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Health policy experts react to Stampede recording of Jason Kenney –



A video of a conversation between Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and a member of the public undercuts faith in public health as COVID-19 cases in the province surge, a health policy professor says.

The video was recently posted to social media, and appears to have been recorded without Kenney’s knowledge.

It shows the premier at a Stampede breakfast-related event in July, where Kenney was asked about people who are not vaccinated. 

“They’re younger. Most of them are under 12, and the flu is a greater threat to them than COVID,” he says. 

“The largest other cohort [of unvaccinated people] is in their 20s and they’re very healthy,” he says. “COVID is not a threat to people under 30, effectively.”

Alberta Health reported that there were three children under the age of 18 in ICU as of Thursday. More than 900 Albertans under age 30 have been hospitalized due to COVID-19 over the course of the pandemic.

In the recording, Kenney also says Alberta will be open for good.

CBC Calgary reached out to representatives from the premier’s office for comment, and didn’t receive a response. 

These types of statements create expectations in the public, making it difficult to impose public health restrictions when needed, says Lorian Hardcastle, a health law and policy professor at the University of Calgary. 

In this file photo, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, right, cooks pancakes while hosting the annual Premier’s Stampede breakfast in Calgary on Monday, July 12, 2021. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

She says such statements undercut people’s trust in public health policies. 

“I think that’s the problem that we’re seeing ourselves in right now, where it was promised that we’re open for summer. It’s the end of restrictions,” she says.  

“Now that hospital capacity is where it is — and we may very well need more restrictions — it becomes very hard politically, for a government who made those kinds of promises to do what they need to do to keep people safe.”

Though he does not specify a timeline, Kenney says in the video that “we’re going to be at over 80 per cent vaccination in Alberta.” 

As of Thursday, about two months after the video was filmed, close to 71 per cent of eligible Albertans are fully vaccinated, representing 60.3 per cent of the total population. 

“Those are not numbers that you want to misrepresent,” Hardcastle says.  

“I also felt as though it was concerning that he downplayed the risk by saying that people under a certain age really don’t have to worry about this. That’s not a message that we want to send.”

At the time of filming, health experts had predicted a rise of COVID-19 cases in the fall tied to the delta variant of the virus, she says. 

“It’s concerning if he genuinely believed that delta didn’t pose enough of a threat that we could find our way back where we were, because certainly other experts did,” she says. 

University of Calgary health law associate professor Lorian Hardcastle says statements like the ones made in the recording can undercut people’s trust in public health policies. (Submitted by Lorian Hardcastle)

John Church, a professor of political science at the University of Alberta, says the video shows that Alberta public health experts and political leadership are at odds about COVID-19 messaging. 

“The science on all this has been very clear for some time, and the science has told us — not to mention the actual on the ground experience — has told us that hand washing, masking, social distancing and vaccination are the way for us to get out of this,” Church says. 

The Alberta NDP declined to comment.

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Experts call for an overhaul of Canada's national security policy to cope with an 'angry' world –



Rarely has the world intruded so viscerally — and with so little apparent effect — upon the great national conversation that we call a federal election.

Launched just as two decades of nation-building efforts in Afghanistan were collapsing, the election (which produced a Parliament strangely similar to the one dissolved in August) also saw what some observers have described as a strategic snub by Canada’s closest allies: the establishment of a new U.S.-U.K.-Australia alliance to contain China.

And yet, questions about Canada’s current place in the shifting sands of the global order barely rated a mention on the campaign trail.

That could change quickly as the new (old) Liberal government faces a bevy of pressing international commitments and crises, ranging from the benign but significant gathering of world leaders at the United Nations to the slow-rolling humanitarian disaster afflicting Afghan refugees.

The newly re-elected minority government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will have to hit the ground running. On Tuesday, U.S. President Joe Biden mapped out a strategy for confronting authoritarian states without triggering a new Cold War.

He did so a week after surprising the world with a new security alliance — AUKUS — involving two of Canada’s closest Commonwealth allies, the United Kingdom and Australia.

Events in the world beyond our borders did come up during the 36-day campaign. More often than not, however, they were used by campaigning leaders as a cudgel with which to beat down their opponents.

