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NAVARRO-GENIE: Kenney insults Albertans that oppose his latest lockdown

One might forgive the premier for reacting to the personal nature of the chants, which also called on him to be “locked up,” but let’s recall his policies locked Albertans down for months, and his government just recently “locked up” a Christian minister.

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On Monday, April 12, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney posted on social media his reaction to the protests that visited the steps of the legislature and surrounded the proscribed ground of GraceLife Church. Estimates put the crowd at the legislature at around 2,000 Albertans, many of whom travelled from across the province. 

Those who know the premier would recognise his style and tone in the post. The post starts by making reference to a racial slur and the damage caused to a vehicle on the First Nations reserve adjacent to GraceLife Church. At the legislature, the protestors frustratedly chanted “lock her up,” referring to Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer Deena Hinshaw, who has been the most visible face of the Kenney governments efforts to lock them down. The premier also complained, “They also chanted “just say no” to vaccines.”  By implication, his post scorns the protesting Alberta citizens as racists, vandals, threatening thugs, and anti-vaxers. 

If that was not enough of an effort to delegitimise those with opposing views at “these protests,” the premier expressed a most regrettable ad-hominem attack: It is “increasingly clear,” his statement read, “that many involved…are unhinged conspiracy theorists.”

There is need to re-emphasise that these are Alberta citizens expressing their frustrations with the latest round of COVID-19 restrictions Premier Kenney has put into place. One must also point out that it is base hyperbole to charge protestors with the hue of felony threats to a public official. Similarly, our culture makes fun of people who oppose vaccines, some of whom may be a little kooky. But it’s not (yet) unlawful to oppose vaccines and vaccination. What is more, many of those opposing vaccination do so as a matter of conscience. A wise statesman does not diminish the personal, moral choices of the people he serves.

The wise also know insult is not a way to attract or retain votes. In September of 2016, then US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton denigrated opposing voters for supposedly being “a basket of deplorables.” She later admitted this moment was one of the factors that cost her the election to Donald Trump. 

One might forgive the premier for reacting to the personal nature of the chants, which also called on him to be “locked up,” but let’s recall his policies locked Albertans down for months, and his government just recently “locked up” a Christian minister. 

The protests may sting the more because most the protestors were once supporters, political allies and even personal friends. But statesmen do not personalise the process; theirs is the duty to safeguard the dignity of their office, for all of us, and in the name of the monarch.  

If personal dimension excused heated reactions, we ought to consider the consequences of government actions that have led protesters to Kenney’s doorstep. However, the slogan would have us believe that the government is protecting “lives and livelihoods,” those whose livelihoods are being ruined know better and feel insulted by the slogan.  

When government claims to be saving lives but ruins in the process the lives of many others (pushing them not too indirectly to bankruptcy, unemployment, family abuse and violence, deterioration of mental health, drug abuse and death by overdose, among others), those whose lives are being ruined are legitimately entitled to being frustrated by the offending policy. The premier has modestly recognized that his policies are hurting people (as has Dr. Hinshaw), but the damaging policies persist and increase. Was the premier expecting no reaction to the raiding and barricading of a church?

One would think that citizens whose lives are being hurt by their own government policies would receive sympathy and compassion. But instead, those suffering outside the medical tutelage of Alberta Health are disparaged as “unhinged conspiracy theorists.” That’s why such smear is unacceptable. 

Kenney referred to the vilified protestors’ words as being “beyond the pale,” an expression that has come to mean something is outside acceptable norms. The expression goes back to the imperious Tsarina Catherine the Great of Russia at the end of the 18thcentury. At the time, by official proclamation, the Jewish religious community was confined to a territory, “the pale,” which means the fence or palisade, and Jews could only step beyond the pale with the tyranny’s indulgence. 

Given present restrictions – including the persecution of GraceLife and the erection of steel fencing to prevent their worship – Kenney’s use of the expression is painfully ironic. Kenney’s uncritical embrace of his medical bureaucrats’ restrictive advice is hurting citizens and forcing otherwise law-abiding Albertans beyond the fences he has erected. 

Marco Navarro-Génie is a Columnist for the Western Standard. He is also a senior fellow with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy and the 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. Left Coast

    April 15, 2021 at 8:55 am

    This has to be the guy Einstein was thinking of when he said “Doing the same thing over & over . . . expecting a different result is the Definition of Insanity” !

    Kenny may think he is Rachel Nutley . . .

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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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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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