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MODRY: An open letter to Kenney on his COVID-19 response to me

“Conventional thinking, Premier, is not always correct.”

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Good Day Premier Kenney:

Thank you for your letter of March 11, 2021 responding to my “Open Letter” to you of December 11, 2020. 

I accept your apology for your delay in responding, but not all Albertans accept your rationale for lockdowns given the evidence that refutes the necessity. 

While we are both interested in the health and well-being of all Albertans, as your response implies, the purpose of my Dec 11, 2020 letter to you was to give you an off-ramp from using lockdowns to contain COVID-19 based on new evidence.  I am acutely aware many in your caucus have been and still are advocating to hear an alternate narrative from professionals who disagree with your “Dr. Hinshaw-led COVID experts panel”, who convinced you to accept “conventional”, but misguided thinking on how to manage the “COVID‘flu”. 

At the same time, I applaud you for challenging on March 26, 2021 the latest federal modelling prediction in which you stated that, “Dr. Tam’s office released modelling 3 weeks ago which has been proven to be completely inaccurate. Constantly publishing models which time after time prove to be spectacularly wrong is not a great way to instill public confidence”.  Bravo! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBIab9Y0h-A.

Kenney attacks ottawa

This is your first foray into challenging conventional thinking publicly on the management of COVID-19, and it must be acknowledged. 

The purpose of my response to your response is to provide further rationale for targeting only the vulnerable and fully opening up Alberta for the rest of us.

Thus far you have never questioned the veracity of “lockdown dogma” and have ignored evidence to the contrary provided by esteemed physicians and scientists from many prestigious medical centers and universities around the world.  

Conventional thinking, Premier, is not always correct. 

Prior to 1982, “conventional thinking” preached that gastric ulcers and gastritis were caused by hyperacidity.  However, in 1982, Brent Marshall and Robin Warren from Australia provided evidence that the majority of peptic ulcer disease was actually caused by a bacterium, Helicobacter pylori.  For many years afterward, the medical community stubbornly would not accept Marshall and Warren’s thesis.  In 2005, Marshall and Warren were both awarded the Nobel Prize for their discovery.  I think you see my point. It is not too late for caucus to hear from another multidisciplinary panel, and for you to change course, regardless of the damage already done by lockdowns.         

Your 2nd paragraph in your response asserts that the evidence I referenced is “worthy of consideration—(but)—-is incomplete”.  Your comment is a classic case of “cognitive dissonance”—–the inability to accept new evidence that is contrary to your accepted belief.  Although all of the considerable evidence that I provided to you was irrefutable, timely and  published within a few days and weeks of my December 11, 2020 Open Letter to you, it was certainly not incomplete, especially in the context of evolving knowledge.  

Now, there is even more evidence to discredit lockdowns as a means to prevent COVID-19.  A recent international study from Stanford published January 5, 2021 in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation proves that lockdowns have no significant benefit. 

And from Oxford University, a world class Professor of Epidemiology explains that lockdowns have done nothing to protect people from Covid-19, and that they have caused a great deal of harm”. 

Closer to home, Dr. Ari Joffee, a specialist in pediatrics, infectious disease, and critical care, has also provided evidence on December 18, 2020, that lockdowns are the wrong response to COVID-19 using an analysis of Quality-Adjusted Life Years lost due to COVID-19 versus lost due to the lockdowns.  

More recently, on Feb 9, 2021, Dr. Joffe and Colonel David Redman provided Alberta evidence on the futility of lockdowns. Contrary to your claim that “we (government) monitor all available evidence when making decisions about public health restrictions”, it would be more accurate to state that “We monitor all available evidence and ignore that which does not fit our predetermined narrative………….”

Your 3rd paragraph asserts that you have “resisted imposing unnecessary restrictions on Albertans…..”, but that is exactly what you did. You claimed there was a “significant threat to the capacity of our healthcare system”, which is debatable. You knew and admitted that you could increase ICU capacity from 272 beds to 1081 beds. By the 2020-year end, there were only 156 patients in ICUs diagnosed with COVID-19, of which the diagnosis of COVID-19 itself is questionable given the high incidence of false positives with PCR testing.     

Out of an abundance of caution in the event of a real surge in cases, you were also persuaded to create a field hospital in the Edmonton Butterdome which, as I have been informed, did not accommodate a single case.  

Finally, you claim that “the situation required more stringent health measures to preserve access to the healthcare services that Albertans rely on”.  Those more stringent measures did no such thing.  What you caused was a massive reduction in hospital-required diagnostic and therapeutic procedures for other illnesses, which has caused many deaths and will cause more deaths and disabilities in the future.

