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ANDERSON: Albertans must stand against Kenney’s third lockdown

“Those rights are not just “nice to have” – they are fundamental freedoms that we have been stripped of.” – Rob Anderson

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has (again) decided to scrap his government’s previously established goalposts for reopening the economy and restoring Albertan’s regular civil liberties, and has instead plunged us into a third lockdown. Of course, he, the bureaucracy, and most of the government-funded media cheering it on, will not miss a single paycheque over the matter.

With great piety, Mr. Kenney declared that he had to do this to save lives, and that those who disagreed with his decision were being reckless with life. Justin Trudeau could have written the announcement. 

These lockdowns have unleashed a mental health epidemic of historic proportions, are costing hundreds of lives, and the livelihoods of the tens of thousands of families that rely on the private sector to earn their bread. 

Right now, between one and four Albertans – overwhelmingly in their final months of expected life – are dying from COVID-19 each day. We are losing more than that from suicide, domestic violence and drug overdoses. Largely ignored by the government are missed medical treatments, increased obesity, and skyrocketing alcoholism. 

In the last year, we’ve sadly lost 2,000 Albertans to COVID-19. Most of those who died were an average age of 81 years (Alberta’s average life expectancy is 81.5) and those with serious comorbidities. Roughly 26,000 Albertans died of other causes during this same period. In fact, up to July 1, 2020, there was no statistically significant increase in overall deaths from all causes in Alberta over the previous year (although I expect there will be a small increase in the overall death rate thereafter once those numbers are made available). 

Those 26,000 Albertans lost to other causes are not eulogized each day by Dr. Hinshaw. They are dying from things like lung disease, car accidents, suicide, drug overdoses, heart disease and cancer. And yet, we don’t ban alcohol, we don’t ban smoking, we don’t ban driving, and McDonalds and Timmys still appear to be free to sell Big Macs and doughnuts. 

Until this year, we placed enough value on freedom and personal responsibility to (mostly) respect a person’s right to live their life in the way that they felt is best for them. If they wish to smoke, they can smoke (with taxes). If they want to drive, they can drive (with taxes). If they want a beer, they can have a beer (with taxes). 

Allowing individuals to judge their own risk tolerance for themselves doesn’t seem to apply to COVID-19. Instead of encouraging and financially assisting those who are genuinely at-risk to isolate if they so choose, our leaders have abandoned civil liberties for all, in the name of protecting us all. The result of this government’s overreaching paternalism is that those who are genuinely vulnerable – like seniors – are left without the protections they need. The government spread resources too broadly over too many groups not at risk, and our seniors paid the price before corrective action was taken.

I’ve had COVID-19. My kids have had it. Several of my extended family members have had it. Some of my friends have had it. Not one of us has come close to dying from it. That doesn’t mean it’s not serious. It is. It doesn’t mean it can’t be lethal. It can be. 

But it wasn’t serious for us, because we were not in an at-risk group. But even if we were – it’s our business whether or not we want to take a risk and go to a restaurant with others who are also comfortable taking that risk. It’s up to us to decide if we wish to take the risk of going out to buy our groceries. Or to put our kids in minor hockey. Or do anything that free men and women should be allowed to do.

At least some UCP MLAs get this. And at least 17 of them have come out in full opposition to Kenney’s third lockdown. They should be commended for speaking up on behalf of those that elected them and not kowtowing to the struggling leader of their party.

For those of you not at risk – but still afraid of COVID – I don’t blame you for it. You have been bombarded with a government-funded media fear campaign for over a year now. You have trusted your leaders and their bureaucrats. You have trusted so-called experts, or at least the ones the government’s media deem worthy to listen to. But it is time to look at the facts. 

You’ve been deceived and misled for far too long. There is no shame in acknowledging the seriousness of the virus and taking logical precautions.  

But we have lost something fundamental to a free society; the right to live our lives in peace, free from undue government interference. To take our kids to their sports. To visit with and have friends and family in our home. To open, operate or work for businesses deemed “non-essential” by government. To go to the gym and stay healthy. To assemble for weddings, funerals and worship in a manner we so choose. 

Those rights are not just “nice to have” – they are fundamental freedoms that we have been stripped of. 

Believing and upholding those rights is not selfish, as Jason Kenney, Justin Trudeau and Dr. Hinshaw would have you believe. Supporting businesses that refuse to be locked-down and raising your voices in peaceful but assertive dissent are the acts of freedom loving patriots who understand that a life of freedom is the only kind of life worth living – and the only one worth fighting for. 

Rob Anderson is a Columnist for the Western Standard

Rob Anderson is a Columnist for the Western Standard. He also works as a lawyer in Airdrie, Alberta and served as its MLA for both the PC and Wildrose parties.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Proudly_Free

    April 14, 2021 at 7:49 pm

    LEST WE FORGET. TENS of THOUSANDS of brave manly warriors have fought and died to preserve those precious freedoms that for so many generations were a beacon of hope and freedom for so many both at home and around the world. Those same freedoms that we have put through the shredder and then thrown on the fire pit to be burned along with the HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS, no, make that MILLIONS who are suffering from countless evils that people suffer from in countries that Canada fought against to protect LIBERTY. All for protection from a virus that we have effective therapeutics for (if they weren’t constantly demonized) and that has a 99.77% survival rate. We’re hypocrites if we don’t either cancel Remembrance Day or choose to get back on the path to freedom and the RULE OF LAW again instead of the Rule of Fear.

