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FILDEBRANDT: From ‘defund the police’ to ‘I’ll F•ing taze you!’

“The statists cannot win this fight. A principled minority – the remnant – know authoritarianism when they see it.”




It didn’t take long for the same people calling for the police to be “defunded” to become the cheerleaders for police to use its authority backed by violence to enforce bans on everyday social activities.

Six months ago, I wrote in these pages that the ‘Defund the Police’ crowd had seized the movement for necessary police reform following the senseless murder of George Floyd to advance a radical agenda that was doomed to fail. With the police “defunded” in the ANTIFA-controlled “Capital Hill Autonomous Zone” of Seattle, murder rates skyrocketed and the commune collapsed under its own weight. It was all too predictable.

Calgary Police officers kneel at a Defund the Police/BLM protest

Despite the absurdity of it, protests in their name broke out in cities across North America. In Calgary, police knelt before the crowds in a public display of submissive virtue signalling.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself was all too happy to take a knee in a large, densely packed crowd on Parliament Hill.

Thousands gathered in close proximity in these protests; some wearing masks, some not.

Not everyone agreed with the protests, but most respected their right to hold them. Free speech and all.

Justin Trudeau takes a knee at a Black Lives Matter/Defund the Police rally in Ottawa

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi didn’t wag a finger against them, but did ask those in attendance to get tested for COVID-19 when the fun was over.

But not all protests are equal in the eyes of the state. When Alberta Premier Jason Kenney began introducing a second round of increasingly restrictive measures in November 2020, ‘Freedom Marches’ began springing up in Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, and some smaller communities.

These protests – not to defund the police or demand racial policies – were met with a stern finger waving from the mayor. He declared the protests “illegal”, and the people participating in them as “selfish” and “idiots”. He and his city council allies then doubled fines and extended the mandatory mask bylaw for an entire year.

Police arrest an anti-lockdown protestor in Calgary. (Photo Credit: Post Media)

Where police took a knee of submission with the BLM/Defund the Police protestors, they are now violently arresting anti-lockdown protesters.

The lockdown politicians and their allies in a majority of the media have been quick to label the anti-lockdown protestors as crackpots. And like any protest organized by a decentralized group, it has its share of conspiracy theory wielding crackpots. But they are but a small sub-group of people unwilling to accept having their lives destroyed and liberties stripped by government decree.

The message was clear: only crazy people would protest the government’s actions. And only those protesting are really going to be roughed up by the cops. The rest of you are safe.

December 18 put a lie to that. 21-year-old Ocean Wiesblatt was farcically but violently arrested for playing a game of pickup-hockey on his local community rink. A local ‘Karen’ had called the police because people were – horror of horrors – doing what Albertans do in mid-December; play hockey.

Current lockdown orders from the UCP government ban physical activity in groups over 10 people, and require that they maintain a physical distance of two meters. Police claim that there were 40 people there, but provided no proof that there were more than 10 people playing the game. In any case, bylaw officers ordered that the outdoor fun must end, and some people – but not all – complied.

They called the Calgary Police Service for backup. What ensued next was a Kafkaesque comedy of errors as they couldn’t get a skinny 21-year-old to comply with their “thar-tay” [authority]. Video of the incident showed Wiesblatt repeatedly asking the two female officers what he was charged with. They wouldn’t say; only that he was breaking the law. Anyone with a mild understanding of the constitution and basic due process will refuse to be arrested if the police won’t or can’t say what law they have broken. All the more so if you don’t believe that you’ve done anything wrong.

A Calgary Police officer points a taser at Ocean Wiesseblatt

Frustrated by the lack of respect for their authority, the two officers tried to grab the skinny 21-year-old and bring him to the ground. They failed miserably. They tried kicking the backs of his knees out, and failed. They tried wrestling him to the ground. They failed. He did not fight them or even resist much. He mostly just stood up straight and tried to remain so.

At the loss of their dignity, the officers began screaming at him, and threatening him with extreme non-lethal force. “I will fucking tazer you!” screamed one officer as Ocean just stood there. Not doing much, other than not complying.

With his friends and hockey-brothers encouraging him to just give in, he eventually let the two inept fun-police arrest him.