Some would say that’s what election campaigns are all about. Seasoned pols will tell you there are no votes to be won in Weyburn, Saskatchewan with talk about freedom of navigation in the South China Sea.

But many experts say the reluctance of Canada’s campaigning leaders to address the changing geopolitical landscape and the threats it may produce is myopic and dangerous — especially now, with the country slowly recovering from a foreign-spawned global pandemic that brought life as we knew it to a standstill.

‘The world is a pretty angry place’

Those experts say they’d hoped the alarming world events of the past 18 months would force the campaigning parties to think and talk about national security and how Canada can protect its interests globally. It didn’t happen.

“We’re coming to this realization that the world is a pretty angry place,” said Aaron Shull, managing director and general counsel at the Centre for International Governance and Innovation.

“Countries don’t have friends. We have alliances and strategic interests, but we are now coming to the realization that we have to make our place in the world.”

A nuclear-powered Type 094A Jin-class ballistic missile submarine of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy is seen during a military display in the South China Sea on April 12, 2018. (Reuters)

Shull and University of Ottawa historian Wesley Wark are co-leading a project that hopes to re-imagine Canada’s national security strategy.

Wark is one of the country’s leading intelligence experts and has been a vocal critic of Canada’s failures in pandemic preparation. He examined the foreign policy planks of each major party and found all of them wanting.

Vague, scattershot approaches to foreign policy

The Conservatives produced the most exhaustive list of promises but they were scattered and unfocused, said Wark. 

“None of the parties have a central coherent statement on national security. What is it? What does it mean to us?” said Wark. He summarized the Liberal government’s position as status quo, while saying the NDP made some general pledges without a lot of specifics.

The Liberal platform contained no dedicated national security section — a puzzling omission, given the fact that the previous Trudeau governments spent enormous amounts of time and energy dealing with the fallout from external events: the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president and the pandemic.

A health worker takes a nasal swab sample of a Kashmiri to test for COVID-19 in Srinagar, Indian-controlled Kashmir, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. (Dar Yasin/Associated Press)

Still, said Wark, a lot of thought is being given within government to reorganizing the national security framework. He said there is some “enthusiasm” on the part of senior bureaucrats for the project.

He said he hopes that revamped framework includes climate change and pandemics in a new definition of what represents a threat to this country’s interests.

Reacting after the fact

Shull pointed out that, unlike other nations, Canada does not have a permanent cabinet committee to deal with national security matters.

“We tend not to treat national security issues with seriousness at the political level in the public discourse,” he said.

“The pinnacle of national security in this country is the incident response group. It’s an ad hoc committee of cabinet that meets on a periodic basis, but here’s the thing — incident response by definition means you’re already on your back foot. It means something is happening and you’re responding.”

Put simply, Shull said, what he and Wark are proposing is a new national security council, or some other body that would allow Canada “to lean into the world and not always be responding.”

Afghan refugees are shown in an Italian Red Cross camp in Avezzano, Italy, on Aug. 31. (Andrew Medichini/The Associated Press)

He said the Trudeau government needs to ask itself what Canada’s “core interests” are and how best to protect them.

Canada has not had a national security strategy since 2004. Shull said that means Canada doesn’t have a current strategy.

AUKUS might be the catalyst that starts those discussions in Ottawa, Wark said — but first they’ll have to overcome the widely-held belief in government circles that the Canadian public doesn’t care about national security.

“It is a belief that is convenient to political cadres because national security discussions are often hard and complex,” he said.

But COVID-19 itself was an external threat in the beginning. If anything, the pandemic might serve to convince Canadians that the time to have this conversation is now, Wark said.

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Three Ways to Use Social Media to Impress Employers and Recruiters



Like it or not, and out of your control, before inviting you for an interview employers will scrutinize your digital footprint to see what you leave on social media platforms, online communities, and forums.

Digital footprints are double-edged swords. Not having any social media presence or what can be considered a “bare minimum,” or “static” presence is a red flag. On the other hand, having an overly robust social media presence can appear to be flamboyant and narcissistic.

