While Pastor James Coates was locked up in an Alberta prison, Premier Jason Kenney posted this on Facebook: “Best wishes to Christians across Alberta and around the world as they begin the penitential season of Lent on this Ash Wednesday.”
Like most people, Pastor Coates and his Grace Life Church near Edmonton were very concerned about the COVID-19 virus back in March of 2020, when Neil Ferguson of Imperial College frightened the whole world with his wildly inaccurate predictions. Governments blindly accepted Professor Ferguson’s fearmongering about COVID-19 being an unusually deadly killer that we should all be (very) afraid of. Ignoring their own data and statistics, governments continue to base public policy on the fears of March 2020, rather than the facts of February 2021.
Pastor Coates is following the science. Jason Kenney is not.
Statistics Canada data to mid-October 2020 tell us that, while overall death rates in Canada increased in the first three quarters of 2020, death rates have also been increasing over time as our population ages. Increases in death rates in 2020 for people over 85 are comparable to the last three to four years. We know that COVID-19 threatens primarily seniors in long-term care homes who are already dying of cancer, emphysema, heart disease and other serious illnesses. Death rates among men and women in the 65-84 age group are lower or comparable to previous years. That is not what you would expect from an unusually deadly killer, is it?
COVID-19 poses no significant threat to children, youth, young adults and about 90% of the population, who have a greater chance of dying in a car accident. Remarkably, death rates in Canada for those aged 44 and under increased significantly in 2020, especially among men. COVID-19 is not a factor here, so what is leading to these deaths?
I understand that Premier Kenney did not personally order Pastor Coates to be arrested and imprisoned, and that the premier cannot personally release the pastor. But it’s because of Jason Kenney’s unconstitutional laws that Pastor Coates is in jail today, and for no other reason.
Responding to the public outcry over Alberta jailing a pastor, Premier Kenney stated: “So I want to be absolutely clear: Alberta’s government will always respect and protect the fundamental freedoms of religion and worship, period.”
That is, except when pastors are put in jail for refusing to comply with unscientific health orders.
Premier Kenney’s response is like Prime Minister Trudeau’s response to Canadians now being forcibly locked up in hotels for three days upon returning home.
“We are not detaining people; these are public health measures”.
Both Messrs. Trudeau and Kenney cite “public health” as their rationale for violating our Charter freedoms of conscience, religion, association, expression and peaceful assembly. But political claims don’t change the reality that fear of COVID-19 is exaggerated and not grounded in facts.
After making the deceptive claim that “Alberta’s government will always respect and protect the fundamental freedoms of religion and worship, period”, Mr. Kenney predictably points out that other regimes are worse than his. That is not a strong defence.
What Mr. Kenney describes as “safe and reasonable guidelines” are joy-killing, coercive laws that force people into isolation and loneliness by banning the necessary social interactions that we need for our physical, mental, spiritual and financial well-being. Lockdowns (whether full or partial) produce anxiety, stress and depression even amongst those who have not been pushed into unemployment, poverty and despair.
There is nothing “safe” about cancelling medically necessary surgeries, like the pace-maker surgery needed by Jerry Dunham, who was killed by lockdowns – not by COVID. There is nothing “reasonable” about forcing businesses into bankruptcy, often destroying the life savings of honest, hard-working people. There is nothing “safe” about taking away sports, recreation, social interactions and recreational pursuits from children and adults, forcing millions to experience life primarily through a two-dimensional computer screen.
Mere “guidelines” are not enforced with $1,000 fines and imprisonment, if one cares about honesty when using the English language. These are coercive laws, not “guidelines.” Moreover, none of these laws have been approved by a vote of the members of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta; instead, laws are announced on the fly at press conferences and imposed on us by the Kenney-Hinshaw duo, contrary to the constitutional requirement that democratic law-making be carried out by the legislature.
These “guidelines,” claims Mr. Kenney, are “necessary to protect the vulnerable from this deadly pandemic.” But the coercive laws that violate the Charter rights and freedoms of an entire population have obviously and miserably failed to protect seniors in nursing homes, who make up about 80 per cent of COVID-19 deaths. Mr. Kenney has yet to provide any persuasive evidence that further destroying an already-weak Alberta economy has “protected” anyone. The “deadly pandemic” has had little if any impact on life expectancy in Alberta or other provinces, according to government statistics.
Next, Mr. Kenney sets up and then demolishes a “straw dummy” of his own invention: “The suggestion that Alberta has any restriction on preaching is completely false. Under Alberta law, no one has been or will be fined or sanctioned for preaching.”
