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‘My life had value’ – message from Calgary woman who died with pre-existing conditions

“To the masses out there, haphazardly self-isolating on terms they feel reasonable, this condition would make me an expendable casualty in this pandemic war.”




EDITORS NOTE: Carly Stagg was a beautiful, young woman who worked in the media in Calgary. She was born with cystic fibrosis and needed a lung transplant just a few years ago.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, she knew she was in a high risk group.

She passed away this week from complications from cancer at the age of 39 – becoming what she feared, a statistic of being another death of someone with a pre-existing medical condition.

With permission from her family, the Western Standard is publishing an April blog post from her, unedited.

Please be warned that the following post contains profanity.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

I work in news. Every time we report a death linked to COVID-19, there seems to be an echoed chorus rising from the public demanding to know the pre-existing condition that led this person to become a victim of the virus.

It bothers me. Every. Fucking. Time.

It’s possible the fact that I was born with a genetic disease that led to an organ transplant, which led me to having a compromised immune system that made my body susceptible to that cancer bullshit has made me a little sensitive.

I am a walking pre-existing condition.

To the masses out there, haphazardly self-isolating on terms they feel reasonable, this condition would make me an expendable casualty in this pandemic war. My death would be met with sighs of relief and a generally acknowledged sense that I somehow had it coming for daring to be born so cursed.

The mere fact that I was born genetically flawed set me up from birth to be cannon fodder in the coronavirus conflict.

My death would be glossed over as people rolled over and went back to sleep, asking to only be awakened when a truly tragic death was announced.

Here’s the thing. Fuck you.

I’m an educated person, I’m reasonably intelligent, my bills are paid, I have no debt, I have no criminal record, aside from a speeding ticket or two, I know the difference between your and you’re, I don’t go out of my way to hurt people, I feel badly when I do, I’m not a whisperer of outlandish conspiracy theories, I’m a decent baker, I speak two languages and can stumble my way through in a third.

I’m not less worthy of continuing my life than you are. I’m a person, yes. I have a family and friends who care about me, obviously. But the real kicker of this whole thing is because my life wasn’t perfect from the get-go, because things have been medically challenging, I’ve endured a lot of emotional and physical pain and gone through things that would make the average person crumble to their knees — all for the sake of moving this cursed existence forward another day.

I’ve fought, kicked, scraped and karate chopped through things that most people can’t even handle hearing about, because I have no other choice. I wasn’t given one. I didn’t ask for any of this. My parents weren’t being irresponsible in having me, as there was no genetic history of the disease in my family (and it was the 80s, before genetic testing was available), I wasn’t dreaming of having a lung transplant before the age of 30, no one puts “get cancer” on their life’s to-do list.

My life has been hard. And if, God forbid, I’m taken out by this fucking virus, that would be a deeply tragic and abrupt ending to my story. That ending would be worthy of at least a tear or two.

So if you think for a second having a pre-existing condition somehow makes a COVID-19 death less unfortunate, you’re a dick.

Carly Stagg

Carly’s friends have set up several fundraisers in her honour.

The Canadian Transplant Association was instrumental to Carly’s well-being when she went through a lung transplant.

Cystic Fibrosis Canada donations will be matched by a benefactor until December 31, 2020.


Walk for Freedom plans Saturday Calgary march as counter-protesters also gear up

“We do not censor people unless they’re hateful, violent or aggressive – those types of people will never get on the stage,” said Carrigan.




A Walk for Freedom in Calgary is set for Saturday as organizers of a counter-protest are urging their supporters to come to the rally wearing a disguise.

And local organizers of the walk say they are tired as being described as white supremacists.

“We respect what Premier Jason Kenney did because he didn’t go overboard, but we still say it’s too far and way too much,” said Brad Carrigan, an organizer with Walk For Freedom, referring to the premier’s statement after a rally in Edmonton last weekend.

Politicians and media are afraid that we’re supporting an anti-lockdown narrative they don’t like. They called us racist to discredit the rally and diminish our work to promote different stances on Alberta’s COVID-19 response,” he said.

“We’ve done about 20 of these rallies with large crowds, and each protest has been peaceful. We’ve always put on every poster that we are peaceful, nonviolent, and respect the police.”

“That’s our mantra – that’s the real story.”

Before Saturday’s protest in Edmonton, organizers thanked local police for being present to keep the peace between anti-lockdown protestors and anti-racism counter-protesters.

Except for one incident during the rally, Edmonton police said the protest and counter-protest were peaceful displays of free speech.

Carrigan made it clear as long as people didn’t push hateful nonsense on the stage and want to talk about the draconian measures, vaccines, etc., they were welcome to speak.

“We do not censor people unless they’re hateful, violent or aggressive – those types of people will never get on the stage,” he confirmed.

With ANTIFA attempting to instigate an altercation with anti-lockdown protestors in Edmonton, Carrigan said Calgary police would keep counter-protesters to the other side of the street to maintain the piece.