The standard advice is to not overshare on social media. However, what you share, particularly while actively looking for a new job, can impress, and therefore positively influence, employers and recruiters. According to the research, the top three items’ employers and recruiters like to see when researching a candidate’s social media presence are:


  • Written and/or design work
  • Engagement in volunteering, mentoring and non-profits
  • Mutual connections


The overarching theme: Is the candidate sharing to brag, or are they sharing to inform, educate and teach? In other words, is the candidate using social media to present themselves as an SME (Subject Matter Expert) within their field or industry?


The key, which is an art, is to share content that will likely have the viewer judge you positively. (Human nature being what it is, there’s no guarantee how you’ll be judged.) Since social norms are constantly shifting, how a person’s social media is judged also changes. An example of ever-changing social media taboos is selfies. Not long ago, selfies were viewed as being self-centred; today, they’re not viewed that way.


Expect employers to search your social media for:


  • Posts about your workplace and your achievements.
  • Posts about your personal life.
  • Post regarding topics do you seem to have a passion for.
  • Comments you’re leaving.
  • What you’re sharing, retweeting, and liking.
  • Blogs, articles, and posts you’ve written.


The key is to really believe in what you are saying (posting) and doing (pictures, videos). Avoid using profanity, name-calling, insulting, being deliberately offensive or controversial. (Being authentic is controversial enough.)


I admit that there are things I post that may turn off potential employers and recruiters. However, I accept the consequences of my believing in something and possibly offending a prospective employer, which is never my intention. If that’s the case, then that company isn’t likely to be a fit for me.


My recommendation is, to be honest, respectful and show a glass-half-full, optimistic approach.


Let’s look at the three items I mentioned employers and recruiters like to see and how you can incorporate them into your social media.


Written and/or design work


In 2021 successful job hunting requires having a LinkedIn profile that’s current and optimized. On your LinkedIn profile, upload and share documents, reports, presentations, links to articles you’ve written and awards you’ve received.


Keep in mind: Employers will read through your LinkedIn profile before deciding whether to schedule an interview with you.


Engaged in volunteering and mentoring  


On Instagram and Facebook, share photos of yourself volunteering at the local food bank, doing fundraising work or participating in a ‘run for a cure’ marathon. This shows you’re community-minded and which causes are close to your heart.


Mutual connections 


Who you know and who knows you greatly influences your job search and career progression success. As much as it may offend some, human beings are much more comfortable being around people they have a direct or mutual connection with. Commonalities ease the creation of and are the foundation of solid relationships. Therefore, the advice I give most often to job seekers: “Search for your tribe!” Making finding where you belong a priority is the best compass a job seeker can use.


Use LinkedIn to reach out and connect with people within your city, region, field and industry. Connect with people whom you’ve worked with or went to school with. Engage (e.g., comment on posts, ask questions) with people who can help you in your job search and career. Once you connect with someone on LinkedIn, be sure to do so on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. (Assuming they have accounts on these platforms.) Yes, I’m advising you to get in people’s faces letting them know you exist and what you can offer as an employee.


Your social media activity can significantly positively impact your job search, including shorting its length. When job hunting, you want to use your digital footprint to your advantage. Therefore, remain focused on communicating your attributes to create a confident and employer-appealing digital footprint.



Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job. You can send him your questions at





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Coronavirus: What's happening in Canada and around the world on Tuesday –



The latest:

The European Commission said on Tuesday it would make sense for the United States to allow travel by people vaccinated with the AstraZeneca shot in Europe.

On Monday the White House said it would lift restrictions that bar European Union citizens from travelling to the United States starting in November. It is not clear which vaccines will be accepted by U.S. authorities.

“We believe the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe,” a spokesperson for the EU Commission told a news conference.

“From our point of view, obviously it would make sense for people who have been vaccinated with AstraZeneca to be able to travel.”

The spokesperson noted that this is a decision for U.S. authorities.

The AstraZeneca vaccine was authorized by Health Canada for use in people aged 18 and up in late February. As of Sept. 16, health officials had distributed more than three million doses of the vaccine to the provinces, according to a tracking list published by the federal government.

In June, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that his government would work with other countries to ensure Canadians who received the AstraZeneca vaccine would not be prevented from travelling internationally.

