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COVID-19

Opposition requests Auditor General look into 900 million dollar outsourcing to WE Charity

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Last week Prime Minister Trudeau announced WE Charity was going to be hired to pay post-secondary students between $1,000 and $5,000 for volunteer work. The outsourcing of a contract of nearly a billion dollars to deliver a government program is setting off alarm bells with the Conservative Opposition.  Pierre Poilievre has responded by writing the following letter to Canada’s Auditor General.


Dear Auditor General,
WE may have a problem.

Ms. Karen Hogan
Auditor General of Canada
240 Sparks Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0G6

June 28, 2020

Dear Auditor General Hogan,

On Thursday, June 25th, the Liberal government announced they will be outsourcing the Canada Student Service Grant (CSSG), a $900 million-dollar program, to the internationally mandated WE Charity. The CSSG will pay post-secondary students and recent graduates between $1,000 and $5,000 dollars for volunteer work. Outsourcing a $900 million-dollar program designed to pay students and recent graduates for volunteer work to a third party raises justifiable concerns and a number of questions. In addition, the connections between WE Charity and the Prime Minister are well documented.

In a display of cross-partisan collaboration, the House of Commons mandated your office to conduct an audit of the government’s COVID-19 spending. Your office included the COVID-19 spending audit in its top three prioritized audits to be completed. On June 9th, the Standing Committee on Finance passed a unanimous motion (10 YEAS to 0 NAYS) calling on your office to audit all programs associated with COVID-19, and for the government to provide your office with sufficient funding to do so. During your appearance at Finance Committee on Monday, June 22nd, you stated:

“We viewed the committee’s motion as reinforcing the importance of our work and its value to parliament. We pride ourselves in supporting Parliament to the best of our abilities. Given our current resourcing and funding levels, we need to be selective when deciding on the audits that we conduct; we will not be able to audit each, and every federal program associated with Canada’s COVID-19 response.”

Auditor General, we are writing to ask your office and team of auditors to include the $900 million-dollar CSSG program and the government’s outsourcing of it to WE Charity in your final report to Parliament on the government’s pandemic spending. By outsourcing this program to a third party, the proper channels for Opposition scrutiny, the very bedrock of our parliamentary democracy, have been circumvented. Indeed, it is your office that will provide the most legitimate and transparent examination of this program.

The Trudeau government has brought forward unprecedented levels of spending and administration of programs due to COVID-19, but this does not mean that accountability, transparency and value for money should be ignored. Simply put, they can never be ignored.

Auditor General, we look forward to your response to our request to include the government’s $900 million-dollar Canada Student Service Grant, and the administration of this program to the internationally run WE Charity, in your final report to Parliament on the government’s COVID-19 spending.

Sincerely,

Hon. Pierre Poilievre, M.P.
Shadow Minister for Finance

Dan Albas, M.P.
Shadow Minister for Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion

Raquel Dancho, M.P.
Shadow Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Youth

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City of Red Deer

Red Deer City Council to take a fresh look at mandatory mask usage

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From the City of Red Deer

Update to statement from Mayor Tara Veer, on behalf of City Council, on mask usage in Red Deer

“The mandatory use of masks continues to be a topic of conversation as we all respond to the global COVID-19 pandemic.In accordance with my statement, on behalf of The City, on July 24, the ongoing discussions of mask usage may be continually revisited at any time given fluctuating case numbers in the city and region along with new direction from the Province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. This week the Government of Alberta announced the guidelines around mandatory mask usage in schools and on school buses as schools reopen this fall.

As such, City administration is preparing a report for the August 17 Council meeting which will include updates on Provincial direction and local considerations. The administrative report will be available on The City’s website on or after August 13.”


July 24, 2020

Statement from Mayor Tara Veer, on behalf of City Council, on mask usage in Red Deer

“The mandatory use of masks continues to be a topic of conversation in communities across Alberta and around Canada as we all respond to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The Government of Alberta has indicated that they do not have province wide plans for mandatory masking and have left the decision to municipalities to make decisions based on their local situation.

The City continues to follow the number of cases in Red Deer and the Central Zone health region very closely. The recent uptick in cases in the region is concerning and serves as a reminder of the importance of following all public health orders to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our community. At this time, given current case numbers within the city, The City of Red Deer is not considering implementing mandatory masking in Red Deer, however this may be revisited at any time given fluctuating case numbers in the city and region along with direction from the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

We are asking our citizens and businesses to follow health and safety protocols on a voluntary basis and for the safety of others. Mask use continues to be strongly recommended, particularly indoors, when physical distancing of two metres from people outside your cohort group is not possible. The Province has made masks available in a number of places across Alberta, free of charge, and The City of Red Deer received masks to hand out for free to transit users. There are also masks available at City recreation facilities for scheduled users to help elevate voluntary public participation in City amenities.