“Wherever ANTIFA goes, they burn down private and public property and assault police officers and protestors who don’t subscribe to their ideology,” said Carrigan.

“Their organization burns down businesses and rioted in Portland and Seattle, yet they call us hate-mongers.”

ANTIFA and Black Lives Matter affiliates are expected to be present at the Calgary rally on Saturday at the Olympic Plaza in protest of “white supremacy” and a litany of phobias.

According to a counter-protest poster, they intend to “come in peace, leave in peace” and have asked its members to turn their social media accounts private.

A social media post making the rounds urges counter-protesters not to come alone, carry water and make sure their phones are charged.

“Plan an escape route with your crew,” the advisory reads.

“Wear a mask to protect your identity.”

The protest is expected to begin at 12:30 p.m., with previous rallies garnering crowds in excess of 400 to 2,500 people.

Dhaliwal is a reporter based in Edmonton for the Western Standard

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Alberta doctors reach deal with province

Details of the pact – a year in the making – were not released




The UCP and Alberta doctors have finally reached a deal that will fund provincial physicians.

Details of the pact – a year in the making – were not released.

The Alberta Medical Association will now take the tentative deal to its 11,000 members for ratification.

Shandro said doctors have made “truly extraordinary efforts” to help get Albertans through the COVID-19 pandemic, noting they had made “great personal sacrifices.”

He said the negotiations aimed at getting three solutions for Albertans; patient care, equity for doctors and fiscal stability.

He said the deal is “accountable to taxpayers.

“Our fiscal goals can be reached,” said Shandro, adding the deal would provide “stability.

“Negotiations on a provincial agreement for physicians have continued despite the pandemic, with both the government and AMA recommitting to work together. Both parties came to the table understanding the importance of collaboration, while respecting our differences, so we could achieve an agreement during these challenging times,” said Shandro.

AMA President Dr. Paul Boucher said the new deal “puts us in position to get through COVID-19.”

Dr. Paul Boucher

He said the negotiations for the deal had “reestablished” relationships with the province.

The AMA will now hold a virtual conference with 148 representatives of the medical profession across the province.

That is expected to take three weeks.

“For many years, AMA agreements have been powerful tools toward improving quality care that brings high value to the system and to patients,” said Boucher.

“They are not just about funding for physicians. They have addressed needs such as new models for delivering care, building the Medical Home in Alberta, strategies to improve quality of care for patients and more. This tentative agreement package has potential to continue that legacy.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

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Ontario COVID lockdown not curbing caseloads, but punishing businesses, say MPPs

Almost 80 per cent of all COVID-related deaths are in group-living settings.




Ontario COVID-19 cases have remained steady even though the province has been in lockdown since Christmas.

Opponents of the shutdownsay it has done nothing but hampered freedom and cost taxpayer dollars.

“Most of the province has been in lockdown since Thanksgiving, but cases, cases, cases – the only thing that seems to matter, continue to climb,” said Independent Ontario MPP Roman Baber in a passionate member statement.

Baber noted Ontario’s COVID-19 case count has risen, despite province-wide lockdowns under the mandate of Bill 195, which gave the province emergency powers for the next year to tackle COVID-19.

Alongside Baber, New Blue Party MPP Belinda Karahalios – also booted from the Ontario PCs for objecting to Bill 195 – called out its “draconian lockdown measures” because it disproportionately impacted small and medium-sized businesses who “suffer considerably.”

Karahalios has openly criticized the lack of scientific data on COVID-19 transmission by businesses, including, but not limited to, fitness centres, restaurants, and retail stores.

On Christmas Day, the day before the stay-at-home order, there were 167,000 total COVID-19 cases, increasing to 295,000 cases two months later.

Baber said: “In the two months since the stay-at-home order, we have almost as many COVID-19 cases as we did in the entire nine months prior. With all these cases, you would think that the dire predictions of the COVID-19 models would wreak havoc on all of us – no, it has not.”

With ICU occupancy flatlining, Baber criticized the hyperbolic modelling of projects that exceed the reality on the ground by “three to five times.”

Despite the lockdown, seniors – the most vulnerable demographic – continue to perish in care homes.

Baber said the government’s inability to institute infection protocol and control and fix staffing shortages or vet agency staff.

“Almost 80 per cent of all [COVID-related] deaths are in group-living settings. That’s a tragedy we must admit, and a medical reality the government is trying to spin,” Baber said.

“It’s not about how many cases of COVID-19 but who gets COVID-19. Locking all of us down doesn’t do anything. The government keeps blaming community spread on what is happening in group homes to distract from its own failure.

“All it takes is one worker – one agency worker – to go from one home to another to bring COVID-19. The problem is not healthy people – it is the government that cannot fix long-term care, that blames us and locks us down instead.”

Dhaliwal is a Western Standard reporter based in Edmonton

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