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WAGNER: The Maverick’s platform makes them the new party of the West

“The Maverick Party can do for the West what the Bloc does for Quebec: provide an unrepentant defender of its interests, and make the other parties fight for otherwise safe seats.”

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The Reform Party of Canada arose over three decades ago when it became clear that none of the major national political parties were capable or inclined to represent the interests of Western Canada. Since Ontario and Quebec elect well over half of all members of parliament, parties that aspire to form a federal government must cater to the voters of those two provinces. That was true back then, and it’s still true today. There is no escape from this electoral calculation as long as the West remains within Canada.

The Reform Party is long gone, but the political forces that led to its emergence have returned with a vengeance. Justin Trudeau’s Liberals openly scuttle projects that would enhance the development of the West’s energy resources, while Erin O’Toole’s Conservatives seem to be cribbing Liberal policies and trying to paint them blue.

The result is that a political vacuum has opened in the West at the federal level, and the Maverick Party (formerly Wexit Canada) has arisen to fill the void. Its interim leader, former Conservative MP and federal cabinet minister Jay Hill, is articulate and experienced, and has brought a degree of credibility to the Western sovereigntist movement that was previously missing. 

The party’s draft policy platform released on April 26 is short, but that is to be expected from a new party just getting off the ground. As these policies make clear, the Maverick Party is essentially a Conservative Party of the West. But unlike the Reform Party which said “the West wants in”, the Maverick Party says, to at least some extent, that “The West wants out”. 

The platform does not really contain any surprises. The Mavericks want to repeal Trudeau’s efforts to block Western economic development such as the ‘No More Pipelines bill’ (C-69) and the ‘Tanker Ban’ (C-48). They want to make major revisions to the equalization formula, institute fiscal responsibility, reduce trade barriers within Canada, increase the exploration and mining of minerals, strengthen provincial autonomy, and introduce direct democracy. They also want to reform firearms legislation, give greater control of immigration to the provinces, and defund the CBC. These are all good ideas.

Perhaps surprisingly, the largest policy category in the platform covers environmental policy. This no doubt reflects the current preoccupation with climate change. It is the Liberals’ obsession with global warming that has led to their worst policies towards the West.

While opposing any form of carbon tax, the Maverick Party takes a more realistic approach to dealing with environmental concerns than the Liberals or Conservatives. It does not ignore climate change altogether, but instead advocates “for energy options such as nuclear, thermal, biomass, LNG [liquified natural gas] and carbon capture projects to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in western Canada.” 

These are realistic ideas because the technology for producing clean energy using nuclear and liquified natural gas already exists. Both wind energy and solar energy, on the other hand, have severe handicaps such as their unreliability. With existing technology, wind and solar will never be able to replace fossil fuels. There’s no use pretending otherwise.

If fossil fuels are ever to be replaced by some form of clean energy, new technology will need to be developed for that purpose. The Maverick policy recognizes this fact and “supports tax incentives to private companies to continue their global leadership in the research and development of leading-edge technology development of clean energy.”

Despite all its supposed concern about climate change, Central Canada is dependent on oil for much of its energy needs and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. With this in mind, “The Maverick Party calls upon central and eastern Canadians to end the hypocrisy of being critical of the West’s ethical oil while importing dirty, unethical oil from other countries.” Central Canada has received considerable economic benefit from the West’s energy resources while viewing those same resources with disdain.

For some, however, it will be regretted that the Maverick platform seems to adopt Peter MacKay’s “stinking albatross” view of social conservatism. It states, “On issues including abortion, doctor-assisted suicide, and same-sex marriage, the Maverick Party and its MPs commit to not bringing forward party or private member’s legislation on these public policies that reflect Canadians most deeply held personal values.”

Like the Conservative Party, the Maverick Party wants the votes, donations, and campaign volunteer work of social conservatives, but also their silence. After the work is done, their place is at the back of the bus, with their mouths taped shut. 

On the one hand, it is understandable that the Mavericks don’t want to be sidetracked by the kind of controversy generated by mainstream media when a candidate expresses conservative social views. But on the other hand, the proportion of social conservatives in the Western sovereignty movement is much higher than their proportion in the general population. The prohibition of social conservative private member’s bills will appeal much more strongly in places like Edmonton, where support for sovereignty is weak, than in places like Cardston, where support for sovereignty is stronger.