Your 4th , 5th , and 6th  paragraphs come closest to what I and many others have been advocating, which is to target the vulnerable, particularly those greater than 70 and anyone with predisposing conditions, such as obesity, dementia, diabetes, etc.

Where you failed, and continue to fail, is by applying restrictions across the board to all Albertans, which has caused vastly more physical and economic harm than the COVID-19 ‘flu ever could. 

In addition, how is it sensible for an asymptomatic octogenarian who has survived COVID-19 and had received both Pfizer inoculations to be kept isolated from family members? How can you support taking asymptomatic people off flights to Alberta and putting them in “hotel jail”, especially since there is irrefutable evidence that there is trivial to no risk of asymptomatic individuals transmitting COVID-19? 

There is no logic to these usurpations of people’s civil rights.  Yet, you continue to accept the flawed PCR test as the sine qua non to diagnose COVID-19 based on cycle thresholds of 35 or greater, at which cycle rates are frequently falsely positive. 

Recently the CDC on February 13, 2021 stated that it is extremely difficult to detect any live virus at cycle thresholds greater than 33. Why is it that AHS does not report PCR cycle thresholds which would validate whether patients were admitted to hospital or ICU due to Covid-19 as opposed to with Covid-19?

For patients who die purportedly with or due to COVID-19, PCR cycle thresholds should be defined. This would better distinguish those who died from COVID-19 as opposed to those who died from their underlying disease who coincidentally tested positive with a non-pathogenic PCR cycle threshold.  There is an opportunity here that should not be missed.

You also stated that you have been widely criticized for “highlighting the negative effects of restrictions”.  Those criticisms are trivial compared to what is coming when Albertans fully understand the futility of COVID-19 lockdowns and the corresponding harm from them.  And that additional scientific evidence is coming like a freight train.  Believe it or not, I and several others would like to help you get out of the way.   

Your 7th ,8th  and 9th  paragraphs require special attention.  First, you “assert that at the height of the restrictions in the “Spring of 2020, 85 per cent of businesses representing 96 per cent of our economy continued to operate safely”.  However, as of Jan 21, 2021, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), only 60% of small businesses are fully open in Alberta, and 1 in 5 small businesses (34,500) are contemplating permanently closing, which would result in 625,000 job losses in the private sector (41% of all private-sector jobs).

Presently, “only 20 per cent of small businesses in Alberta are making normal sales” according to the CFIB.  The truth is uncomfortable, isn’t it?

Second, you once again claim that the restrictions were necessary to prevent overwhelming the hospital system, yet you provide zero evidence to support your claim.  In fact, the numbers that you cite prove that your claims are “demonstrably false”!  

Your 10th -13th paragraphs are maddeningly illogical regarding overwhelming the healthcare system.  You know that you have 8,500 beds in the province and 272 ICU beds. As of March 31, 2021, there are 301 “supposed COVID-19 patients” in the hospital (3.5 per cent of the 8,500 beds) and 58 in the ICU (21.3 per cent of the 272 beds).  

You also admit that you could ramp up to 1,081 ICU beds, but you then claim that you would only do so in a “worst-case scenario”.  Really! What could be more of a worst-case scenario than cancelling thousands of patient’s access to healthcare, for whom many lives have already been lost, and other patients whose quality of lives have been severely compromised, along with others whose businesses and livelihoods have been shuttered forever? 

You have set yourself, Dr. Hinshaw, the AHS, and your government up for class action lawsuits by all of those families who have lost loved ones, those whose conditions have deteriorated beyond curative medical intervention, those who have permanently lost quality of life, as well as the thousands of patients who could not access diagnostic studies, who will find that their illness is beyond life-saving curative treatment.

What is especially troubling is that you were previously informed that more people have died from lockdowns than from COVID-19, yet you locked down the province again.

Your 12th and 13th  paragraphs highlight the fundamental problem with yours’ and Dr. Hinshaw’s interpretation of “cases”.  Asymptomatic COVID-19 “cases” are no such thing.  In medicine, cases refer to individuals who become ill with something. 

Your costly testing of large numbers of the asymptomatic public has not provided any useful information but has unnecessarily sewn fear and apprehension of a ‘flu-like illness which has a 99.97 per cent overall survival rate for those under 70 years who test positive for COVID-19.  Further, you knew from the first lockdown last spring that the elderly and those with predisposing conditions were at the greatest risk. 

This should have informed you to target the vulnerable and let herd immunity, along with vaccinating first those at risk, rather than implement your 2nd lockdown, for which there was and still is zero evidence justifying your decision.   

