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NAVARRO-GENIE: Two pandemics are scarier than one




This week marked the anniversary of the COVID-19 confinements that were only supposed to last for a few weeks. Remember “two weeks to flatten the curve”? That was 52 weeks ago.

In many ways, fear became the pandemic. Different people drive the COVID-19 fear, but its principal generators are statisticians and the medical bureaucrats, the experts “advising” the politicians, who in turn display appearances of virtue claiming to save lives. In competing for our attention, the media are a gigantic amplifier of COVID-19 fear. 

Along life-saving claims, Canada’s chief medical officer has finally admitted presiding over a massive failure in protecting the most vulnerable, who constitute the majority of the dead. Camouflaging the failure, authorities confine and restrict us the more with the pretense of protecting us. Yet, the vulnerable keep dying and those with much lesser risk are confined into domestic violence situations, forcibly unemployed, forced to forgo treatments for chronic illnesses, forced to watch their business crash and their saving vaporize. It has taken a year for Teresa Tam to admit failure but she has manifested no desire to correct or reverse course.

Neither the admission of failure nor the absence of solutions (other than to hope for vaccination) have stopped the fear wagon that sent us here a year ago. Instead, in time for the anniversary, fresh alarmist calls give more horsepower to the wagon. Experts are calling for greater lockdowns, more restrictive and oppressive. And they are doing so in language that instills even more fear.

For what could be more frightful than a pandemic? Two pandemics! Two pandemics are more frightful than one.

The week before the anniversary of the WHO declaring the COVID-19 pandemic, a Laurentian medical bureaucrat ominously heralded a brand new source of fear. “Today we are in a … transition to a new pandemic,” Eileen de Villa said on March 8. She is Mayor John Tory’s controversial medical officer of health in Toronto and an adjunct at the University of Toronto. She was commenting on statistical modelling crafted at York University. The model would have us believe that Toronto alone could see “15,865 deaths by May” of this year if SARS-CoV-2, propelled by new variants, reached an infection rate of 20 percent. For perspective, that would amount to over 75 percent of all COVID-19-related deaths so far recorded in Canada.

To be clear, whatever the fantastic predictions of a model, the health officer of a single city, even if it is Toronto’s, has zero authority to declare a new pandemic. A pandemic is a global event, not an outbreak inside a city, a province, or even a country. De Villa’s proclamation constitutes a deliberate exaggeration and an unseemly self-anointing with immense authority. How does one take de Villa seriously when making planet-size pronouncements?

It took only three days for a University of Toronto colleague to outdo De Villa’s ridiculous fear-mongering declaration. Peter Juni, director of the Ontario science advisory table, raced out of the transition de Villa announced by declaring that the second pandemic had in fact arrived. Jurisdictionally, Juni has even less medical authority than de Villa but that did not temper him in saying more outrageous and terrifying things. According to Juni, the arrival of a “new pandemic,” identified with B.1.1.7, the so-called British strand, should be distinguished from “the traditional pandemic” that originated in Wuhan, China. The absurd, puzzling and disorienting is also scary: Juni’s science table reported  “exponential growth” (as if viruses advance in any other way) driving a “third wave” of COVID-19 that he described in less than scientific terms as “a pandemic within a pandemic” (Ironically, the expression appeared in September 2020 in the NEJM to describe the domestic abuse spiked by the lockdowns that Juni recommends with feigned reservation).

Peddling the fear of a second pandemic obscures the reality that B.1.1.7 advanced inside the second lockdown that has not even fully ended. Juni does not wonder if lockdowns have failed. Instead, he calls for even “firmer” lockdowns, by which he means more draconian, and to which he refers as “the right thing.” Doug Ford says he “always respects” and will do what the medical experts say. But Juni is no brute; he offers comfort: “If this works out well with the vaccines,” he says, “… it will be the last time that we do that. There won’t be any more lockdowns.”

Who can maintain faith in lockdown promises and medical bureaucrats when we consider the abominable failure in protecting the most vulnerable during two separate viral waves, two rounds of harmful lockdowns and curfews that keep expanding and extending, the draconian arrests and fines, the incalculable hurt of unintended health, social and economic consequences, the ongoing botched vaccination efforts? Let’s now add, a year into it, the prideful flights of fancy of local bureaucrats declaring newer and scarier pandemics.

Marco Navarro-Génie is senior fellow with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy and President of the Haultain Research Institute. He is co-author, with Barry Cooper, of COVID-19: The politics of a pandemic moral panic (2020).