Ocean is not a crazed conspiracy theorist. He’s not a troubled young man looking for a fight. He wasn’t even trying to make a point as far as we can tell. He was just playing a game of pickup, outdoors, with his friends and family. He, is you.

What he has exposed is not just that some officers are not fit for active street duty, but that all law, even the enlightened and benign, are backed by the threat of violence.

No law – no matter how inconsequential – is ultimately enforceable unless the state is willing to use men or women with guns to enforce it.

Two Calgary Police Service officers eventually arrest Ocean Wiesblatt

This is less problematic with self-evidently just laws (murder, rape, ect), but runs into trouble when there is no overwhelming social consensus.

Governments were wrong (I do not believe most lied) about the necessity of the first lockdown. They have since then been thoroughly discredited, and there are credible voices in the medical community – like Alberta’s Dr. Denis Modry – who believe that they do more harm than good.

In short, the social unanimity required for an effective lockdown no longer exists. It no longer comes close.

Instead, sending men and women with guns to tell people to stop having fun – even when they act responsibly by their own standards – will only serve to drive more people from grudgingly compliant, to openly defiant.

For my own part, I played a game of pickup today and skated with my young family. We half-expected people in uniforms to show up and taze me. Thankfully, the public backlash from the circus-arrest of Wiesblatt has likely forced the Calgary Police Service to holster their weapons for the Christmas season.

But while “I was just following orders” is not a great defence, we should not be too quick to judge the police. They are just doing their jobs.

The real culprits are the politicians ordering the police to behave as thugs. The ones responsible are those elected to govern, and giving the orders. Their names are Naheed Nenshi, Don Iveson, Jason Kenney, John Tory, and Doug Ford. Justin Trudeau would be included among them if he had the powers to do so.

Jason Kenney deserves credit for being less eager than most to impose life-ruining restrictions on his citizenry, but he ultimately caved to political pressure. His instincts may be in a better place, but his hands are just as dirty.

An innocent man was violently arrested for doing something that he – as an ostensibly free man – and many others in his community, felt was not wrong.

The statists cannot win this fight. A principled minority – the remnant – know authoritarianism when they see it.

They should give up now.

Derek Fildebrandt is the Publisher of the Western Standard

Derek Fildebrandt is the Publisher, President & CEO of Western Standard New Media Corp. He served from 2015-2019 as a Member of the Alberta Legislative Assembly in the Wildrose and Freedom Conservative parties. From 2009-2014 he was the National Research Director and Alberta Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. dfildebrandt@westernstandardonline.com

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  1. David Elson

    December 22, 2020 at 12:52 am

    Here is an exercise in logic for you. If masks work, why the social distancing? If social distancing and masks work, why a lockdown?

    Indeed, nothing can stop an airborne virus from spreading. “The science” is simply being ignored. Governments have an agenda here, and it is not to save lives.

    No, the statists will not simply give up.

  2. Mars Hill

    December 21, 2020 at 9:21 pm

    At this point is anybody really surprised at what’s happening to our country?


    • David Elson

      December 22, 2020 at 1:07 am

      They should not be surprised. They should also realize matters will get worse.

  3. Charles Martell III

    December 21, 2020 at 12:29 pm

    The two Female Police officers are a massive Joke . . . result of diversity & gender Hiring Practices.
    Imagine those two complete fools in a real situation like an Armed Robbery or an attack by a Radical Member of an unmentionable religion of pieces?
    They would fold like a cheap wallet and hide . . .

    Obviously too friggin stupid to have a real conversation with the young man . . .

    I lived in Surrey BC for years and dealt with RCMP new releases . . . have seen similar scenarios play out with low intellect poorly trained members of the “force” . . . who should have never been released into the public with a Badge & a Gun.

  4. That's DOCTOR #SAND to you...

    December 21, 2020 at 10:48 am

    “The real culprits are the politicians ordering the police to behave as thugs.

    No, the real culprits are the retards who voted for these politicians.
    Start asking them why they voted for idiot fascist politicians.

    • joc22

      December 21, 2020 at 5:30 pm

      As a free and independent Republic none of this would happen, peoples rights, freedoms and respect for one another will be enforced by the peoples Constitution. Join WIPA whether your Conservatives, Liberal or NDP, Albertans come first, lets move forward.

