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FILDEBRANDT: We’re not all in this together.

“The lockdown has failed. Not just because the reasoning behind lockdowns is faulty, but because governments have not been honest about it, and do not feel that the pain they are inflicting on others should be shared by themselves.”

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From the earliest days of the COVID-19 pandemic reaching beyond the propaganda swamps of Wuhan, politicians have parroted a single slogan meant to generate a sense of social solidarity; “We’re all in this together.”

Most of us have known better all along. Governments rarely share the same plights as they force on their subjects and citizens.

Anti-gun politicians are regularly surrounded by large squads of trained, heavily armed body guards.

Anti-fossil fuel politicians regularly fly to international confabs in exotic locations to discuss how to make it more expensive for other people to enjoy the same luxury, even with their own money.

So when politicians began shuttering the economy and locking people down, we shouldn’t have been so naive as to expect those in charge to really be “in this together” with the rest of us. A more realistic expectation would have been, “all of you are in this together”.

Politicians that shut down the economy were sheltered by the nature of the job from being laid off or having their pay cut. Small business owners that are forcibly shut down by police sent on the politicians’ behalf are “in this together”. The employees laid off or having their hours cut are “in this together”.

But those ultimately giving the orders are, well, still working. Unfortunately.

The most extreme order given by governments yet – making it is illegal to see one’s family at Christmas – was not a request for sacrifice; it was an order to sacrifice. Some ultimately made that sacrifice, but as I’ve written in this space previously, it is likely that many – or most – chose to ignore the government’s decree this time.

But while people huddled behind closed curtains with their families on Christmas to avoid being fined; while people were charged for attending peaceful protests; while people were assaulted and threatened with being tasered by police for playing hockey; while people are having their businesses and livelihoods destroyed; while people were told to cancel their non-essential travel for vacations; and while people had their most basic liberties violated; a significant number of the lockdown-politicians were flouting the rules that they themselves made.

It began in Ontario, where the PC Finance Minister Rod Philips was discovered to be on vacation in the Caribbean island paradise of St. Bart’s. While Ontarians suffer under a draconian lockdown, a key senior minister responsible for the lockdown was soaking up the sun, in defiance of the government’s own plea to not engage in any non-essential travel.

“We’re all in this together”.

To make things worse, he posted a video of himself on Christmas giving the misleading impression that he was at home, safely locked-down in Ontario.

The minister admirably took responsibility but was nonetheless sacked from cabinet by Ontario Premier Doug Ford. Ford had known about it well before it became public but acted only once it became a political scandal.

At the same time, a Liberal Member of the Quebec National Assembly was forced to fly home early from Barbados, but appears to have faced no consequences.

In Alberta, suspicion began turning into a hunt for lockdown-happy MLAs and ministers who aren’t taking their own medicine.

Alberta Agriculture Minister Devin Dreeshen raised some eyebrows when he posted a video on Instagram of him standing on a frozen lake making some skating ice, geo-tagged from St. Bart’s. It was all apparently a joke at the expense of then Ontario Finance Minister Rod Philips.

But the joke was soon on Dreeshen’s own party.

His colleauge Pat Rehn, UCP MLA for Lesser Slave Lake, posted a happy Christmas photo of himself in a warm Mexican cave. To his credit, he wasn’t trying to cover anything up. He just saw nothing wrong with locking down his constituents before jetting off on some non-essential travel. No geo-tag necessary.

For good measure, Rehn was sure to post on his social media account a message to locked-down Albertans; “Stay home. Stay safe.”

At about the same time as Rehn’s reminder that “we’re all in this together”, UCP Municipal Affairs Minister Tracey Allard was discovered to have spent her Christmas in beautiful Hawaii. Allard is also the minister responsible for vaccine distribution in Alberta and is a key decision-maker in the lockdown.

She refused to answer repeated calls, emails and texts from the media. Confirmation only came from “another source” according to the CBC. In Edmonton, this normally means an internal party rival.

