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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.”

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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
dfildebrandt@westernstandardonline.com

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 2009-2012 he was the National Research Director and Alberta Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. dfildebrandt@westernstandardonline.com

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  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?

    https://truth11.com/2020/12/03/canadian-prime-minister-trudeau-complicit-in-american-election-fraud/

    • 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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Opinion

SLOBODIAN: Not so quick with allegations of hate crimes

It wasn’t a fair fight, but a police investigation determined it was also not a hate crime.

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On the surface, a gang of white boys piling on one black boy sure looked like it could be a hate crime.

As it turns out, there was more to the story regarding the April 16 attack in an Edmonton schoolyard.

It wasn’t a fair fight, but a police investigation determined it was also not a hate crime.

A video of the incident, during which the 14-year-old was swarmed and beaten is painful to watch.  It made local news and the “racist” incident was featured on the CBC The National.

That seven boys, all aged 14 but for one 12-year-old, attacked one boy is profoundly disturbing. Whoever stood back to video this is just as guilty as his bully buddies who kicked, punched and put the victim in a chokehold. 

Predictably, some swiftly concluded this attack was purely driven by racial hatred. The facts be damned.

They didn’t talk to the boys involved. 

But police did.

The hate crimes unit concluded this incident didn’t meet the Criminal Code criteria for a hate crime.

“There is still not sufficient evidence that this event was motivated by hate bias or prejudice toward the complainant’s race,” said Edmonton Police Service chief Dale McFee. “As such, it does not currently meet the Criminal Code threshold for a hate-motivated crime.”

During the melee one of the boys yelled out the nasty N-word. McFee rightfully acknowledged this as “highly inappropriate” but not sufficient to meet hate crime standards.

Police discovered the boys had a troubled history but didn’t elaborate.

“Our investigation currently shows this began as a consensual schoolyard fight and was part of an ongoing dispute between a group of male youths, that reportedly started last year,” said McFee.

Admittedly, McFee’s choice of the word consensual is cringeworthy considering that the victim was grossly outnumbered. McFee opened himself up to criticism and is obliged to explain why police arrived at this conclusion.

Police everywhere are working under a microscope, constantly being accused of discriminating against minorities. With budgets being slashed and calls to defund them, they can’t afford to be careless or callous. 

After hearing the results of the investigation, one anti-racism activist with A Fight For Equality insisted it was a hate crime and said charges should be laid against the boys. Essentially, this is a demand for police to ignore the Criminal Code. 

Canada cannot ever go down that slippery slope.

Other activists accused police of not getting the zero-tolerance for hate crimes message across.

What are they doing as activists to bring people with all skin colours together and repair relations in communities? How are they helping to teach their children tolerance and that beating up anyone is unacceptable? 

Knee-jerk reactions fuel division, create unwarranted fear and anger, and are grossly unfair to victims and perpetrators. To wrongly insist this was hate crime doesn’t help these boys who should be the priority. It ignores the root of why this happened and interferes with determining appropriate punishment. A problem, not honestly addressed, doesn’t get fixed.

The reaction to this incident is symptomatic of a growing Canada-wide problem.

McFee dared to say race wasn’t a factor. This is something Canadians are increasingly afraid to say out loud, even when true.

These days, people who denounce or even question accusations of race-based hate are – sometimes viciously – targeted as racist. That’s a bad thing to be. False accusations can destroy reputations. 

Race baiters, seeking to support agendas or personal biases, skillfully use this fear tactic to silence anyone who challenges potentially unfounded claims. 

We must cautiously discern between those who earnestly want unity and seek to protect victims of hate and those seeking to serve their own interests.

Yes, there are racists in Canada. 

No, Canada’s not a systematically racist country.

When Canadians learn someone has been the victim of a hate crime it tears at their hearts. They generously support activist groups who fundraise off of every incident. Ironic isn’t it? 

Moving forward, we must tread carefully on this issue of alleged systematic racism some insist permeates Canada.

Meanwhile, the definition of hate-crime victims sometimes gets confusing.