Nevertheless, the Maverick Party’s platform expresses policies that would be clearly beneficial for Western Canada. No other federal party puts the interests of Western Canada in the forefront of their priorities. The great experiment of fusing the Reform Party and PC Party has failed. The Maverick Party can do for the West what the Bloc does for Quebec: provide an unrepentant defender of its interests, and make the other parties fight for otherwise safe seats. 

Westerners should begin to give the Maverick Party a serious look.

Michael Wagner is a Senior Columnist for the Western Standard

Michael Wagner is a Senior Alberta Columnist for the Western Standard. He has a PhD in political science from the University of Alberta. His books include 'Alberta: Separatism Then and Now' and 'True Right: Genuine Conservative Leaders of Western Canada.' mwagner@westernstandardonline.com

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. KC

    May 1, 2021 at 11:18 pm

    What people don’t understand about nuclear is it is in fact the cleanest high density energy fuel source and also the safest. I know people happily point to Fukeshema which was caused by a tsunami and is not possible in Alberta, but also Chernobyl which was due entirely to human error. There was one other accident in Greenfield US??? Anyway, these are the only 3 nuclear accidents out of the several thousand nuclear power plants around the world successfully providing safe reliable and affordable energy with zero emissions. New generation nuclear reactors are even safer, often reusing spent fuel from older reactors. Another positive to nuclear is reactor plants can be placed within the current grid system unlike wind and solar that need a lot of new infrastructure and transmission lines to bring the energy into the current grid. The downside to nuclear is it does use a lot of water to keep reactors cool. This has been getting better with newer technology. And no there is no dumping of radioactive water. The water is used as a coolant and is separated from the radioactivity. Japan is a very unique circumstance where the reaction cores were breached and radioactivity does leach into the water.

  2. Baron Not Baron

    April 30, 2021 at 11:45 am

    Nuclear? What is this nonsense? Japan, next month, is dumping their radioactive in the ocean.. Is this a model we want to follow? Are we going to dump ours into our rivers? Maverick, apparently is only bringing “new ideas”. Are these any good?

  3. Left Coast

    April 30, 2021 at 10:48 am

    “carbon capture projects to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in western Canada.”

    Carbon Capture is quite Insane . . . spending 100s of millions pumping life giving CO2 into some hole in the ground to appease some Klimate Guru in support of the Unproven AGW hypothesis is Not Science or of any value, except to those making the dollars.

    Canada’s share of Global Emissions is 1.5% . . . a miniscule amount, and it can be argued that because of Canada’s vast Greenery this never leaves the country.
    Every 20 weeks, China increases their Emissions by more than Canada Annual Emissions, so anything we do, the Billions we waste are dangerously stupid.

    What should Canada be doing today? Absolutely nothing . . . we should wait until the China, India and other poluting countries catch up with us . . . then we can talk.

    The “Idea” our Politicians express that we can set an example is quit insane . . . we are setting an example right into Bankruptcy!