  2. lyn schwarz

    April 14, 2021 at 4:17 pm

    Why is my user name not used for comments.

  3. Lee Morrison

    April 14, 2021 at 12:38 pm

    I’m 89 years old and have two co-morbidities. I wasn’t confined to a long term old folks hell hole and continue to live independently in my own home. Thanks to provincial controls I successfully avoided COVID until I was able to be vaccinated. Without those controls, I’d probably be just as dead as the hundreds of prisoners who died in assisted living. Anderson questions the idea that the lives of people like me is of any importance in the big scheme of things. Thanks a lot Rob.

  4. Diane Latrace

    April 13, 2021 at 4:58 pm

    That is exactly right. Our charter rights and freedoms don’t take a holiday when the going gets tough, it was written to protect us from government over reach during times of crisis like the one we are experiencing right now. Kenney’s speeches tell us he has no regard for our freedoms, no regard for our intelligence and no regard for our pursuit of happiness. He really should quit calling himself a conservative.

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Opinion

OPEN LETTER: Health care workers against mandatory vaccinations

The letter was signed by 3,544 health care workers including 73 physicians, 1,111 nurses, 227 paramedics and thousands of allied health professionals, pharmacists, dentists, lab workers, psychologists and counselling professionals, medical students, AHS administrative and support staff and other health care professionals.

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An open letter penned by Alberta Health Services (AHS) workers was sent to AHS on Monday by Calgary constitutional lawyer Carol Crosson.

The letter was signed by 3,544 health care workers including 73 physicians, 1,111 nurses, 227 paramedics and thousands of allied health professionals, pharmacists, dentists, lab workers, psychologists and counselling professionals, medical students, AHS administrative and support staff and other health care professionals.

Dear Dr. Verna Yiu:

This open letter is in response to your announcement of mandatory full vaccination for all AHS staff by Oct 31, 2021. We represent a wide range of vaccinated and unvaccinated health care professionals from multiple disciplines, who are deeply concerned about these mandatory vaccinations.

There are many reasons why we stand against mandatory vaccination and highlight some of them below. These concerns are supported by peer-reviewed publications and statements by established organizations:

• These mRNA vaccines have not been proven to prevent disease uptake nor disease transmission supported by the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report August 6, 2021 / 70(31);1059-1062 (among other reports) where it is stated “Real-time RT-PCR Ct values in specimens from 127 fully vaccinated patients (median = 22.77) were similar to those among 84 patients who were unvaccinated, not fully vaccinated, or whose vaccination status was unknown (median = 21.54)”. Asymptomatic unvaccinated people have never been proven to be more infectious or transmit more disease than vaccinated individuals.

• The overall survival rate from COVID is approximately 99.7% and varies by age and underlying health status.

• The vaccine is showing weakened efficacy after only a few months. AHS’s own data shows currently approximately 25% of all new cases are in fully vaccinated patients and over 18% of hospitalizations are also fully vaccinated with percentages increasing as weeks go by.

• The United Kingdom and Israel – two highly vaccinated countries have extremely high percentages of hospitalized patients being fully vaccinated. Indeed, the Israeli Public Health Department recently estimated the efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine had fallen to 39% against the Delta variant and another recent study from the Mayo clinic had similar numbers at 42%

• Historically, scientific consensus has been that natural immunity is superior to vaccine immunity. Many health care workers are already Covid recovered and immune. What evidence does AHS have for mandatory vaccines in those individuals?

As front-line health care workers, we have witnessed serious adverse events, including deaths, that were temporally, closely associated from the administration of these vaccines.

• As per VAERS data (US vaccine injury database), Aug. 27, 2021, at least 650,077 people in the US have been injured and 13,911 people have died soon after the administration of the Covid vaccine. These numbers could actually be 10-100x higher as a Harvard study showed only 1-10% of all adverse events are actually recorded. The Harvard study’s findings are corroborated by our experience that the vast majority of temporally related adverse events are not being correlated and reported by healthcare workers. If we don’t correlate these temporally related events and report them, the data will never be there to accurately assess causality and truly ensure safety, which is the bedrock to obtaining proper informed consent.

We believe that the proposed vaccine mandate is contrary to section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms “freedom of conscience and religion” as well as section 7, “the right to life, liberty and the security of the person and the right to not be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.”