Who said anything about a ban on preaching? Pastor Coates is in jail for exercising his Charter freedoms (which consist of more than just “preaching”) in the face of irrational, destructive, unscientific and undemocratic health orders.
Mr. Kenney claims that public health measures are “designed to save lives.” But his government exercises willful blindness when it comes to lockdown harms. For example, his government is making no effort to study, or to report to the public about, the number of Albertans like Jerry Dunham who died after their medically necessary surgeries were cancelled. Nor does Mr. Kenney’s government want to know how many Albertans now have late-stage cancer because their diagnostic exams or surgeries were delayed by lockdowns. You cannot honestly claim to care about “saving lives” while refusing to take a hard and comprehensive look at all lockdown harms, and the specific nature and extent of each kind of lockdown harm. But the Alberta government, despite its abundant resources, is not researching, tracking, monitoring or publicizing information on lockdown harms.
Mr. Kenney claims that lockdowns are “designed to protect our hospitals,” but ignores the fact that hospitals have been over-crowded for many years. Pretending that insufficient hospital and ICU capacity are caused by COVID-19 is intellectually dishonest. Further, the government has now had eleven months to increase hospital capacity; why has it not done so? The financial cost of increasing hospital capacity would have been a fraction of the cost of throwing tens of thousands of Albertans into unemployment: these people no longer work and no longer pay taxes.
Mr. Kenney raises “the sanctity of human life” without considering how many people have been killed and harmed by lockdowns, and without providing any evidence to support his thesis that lockdowns do more good than harm. He suggests that lockdown opponents don’t care about the sanctity of human life, which is false.
Mr. Kenney claims that “we all share a responsibility to protect the weak,” but apparently such protection should not extend to the weaker Albertans who lack the physical, mental and emotional health that is required to deal with unemployment, poverty, loneliness, isolation, anxiety, depression and stress. More Albertans die from drug overdoses than from COVID-19.
Ignoring science, Mr. Kenney reiterates his belief that asymptomatic people are significant spreaders of Covid. I’ve asked the Alberta government repeatedly to provide the public with scientific evidence to support the government’s thesis that healthy people spread this virus. None has been presented to date.
Pastor Coates is following his conscience as well as science. Jason Kenney used to care about the former, and is not following the latter.
Lawyer John Carpay is a columnist for the Western Standard and is the president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (jccf.ca) which represents Pastor James Coates and is now seeking his release from prison
SLOBODIAN: Disgraced Catholic priest banned from Northern Manitoba reserves
Father Rheal Forest accused residential school survivors of fabricating abuse claims to cash in on settlement money.
A Catholic priest could land himself in the back of an RCMP cruiser if he steps foot on a Manitoba First Nation he served and lived on for years.
Father Rheal Forest, who accused residential school survivors of fabricating abuse claims to cash in on settlement money, will be considered a trespasser in Bloodvein First Nation, located 210 km north of Winnipeg.
A Band Council Resolution (BCR) barring Forest from the community is being drafted and when signed this week by council will be given to RCMP to enforce, Bloodvein Chief Derek Cook confirmed.
“I know a lot of people are upset. It’s bringing back a lot of the stories they have to deal with and are continuing to deal with from residential schools,” Cook told CBC.
“I hope he abides by the process and respects our decision.”
Despite not having worked in Bloodvein for a few years, Forest continued to visit.
The Archdiocese of St. Boniface also banned Forest from all preaching and teaching for remarks he made about residential school survivors in sermons last month while filling in for a vacationing priest at Winnipeg’s St. Emile Roman Catholic Church.
The sermons that were live-streamed at the time to Facebook have been removed.
“If they wanted extra money, from the money that was given to them, they had to lie sometimes, lie that they were abused sexually and, oop, another $50,000,” Forest told the congregation.
“It’s kind of hard if you’re poor not to lie.”
Forest also absolved priests and nuns from any abuse and blamed laymen.
Anywhere from $3 billion to $4.7 billion has been paid to thousands of people who claimed they were victims of abuse at residential schools.
Almost 50 churches have been burned and desecrated in Canada since unmarked graves were allegedly discovered on former residential school sites.
Foster also made controversial comments during one mass about the criminals responsible for the destruction.
He admitted to having “thoughts of anger” when he passed by a church that had been vandalized.
“If I had a shotgun at night and I’d see them, I’d go ‘Boom’ just to scare them and if they don’t run away, I’ll shoot them,” he said laughing.