  5. warrenzoell

    December 20, 2020 at 9:40 pm

    I just wish his friends would have gone back out onto the ice and stood with him.

    • joc22

      December 21, 2020 at 5:23 pm

      And that is why the politicians with their draconian laws can get away with Gestapo like tactics, because 1 in 40 sand up when push comes to shove. Lots of mouth service over freedom and liberty but few have the stomach to stand when the time to stand comes their way. That’s how the Bolsheviksand Maoists were able to murder the 10’s million of people. How the fascist were able to round up the Jews and Slavs and this is how the Lieberal progressive globalist will kill 100’s of millions more.

      • David Elson

        December 22, 2020 at 11:11 pm

        I think you can drop the term globalist nowadays. It’s the CCP and their “operatives” who are dictating policies in the western world nowadays.

  6. Mars Hill

    December 20, 2020 at 8:05 pm

    Vote these a$$holes out of office and stand up for your rights. This is insane.

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LANDAU: Ontario Human Rights Commission seeks to pre-ban ‘offensive’ statues and street names

We should be alarmed at how some human rights bodies have strayed into the weeds in recent years, not driven by their mandates, but swayed by prevailing and contemporary political sentiments.




The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) has announced it is in the process of developing “a new policy statement on the discriminatory display of names, words and images, and wants to hear from the public about this quickly-evolving issue.”

The OHRC is contemplating the expansion of “human rights” violations to include such names as “Sir John A. Macdonald,” “Sir Egerton Ryerson,” for example, because these names might offend or trigger some people. Controversy around these historical figures from two centuries ago is ironically “quickly evolving.”

I’ve re-read all 30 articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) – drafted by McGill Law Professor John Peters Humphrey in 1948 — upon which most human rights commissions are founded. There is no human right for protection against being offended. If there was, rappers like Cardi B — or almost any rappers for that matter — wouldn’t have careers. Should freedom of speech and expression now be trumped by someone’s hurt feelings?  We agree tyrants need not be honoured, but do we need to go full-Jacobin and expurgate any evidence our offending founders and culture existed?

With this attempt by the OHRC to institutionalize “right thinking,” we are squarely in an era of revisionism. Is someone being “disturbed” by a team name or place or historical fact — in and of itself — proof of anything? In fact, what is the burden of proof? If human rights challenges will now be decided by what offends people, will we return to removing D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Arthur Miller’s Tropic of Cancer from all public view?

We should be alarmed at how some human rights bodies — not driven by their mandates, but swayed by prevailing and contemporary political sentiments — have strayed into the weeds in recent years. The OHRC is thrashing about seeking a purpose. It’s a classic case of organizational mandate creep.

Literature students have long known technical and stylistic brilliance are not always accompanied by opinions we respect. Poet Ezra Pound was an admirer of fascists. Talented writers Yevgeny Yevtushenko and Bertolt Brecht were mouthpieces for totalitarian communism. Wunderkind record producer Phil Spector was a convicted murderer and wife beater. The personal lives of Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, and Pablo Picasso offend many, for good reason. Even such historic luminaries as Winston Churchill, Mohandas K. Gandhi, biblical King David all had spotty records as paragons of virtue. Do we cancel them all?

You can’t whitewash or cleanse history. There are going to be streets and buildings and institutions named after people whose behaviour and opinions may offend some among us. Censuring their mention is not how you defend or advance human rights.

Meddling human rights commissions have become the land of groupthink. Tearing down statues and changing street names is no answer. We cannot replace the ‘N-word’ with the word “slave.” In fact, we need that word as a record, in the mouths of haters, and in the history books to remember its dehumanizing intention. 

The answer may be to erect more statues and name public places after others.  Until September 2021, there was no US statue of Nat Turner, the brave leader of the first slave uprising. How about more statues of Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. Du Bois, or the three brave women on whom the film Hidden Figures was based? Why not celebrate with more projects like the Crazy Horse Monument in South Dakota? Or Windsor Ontario’s joint monument to War of 1812 leaders Tecumseh and Brock. Manitoba is considering a monument to Chief Peguis. In a Saskatoon park, Métis hero Gabriel Dumont is honoured.

Forget censorship. This is how you honour and reflect history accurately.