On the contrary, lockdowns actually delay natural herd immunity from developing in the 90 per cent of the population not at risk.

“Dr. Hinshaw’s-panel-of-experts” will try and convince you that ‘another reason justifying lockdowns is that the virus has mutated, is more transmissible and possibly more lethal, and the spread must be stopped’.  By now you must know that RNA viruses such as COVID-19 mutate all the time. 

That is why there is a new vaccine every year to treat seasonal ‘flu. Further, there is no confirmed evidence yet that any new strain of COVID-19 is more or less lethal. But let’s assume that it is twice as lethal. This would mean the mortality would increase from 0.03 per cent to 0.06 per cent for those under 70 years of age.  Conversely, this also means that instead of survivability being 99.97 per cent, survivability would negligibly decrease to 99.94 per cent.

Recent data reported in Nature on March 21, 2021  suggests that for males aged 55-69 years, the B117 variant is 55 per cent more lethal, meaning that the mortality risk would increase from 0.6 per cent to 0.9 per cent with survival probability being 99.1 per cent.

At  present, the average age of death in Alberta from all causes (excluding COVID-19) is  82 years, and the average age of death from COVID-19 is 82 years. In other words, COVID-19 has not negatively impacted overall average survival in Alberta, further questioning the rationale of pan-lockdown measures. 

Given that people die for many reasons, we all understand that life carries many risks which we are prepared to accept, or not, such as mountain climbing, skiing, driving, over-eating, etc.  What we don’t need is death from lockdowns, which is totally in your control.

Finally, you state “In the future, our government will continue to focus efforts on protecting the vulnerable and minimizing restrictions on the rest of Albertans.  However, we must keep in mind that when the capacity of our health system is in jeopardy, we are all vulnerable”.   

Instead, why not focus exclusively on the vulnerable, as you have stated. Permit the rest of the Alberta population to function unfettered by lockdowns, for which there is now considerable evidence to be a more effective strategy to minimize deaths, disability, despair, and economic devastation. And if you are really concerned about overwhelming the healthcare system, invest in another 100 or more ICU beds and show Albertans that you meant it when you said that “lockdowns were a mistake last spring”, for which you apologized. Albertans need to be reassured, not locked down.  

In conlusion, I would like to make an overture to you and your caucus.  Given your willingness to challenge Dr. Tam’s modelling, I and other interested professionals would very much like to present the case to end lockdowns.  At the very least, our presentation to you and Caucus privately or in a public forum, followed by a Q & A will give you an entirely different perspective than what you all have incorrectly assumed to be definitively factual.  Your willingness to engage in a productive dialogue will demonstrate to the public that you do listen to opposing evidentiary facts with an open mind.  Premier, you and you alone can end the current destructive course, and in the process affirm yourself as a true leader in this time of crisis.

Respectfully,

Dennis L Modry, BSc, MD, FRCS, FACCP, FACS,

Clinical Associate Professor, Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery,

Founder and Director of the Heart/Lung Transplantation Program & Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit.  RETIRED

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Editor of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Opinion

WAGNER: Coming federal election could drive support for Alberta independence

“The election results may very well convince enough Albertans that independence is the only alternative to a future of continued economic decline and impoverishment.” – Michael Wagner

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Many commentators have speculated that there will be a federal election this year, quite possibly in the spring. Early in February, Bob Hepburn of the Toronto Star wrote a column entitled, Trudeau’s strategic plans aimed at June election. A few days later, Brian Lilley of the Toronto Sun contributed a similarly-themed column, Spring election could still be in Trudeau’s cards. And on March 1, Lilley’s Toronto Sun colleague Lorrie Goldstein added another, Liberals looking for excuses to call an election.  

These columnists are speculating, of course, but they offer strong reasons why an election may not be too distant in the future.

The outcome of the impending election will have a very big impact on Alberta. If Justin Trudeau is re-elected with a majority government – as some polls seem to indicate – his climate change policies designed to phase-out Alberta’s oil industry will be locked in place for at least four more years. Alberta will continue to suffer job losses and other fiscal and economic hardships. The provincial outlook will be truly bleak.

Many Albertans realize that the stakes in the election will be very high. The future of their livelihoods is in jeopardy. For them, a Trudeau majority government would be the last straw. Government-imposed financial suffering will be impossible to endure any longer. A new path forward will be needed. For a growing number of us, that means independence 

In other words, if Justin Trudeau wins the upcoming election, expect to see the Alberta independence movement experience unprecedented growth. Large numbers of people will be desperate and willing to consider previously unthinkable options. 