Marco Navarro-Génie is a Columnist for the Western Standard. He is President of the Haultain Research Institute and a Senior Fellow with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

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1 Comment

  1. Proudly_Free

    March 17, 2021 at 10:00 pm

    Radical leftist/socialist/marxist politicians and bureaucrats need the rest of to be weak and dependent in order to advance their agenda. They need us to be unemployed, addicted, depressed, suicidal and suffering so that we will all latch onto their totalitarian control in exchange for safety. Hence, the lockdowns have been an immense success at achieving their aims. This WILL NOT STOP until WE THE PEOPLE make it stop, until we rise up en masse and demand an end to this madness and put these Bastards out of office.

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Chu wants meeting with Gondek ‘to tell the truth’

Mayor-elect Jyoti Gondek told a city hall press conference she will not swear Chu in, when council meets for the first time on Monday.




Embattled Calgary Ward 4 Coun. Sean Chu wants to sit down with incoming mayor Jyoti Gondek to plead his case about a sexual incident 24 years ago.

Gondek said Thursday she will refuse to swear in Chu during the first council meeting on Monday.

“I want her to hear the whole truth. I will provide that to her,” Chu told reporters at a press conference.

Chu also offered to sit down with other incoming council members — most of whom are calling for him resign — to explain his side of the story.

“I always work with anybody but they have only heard media reports … some of which has been untruthful,” said Chu.

“I will sit down in private with them and answer any question they have.”

He added he thought it would be a judge who does the swearing-in.

“I was duly elected by the people of Ward 4. I told the truth,” he said, adding was surprised at the amount of support he has received from Ward 4 voters in e-mails and letters.

Chu said this would be his last election as he was a proponent of term limits for councillors at three terms.

“The Sean Chu situation continues to get more disturbing,” Gondek said prior to the press conference.

“This is a travesty for the young woman that was courageous enough to come forward … she needs to have this taken seriously, and he needs to resign in order for that to happen.

“[Chu] can absolutely show up. He won’t be sworn in by me.”

In his only interview so far, Chu had told the Western Standard on Tuesday he had no intention of resigning, but did apologize to a woman he had a sexual encounter with 24 years ago.

Since then, pressure has mounted with Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, Gondek, most of the incoming council, and even local Conservative MPs all saying Chu should resign.

At the press conference, Chu apologized to the woman who was involved in the original incident and his family.

“My daughter is crying a lot. My children are going through a lot,” Chu said, asking for his family’s privacy.

“I’ve had CTV camping out at my house.”

Chu confirmed other details he told the Western Standard during the exclusive interview on Tuesday.

City of Calgary officials confirmed Chu won the election race in Ward 4 by a mere 52 votes after allegations surfaced last week of his involvement in August of 1997 with a girl who was just 16 at the time.

“This was nothing but a political assassination,” said Chu.

Chu, who has represented Ward 4 since 2013, also fired back at some media reports which he claims were completely wrong.

Chu, then a serving Calgary Police Services officer, said he met the unidentified girl at a pub near Macleod Tr. and 94 Ave.

At some point in their interaction, Chu caressed the girl’s leg, an incident that later earned him a letter of reprimand on his file.

Chu said the girl seemed interested in him so when he was off duty he changed into civilian clothes and went back to the pub to meet the girl.

The evening continued with Chu and the girl eventually heading to his home.

Chu “categorically” denied media reports that a gun was produced during the evening at his home. He said he checked his service weapon in at the police’s traffic office when he signed off duty.

He said at the home, the two had consensual foreplay before she asked to go home.

Chu also addressed a 2008 fight with his wife that ended with police responding and seizing a firearm.

The incident happened in February 2008, when Chu was running in a provincial election for the Progressive Conservatives in Calgary-Buffalo.

He said his wife ran to a neighbour’s after a verbal argument. Chu said his now ex-wife never intended to call police, but the neighbour did.

After consultation with the Edmonton Crown, no charges were laid.

“This was at the lowest point of my life,” Chu said, adding he sought mental health help after it.

“I have never threatened or harmed my wife or children.”

Chu served as a Calgary police officer from 1992 until he was elected in 2013.

During the investigation, Chu underwent a lengthy lie detector test asking him questions about consent and if a weapon was used. Chu said he passed all the tests.

Premier Jason Kenney described the allegations as “appalling,” but said he didn’t think there was any way for the province to remove a councillor who hasn’t been convicted under the Criminal Code.

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard

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WATCH: Vancouver restaurant served closure order for non-compliance with ‘Public Health Act’

“The operator is intentionally allowing the congregation of unvaccinated individuals at the establishment,” wrote the closure order.




