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Kenney calls on South Asian communities in Calgary for COVID-19 cases

Update at 3 p.m .: a statement from the Justice Minister’s office has been added.

Premier Jason Kenney went on a radio show last Thursday to wake up Calgary’s South Asian community.

Kenney joined RED FM 106.7’s Rishi Nagar on Nov. 26, noting that northeast Calgary, and the city’s South Asian communities in particular, are “very diffused”.

“I’m not saying this to blame or target anyone. The fact of the matter is this; One of the beautiful, wonderful things about my friends in the South Asian community is a strong, strong sense of family and hospitality, ”Kenney said in an interview.

He believes that large family gatherings could be a reason for its increasing prevalence in these areas.

“I’m going to wake up your program,” said Kenney.

“We need to make people understand that the new law has no social functions at home, no social functions indoors, no family or friends at home who do not belong to your immediate household and do not sleep there at night.”

He also noted that police officers have been given the power to impose US $ 1,000 fines on those who violate the public health order.

“This is not a suggestion, this is not a recommendation, it is the law, it is a rule, and it is a public health necessity.”

Just two days later, on Saturday, November 28, an anti-mask protest took place, with hundreds of maskless protesters marching through Calgary’s streets defying the new restrictions.

The Calgary Police Service issued a press release on the protests stating that the Calgary Police Service would “monitor events to ensure everyone is safe and the incident remains peaceful. As with all rallies, we can scale our response to ensure public safety. “

The press release also noted that the main goal of CPS was to “require voluntary compliance and educate the public about the restrictions”.

“Against this background, the participants in these events are examined. Our ticketing is strategic and will take into account a number of factors. While citizens may not witness the subpoena at this point, it does not necessarily mean that we are not considering these options. “

NDP MLA for Calgary-McCall Northeastern Calgary Riding called Kenney on Twitter after the protests.

“Jason Kenney’s UCP did not condemn the anti-mask rally in Calgary. They didn’t enforce 10 people who enforced restrictions with a fine of $ 1,000. And now this prime minister has the audacity to scapegoat and wake northeastern communities. “

The Canadian Muslim Research Think Tank released a press release on Monday calling on Kenney to stand up for “[shifting] The fault lies with the South Asian community in northeast Calgary. “

“Jason Kenney blames the South Asian community for the spread of COVID-19 and blames them instead of acknowledging that they are in the service industry and work for all of us,” said Dr. Mukarram Ali Zaidi, Chairman of the Canadian Think Tank for Muslim Research. in the publication.

He asked the Prime Minister to apologize to the community and to admit “that he did not protect Albertans by firing doctors and giving public health advice.”

The Prime Minister’s office referred Daily Hive to the Attorney General’s office to comment on the weekend protests.

Blaise Boehmer, chief press officer for the attorney general, said in an email to Daily Hive that “local law enforcement agencies like the Calgary Police Service operate independently of the attorney general. Elected officers do not direct specific operational decisions from local police officers. The provincial government respects the operational enforcement decision of the Calgary Police Service while upholding the Charter’s right to freedom of expression and assembly. “

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