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To wear, or not to wear a homemade mask? That is the question.

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To do or not to do? That is the question. With my apologies for butchering William Shakespeare’s 1603, Hamlet script from Act 3, Scene 1.

Should I? Should we, wear a homemade mouth and nose masks every time we leave our residence? With so many mixed messages, what to do? It is a simple fact and without question; frontline medical workers and first responders need the store-bought medical masks right now.

Like most, I have had my days consumed by #Covid19 coverage and updates. A Google search of “coronavirus” gave me 6,220,000,000 results back in just 0.58 seconds. A life-time of reading and then some.

One world leader says this, other world leaders says something else. The World Health Organization (WHO) says this, the United Nations (UN) say that. Medical professionals can have conflicting messages from city to city and province to province. Add the stress of watching a virus spread, cratering economies around the world; our heads are spinning with over information.

Canada’s official position backed by Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam, has been strongly against everyone in the country wearing homemade face masks. In a recent press conference Tam said, “What we worry about is actually the potential negative aspects of wearing a mask, where people are not protecting their eyes or other aspects of where the virus could enter your body, and that gives you a false sense of confidence,”  and added, “also, it increases the touching of your face. If you think about it, if you’ve got a mask around your face sometimes you can’t help it.”

Canada’s stance aside, in recent days, Western and European countries are starting to join Asian countries’ practises, where the rules for the population are either voluntarily or it’s mandated to wear a face mask in a public setting; some countries with strict penalties. This of course a major U-turn for many countries, considering how there are “Anti-mask laws” in place.

The US Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adam in a scene from his “how-to” video on how to make a face mask, with-out sewing.

On April 3rd, US President Donald Trump, announced his administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommending on a voluntary basis, that Americans wear “non-medical cloth” face coverings. Trump also added that right now he would not partake in the mask wear practise, saying, “Maybe I’ll change my mind.” The Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adam posted a “how-to” video on how to make a face mask, with-our sewing.

In the Czech Republic the prime minister, Andrej Babiš has taken a much stronger stance, mandating the covering the nose and mouth at all times outside the home. Aside from closing the boarders and all non-essential businesses, restricting public gatherings, the leader sees the new move as, “vital in controlling the spread of Covid- 19”. The Czech leader has also urged all other governments to follow their lead.

The Czech government became the second country behind Slovakia, in Europe to impose mandatory mask-wearing. No, the Czech government is NOT supplying its 10-million citizens with masks, pharmacies are not selling surgical and medical grade masks to the public, they are for front-line workers.

Without missing a beat and backed by a #Masks4All movement many “how-to” online videos popped-up including one featuring the Minister of Health of, Adam Vojtěch.

Tens of thousands of Czech’s along with businesses nation-wide immediately began churning out homemade masks out of a variety of fabrics. It has been reported that within a short number of days, there was enough for everyone going outside.

Well it turns out, not “everyone” that went outside was wearing a mask. On April 3rd, Czech police were called to a favourite area for nudists. No shirt, no shoes, no pants, no issues, but no face mask, that is a problem! It is not known if any of the sun absorbing naturalists were issued a $800US fine for public disobedience that came along with the Czech government’s new rules.

Czech police were called to a favourite area for nudists. No mask? That is a problem. Photo/Police Czech Republic

As the debate to wear or not circle’s the globe, there is no ignoring that mask wearing countries like, South Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Singapore have not had the horrifying mass outbreaks like those in Italy, Spain, New York now quickly spreading across the US.

Medical staff work wearing proper personal protective equipment (PPE), will there be enough to last through this COVID-19 pandemic? THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

There is a worried thought the, “Lull it could give” the population but people know there are still all the other social distancing and sanitation rules. The biggest worry by far is for the front-line medicals workers plus all the first responders. There is a mask shortage now, forcing health workers to disregard basic coronavirus infection control by washing disposable masks and reusing other items already. A mandatory face mask rule could lead to the risking of tens of thousands of people.

No matter voluntary or mandatory, we all must know that medical and 1st responders come first; the general public should wear cloth masks.

Click of photo, learn how to make a homemade cloth face mask. NO sewing required!

Alberta

Protecting the right to vote for Canadian citizens: Minister McIver

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Minister of Municipal Affairs Ric McIver issued the following statement in response to Calgary City Council’s vote to extend the right to vote to permanent residents:

“Yesterday, Calgary city council passed a motion advocating for permanent residents to be extended the right to vote in civic elections. Alberta’s government has been clear since the beginning: only Canadian citizens are able to vote in civic elections. That will not be changing.

“The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms affirms the right of every Canadian citizen to vote and to run as a candidate. This right extends to voters in municipal, provincial and federal elections.

“Protecting our democracy is of the utmost importance. Our provincial election legislation, like the Local Authorities Elections Act, has also been clear since its inception that voting is a right of Canadian citizens.

“Alberta’s government is also ensuring that voting is accessible for more Albertans. The Municipal Affairs Statutes Amendment Act proposes to enable special ballot access for any voter who requests it, without having to provide any specific reason such as physical disability, absence from the municipality or working for the municipal election. The ministries of Seniors, Community and Social Services and Service Alberta and Red Tape Reduction are also making it easier for individuals to obtain the identification Albertans need for a variety of services, including the ability to cast a ballot.

“Our government will continue to protect the integrity of our elections and make sure voting is accessible for all Albertans who are Canadian citizens.”

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Alberta

Three Calgary massage parlours linked to human trafficking investigation

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News release from the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT)

ALERT’s Human Trafficking unit has searched and closed three Calgary massage parlours. A year-long investigation has linked the businesses and its owner to suspected human trafficking.

ALERT arrested Hai (Anna) Yan Ye on April 16, 2024 and charged the 48-year-old with advertising sexual services, drug offences and firearms offences. The investigation remains ongoing and further charges are being contemplated.

Ye was linked to three commercial properties and two homes that were allegedly being used for illegal sexual activities and services. The massage parlours were closed following search warrant executions carried out by ALERT, the Calgary Police Service, and the RCMP:

  • Seagull Massage at 1034 8 Avenue SW;
  • 128 Massage at 1935 37 Street SW; and
  • The One Massage Centre at 1919 31 Street SE.
  • 1100-block of Hidden Valley Drive; and
  • 3100-block of 12 Avenue SW.

As result of the search warrants, ALERT also seized:

  • $15,000 in suspected proceeds of crime;
  • Shotgun with ammunition; and
  • Various amounts of drugs.

“We believe that these were immigrants being exploited into the sex trade. This has been a common trend that takes advantage of their unfamiliarity and vulnerability,” said Staff Sergeant Gord MacDonald, ALERT Human Trafficking.

Four suspected victims were identified and provided resources by ALERT’s Safety Network Coordinators.

ALERT’s investigation dates back to February 2023 when a tip was received about suspicious activity taking place at the since-closed Moonlight Massage. That location was closed during the investigation, in December 2023, when the landlord identified illegal suites on the premises.

The investigation involved the close cooperation with City of Calgary Emergency Management and Community Safety, Alberta’s Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) team, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), and the RCMP.

Ye was released from custody on a number of court-imposed conditions.

Anyone with information about this investigation, or any case involving suspected human trafficking offences, is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or the Calgary Police Service non-emergency line at 403-266-1234.

ALERT was established and is funded by the Alberta Government and is a compilation of the province’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources committed to tackling serious and organized crime.

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