  4. Leonel St Amand

    April 30, 2021 at 10:48 am

    Vote for a western separartion party or an independent candidate, but never vote for federal Maverick, or any of the failed kleptocracy legacy parties, be they O’Toole’s conservative, liberal or NDP parties.
    A vote for Maverick is a sucker’s vote for O’Toole’s carbon tax and to beg liberal Ontario for a change to a constitution that is not worth the paper its written on.
    Maverick is a fraud federalist constitutionalist scam whose aim is to get O’Toole federal conservatives elected and to keep the west in slavery to the east.
    The Maverick/Reform 2.0 reboot Party coup threw WEXIT& separation out the window with the same heartless indifference as politicians who threw covid19 infected seniors into senior’s homes to kill other seniors and staff.
    Without separation, there is no way out from eastern tyranny for the west.
    Maverick dreams of being the chosen as the feudal lords who cash in on rattling the chains and cracking the whip on western serfs toiling to serve eastern feudal liberal overlords, be it Trudeau or Trudeau’s carbon tax tool, O’Toole.
    Alberta can certainly do a better job of managing itself as a nation than the Trudeau socialist kleptocracy nightmare of apocalyptic criminal mismanagement of Canada, and of Alberta issues in particular.
    The real effect on the west of what Maverick is doing is to further weaken the west & to empower eastern Canada’s federalist socialist status quo.
    Jay Hill to Rebel News: “ ..we’re going to try as hard as we can not to contest those ridings where vote splitting might occur”.
    Alberta could be a successful free country on its own like Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, etc, all of which are landlocked as well.
    Maverick wants the west to remain in Canada and therefore to continue being bled dry by eastern liberal tyranny:
    “To achieve greater fairness and self-determination for western Canadians through: (a) constitutional change…”
    Self reliant Alberta has to get on with securing it’s own future by finally separating from broken, dysfunctional, corrupt & failed liberal Canada, which has left Alberta broken & struggling to survive.
    There is no real future for the west in liberal debt ridden Canada that is in a death spiral heading down into a gory Venezuelan type of socialist abyss and taking the west down with it.
    Hopefully a western Canada &/or Alberta separation party will appear on the ballot in the next election to save us from Trudeau’s burning liberal house before liberals turn the country into ashes..
    The WEXIT separation movement is western Canada’s only choice going forward to secure a free and sustainable future as Canada has failed and is a lost cause.
    A future where people don’t have to live in fear of going to jail for years for simply using the wrong gender pronoun or of being sued for refusing to wax Trudeau-phile balls.
    A future that is finally free of eastern Canada robbing the west blind.
    WEXIT separation movement is a path to separation and freedom, while Maverick (good intentions aside) is a federal path to no where but remaining shackled to commie Canada, like medieval serfs.
    Maverick party’s website states that their first & main objective is pure federalism.
    Maverick wants a better constitutional deal for the west, to remain in Canada and therefore to continue being bled dry by eastern liberal tyranny:
    “To achieve greater fairness and self-determination for western Canadians through:
    (a) constitutional change…”
    The reformed constitution fantasy ship sailed long ago, it was tried & it failed, chasing this political rabbit trail left Alberta decades behind on achieving much needed change and even worse off than before, its getting worse all the time.
    The Maverick party has already been wisely rejected by westerners as per federalist Mavericks’ nominal support on Facebook which comprises of a token ~12k Maverick FB followers(~8k in March2021), compared to, the only logical political choice, WEXIT’s ~240k FB followers.
    The west needs to take control of it’s own destiny with something new, powerful, real & substantive, which is separation.
    Alberta must NOT allow itself to go down with Trudeau’s failing commie Canada, time to grieve it & leave it behind, cut the cord with Canada.
    Trudeau has brought Canada to the brink of destruction with totalitarian commie insanity like massive debt Canada can never repay, his welfare state (universal income), carbon tax, tax spikes, Trudeau’s no more pipelines laws,covid19 criminal incompetence, graft & corruption, etc.
    Kenny had the right approach when he said “if the B.C. New Democrats continue to block our energy, we’ll happily give them a carbon-free Vancouver”.
    Sadly, in Trudeau’s deeply oppressed Soviet Union, soviet satellite Alberta has no rights and so does not have the freedom to negotiate strongly & fairly as equals on issues.