He immediately added: “This would not help. It’s bad to do that. I’d go have a chat with them.”
Forest also made it clear he is not a fan of the “evil” media which he said is controlled by Freemasons.
Slobodian is the Senior Manitoba Columnist for the Western Standard
GIEDE: Happy 150th British Columbia!
“It’s been a tumultuous 150 years, but this province is still the Most Beautiful Place on Earth.”
While everywhere else in Canada it’s simply known as “August long weekend,” technically speaking the statutory holiday is called “British Columbia Day” west of the Rockies. For those of us who enjoy official designations and labels, this will be the sesquicentennial of BC’s entrance into Canadian confederation, a much harassed political project within these pages. Still, a century-and-a-half is worthy of exhortation.
Of course the proper birthday was July 20, corresponding with our joining up in 1871. But no one in BC is interested in a bon fete they cannot properly observe with beverage in hand. Thus, BC Day has been permanently tacked to the first Monday of August to ensure an annual long weekend in perpetuity – which is how all significant non-religious holidays ought to be scheduled from sea to sea to sea.
British Columbia was bribed into confederation by a drunk Scotsman who dreamed of transcontinental railways.
We almost broke out again when the delivery of the Canadian Pacific Railway seemed doomed, and would of likely joined the United States, which had a sizable ex-patriot population here (particularly Civil War veterans from the South.) We stayed on with the reassurance the CPR would be finished, even returning Sir John A. Macdonald to Parliament from Victoria once after he lost his seat in Kingston, Ont.
Of course, our 150 birthday as a province has also been overshadowed by pandemic, then the church fires, and now the wildfires which rage throughout the Southern Interior. British Columbians will still be cracking our famous IPA’s despite the smoke, but perhaps being seen to be celebrating our legacy in such dire times is too much for even our self-aggrandizing political class to bear, let alone the rest of us.
British Columbia is a series of paradoxes. While sovereigntist fervor is most strongly felt east of the Rockies, particularly in Wildrose country, only BC has the surest chance of ever leaving the Dominion with its borders intact: save for minor disputes with America along the coast, our borders are the same as when we took up Sir John A.’s invitation, unlike the rest of the West. Yet this does not motivate us.
If anything, the peculiar history and geography of the Western cordillera makes separation from itself just as likely as a break at the federal level. Outside of the Lower Mainland and South Island, people are far more different than they are similar, despite waving the same flag. Each part of British Columbia is a land entirely unto itself: river valleys, plateaus, and atolls all littered with dozens of siloed cultures.
This is not a new phenomena or collateral damage due to the post rural-urban divide: before contact, a plethora of indigenous languages flourished; after contact, successive waves of development happened at different rates throughout the province – the fur trade, gold rush, railway, forestry, mining, and finally oil and gas, as well as hydro – layering BC with company towns, ghost towns, and peculiar infrastructure.
Our vehicle fleets are by far the oldest of the provinces, just as independent contractors number more greatly amongst our workforce than nearly everywhere else in Canada. Economic cycles strike our province without uniformity, as there’s always some other resource that needs extracting from her natural bounty. Considering the remoteness, BC really could be considered the “fourth Territory.”
Perhaps this latent independence is what makes the manifestation of sovereignty so difficult.
There are more eccentrics per square kilometre here than anywhere else on God’s green earth, and each of them can tell you exactly whats wrong — as well as how to fix the place. Without a central tenet of BC identity, just thousands of caricatures brought to life in every quarter, from marijuana addicts to moral puritans, there is no single point of focus for British Columbians to rally around within the separation agenda.
But perhaps the key to understanding British Columbians lax attitude about sticking it to Ottawa is we’re too busy enjoying where we live, even as costs rise egregiously. While living in a closet west of Hope isn’t my jam, people do it by the thousands just to enjoy the Lower Mainland lifestyle; and in the rest of the province the water and wilderness goes on for eternity, beckoning every kind of adventurer.
Not unlike the wild child we all knew in class, British Columbia cannot be marshalled easily to march in step with her sister provinces, West of Lakehead on the secession question. Until confederation impedes the natural freedoms we enjoy in BC, federalism by convenience will rule the day. No doubt, its been a tumultuous 150 years, but this province is still the Most Beautiful Place on Earth.
Nathan Giede is the BC Affairs Columnist and the host of Mountain Standard Time
WAGNER: The prominent Toronto political scientist who called Communism ‘democratic’
As it turns out, some members of Canada’s Left have a fairly positive view of communism.