If seven black boys had attacked one white boy would anyone call it a hate crime? Or would it have been recognized for what it was? 

In today’s climate that’s an uncomfortable, but fair, question. 

Linda Slobodian is the Manitoba Political Columnist for the Western Standard.

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Opinion

HARDING: Maverick is poised to make gains as Conservatives turn their back on the West

“Until recently, the party said it will run candidates solely in ridings where a “split” of the vote wouldn’t elect a Liberal or New Democrat. Since O’Toole’s carbon tax flip-flop, interim party leader Jay Hill has hinted he may drop this policy and run in tighter races, seeing little difference between the Tories and Liberals on western issues.”

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In the coming federal election, whenever it may be, the Conservative Party is positioning itself to lose a significant portion of its western and rural base to the upstart Maverick Party. It’s not hard to see why. 

The policies and person of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau fanned the flames of western discontent, and even independence in some quarters. Outdoing all his predecessors since Brian Mulroney, federal Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole has taken the west for granted. In a bid to win more votes in Toronto and Quebec, he has embraced a huge carbon tax with enthusiasm. It could just prove to be the most hated policy on the prairies.

Erin O’Toole’s carbon tax Petro Points plan turned some party faithful into real doubters, or downright hostile ones. Even the phrase “carbon Petro Points plan,” plainly demonstrates the mixture of a bad idea made worse by a gimmicky joke. Even Trudeau’s tax-and-give-it-back-to-you premise – however punishing – is still better than the Tory proposal. O’Toole wants to tax you, but deny he’s taxing you and leave you no recourse to recover your seized money except to make “green” government-approved expenditures. The anti-oil movement meets the nanny state, with a vengeance.

And O’Toole will actually campaign on the idea. The only previous time a major federal opposition leader openly campaigned on a carbon tax was the Stephane Dion Liberals of 2008. They had the most dismal showing in Liberal history to that date, thanks in part to Conservative attack ads that said, “Stephane Dion is not a leader,” and Harper’s comments that his carbon tax was “a tax on everything” that will “screw everybody.” The same could be said of Erin O’Toole and his carbon tax. Obviously, he must have some savvy, having won the Conservative leadership, but his about-face on the carbon tax has turned his reception from “meh” to “blech.”

A recent encounter brought home the seriousness of O’ Toole’s miscalculation for me. At the Chris Sky rally in Regina, I met a man from the Assiniboia Sask. area who told me, “A lot of people are saying they’re not voting Conservative anymore. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

If you don’t know Assiniboia, it’s got about 2,400 people and the closest place with more people, Moose Jaw, is an hour’s drive away. It’s farming and ranching all the way, though the coal-fired power plant in nearby Coronach is a big employer. 

In rural Saskatchewan, the two things heard most often in the 2019 election were: “The election is over as soon as it hits the Manitoba border” and “If Trudeau gets in again, I’m all for Western independence.”

The Maverick Party is best positioned to capitalize on that sentiment. Until recently, the party said it will run candidates solely in ridings where a “split” of the vote wouldn’t elect a Liberal or New Democrat. Since O’Toole’s carbon tax flip-flop, interim party leader Jay Hill has hinted he may drop this policy and run in tighter races, seeing little difference between the Tories and Liberals on western issues.

PPC leader Maxime Bernier gets it on many of the big western issues, but the loss of his own Quebec seat in the last election left a vacuum in the west for discontented conservatives. With no major party capable of electing MPs to champion western issues, Maverick is poised to fill that vacuum.

The late Joseph Garcea, a University of Saskatchewan political science professor who died in November, shared an important insight on the last provincial election. He said the Saskatchewan NDP had many little policy ideas, but no big idea to rally support. Similarly, the PPC has many little ideas. It’s hard to convince people to vote for change with little ideas. The Maverick Party has a big – and some would say radical idea: an independent west – whether within confederation or apart from it.

People make decisions emotionally, then justify them rationally. The Maverick Party will harness both the anger and grievance in western alienation and the hope found in western independence. The Maverick platform adds substance to the sentiment.