In fact, no ministers or MLAs were responding to calls about their holiday travel plans. Repeated calls from Western Standard reporters were ignored by various ministers and MLAs. Likely, because the Premier’s Office didn’t yet know how many of its ministers, MLAs, and staffers were breaking their own guidelines.

And as it turns out, more than a few senior UCP government staffers were also travelling abroad, including Kenney’s own chief of staff, a position that wields more power than most cabinet ministers.

To address the growing political firestorm from left and right, Kenney held a press conference on New Years Day. Refusing to take questions from Western Standard reporters (a standing order, we believe), Kenney said that nobody would be fired. Just that he should be been clearer with his team that they should obey their own guidelines.

He hopes that that will be the end of it.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation took the opportunity to point out that two years into their mandate, the UCP still hasn’t delivered on their promise to give Albertans the right to recall their MLAs, and that needless to say, there are probably more than a few Albertans wishing that they had that right about now.

The lockdown has failed. Not just because the reasoning behind lockdowns is faulty, but because governments have not been honest about it, and do not feel that the pain they are inflicting on others should be shared by themselves.

A large segment of the government in Alberta and in other provinces imposing punishing lockdowns on their people – that they themselves do not feel bound to follow – will only heat the anti-lockdown sentiment from a simmer to a boil.

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 2009-2014 he was the National Research Director and Alberta Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. dfildebrandt@westernstandardonline.com

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Charles Martell III

    January 2, 2021 at 12:59 pm

    Lockdowns don’t work . . . the didn’t work in California, or New York . . .

    But some states did it different . . . Florida where Disneyland is open today . . . South Dakota that is also doing very well . . . yes there are some sick people in Hospital . . . but remember folks it is FLU SEASON NOW . . . and the seasonal flu mysteriously disappeared . . . It’s ALL Covid now . . .

  2. Rod M. Kerr

    January 2, 2021 at 12:07 pm

    Travel was not prohibited so why do you jounalist always try to make a big deal out of nothing . Thousands of Albertans and Canadians travelled this year…. so what! Shut up you illiterate flakes.

    • Charles Martell III

      January 2, 2021 at 12:57 pm

      You could not drive across the US border . . . but you could go to the Airport and fly anywhere.
      Canada’s Federal Govt never stopped flights into Canada in the last 11 months. 1000s of flights came in from all over the world . . . including China. No one was checked at the Airport . . . for many months, some say still today.
      Millions have come and gone . . . but you still can’t drive across the border.

    • peacefulowl67

      January 3, 2021 at 3:41 pm

      Travel may not have been prohibited, but if politicians are responsible for policies with devastating outcomes in the name of a public health emergency, then should we not expect them to follow the same guidance of restraint and self sacrifice they feel is approprate for the rest of us? Is this not an example of the non-essential travel we have been admonished to avoid?

  3. peacefulowl67

    January 2, 2021 at 3:07 am

    If economic/societal martial-law is going to be imposed by these people, then hunkering down with the rest of us is, quite literally, the least they could do. Effective policy alternatives to lock downs that would have produced more optimal outcomes should have been apparent to our elected officials……but the path chosen depends on a desire to be leaders or politicians……I think we know what happened.

    • pwlg

      January 2, 2021 at 11:07 am

      What are your suggestions for “policy alternatives to lock downs”? The virus doesn’t give two bits about policies. Actions they say speak louder than words.

      • peacefulowl67

        January 2, 2021 at 11:14 am

        In the past three or four months I have come across a few articles written by/about a guy named David Redman. He used to be in charge of the Alberta Emergency Management Agency. He described a set of actions that could have been taken that would have targeted those vulnerable without damaging the entire economy/society. It is hard to dismis what he writes as “20/20 hindsight” because he makes the argument that his conclusions could have been arrived at early on…..and much of what he mentions are recommendations that his agency made in 2014.