In the U.S., there are three COVID-19 vaccines that are either fully authorized or approved for emergency use — the two-dose mRNA vaccines from Pfizer-BioNtech and Moderna and the single-dose product from Johnson & Johnson (Janssen).

India has been critical of the British government’s decision not to recognize coronavirus vaccine certificates issued by Indian authorities, calling it a “discriminatory policy” that will impact its citizens who want to travel to that country.

The new rules require Indians visiting the U.K. to quarantine themselves for 10 days and undergo COVID-19 tests even if they are fully vaccinated with AstraZeneca vaccines made under licence in India.

The rules take effect next month. India’s Serum Institute, which makes the AstraZeneca vaccine, has not applied for its approval by the European Union.

Most people in India have been vaccinated with the Indian-made AstraZeneca vaccine. Others have received COVAXIN, which is also not used in Britain.

-From The Associated Press and CBC News, last updated at 1:45 p.m. ET

What’s happening across Canada

Canada is extending restrictions on all direct commercial and private passenger flights from India until Sunday, Transport Canada said in a statement Tuesday.

Travellers eligible to enter Canada will be able to board direct flights from India once the restriction on direct flights expires, provided they have proof of a negative COVID-19 molecular test from the approved Genestrings Laboratory at the Delhi airport taken within 18 hours of the scheduled departure.

-From CBC News, last updated at 8:30 p.m. ET

WATCH | P.E.I. premier explains proof-of-vaccination system: 

P.E.I. to introduce vaccine passport, premier says

9 hours ago

Prince Edward Island is working with Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to create a ‘P.E.I. Vax Pass,’ Premier Dennis King said on Tuesday. The pass will apply to many large gatherings whether indoor or outdoor. 2:32

Here’s a look at some of the COVID-19 developments from across the country:

What’s happening around the world

A local security official removes makeshift barricades following the easing of restrictions on Tuesday in Hanoi, Vietnam. (Linh Pham/Getty Images)

As of early Tuesday evening, more than 229.4 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University’s coronavirus tracker. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.7 million.

In the Asia-Pacific region, Vietnamese authorities are relaxing some pandemic restrictions in Hanoi starting Tuesday after two months of lockdown to contain a surge in coronavirus cases.

In Europe, senior politicians in Germany expressed shock over the weekend killing of a young gas station clerk who asked a customer to wear a face mask, and they warned Tuesday against the radicalization of people who oppose the country’s pandemic restrictions.

A 49-year-old German man was arrested in the fatal shooting of the clerk Saturday in the western town of Idar-Oberstein. The suspect is being held on suspicion of murder.

Authorities said the man told officers he acted “out of anger” after being refused service for not wearing a mask while trying to buy beer. “He further stated during interrogation that he rejected the measures against the coronavirus,” the Trier police department said in a statement.

In the Americas, COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have climbed to an average of more than 1,900 a day for the first time since early March, with experts saying the virus is preying largely on a distinct group: 71 million unvaccinated Americans.

Back in December, when no vaccines were available, about 3,000 people were dying every day. Now, despite readily available vaccines, deaths per day have climbed 40 per cent over the past two weeks, from 1,387 to 1,947, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Argentina unveiled plans to ease pandemic restrictions, including loosening strict border controls, allowing more commercial activities and getting rid of the mandatory wearing of face masks outdoors.

In the Middle East, the first world fair to be held in the Middle East, Expo 2020 Dubai, opens its doors to exhibitors from almost 200 countries on Oct. 1 after being delayed for a year by the pandemic.

In Africa, authorities in Burundi have decided to suspend all social events except on Saturdays and Sundays as concerns grow about a rising number of COVID-19 infections.

The country was one of the last in Africa to embrace vaccines after the administration of the late president was accused of taking the pandemic lightly. In a letter to governors and mayors, the chair of the committee in charge of fighting COVID-19 said the limits on gatherings come after authorities realized how such events can spread the virus.

The mayor of Burundi’s economic capital, Bujumbura, is threatening to fine anyone who doesn’t wear a mask or respect physical distancing. The mayor cites a worrying number of COVID-19 patients in the city.

-From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 8:50 p.m. ET

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