    As a separate nation, Alberta has more strength & flexibility to resolve disputes as equals in negotiations and need not kowtow to Canada’s soviet economic policy carnage that is bleeding the west to death, as Russia also bled its enslaved soviet satellite states in the USSR.
    Voting for any federalist party is the definition of insanity, which is doing the same thing and expecting different results.
    Voting for federalist parties like conservatives, liberals, ndp, greens and the new Maverick party, is really a vote for the insanity of perpetuating eastern Canada’s liberal chokehold on the west.
    Under federalist parties, liberal Ontario will continue to decide who leads &how to run the country in horrific radical left-wing fashion, no matter the unsustainable destructive cost of doing so.
    Maverick is a sycophantic federalist dinosaur stuck in the federal conservative party’s rear view mirror.
    Maverick, although perhaps well meaning, is a failed past federalist Reform 2.0 reboot party.
    Been there, done that, it failed miserably, no thanks, time to separate from Canada as we’ve tried everything else.
    Maverick’s plan boils down to begging for a better constitutional deal for the west from Trudeau’s liberal eastern Canada.
    That is a fool’s errand that was pursued by Reform for years and failed.
    That plan has no chance of success as Canada does not even uphold the current constitution and its laws.
    In western Canada, federalism has devolved into the bondage of feudalism, replete with Ottawa’s crippling debt bondage and Alberta’s indentured servitude resulting in billion$ being stolen annually by the liberal east.
    The liberal east ruling class exploits the west ruthlessly, extorting $billions and taking our resources at predatory prices that are far below real market prices & often even below production costs.
    Trudeau’s liberal east is like heartless medieval feudal lords greedily profiting from the blood, sweat & tears of their subjects’ hard work in medieval times.
    The west is powerless to prevent the pillage inflicted by the rapacious, corrupt & incompetent evil eastern liberal lords like Trudeau.
    Flippant lesser Maverick references to possible separation are but a mere after thought.
    Federalist Maverick party is primarily committed to keeping Alberta locked in Canada and opposed to separation, Maverick propaganda platitudes to the contrary aside.
    Maverick cannot be both a federal constitutional party and a separation party at the same time because those 2 objectives are at complete odds with each other.
    BREXIT would never have succeeded if the movement had waffled endlessly back and forth between leaving and diddling for a better remain deal that would never have been honored by the E.U.
    Alberta needs strong & decisive leadership that has the courage of it’s convictions to see the separation goal through to the end.
    If Alberta’s leadership is weak, indecisive and wavering, then it does not have what it takes to get it done.
    The Maverick leader has made it clear that his Maverick party does not have the courage of their convictions required for separation.
    Maverick will not even bother to run a full slate of candidates because Maverick is obviously not in it to win it for the west.
    Not only is bizarre Maverick not in it to win it, Maverick does not plan to even BE in the election, for the most part, let alone win it.
    If Maverick was a truly a party out for better constitutional deals, then Maverick should run across the country against the overreaching soviet Ottawa politburo establishment, rallying all provinces & territories to fight Ottawa for fair & better constitutional deals.
    The real effect on the west of what Maverick is doing is to further weaken the west & to empower eastern Canada’s federalist socialist status quo.
    Jay Hill to Rebel News: “ ..we’re going to try as hard as we can not to contest those ridings where vote splitting might occur”.
    Maverick has devolved from the focused separatist WEXIT party I originally joined, into its current unrecognizable form.
    Maverick now appears to be a gaggle of avid pot bellied middle aged cross dressed bearded federalist cheer leaders on the sidelines, who only exist to enthusiastically cheer on federal conservatives.
    Occasionally, Maverick cheerleader candidates may run alongside conservative candidates to whisper sycophantic motivating sweet nothings into their conservative ears.
    Maverick is definitely NOT what I signed up for with WEXIT, which was merely to seek separation thru a referendum vote for a better future.
    Maverick’ deserves applause for it’s honesty& openness in coming out of their political closet to reveal their true political gender identity as federal constitutionalists whose primary raison d’etre is to serve as sycophants for the federal conservative party.
    The reality is that the west needs a federal constitutionalist party like we need a hole in the head, buggy whips & moustache wax, or Trudeau’s carbon tax, which O’Toole intends to keep along with many other liberal atrocities.