Based on our experience, the above arguments (plus others not listed in this letter) and our evaluation of the current literature, we decisively conclude that we are in strong opposition to mandatory vaccination. As of Nov 1, 2021, or earlier, AHS’s decision to implement such a mandate will prevent many dedicated health care workers and other AHS staff from performing the jobs they have done valiantly over the past eighteen months. This will put our currently severely strained health care system under further undue and needless pressure and put more Albertans at risk due to our inability to provide care for our patients. We respectfully request that the vaccine mandate be rescinded immediately so that AHS Health care workers can continue to provide care for Albertans.

cc. Dr. Laura McDougall, Senior Medical Officer of Health, AHS
Dr. Francis Belanger, Vice-President of Quality and CMO, AHS
Dr. Debrah Wirtzfield, Associate CMO, Physician Health, Diversity & Wellness, AHS
Patrick Dumelie, Covenant Health
Dr. Owen Heisler, Covenant Health

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Krahnicle’s Cartoon: Why Conservatives Lost

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AHS investigating Western Standard for restrictions, vaxport non-compliance

The AHS employee responded, “Some of these [regulations] are good, and some of these are, you know…”

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Update from the Publisher

This isn’t a regular news story since its about ourselves; so rather than drink our own bathwater and send this to one of our reporters, I’ve decided to publish this as an update from the publisher.

At 10:25 a.m. MST, the Western Standard received a telephone call from Alberta Health Services (AHS) on our office line. The AHS official — whom I will not name — dialed through to speak with yours truly.

He informed me that AHS had received a complaint that the Western Standard was not complying with government-ordered restrictions and vaccine passports. I responded plainly: “That is correct.”

He was silent for a moment, not quite knowing how to respond to my admission of guilt. He inquired further, asking the same question another way.

Please forgive me the indulgence of quoting myself.

“I take the health of my employees and those around us seriously. I and my employees take COVID seriously. I would be happy to review any recommendations that you may have for us, but I do not recognize the right of the government to tell me how I must run my own office space. Any government official wishing to enter the property must produce a warrant, otherwise they will not be permitted entry.

“Western Standard employees are free men and free women, and as such, I trust them to make responsible decisions about their own risk tolerances. Any Western Standard employee that feels that they would be unsafe in the office has only to inform me and we will make reasonable accommodations.”

The AHS employee was a perfect gentleman and handled himself well. He was just a little taken aback at my answer.

We also discussed the Alberta vaccine passport orders, and the Calgary mayor and city council’s decision to ban non-vaxport compliant “non-essential businesses.”

My response again was simple.

“Media is an essential service and I do not recognize the right of the government to decided if we are essential or not.”

The AHS employee responded: “Some of these [regulations] are good, and some of these are, you know…”

Fair enough.

So AHS is investigating to see if we are deserving of a visit from them and the police or not. We’ll see what comes of it.

One way or another, our policy will not change:

  • Employees are free to make their own choices about their personal enforcement of restrictions;
  • Employees may work from home if they feel that they are at unreasonable risk;
  • Employees must work from home if they are sick or anyone they are in close contact with contracts COVID-19;
  • And, employees are encouraged, but free to make their own informed choices about vaccines.

I suspect that the complaint came from a crank on Twitter that’s upset with my not-so-secret policies as it concerns compliance with government orders.

We take COVID-19 seriously. This isn’t some made-up conspiracy of a mysterious cabal in a dark and smokey room. I personally trust my doctor’s advise on COVID-19 vaccination, and got my jab as soon as I possibly could. I have always encouraged an open dialogue about vaccines with those in my social and professional circles, encouraging it, but never, ever demanding or requiring it.

Alberta’s ICUs are facing incredible pressure right now and necessary “elective surgeries” are being postponed. This is driven by the fact that Alberta’s government has not built up the necessary ICU capacity — despite having one of the most expensive health care systems on the planet — and 19 months since COVID-19 landed to do it. Lockdowns and vaxports will not solve this problem.

COVID-19 will continue to mutate and evade efforts to eradicate it. Alas, it may be with us for a long, long time. Even locked-down island nations like Australia cannot eradicate it, despite turning that once-free country into a veritable police state.

Despite my hopes the vaccines would eliminate it, COVID-19 isn’t going away anytime soon. There appears to be no way around the fact that COVID-19 is going to tear its way through the population until it burns itself out. The cost is, and will be, terrible. But there appears to be no way to stop it, even with a never-ending cycle of lockdowns, and the positive effects of vaccines.

All we can do is build our health care capacity to deal with predictable surges, as the fourth wave was, protect those who are genuinely vulnerable, and make the best of a bad situation.

And as we struggle through this, we cannot lose what is most important in life. We cannot surrender our long-fought freedoms for short-term security. We cannot take away the best years of our children’s lives. We cannot forbid loved ones from mourning their dead at funerals. We cannot outlaw family and friends from gathering for weddings. We cannot forcibly segregate people from these events because of their private medical decisions, even if we disagree with them.

Which brings me back to AHS’s investigation of the Western Standard. I care more about our employees than any government official will. We will be responsible and take necessary precautions, but as we see fit as free men and free women capable of making our own decisions.

Any government official who thinks otherwise had better get a warrant.

Derek Fildebrandt is Publisher of the Western Standard

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