Implementing a mandatory masking policy in public spaces needs to be considered with other health orders and in context with the overall local severity of the pandemic. The caseload in the region is absolutely critical to The City’s consideration of implementing a mandatory mask policy. As such, we continue to have discussions with other local leaders within the Central Zone health region to ensure our decisions are cohesive as we all access the same healthcare services.”

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Alberta

What’s on Tap? – Rediscover Moonshine with Skunkworks Distillery

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An exciting new addition to the Calgary Barley Belt might look a little bit different than what regular patrons are used to seeing, or drinking. Skunkworks Distillery, a locally owned and operated micro-distillery, is bringing premium engineered moonshine to the craft beer party!  

Originating in 2015 as an after-work-over-drinks project idea, the concept of Skunkworks Distillery was in the works for a few years before it began to take shape with Faye Warrington and Marty Lastiwka at the helm. Skunk Works is an engineering term coined at Lockheed Martin, referring to the Advanced Development Department, which focuses on innovative and unconventional approaches to new science and technology. “Skunk Works is a department that operates outside the mainstream of their company working on weird little side science projects or on new tech stuff,” says Faye, “for Marty and I, this is our Skunk Works. This is our science project.” 

Located on the Barley Belt, southeast Calgary’s signature walking distance collection of craft breweries, Skunkworks distills smooth, small batch premium engineered moonshine that is as good over ice as it is in one of their many cocktails. Made from sugar beets refined in Taber, Alberta, Skunkworks offers three unique products: the original Skunkworks Moonshine, Hypersonic and Moonwater. With Skunkworks, Faye and Marty are committed to challenging the mason jar mentality that associates moonshine with a bootleg burn. 

“Moonshine is a good way to bring people together. We all have a moonshine story,” Marty laughs, “It’s something people can always talk about, for better or for worse.” 

The tasting room, much of which Faye and Marty built themselves, combines industrial space race vibes with a Mad Max steampunk flare that can’t be found anywhere else. Sip your Skunktail (Skunkworks cocktail) from a science lab beaker and enjoy some light snacks on a replica plane wing turned coffee table, while listening to live music from the in-house studio. 

After countless hours of planning, searching and building, the taproom officially opened in November of 2019. Launching amidst the upheaval of a global pandemic and ensuing economic crash has made Skunkworks an operation well versed in thinking on their feet. “None of the normal rules for growing a business apply right now,” says Marty, “So we’re just adapting, we’re pivoting every day.” 

Like a number of other breweries and distilleries around the city, Skunkworks transitioned to the production of hand sanitizer to help fill the gap during the height of the pandemic. The public response, according to Marty, was far more than they ever could have anticipated. “Everyone was just so desperate for it,” he says, “we were making it just to give away, and suddenly people were lined up around the block for it.” 

While this wasn’t how they exactly envisioned their first few months in operation, it turned out to be a great way for the distillery to begin connecting with the community while helping out people in need. Given the uncertain circumstances and difficulties of the last several months, Faye says the support of the community and other local distilleries has been invaluable. 

As things settle down, Faye and Marty are looking forward to being able to host live music again and are even exploring the idea of an outdoor concert on their (dog-friendly!) patio. Above all, the two are excited for the upcoming release of their latest product, a seasonal feature that is like “nothing you’ve ever tasted!” coming very soon. 

To learn more about Skunkworks Distillery and what the Calgary Barley Belt has to offer, visit https://www.skunkworksdistillery.com

 

Follow Todayville Calgary to learn more about Calgary’s unique breweries and distilleries, now featuring exclusive weekly updates from Whats on Tap? 

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august, 2020

fri07augAll Daymon17WALK TO BREATHE from Calgary to Edmonton(All Day)

thu27aug(aug 27)12:00 amsun30(aug 30)11:59 pmHUGE Garage Sale for Crime Prevention12:00 am - 11:59 pm (30) PIDHERNEY CURLING CENTRE, RED DEER, AB, 4725 43 St, Red Deer, AB T4N 6Z3 Event Organized By: The Central Alberta Crime Prevention Centre

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