    Federal Conservatives just rebrand, repackage and water down liberal BS into smaller bites, with a few liberal things left off the menu, for the country to swallow more easily. Under federal conservatives, the toxic leftwing path to total destruction may have been slowed down, but it has always remained steadily on its apocalyptic socialist track.
    Liberals bluntly force feed their liberal crap whole, contemptuously pumped through a feeding tube directly into voters.
    Their methods aside, all federal parties are hell bent on keeping the west powerless, bled dry and subjected to eastern Canada’s ongoing unsustainable apocalyptic destruction of the west and Alberta in particular.
    Staying in Canada also means having to be persecuted by the never-ending lawlessness of rogue Canadian kangaroo courts ruling against Alberta interests in clear violation of the constitution and Alberta’s basic human rights.
    E.G. Trans Mountain pipeline was established in 1951, expansion proposed in 2013 and has yet to be completed thanks to banana republic court decisions that clearly violate Alberta’s constitutional rights.
    Canada’s constitution is not worth the paper its written on.
    It clearly does not protect Albertans from eastern Canada’s lawless courts, persecutions and provides no protection from the radical left’s agenda to destroy Alberta and Canada as well.
    Maverick’s “better” constitutional deal BS is a scam as the constitution means nothing, so more Maverick constitutional BS simply = more of nothing for the west, but more eastern liberal status quo.
    The left’s rigged Canadian courts have been entirely corrupted and used to destroy the oil & gas industry thru endless frivolous challenges resulting in massive crippling obstruction, delays and added costs.
    Staying in Canada for Alberta also means being litigated to death for the crime of merely trying to affirm one’s most basic& obvious constitutional rights to exist.
    The Maverick scam about begging eastern Canada for a better deal through a constitutional change is a federalist Maverick con job doomed to failure. Reform tried that for decades and it failed miserably, don’t fall for it again folks.
    Maverick is nothing but a smokescreen to keep eastern Canada’s establishment in power over the west so liberals can continue to run amok over the west, forever raping & pillaging our economy & rights.
    The west needs real, decisive, lasting, positive, powerful change and that is NOT what the status quo, not actually even running in elections, conservative sycophant federalist Maverick party brings to the table.
    Since Maverick is mostly not actually running in the election, it begs the question, whats happening with Maverick party funds?
    Are Maverick funds being used to campaign for conservative candidates?
    At any rate, rest assured that Maverick is not wasting their donors’ hard earned money on the bizarre Justin Trudeau’s liberal weirdo collection.
    That includes the official liberal party Trudeau Howling Wolf Underwear and Justin Trudeau Kimono, which naked Liberal MP William Amo needs to wear for his online video parliamentary sessions.
    Naked liberal Willy is more proof that liberals are entirely unworthy to lead, pathetic and small, however thats what voting for any federalist party gets you.
    Much more can be said of the likes of Trudeau & his naked liberal Willy, but thats best left to comedic genius like the old Air Farce and Rick Mercer.
    Canada is truly being run into the ground by eastern liberal socialist idiots.
    Alberta’s only real choice is to leave the doomed sinking Trudeau socialist ship that is Canada, by seeking independence thru a referendum vote on separation from Canada.
    The rest of the west can decide for themselves if they want to leave the failed socialist colonial experiment that is Canada, while Alberta must take the lead and choose to decide its own fate.
    Remain in Canada and go down in flames with Trudeau’s doomed totalitarian liberal Canada or leave Canada to make a better life for ourselves than we could ever have in failed liberal Canada.
    Either way, Alberta’s people must choose their own destiny and live with the consequences of their decision.
    Thats my rant for now and my wife is happy that my rant is on the internet so she does not have to see it or hear it.
    Can’t say I blame her, cuz politics are incredibly dull, bizarre, boring & negative.
    No one reads my opinions anyway and I like that, if any1 did read this, I’d tell them to get a life.
    https://globalnews.ca/…/vancouver-jason-kenney…/
    https://www.rebelnews.com/jay_hill_maverick_party_on_vote
    https://studentsforliberty.org/…/the-albertan-struggle…/
    https://www.narcity.com/…/these-are-all-of-the-things…
    https://ca.news.yahoo.com/liberal-mp-apologizes-appearing
    https://www.nationalobserver.com/…/otoole-climate-plan…