Some commentators have noted the silence of Canada’s Left in the face of anti-government protests in Cuba. Why the reluctance to condemn a communist dictatorship?
Well, as it turns out, some members of Canada’s Left have a fairly positive view of communism. One such prominent Canadian leftist was C.B. Macpherson (1911-1987), an internationally-renowned political scientist who taught political theory at the University of Toronto. Among other things, he was especially known for his critiques of capitalism and individualism.
Interestingly, Macpherson also defended Soviet Communism as genuine democracy in action. This can be seen in a series of CBC radio messages he delivered in 1965 that were subsequently published as a book entitled The Real World of Democracy. These lectures argued there were three forms of government that could be legitimately called democracies: the liberal democracies of the West, the Soviet bloc countries, and the one-party states of the Third World.
As Macpherson put it, “democracy is not properly to be equated with our unique Western liberal-democracy.” Instead, “the clearly non-liberal systems which prevail in the Soviet countries, and the somewhat different non-liberal systems of most of the underdeveloped countries of Asia and Africa, have a genuine historical claim to the title democracy.”
Macpherson explained the meaning of democracy has undergone some change over time. It hasn’t always referred to the kind of constitutional system common in the Western countries: “Democracy originally meant rule by the common people, the plebeians. It was very much a class affair: it meant the sway of the lowest and largest class.” Thus, Macpherson argued Soviet Communism and other one-party states can legitimately be called democracies, based on this definition. That is, he used this conception of “democracy” to describe some of the world’s most brutal and repressive regimes.
Karl Marx’s proposed “dictatorship of the proletariat” was an expression of genuine democracy in Macpherson’s view. He noted many people would find it outrageous to consider the dictatorship of the proletariat to be a form of democracy. “But,” he wrote, “to call it democracy was not outrageous at all: it was simply to use the word in its original and then normal sense.”
Macpherson’s analysis gets even worse. Lenin extended Marx’s theory by arguing a revolution would need to be undertaken by a relatively small group of class-conscious people he called the vanguard, which is to say, the Communist Party.
From the Communist perspective, since the vast majority of people in any society are debased by the structures of capitalism, they cannot be trusted to participate in political decision-making. To allow their participation would just perpetuate the problems of the old, capitalist society. Only the vanguard could bring about the necessary reforms. As Macpherson explains: “Lenin, building on Marx, came out for a seizure of power by a vanguard who would forcibly transform the basic relations of society in such a way that the people would become undebased and capable of a fully human existence, at which point compulsive government would no longer be needed.”
In Macpherson’s view, this rule of the vanguard to “forcibly transform” society is democracy in action, despite the fact that it involves politically motivated executions and concentration camps. Democracy, it seems, becomes indistinguishable from dictatorship.
Macpherson evokes what he calls the “broader concept of democracy” to legitimize the Marxist-Leninist state: “Wherever the circumstances are such that no motion towards this kind of society is possible except through the action of a vanguard, then the vanguard state, so long as it remains true to its purpose, may be called democratic.” Thus, in his view, an outright communist state can be legitimately called a democracy. Many of the most brutal, bloodthirsty, and repressive regimes in the 20th Century were democracies in this sense. Who knew?
Using a similar line of argumentation, the one-party dictatorships of the Third World can also be justified as democracies. Invoking Rousseau, Macpherson wrote one-party states can be legitimately called democracies because “there is in these countries a general will, which can express itself through, and probably only through, a single party.” As a result, “opposition to the dominant party appears to be, and sometimes actually is, destructive of the chances of nationhood. In such circumstances opposition appears as treason against the nation.” Thus, a one-party state, where opposition to the ruling party is punished as “treason,” can be a legitimate form of democracy. (Don’t tell Justin Trudeau.)
Macpherson was an internationally known and respected political scientist. The views he expressed were not the rantings of a black-clad activist running wild in the streets. Some elements of the intellectual Left truly believe that a Marxist-Leninist state (or any other Left-wing single-party state) is a genuine democracy. Despite the inescapably violent and murderous nature of communism, some Canadian leftists view it favourably.
The lessons of the 20th Century have not been learned. Ideas that inspired inhuman tyranny – what C.B. Macpherson happily calls the “broader concept of democracy” – seem to be making a comeback.
Michael Wagner is a columnist for the Western Standard
SLOBODIAN: Disgraced Catholic priest banned from Northern Manitoba reserves
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GIEDE: Happy 150th British Columbia!
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