      • peacefulowl67

        January 2, 2021 at 11:25 am

        here is a link to one recent articlehttps://fcpp.org/2020/12/25/46915/

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Opinion

SLOBODIAN: Manitoba response to Freedom Convoy has politicians cowering

“Truckers rolling down the highways — determined heroes in thousands of rigs, trucks, and cars — have unleashed a righteous beast in Canadians fed up with bullies messing with their freedoms and livelihoods and treating the unvaccinated as second-class lepers.”

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Federal politicians and bureaucrats will probably be hiding in their closets or under their desks, frozen in fear, when the massive Freedom Convoy arrives in Ottawa.

And they should hide in shame until they get it straight — that they were elected to carry out the will of the people; that it’s long past time to start listening.

Maybe a crescendo of blaring horns in the capital will improve their hearing.

They’ve created a big COVID-19 mess, underestimated the Canadians they’ve tormented and tried to crush, pulled cheap stunts, and delivered fancy, empty condescending lectures.

Few are listening to them anymore. Truckers have taken the wheel and won the trust and respect and hearts and minds of countless Canadians who oppose vaccine mandates and freedom of speech being trampled on. 

Elected pooh-bahs who’ve lost any esteem they may have had just don’t know what to do about that. 

Truckers rolling down the highways — determined heroes in thousands of rigs, trucks, and cars — have unleashed a righteous beast in Canadians fed up with bullies messing with their freedoms and livelihoods and treating the unvaccinated as second-class lepers.

That’s why hundreds of freezing supporters braved -30C temperatures to greet the convoy when it blared into Brandon, Man., population 60,000, around noon Tuesday.

A driver going the other way told the Western Standard the convoy was 100 km long.

It was a magnificent, electric scene that has, and will continue to repeat itself along highways, roads and overpasses in towns and cities across Canada until convoys coming from several directions converge on the capital January 29.

The cheering Brandon supporters didn’t come empty-handed. They brought more than 1,000 bagged lunches — sandwiches, homemade cookies, muffins, puffed wheat cakes — prepared in kitchens throughout the province. 

Someone even very thoughtfully hauled in porta-potties.

These regular Canadians don’t have much use for most politicians (Of course, Carlton MP Pierre Poilievre is an exception).

But Canadians love, love, love the truckers!

“People have been dropping food and drinks off all morning,” said Virden’s Ingrid Wilkinson, who organized the bagged lunches served at several stations.

“I’m doing it for all the harm that’s been caused. I personally know many people who have been greatly harmed. I’m doing this for our parents who had to live through Nazi occupation. Thankfully, they’re not in this world now. I do it for the kids, their future,” said Wilkinson.

“This is not sustainable. It’s a big lie.”

Virden menu for truckers

The Virden group had $825 left over from money raised to buy food to donate it to the trucker’s GoFundMe which stands at $4.6 million and counting. This amazing feat was accomplished in just 10 days.

About 193 km away in Headingley, more food and support awaited the convoy where Hutterite communities prepared for the arrival of the “dear” truckers.

“We are setting up kitchens n gonna feed you all. We are with you, and we fully support this massive convoy for freedom,” tweeted Paul Kleinsasser. “May God protect you on your journey, keep on going, we are praying for you. God bless.”

The convoy was expected to arrive in Winnipeg a few hours later.

The truckers oppose the cross-border vaccine mandates that severely impact their livelihoods.

The truckers also oppose vaccine mandates inflicted on everyone else — nurses, police, military, worshipers, children, students — everyone. 

Canadians embrace and are emboldened by their courage and stamina. 

So yes, they are well fed, dearly loved, and, it appears, to be shunned by most politicians.

However, Conservative MPs Andrew Scheer and Warrant Steinley did show up to greet the convoy in Regina Monday night.

Conservative Deputy Leader Candice Bergen blasted the Liberal government and threw her support behind truckers.

“I support peaceful demonstrations against these mandates, and our truckers from Portage-Lisgar and from across Canada,” the Portage-Lisgar MP tweeted Tuesday.