This kind of thing has happened on a smaller scale before. It was due to widespread anger after the February 1980 re-election of Pierre Trudeau that Elmer Knutson formed West-Fed and began holding large meetings around the province. In the wake of the November 2000 re-election of Jean Chretien’s Liberals, province-wide anger propelled support for Cory Morgan’s Alberta Independence Party, while Stephen Harper and some of his colleagues published the famous “Firewall Letter.” 

More recently, immediately after Justin Trudeau’s Liberals were re-elected with a minority government in October 2019, well-attended Wexit meetings were held around Alberta, including one with 1700 people in Calgary. The Wexit organization formally merged with the Freedom Conservative Party in June 2020 to form the Wildrose Independence Party of Alberta. 

Indeed, the existence and growth of the Wildrose Independence Party and the federal Maverick Party can be attributed in large measure to the outcome of the 2019 federal election. It seems clear then, that federal election results have been a major factor in the development of Alberta’s (and Saskatchewan’s) independence movement.

This pattern is likely to be repeated when the next federal election is held later this year. Unless Erin O’Toole can engineer a miraculous turn-around in Conservative Party support, Trudeau will be back and Alberta will be trapped within a country whose government is determined to destroy its primary industry. In that case, expect many Albertans to fight back. Expect big meetings around the province with impassioned speakers advocating independence to preserve our future. Memberships in Wildrose and the Maverick Party will sell briskly and new volunteers will step forward.

If O’Toole can pull a rabbit out of the hat, the initial response in Alberta will be celebratory. Trudeau would be gone. What could be better than that? But O’Toole’s commitment to implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change would tie his hands and limit his enthusiasm for developing Alberta’s rich energy wealth. 

O’Toole has also been a defender of the current Equalization formula and supply management, policies meant to win votes in other parts of Canada. 

After voting overwhelmingly for the Conservatives, Albertans would justifiably anticipate some payback. If O’Toole didn’t deliver, there would be severe consequences for him and his party. A betrayed electorate would look to its only remaining option: independence.

The upcoming federal election will likely be a key event for Alberta’s future. Another term for Justin Trudeau would be an existential threat to the province. A victory for Erin O’Toole would be somewhat better, but would hold no guarantees for Alberta’s well-being. Pro-fossil fuel policies are very much out-of-favour in Central Canada where both parties are eager to please the voters. 

The election results may very well convince enough Albertans that independence is the only alternative to a future of continued economic decline and impoverishment. For Alberta, it seems that there is no way forward except out. 

Michael Wagner is a Senior Columnist for the Western Standard

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Opinion

PARKER: Kenney is the wolf in sheep’s clothing

“Alberta conservatives were deceived by one of Canada’s greatest political showmen. He bought a new blue truck, put on a cowboy hat, and sang us a Siren’s song.” – David Parker, Guest Columnist

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Guest Column: David Parker was the Regional Organizer for Central Alberta on the 2017 Jason Kenney Leadership Campaign and GOTV Membership Chair of the Wildrose Unity Campaign

In the Book of Matthew, Jesus gives his followers a warning, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves” (Matthew 7:15). Whether you are a Christian, follow another creed, or simply a person who cares about freedom, we should always pay attention to those who claim to be prophets. Jason Kenney came to Alberta as a kind of secular prophet. He claimed that he would unite the Wildrose and PC parties, restore the Alberta Advantage, defeat Ottawa, and lead his people back to the proverbial Promised Land. 

Now, he puts preachers in jail, destroys small businesses, takes on record levels of debt, and fills our province with fear. 

Even worse, he is not a leader. His true talents lay in being the right-hand man to a leader; but he has proven himself unable to make clear decisions or even adhere to any real comprehensive set of principles. He claims to be a conservative; but he has his government buy up and subsidize private businesses with record levels of corporate welfare. He says he is a man of faith (and he probably is); but he crushes those who wish to practice their faith in a manner that disagrees with his government’s authoritarian policies. 

This is evident from many angles; but the most obvious example of it is how he ran nominations. He is an authoritarian. I was the campaign manager for Rita Reich’s nomination race in Lacombe – Ponoka (one of Kenney’s staunchest supporters during both the PC and UCP leadership races). He disqualified her over a single Facebook post that said Hitler was actually a socialist. That was it, it did not praise Hitler, it just said that Hitler was a socialist based on the fact that he led something called the National Socialist German Workers Party, and repeatedly referred to himself as a “revolutionary socialist”. He did this to a woman who had him to her house for BBQs with hundreds of people and who sold hundreds of memberships in support of him. Why? It was easier for him to simply disqualify her than let her challenge a sitting MLA in a nomination. 