  5. Barbara

    April 30, 2021 at 10:22 am

    Anyone who thinks Nuclear is cleaner than oil and gas has a very short memory.
    You can’t just say it’s cleaner because they have new technology. PROVE IT! In writing and scientific evidence that isn’t compromised by corporations and governments.

    How will NUCLEAR waste be managed, how about NUCLEAR contaminated water? This waste hangs around for thousands of years. Anyone want to go to Chernobyl for a holiday?

    Or will we just pour contaminated , radioactive water in the ocean like Japan is planning to do?

    There are no quick fixes here. Oil and gas , if properly managed, are the cleanest and safest and most efficient source of energy for now.

    Material for solar uses minerals from strip mining in China, the batteries don’t last and are polluters.

    Windmills kill tens of thousands of birds, give minimal energy and don’t work well in the winter, (ask Texas)
    We have to stop doing things for a quick fix and for show or it will be one disaster after another.

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Opinion

SELICK: If the gov’t wants to kick the unvaccinated off healthcare, then give us back our taxes & let us pay for our own

If the unvaxxed are to be excluded from government services, refund their taxes.

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The Ontario Vaccine Contact Centre phoned me bright and early Monday morning to ask whether I’d like information on where I could get vaccinated.

I wanted information, all right — but not about where I could get vaccinated. I wanted to know where they had got my phone number, and what made them select me for such a phone call. My family doctor had retired in March and I didn’t think it was anyone else’s business to keep track of what medical procedures I had undergone since then.

The young lady never got her question answered, but she did answer mine. Her phone call resulted from a project of the Ontario government to correlate vaccination records with OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) coverage. As an Ontario resident, I am of course covered by the government-owned health insurance plan.

They got my phone number from my OHIP records. They’ve been combing through those records looking for individuals who aren’t also in the COVID vaccination database, and that’s why they chose to call me. It’s official now: all unvaccinated Ontarians  can expect such a call eventually.

She had a prepared script for dealing with recalcitrant refuseniks like me. The statutory authority for this intrusive data transfer, she read, is paragraph 37(1)(c) of the Personal Health Information Protection Act. That’s a misnamed statute if ever there was one. I’d call it the Personal Health Information Invasion Act. She even volunteered the phone numbers of the Information and Privacy Commissioner in case I wanted to lodge a complaint.

But she couldn’t (or wouldn’t) tell me whether the intrusions would escalate if I continued to defy the government’s wishes that I be vaccinated.

My suspicion is that my OHIP coverage will eventually be suspended or canceled if I fail to comply. Twitter is already rife with such suggestions, and CTV news seems to be drumming up support for this by commissioning a public opinion poll in which almost two-thirds of Canadians supported the idea of refusing treatment to “threatening or disrespectful patients who are unvaccinated against COVID-19.” CTV apparently believes all unvaccinated patients are by definition threatening and disrespectful, because they didn’t ask how respondents felt about providing treatment to respectful, non-threatening unvaccinated people.

Already, Alberta residents have reported incidents of being denied health care due to their unvaccinated status.

In Colorado, people awaiting kidney transplants were recently notified their applications are being “inactivated” if they’re unvaccinated.

My concern, therefore, is not an idle one. There are many people who’d like to see unvaccinated people denied health care, and they’re pushing governments to implement such policies.

Personally, I’d be willing to forego OHIP coverage under two conditions. First, I shouldn’t have to pay taxes for something I’m not getting. Ontario’s 2020-21 budget shows health care outlays constitute 42% of the province’s base program expenditures. Therefore, if they’d refund 42% of my provincial taxes (income tax, sales tax, gasoline tax, property tax, etc.) plus 42% of the federal transfer payment that came out of my federal taxes, that would provide a tidy sum out of which to pay privately for direct health services and private health insurance.

But condition two would have to be satisfied as well: the government would have to eliminate its monopoly on the provision of health insurance, hospitals, and medical licensure.

Let the unvaccinated have our tax money back to purchase goods and services in a free market, and I’ll gladly let the vaccinated wallow in their decrepit socialist system without troubling them for help. Let dissenting medical doctors, naturopaths, chiropractors and other complementary practitioners practice according to their professional judgment without fear of de-licensing and I’ll take my chances.

In truth, I already do. I hadn’t actually seen my former doctor since June 2019, and I didn’t usually go more than once a year. OHIP was already spending far less on me than on the average person, who makes 2.8 doctor visits per year. As a senior, I’m theoretically entitled to have government-paid prescriptions for any of 4,400 different drugs — but I don’t use a single one of them, unlike the average person in my age who reportedly fills 8.3 drug prescriptions annually.

It’s not mere happenstance that I have fewer ailments than average. I spend my own after-tax dollars on organic food, nutritional supplements, exercise equipment and more exotic health maintenance devices such as infrared light therapy. I also spend many hours keeping informed about the science of wellness and life extension.

I have long resented paying taxes to provide obsolete and often counterproductive “health care” to those less conscientious than I am about their own well-being. My resentment is now reaching new heights, as the ignorant accuse me of causing sickness by not taking an injection which even the CDC now admits doesn’t live up to its promises of near-total prevention of either viral transmission or infection.