Bergen said Trudeau “dealt our crumbling supply chain another blow” when he implemented mandates making 26,000 truckers unable to transport of goods across the Canada-U.S. border “which will only drive inflation higher than it’s been in over 30 years.

“Conservatives have been opposed to federal mandated vaccines since Trudeau introduced them: and we oppose the mandatory vaccine on Canadian truckers.”

Bergen noted that truckers bring much-needed supplies to Canada and “worked tirelessly over the pandemic” to keep supplies moving.

“Hamstringing this essential industry is nothing more than a political move to further divide Canadians.”

As for the main event in Ottawa, count on People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier to be there.

But hell will freeze over before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finds the courage or respect to greet the convoy that speaks for a huge segment of the country.

Opposition Leader Erin O’Toole repeatedly dodged questions Monday about whether he supports the truckers offering a wishy-washy non-committal word salad. So no, he’ll be absent. Lord help the Conservative party while he’s at the helm.

Let these two ‘leaders’ hide in the closet from the big rigs, blaring horns, and burly truckers headed their way.

Time has passed for them to speak. Nobody cares about what they have to say anymore.

The people have spoken. 

It’s time for the politicians and unelected bureaucrats to listen.

And with every blaring horn, the message gets stronger and clearer: Enough!

Exciting times.

Slobodian is the Senior Manitoba Columnist for the Western Standard
lslobodian@westernstandardonline.com

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Opinion

SELICK: Ontario’s health minister should get a second opinion

“In normal times, doctors frequently disagree with one another. That’s why patients often do seek out second opinions. “

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Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott is apparently unfamiliar with the concept of getting a second opinion from a different doctor when the first doctor’s advice doesn’t seem to be producing the desired results.

In a widely publicized speech she made on January 19, Elliott said: “I want to respond to some extremely concerning reports that some doctors are spreading misinformation about vaccines. At a time when it’s never been more important for Ontarians to have confidence in the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, this [dissenting advice] is unacceptable. I will be sending a letter to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) urging them to do everything that is possible to put an end to this behaviour. They should consider all options in doing so, including reviewing the licenses of physicians found to be spreading misinformation.”

It is certainly true that some Ontario doctors have departed from the “must-vaccinate” narrative of the majority and the CPSO. However, it is not a mere handful that are creating such stress for the health minister. Forty MDs were already under investigation by the CPSO before Ms. Elliott expressed her wish for an even broader witch hunt.

There are many other dissenters that the CPSO has not yet targeted. For instance, a group calling itself Canadian Physicians for Science and Truth posted a declaration on May 9, 2021 responding to the CPSO’s April 30th threat to impose disciplinary action on any physician who questions or debates COVID-19 orthodoxy. The declaration has garnered 718 signatures from healthcare professionals (many of whom have shown their credentials as “MD”), as well as 20,171 signatures from ordinary citizens. Those signing the declaration accuse the CPSO of ordering physicians to depart from the scientific method by shying away from debate on scientific subjects.

Another group, the Canadian Covid Care Alliance, is more protective of the identities of its members but indicates that it is an “alliance of over 500 independent Canadian doctors, scientists, and health care providers…committed to providing quality, balanced, evidence-based information to the Canadian public about COVID-19 so that hospitalizations can be reduced, lives saved, and our country safely restored to normal as quickly as possible.”

Health Minister Elliott must surely share those goals, so why has she moved so pre-emptively and harshly to demonize a contingent of her fellow travelers? She herself is not a doctor or scientist, and not independently qualified to determine which group of doctors really does have an accurate view of the facts.

Rational people – when faced with a choice between two opposing scientific opinions – examine both of them closely and give due consideration to the viewpoints of all the people more highly credentialed than themselves. They don’t behave like Ms. Elliott did – pretending to know that one group is wrong while the other has a monopoly on truth.

In normal times, doctors frequently disagree with one another. That’s why patients often do seek out second opinions. Sometimes the second doctor, or even the third or fourth, has a more satisfactory answer than the first did.