As a fresh party with rookie campaign teams, I’d be surprised if Maverick won any seats. However, they stand a good shot of landing plenty of second place finishes. That might be enough to make O’ Toole remember the West. If the Mavericks can do that, it will be accomplishment enough.

Lee Harding is the Saskatchewan Political Columnist for the Western Standard

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Opinion

MORGAN: I was a part of Kenney base. No longer

“I know who Kenney’s base was. The base hasn’t changed. Jason Kenney has.”

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I was a part of Jason Kenney’s base.

Like most Albertans after 2015, I was mortified that we had managed to give the NDP a majority government due to our incessant political infighting and corruption in conservative ranks. I was eager and searching for a way to free ourselves from a provincial government that was farther to the left than Ottawa’s Liberals. I was ready to embrace pragmatism and compromise on the partisan front to ensure that Rachel Notley was a single-term premier, or as Jason Kenney put it, “one and done.”

Jason Kenney entered the Alberta political scene and offered us a plan. He showed us a path to conservative unity and he offered to lead us there. I was thrilled.

I have always respected and admired Jason Kenney. As a fiscal watchdog with the Canadian Taxpayer’s Federation, Kenney mercilessly held Ralph Klein’s feet to the fire in the 1990s on issues of spending and corporate welfare. As a Reform Party MP, Kenney took the Chretien Liberals to task on spending and corruption. Kenney deserves some of the credit for the balanced budgets that both Klein and Chretien eventually presented. It takes steady, reasonable pressure in order to get government leaders to take on tough tasks and Kenney was masterful at putting that pressure on.

As a cabinet minister in the Stephen Harper government, Jason Kenney was no less impressive. Immigration has always been a difficult file for conservative governments and as the Immigration and Citizenship Minister, Kenney made great inroads into relations with immigrant communities and was respected across the country. Kenney was no slouch in other ministerial portfolios as well and it has been long established that his parliamentary work ethic is second to none.

Because of that impressive political resume, I was confident that Kenney was the man who would bring Alberta back into being a province known for good, no-nonsense conservative governance.

I supported Kenney’s efforts to unite the Wildrose and Progressive Conservative Parties. I encouraged people to buy memberships in both parties and to vote to merge. I supported Kenney in his multiple leadership races and I supported the UCP in the 2019 Alberta election.

I know who Kenney’s base was. The base hasn’t changed. Jason Kenney has.

The Western Standard reported in an exclusive story, Premier Kenney said, in reference to Albertans who attended a rodeo south of Bowden last week, “If they are our base, I want a new base.”

I didn’t expect Premier Kenney to endorse or support the rodeo. Indeed, it was intentionally modelled to be in defiance of provincial regulations. Kenney clearly realized that the attendees of the rodeo did represent a large part of his base, and while that doesn’t obligate him to support them, it does obligate him to respect them. Kenney instead chose to insult them in public, and show contempt for them in private.

We were your base Premier Kenney, but we aren’t any longer. As for your new base, I am not sure where you expect them to come from. Rest assured, you will not be winning any love from NDP supporters no matter how much you spend or suppress individual rights.

Jason Kenney has turned into a terrible disappointment as Alberta’s premier and it is well reflected in his current support numbers. Kenney’s support among his base was slipping well before the pandemic struck. In this year of crisis however, Kenney’s support has truly evaporated. Kenney has tried to be everything to everybody, and ended up being nothing to anybody. It is a fate that befell Jim Prentice before him.

The conservative base hasn’t left Alberta. They have simply left Jason Kenney and it appears that he is just fine with that.

The base will not go back to Jason Kenney after having been abandoned and taken for granted by him though and he can’t win the next election without them.

The base will find a new home. It may be through replacing Jason Kenney within the UCP, or through a new partisan vehicle. That base may dominate in the next provincial election or we may end up with another NDP government. Time will tell.

Cory Morgan is the Alberta Political Columnist for the Western Standard and the Host of the Cory Morgan Show



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