Landau is a contributor to the Western Standard

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SLOBODIAN: The insansity of families being asked to care for seniors in Manitoba LTC

Clean? What does that mean? Clean their rooms? Clean them? Surely, these seniors wouldn’t be stripped of dignity having family members give them the widely practiced standard one — yes only one — bath per week. 




Planning to ensure there’ll be enough staff on shift at the lodge to help grandma dress in the morning or dip her dentures in Polident for a night-time soak seems kind of important.

It’s not like Monday’s mandatory COVID-19 vaccination and testing deadline for frontline workers in Manitoba arrives as a colossal shock.

Yet two Manitoba personal care homes seem to have suddenly realized a staff shortage, created by employees exercising their right to opt-out of the requirements, might occur. How many? They probably know by now but claim they’re not quite sure.

They scrambled to alert family members of a worst-case scenario contingency plan to care for their elderly loved ones. 

It’s them. Family members are the contingency plan. They’ll likely be called upon to step up this week and do the work they’re paying the province to do. 

Family members only found this out in a letter sent October 13.

Cleaning grandma’s teeth — be it brushing or soaking — would hardly be the only caregiving task at Salem Home in Winkler and Taber Home in Morden. Volunteers will be asked to pitch in to do laundry, plan entertainment activities, feed, dress and clean residents.

Clean? What does that mean? Clean their rooms? Clean them? Surely, these seniors wouldn’t be stripped of dignity having family members give them the widely practiced standard one — yes only one — bath per week. 

The alternative to volunteering at the facilities? Family might be asked to take seniors off the home’s hands.

“If we do not have staff, we may have to go one step further and ask that you would take your loved one home to look after them,” says the letter.

Public health orders dictate that as of October 18 unvaccinated staff are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result 48 hours prior to each shift. Officials are concerned some workers will refuse the test.

Salem Home, in the Southern Health Region, is in an area with the province’s lowest vaccination rates. The health districts of Winkler and nearby Stanley have rates of almost 43% and 25% respectively.

The region, under more restrictions than elsewhere in the province, claims to have a high number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Last month there was a COVID-19 “outbreak” at Salem — two residents tested positive — and isolation was mandated even though vaccinated visitors were allowed in.

Despite all this, health officials think the solution to staff shortages is a parade of volunteers — even vaccinated volunteers pose a risk — traipsing in. 

Or, as an alternative, shove vulnerable residents out into the community.

That’s insanity.

Manitoba’s Health Minister Audrey Gordon couldn’t provide the number of unvaccinated health care workers. She met with health representatives in the region Friday to discuss other contingency plans.

Think about that. Friday. How long has this mandated vaccination deadline been anticipated?

Seniors shouldn’t be an afterthought.

Deploying staff on standby from elsewhere is one Hail Mary someone pitched. From where exactly? These two homes won’t be the only ones left short-staffed. 

To be fair, Gordon was left with the train wreck that unfolded under the watch of the previous health minister Heather Stefanson, who bailed to run for leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba. The vote is October 30.

But back to what is being asked of families.

They have placed fragile senior family members in homes to be cared for by trained professionals. Care and accommodation are not free. They pay for it. Handsomely.

Many of these family members are seniors themselves, also fragile and struggling with health issues. 

What stress that ridiculous letter must place on many of them.

And what about family members who threw dad or Uncle Bob in a home and forget to visit? Oh sure, they’ll get right on that volunteer gig.

One certainly feels sympathy for health care workers in senior’s facilities who will carry extra workloads on top of already heavy workloads. These facilities are rarely adequately staffed.

One almost feels sympathy for health officials who have been at the mercy of, and struggling though, provincial planning that has proven erratic and abysmal.

Until then one of them proposes this as a contingency plan…

“We’re looking at things as simple as our menus and ramping down some of our menus, so they are easier recipes to produce,” Jane Curtis, CEO of the Southern Regional Health Authority, told CTV News.

What exactly does that mean? Mealtime is one of few highlights in the day at the lodge. Residents don’t like change. 

Don’t mess with their meals. Get in there and cook them yourself if you must!

Seniors deserve the best. The best! Yet it seems their care might be a casualty in this COVID-19 mess the province created.

Is it because they are the last to complain? Or are so fragile, they can’t?