Ms. Elliott must surely realize by now that the experts she has been relying on for the past two years have not served the people of Ontario well. It’s high time she abandoned her arrogant attitude towards those who are offering a different opinion and started listening to them instead of threatening them with the loss of their livelihoods.

Karen Selick is a columnist for the Western Standard

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Opinion

WAGNER: The benefits of a federal Western independence party

“As long as Albertans continue to vote Conservative federally, Justin Trudeau knows that he has nothing to worry about.”

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For Alberta to become independent, there must be a provincial referendum on independence that receives a clear majority vote. For the referendum to take place, there must be a party in power willing to hold one. That requires the election of a provincial political party that favours asking Albertans whether they want to remain in Canada or choose a path towards self-determination and prosperity. The need for a provincial independence party is clear and easy to understand.

But some people ask: what about a federal Western independence party? What would be the point of that? It could neither mandate the necessary referendum nor pass federal legislation benefiting the West. Such a party therefore seems pointless, they suggest.

However, there are some clear benefits to a federal political party that should be considered.

For one thing, a federal Western independence party gives pro-independence voters an option besides the pro-federalist parties currently on offer. Patriotic Alberta voters who reject the Central Canadian parties would at least have someone they can conscientiously support. They could “vote their values,” so to speak, and send a message to Ottawa that voting for other parties doesn’t accomplish.

Right now, many independence-minded Albertans support Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party. The People’s Party has a unique and beneficial message that is attractive to conservative-minded Westerners, so that’s understandable. Bernier’s opposition to the Paris Climate Accord would mean that a Peoples’ Party federal government would eliminate the kinds of policies that prevent Western freedom and prosperity.

That is excellent, of course. However, because the People’s Party doesn’t restrict its focus to Western interests, it can’t represent the West in the same way that an exclusively Western party could. This is not to disparage the People’s Party, but simply to note that as a pan-Canadian party it must represent the interests of every region in the country, not just the West.

Having a federal independence party – such as the Maverick Party – does more than simply provide an option for Western regionalist voters. If it were to win a substantial number of votes (whether in a by-election or general election), that would alert Central Canadians to the increasing anger towards Ottawa in the West. 

As long as Albertans continue to vote Conservative federally, Justin Trudeau knows he has nothing to worry about. Conservative MPs from Alberta undoubtedly sympathize with the plight of the West, but their options to help are severely constrained by the need to appeal to voters in places like Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal. The Conservative Party wants more than anything to achieve power, and the path to power runs through Central Canada. Thus, the interests of Alberta will always be a very low priority for the Conservative Party.

In contrast, were one or more Western independence MPs to be elected, Trudeau would see the West was not just going to lie down and let him run us over. He might finally understand that his anti-oil industry policies would be met by stiff resistance and that he was in for a real fight.

Most importantly of all, though, is that the election of one or more Maverick Party MPs would provide a significant morale boost for the entire Western independence movement. There would be lots of excitement that would lead to increased support, even at the provincial level.

There’s something about an electoral victory that generates credibility, even if power is not attained by the victor. That is, even though Maverick MPs would not form government or exercise power, the fact that they received voter support would provide credibility for the independence movement as a whole. In this kind of situation, quality leaders would likely emerge who could take the movement forward.

Some people point out that there have been Bloc Québécois MPs in Ottawa for years and they have done little for Quebec. Therefore, Maverick MPs from Alberta would be just as pointless.

However, everyone expects Quebec to send separatist MPs to Ottawa. They’ve been doing that for decades. Alberta sending independence-minded MPs to Ottawa would be entirely different. The election of Maverick MPs would constitute a political earthquake that would rock the nation. It would be the Canadian news story of the decade, and it would generate new interest and energy in the Western independence movement.

In short, a federal political party could potentially play a meaningful role in the move towards Alberta independence. A federal party is not as essential as a provincial party for the independence movement to succeed, but the potential benefits it could provide should not be overlooked.

Michael Wagner is a columnist for the Western Standard

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