midway point of the game to give the Panthers a 2-0 lead.
Edmonton outshot Florida 29-13 through 40 minutes.
Barkov added to Florida’s lead seven minutes into the third when his long shot found its way through a screen.
The Panthers made it 4-0 with a power-play goal with four minutes left in the final period as Duclair swatted a loose puck into a wide open net for his 17th of the campaign.
Just over a minute later the Panthers got another power-play goal as Bennett sent a backhand shot off the post and in for his 17th as well.
Edmonton’s end-of-game collapse saw the Panthers score their third goal in 2:36 as Tippett notched his fifth.
Florida plays the third game of a five-stop road trip in Vancouver on Friday, while the Oilers remain home to welcome the Calgary Flames on Saturday.
Notes: Florida is now 20-0 when leading after the second period… The Oilers have scored two goals or less in 10 of their last 15 games… Missing from the Florida lineup were Patric Hornqvist (upper body) and Gustav Forsling (COVID)… Out for the Oilers were Mike Smith (thumb) and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (lower body), as well as Zach Hyman, Kyle Turris and Stuart Skinner (COVID)… With two goalies out for Edmonton, Ilya Konovalov was brought up from the taxi squad to serve as backup to Koskinen.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2022.
Shane Jones, The Canadian Press
Kenney says he was unaware until this week of justice minister’s call to police chief
EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says he didn’t know until this week that his justice minister had called Edmonton’s police chief 10 months earlier about a traffic ticket.
“I do recall at some point last year hearing that minister (Kaycee) Madu had gotten a ticket (and) had paid for it,” Kenney told a news conference Thursday.
“I got fully briefed on all of this, including about the call and the details, on Monday afternoon following media inquiries.
“Shortly thereafter, I called minister Madu to ask what happened from his perspective and why he made this call. I expressed my serious disappointment that he would have done this.”
These were Kenney’s first public comments on the matter since tweeting out late Monday that Madu was being relieved of his justice responsibilities pending an investigation.
Kenney said he plans to hire a third party to determine if there was interference in the administration of justice.
He said the government is drafting terms of reference for the review and has contacted former judges to oversee it.
Critics, including the Opposition NDP, have said the investigation is unnecessary given that all the principals involved, including Madu, agree he made the call to Chief Dale McFee last March.
They said that even though Madu did not try to have McFee cancel the ticket, making such a call violates parliamentary tradition that cabinet ministers don’t intervene directly in the judicial system in matters in which they have a personal stake.
NDP justice critic Irfan Sabir said Kenney has no choice but to fire Madu from his justice post.
Madu has not spoken publicly on the issue, but put out a series of statements this week on social media.
In them, he stressed he did not call the chief to cancel the ticket — a point McFee corroborates — but said he wanted, and received, assurances from McFee that he wasn’t being targeted for the ticket because he is Black or because he was in a high-profile government job.
Kenney, asked by reporters why he hasn’t fired Madu, said the issue is not clear cut. He noted that Madu did not ask for his ticket to be rescinded but did raise concerns about issues such as racial profiling.
“I was not on this call,” said Kenney.
“I think given the issues that have been raised, it is appropriate to allow for a little bit of time for an investigation from somebody with legal training who is impartial to provide me with advice on whether this constituted an effort to interfere with the independent administration of justice.”
Madu, the United Conservatives’ only legislature member in Edmonton, had been justice minister since August 2020. He is serving his first term in the legislature.
On the morning of March 10, he was ticketed for distracted driving for being on a cellphone while behind the wheel in a school zone. He paid the $300 ticket soon after but not before reaching out to McFee.
This issue did not become public until media reports Monday.
Madu, in his statements, has also disagreed with the ticket. He said his phone was in his pocket at the time.
That prompted an angry response Wednesday from Staff Sgt. Mike Elliott, head of the Edmonton Police Association, which represents rank and file officers.
Elliott, on Twitter, questioned Madu’s fitness for the justice job.
“I personally know the member who issued the ticket, and to make an erroneous assumption he was surveilling you is shameful and preposterous,” wrote Elliott.
He said that even if Madu believed he was being unfairly treated, there is a complaint process that should be followed that doesn’t include a direct line to the chief of police.
“The audacity and arrogance is very clear and you are not deserving to be the minister of justice, who is supposed to represent all citizens in a fair and impartial manner.”
Madu’s case is the latest in a string of changes to Kenney’s cabinet in just over a year.
In November, Devin Dreeshen quit as agriculture minister amid concerns over his conduct and drinking.
In September, Tyler Shandro left the health portfolio. Kenney said Shandro asked for the change, citing the gruelling fight against COVID-19 as a factor.
Leela Aheer, the minister for culture, multiculturalism and the status of women, was turfed in July from cabinet after she publicly criticized Kenney for breaking COVID-19 health rules by having a patio dinner outside his temporary penthouse office.
Aheer’s portfolio was carved up and distributed to others. Kenney denied the decision was political payback.
And just over a year ago, in January 2021, Tracy Allard resigned as municipal affairs minister after public outrage over a Christmas holiday trip she took to Hawaii. The trip happened at the same time the government was urging Albertans to stay home and isolate to prevent further spread of COVID-19.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 20, 2022.
Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press
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