Slobodian is the Senior Manitoba Columnist for the Western Standard

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WAGNER: Isabel Paterson – Alberta’s link to the founding of libertarianism

It’s possible — even likely — that her political views took shape while she lived here.




Three women are often credited with laying the foundations for the modern libertarian movement: the well-known philosopher and author Ayn Rand, Rose Wilder Lane — daughter of Laura Ingalls of Little House on the Prairie fame — and Isabel Paterson, the author of the book The God of the Machine, one of the founding texts of libertarianism.

What is notable from an Alberta perspective is Isabel Paterson — although born in Ontario — was raised in southern Alberta. She is a powerful Alberta link to the origin of libertarianism.

Paterson’s The God of the Machine was republished by Transaction Publishers in 1993, and it contains a new introduction by Stephen Cox, a literature professor at the University of California, San Diego. Cox’s introduction provides a brief biography of Paterson that highlights her contribution to the modern libertarian and conservative movements.

Paterson was born Isabel Bowler on Manitoulin Island in Ontario in 1886. While still very young, her family moved to southern Alberta where she grew up on a cattle ranch. In her late teens, she moved to Calgary where she worked at various odd jobs and eventually became a secretary for lawyer R. B. Bennett who would later become prime minister of Canada. Bennett saw potential in Bowler and offered to have her article as a law student in his office, but she declined.

She married Kenneth Birrell Paterson in Calgary in 1910. It was a short-lived marriage, but she nevertheless kept his surname. During the 1910s she moved a number of times to different cities, mostly in the United States, writing for a number of periodicals. She also began to write novels. Her first, The Shadow Riders, appeared in 1916. The story is set in Alberta and involves intrigue between businessmen and government.

Paterson became the literary editor for the New York Herald Tribune in 1924 and remained there until 1949 when she was fired due to her political views. The Herald Tribune was a prestigious periodical with a national circulation, and due to her position there, Paterson became a well-known and influential writer.

It was during this period that she became friends with Ayn Rand, who Cox describes as Paterson’s “protégé.” Indeed, Cox writes that Paterson “exerted a substantial effect on the individualist philosophy that Rand was evolving; no one else, certainly, had so great an influence on it as Paterson.”

When Rand wrote The Fountainhead, a work of philosophical fiction, Paterson used her column to promote it. Eventually, however, Paterson and Rand fell out. As William F. Buckley later remarked, “Paterson fought over principles; and she had a lot of principles to fight over.”

Paterson’s greatest work, The God of the Machine, was published in 1943. Cox writes that it emphasizes two principles: “an ethical and economic individualism based on the concept of inherent rights, including property rights; and the institutional complement of individualism, limited government.”

Cox further explains that the “individual’s right, in Paterson’s terms, is the right to be left alone, to develop in his or her own way; government should act to protect this right, not to pursue its own schemes of social betterment.” That’s a message that needs to be heard again.

Unlike a great many other journalists of her time, Paterson was not enthralled by the Soviet Union. While many viewed communism as the wave of the future, she wanted people to know that the communists were using starvation and slavery to advance their self-proclaimed  “humanitarian” goals.

As Cox notes, Paterson rightly believed that the “real danger to liberty and prosperity is intellectual, not military.” For this reason, K-12 education is a key battleground for the future, and Paterson forcefully opposed public (i.e., government) schooling which she considered to be “a system of state compulsion.”

In the end, The God of the Machine “made a significant contribution to a significant group of people, an isolated band of intellectuals, far outside the mainstream, who were seeking alternatives to collectivist ideals.”

Albert Jay Nock, one of the best-known early twentieth century individualists, stated The God of the Machine and Rose Wilder Lane’s The Discovery of Freedom (also published in 1943), were “the only intelligible books on the philosophy of individualism that have been written in America this century.”

When William F. Buckley founded National Review in 1955 — the flagship magazine of modern conservatism — he eagerly pursued Paterson to write for it. She did for a few years before falling out with Buckley.

The point, though, is that one of the founding intellectuals of the libertarian and conservative movements grew up in Alberta. It’s possible — even likely — her political views took shape while she lived here. No doubt her philosophy would still find wide appeal with many people in the province, especially readers of the Western Standard. Perhaps a new generation of Albertans will read The God of the Machine and benefit from its advocacy for individualism and limited government.

Wagner is a Western Standard columnist

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