Another BC restaurant has been ordered to close its doors in the name of public health.

“I’m a mother of four,” restaurant owner Rebecca Matthews pleaded with health officials and police.

Corduroy Restaurant — nestled in Vancouver’s Kitsilano neighbourhood — has been offering service to customers without checking their vaccination status against COVID-19.

Under the BC Vaccine Card, people are required to show proof-of-vaccination against COVID-19 in order to access a variety of settings, such as dining.

In response to Corduroy having potentially committed the crime of serving unvaccinated customers, Vancouver Coastal Health Authority (VCH) sent environmental health officer Ryan Hammel — accompanied by Vancouver police — bearing a closure order for non-compliance on Wednesday.

“The operator is intentionally allowing the congregation of unvaccinated individuals at the establishment,” wrote the order, whilst listing off several more “health hazards,” such as “failing to comply with the Face Coverings Order.”

The closure order — signed by VCH medical officer, Dr. Michael Schwandt — says the establishment must remain closed until authorized by a medical officer.

Matthews told the Western Standard health officials showed up at her restaurant on Tuesday morning to “investigate some complaints.”

On Wednesday, Hammel served the closure order.

WATCH: https://www.instagram.com/p/CVQ1f8nhN2m/

“They wouldn’t even discuss anything with me,” said Matthews.

“We reduced our hours, we started doing counter service … these are all things that are — according to the provincial health orders — considered safe.”

Matthews said she’s looking into the closure order to determine how best to proceed.

“I have a family, but at the same time we still want to create a space for people that don’t have anywhere else to go … so we’re just trying to navigate the next steps in the best way for everybody, including my family. Our plan is not to just go away,” she said.

Wednesday is not the first time Corduroy has taken a hit for defying provincial health orders, as its license was suspended six months ago for offering in-person dining, when no such thing was permitted.

During a September 20 staff forum, the Chief Medical Health Officer of VCH, Dr. Patricia Daly, said vaccine passports in settings such as Corduroy’s are not intended to prevent transmission.

“The vaccine passport requires certain people to be vaccinated to do certain discretionary activities such as go to restaurants, movies, gyms … not because these places are high risk,” said Daly.

“We’re not actually seeing COVID transmission in these settings, it’s really to create an incentive to improve our vaccination coverage.”

A Go Fund Me has been set up for Matthew’s by a verified third party to cover legal fees so Corduroy can “continue to stand up for the rights of their patrons, their medical privacy and choice.”

Reid Small is a BC correspondent for the Western Standard

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Gondek appoints controversial Carter as chief of staff

He received $130,000 in severance for his six months as chief of staff for Alison Redford.




Incoming Calgary mayor Jyoti Gondek has appointed Stephen Carter, formerly Premier Alison Redford’s chief of staff and Naheed Nenshi campaign manager, as her own chief of staff.

Carter masterminded Gondek’s campaign and saw her come from well back in early election polls to an eventual easy victory over rival Jeromy Farkas.

Carter in February also threatened to sue the Western Standard when it published a story about a former Calgary city councillor filing an official complaint with Alberta’s Chief Electoral Officer alleging Gondek used third-party funds to pay for a city-wide brochure mail-drop.

Almost immediately after publishing, Carter threatened Western Standard News Editor Dave Naylor with a lawsuit. He tweeted:

“That was quick: Ok. You will be getting a letter from our lawyer shortly. Straight to Jono? Does he defend you as well?”

We told Carter that any further correspondence should be directed to our lawyers. 

He then took to Twitter to brag about his impending lawsuit to shut the Western Standard up. 

Carter never followed through on his threats.

Carter was once famously referred to as “Chief of Stiff” by the Calgary Sun after he become embroiled in a scandal where he didn’t pay his bills.

The Sun reported a company owned by Carter, Carter McRae Events, “owes more than $600,000, most of it to the University of Calgary, and hasn’t coughed up a cent in court-ordered judgments.”

He resigned from Redford’s staff and received $130,000 in severance for his six months work.

Stephen Carter (photo credit: Calgary Sun)

“If that’s the full amount, that’s still pretty eye-popping,” said Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith at the time.

“A six-figure severance for six months worth of work? An employee who voluntarily leaves should not get severance at all. This certainly doesn’t happen in the private sector.”

Carter, who had been Redford’s strategist in the 2011 Tory leadership race, became her chief of staff when she took office in October of that year.

He was also the mastermind behind Nenshi’s unexpected election victory 11 years ago.

Gondek also announced Amie Blanchette as deputy chief of staff, Catherine Seymour as operations manager and Allison Bates as communications advisor.

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