Four Alberta doctors are launching a lawsuit against Alberta Health Services and its president in opposition to the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for staff. The four physicians — the plaintiffs — allege in a statement of claim that the mandatory immunization policy for AHS staff is “unethical and unlawful” and amounts to assault. They argue the policy goes against their Canadian Charter rights and freedoms as employees. The plaintiffs include two rural family physicians, a Calgary anesthesiologist and a Calgary pediatric neurologist. “Any medical procedure performed on a patient without their informed consent amounts to assault,” the statement of claim says. The policy also amounts to “constructive dismissal” since the plaintiffs’ contracts are under threat of termination or unpaid suspension, according to the statement of claim, filed by Calgary lawyer Jeffery Rath. The lawsuit alleges that Dr. Verna Yiu, AHS president and CEO, Premier Jason Kenney and other government officials, have made “false statements” that it’s the unvaccinated who “are to blame for the pandemic and hospital overcrowding.”
A temporary crosswalk in Chestermere meant to honour Canada’s veterans is in limbo after the Royal Canadian Legion took issue with the initiative’s use of poppies. The city recently painted the crosswalk connecting to Anniversary Park, where the Chestermere cenotaph is located, with a Sunday event planned to commemorate the temporary makeover. In between lines of the crosswalk, poppies are painted on the road. But those poppies sparked concern for the national legion, which holds the trademark for the poppy, requiring permission for use of the image when used in relation to remembrance. The organization reached out to the city Friday to raise the issue. “The Legion deeply appreciates efforts like these, made by community members wanting to help remember our fallen,” the veterans organization said in a statement to Postmedia. “Unfortunately this particular display would have unintentionally resulted in individuals walking on the poppy image, which is deemed disrespectful.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is being urged to decriminalize the possession and use of illicit drugs as a way to combat the opioid crisis that has resulted in thousands of deaths in Canada. Almost 70 organizations from across the country — including the HIV Legal Network, the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association, and the National Association of Women and the Law — have written a letter to Trudeau asking that he make drug policy reform a priority for his newly re-elected Liberal government. They want drug possession to be immediately decriminalized and all criminal sanctions and penalties related to drug use to be eliminated. And they want federal funding to ensure “low-barrier access” to a safe supply of drugs. Almost 23,000 Canadians died from an opioid overdose between January 2016 and March 2021 and the groups say those deaths were fuelled by “a contaminated drug supply and the stigma associated with drug use” which is only reinforced by criminalizing drugs and drug users.
For close political watchers, it should be no surprise that U.S. President Joe Biden is trying to once again shut down the Canadian auto industry. He tried this once before in 2009 shortly after being elected vice-president under Barack Obama. n 2009, as governments around the world were still reacting to the global financial meltdown, Biden and his allies in the United Auto Workers of America saw an opportunity to move jobs to the United States. If American taxpayers were going to bail out General Motors and Chrysler, then the jobs should be in the United States. Only the combined efforts of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty — stepping forward with their own bucket of bailout cash — stopped the wholesale shift of the auto industry out of Canada. Now as president, Biden has teamed up with the UAW to try and move jobs out of Canada once again. This time Biden is hoping to use the power of tax breaks to move auto manufacturing south. We need the Trudeau government, with their deep ties to the Democrats in Washington, to step up their diplomatic game to find a solution for Canada.
One hundred and sixty five countries owe a total of US$385 billion in ‘hidden debts’ to China, by participating in belt-and-road initiatives (BRI), a study had found, with 42 poorer countries owing debt exceeding 10 per cent of their individual GDP. AidData, a U.S.-based research firm, found that that several of the loans have also been underreported to the World Bank, kept off the public balance sheets by way of special purpose and semi-private loans. The loans are “substantially greater” than research institutions, credit rating agencies or intergovernmental organizations with surveillance responsibilities “previously understood,” reads the study published on Wednesday. Global organizations such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund were aware of the problem, AidData stated, but the report quantified the scale of how much went underreported. Over 13,000 BRI projects worth more than US$843 billion had been analyzed in 165 countries between 2000 and 2017. AidData found that China’s overseas lending had dramatically changed from government-to-government loans, to almost 70 per cent of the financing going to state-owned companies, banks, joint ventures, private institutions and special purpose vehicles (SPVs).
There are plenty of celebratory headlines to go around about Friday’s release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor from Chinese prisons, however it’d be a mistake to misconstrue the event as a win for Western democracies. This was not a happy ending, but rather an escalation of China’s unapologetic bully tactics on the international stage. If there was ever any doubt about the nature of the two Michaels’ detention, there’s now none. China made that crystal clear when Kovrig and Spavor were released mere hours after a Vancouver court dropped the extradition case against Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, who’d also reached a deferred prosecution deal with U.S. prosecutors that allowed her to avoid felony charges and walk free. It’s understood the U.S. agreement included a side deal to release the two Michaels. Now the two Michaels are safely back in Canada, there’s no longer the worry any strong statements or actions against China will result in bad outcomes for them. The time for deference is over. With the unapologetically quick release of the Michaels, China has sent a forbidding message to the world. We must be part of the democratic response back.