The list of loyal people that Jason Kenney has used and discarded is long and full of many very talented people. The worst case of this is perhaps the story of Caylan Ford, who Kenney praised as his, “political love at first sight” and who the UCP used in much of their campaign digital and visual messaging. When she encountered a targeted and malicious attack from a bad actor within the conservative movement, he dumped her as a candidate and left her to bleed out under the wrath of the SJW mob. Kenney folds to cancel culture like a cheap house of cards. Just like he bows to Rachel Notley when she calls for more lockdowns.

Alberta conservatives were deceived by one of Canada’s greatest political showmen. He bought a new blue truck, put on a cowboy hat, and sang us a Siren’s song. We don’t have to keep believing him. His actions have shown us who he truly is. 

The mask is dropped. We can now see as clearly as day that the sheep is truly a wolf. 

Guest Column: David Parker was the Regional Organizer for Central Alberta on the 2017 Jason Kenney Leadership Campaign and GOTV Membership Chair of the Wildrose Unity Campaign

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Opinion

SCOTT: Supreme Court injustice allows Ottawa to rule all

“In one fell swoop the Supreme Court of Canada has gutted any meaningful provincial jurisdiction, creating an untenable situation that, if left to stand, will add unbearable tension to the federation.” Mike Scott

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Guest Column from Mike Scott, Reform MP for Skeena, BC from 1993-2000.

The recent Supreme Court decision, which provides legal cover for the Trudeau government’s usurpation of provincial jurisdiction on carbon taxes, should be of immense concern to all Canadians.

In essence, the Supreme Court did not take issue with the argument put forward by three provinces that the federal government’s carbon tax is an intrusion into provincial jurisdiction. 

What the majority on the court did accept is the Liberal government’s argument that such an intrusion is justified under the rubric “Peace Order and Good Government (POGG)”.

On the face of it, this is an astounding conclusion.

POGG was never intended to be a substitute for clear, constitutionally delineated jurisdictions, nor a tool for constitutional monkey wrenching.

This is a clear case of an activist court seeking justification – no matter how thin – to endorse a progressive political agenda.

First, the court is clearly taking sides in a public policy debate and the reasons for judgement underscore this. Public policy arbitration was never intended to be the purview of the court and, by venturing into this highly charged political debate, it is signaling a willingness to take ever more activist positions.

Citizens don’t get to vote for judges – the prime minister appoints – but it is vital to the credibility of the institution that the court remains assiduously neutral. Jurisdictional disputes must be weighed against the metric of the constitution and adjudicated based on longstanding principles of law – jurisprudence – not creative or specious arguments.

Secondly, by accepting the federal government’s “POGG” argument, one can see the door has now been swung wide open for future intrusions. This is the slippery slope the Supreme Court’s decision has set us on. Going forward, all the feds need to do is invoke “POGG” – there will be no judicial recourse for the provinces.

This is exceedingly dangerous for confederation. As the provinces come to understand that their constitutional jurisdictions are trumped by POGG – with the collusion of the high Court – what recourse do they have?

There is already far too much political power concentrated in Ontario and Quebec. Adding the Supreme Court to the list of institutions lined up against the country’s regions is exceedingly provocative. When, on this continuum, do we reach a tipping point?

It is worth quoting the dissenting voice of Supreme Court Justice Russel Brown who brilliantly spells out the ramifications.

“It is not possible for a matter formerly under provincial jurisdiction to be transformed, when minimum national standards are invoked…This would open up any area of provincial jurisdiction to unconstitutional fedreral intrusion once parliament decides to legislate uniform treatment”

Supreme Court Justice Malcolm Rowe, also in dissent, cogently adds; 

“Canada’s proposed doctrinal expansion of national concern should be rejected because it departs in a marked and unjustified way from the jurisprudence of the court and, if adopted, it will provide a broad and open pathway for further incursions into what has been exclusive provincial jurisdiction. (the act) is not an exercise in cooperative federalism; rather, it is the means to enforce supervisory federalism”

The Supreme Court’s willingness to allow POGG as a means to justify abrogating a clear provincial jurisdiction, is a threat to the regions of Canada that is unprecedented. It is an egregious assault on one of the very foundational principles of our constitution – the division of powers between the provinces and the federal government. 

In one fell swoop the Supreme Court of Canada has gutted any meaningful provincial jurisdiction, creating an untenable situation that, if left to stand, will add unbearable tension to the federation.

All provinces – particularly those in the West with significant energy resources – should see the writing on the wall.

Guest Column from Mike Scott, Reform MP for Skeena, BC from 1993-2000.

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