Let’s go our own separate ways— vaxxed and unvaxxed. Time will tell who made the smarter decision.

Selick is a Western Standard columnist

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Opinion

NAVARRO-GENIE: Trust is the foundation of authority — and governments are losing both

There is no forgiving how Alberta Health appallingly used a child’s death to promote yet more COVID-19 fear.

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The heartbreaking death of Nathanael Spitzer, the cancer-stricken boy from Ponoka, exposed a most callous streak in Alberta’s medical bureaucracy. There is no forgiving how Alberta Health appallingly used a child’s death to promote yet more COVID-19 fear.

However, one should dismiss Deena Hinshaw’s empty promise to process deaths of minors scrupulously before reporting in future. It’s empty because the percentage of COVID-19 deaths among children is almost zero in Alberta, and all other reporting remains the same.

Hinshaw’s apology raises the question of trust in public authority: Do Albertans trust health bureaucrats and their elected bosses? The question of trust is important. Trust is a key link between rulers and the ruled. When the population has no trust in public officials, such officials govern without support. Without trust, rulers rule by imposition, merely enforcing and punishing; and when support is lacking, harsher enforcement becomes necessary for compliance.

As governments coerce more, their authority is further undermined. Coercion signals an absence of authority. The harsher use of coercive power is what happens when consent and trust are low.

Trust was an early casualty when governments in Canada reacted to the COVID-19 threat by immediately copying Beijing in imposing draconian lockdowns, but without protecting the most vulnerable. The harsh confinement rules are condescendingly undemocratic. They showed from the start that governments don’t trust their citizens to do what is right without pressing them with fears and power.  

People will respect rulers because they trust the sources of their authority: 1) the constitution and laws, 2) knowledge and competence, and 3) sound decision-making. Since March 2020, these three authority sources have been battered in the handling of the COVID-19 threat. Ottawa and the provinces seem unaware as to how they have consistently undermined their own authority.

First, our constitution and laws have been repeatedly bruised with an unchecked and unwarranted expansion of government powers: with the disregard for due process, with the weakening of Parliament, with persecutions — and at times brutal police arrests — with the choking of free expression and assembly, with the trampling of mobility and workers’ rights, with the violations of medical privacy and the not so veiled defilement of bodily sovereignty, with the dismissal of the emergency management authority, and with the domination of a kind of medical-industrial complex.

Second, one expects government to have knowledge and competency about governing emergencies.  Despite the early panic, Canadians hoped their governments would be competent in rolling out pandemic action plans, clearly executing objectives, and to have exit strategies for the crisis. Instead, the policy became the crisis. Governments quickly dismissed existing emergency plans and hatched new ones in panic and on the fly. They had no (and 19 months later still do not have) reasonable objectives or exit strategies. Reaching herd immunity all hinged on vaccination. Sadly, the vaccines don’t immunize and cannot lead to herd immunity. So, governments choose to force vaccination and to marginalize those who refuse it instead of tackling the growing gap in trust.

The key to good government, when all else is in place, is good judgement. But good judgement has been absent almost uniformly across the country. (For a brief time, it seemed Alberta might be the exception). There has been poor judgement in the choices and adhockery of policy response to the virus. Erratic decisions never signal sound judgement. Let’s grant that things change quickly during crises, but the crass imposition of tenuous things, although presented as absolute science, time and time again, can never inspire confidence. To the contrary, the flip-flopping increases the confusion among most and defiance among many. There has been even poorer judgement in the divisive blaming, the thoughtless name-calling, and the gaslighting lies, primarily against those who dare to question or protest the haphazard decisions.

Always playing to the crowd, Premier Jason Kenney says he cannot understand why some persist about Ivermectin or why they won’t vaccinate. But that crowd is volatile. While the fears in which governments are foraging for support will eventually cease, the divisive abuses heaped on the vaccine recalcitrant will continues to erode public trust — and the trust lost about competence and judgement won’t likely be regained.

In the first week of October alone, the executive, the judicial and the medical bureaucracy failed Albertans again. The torqued blaming and punishing of the unvaxxed, Justice Germain’s offensive decision compelling speech to preacher Pawlowski, and the naked attempt to manipulate the tragic death of young Nathanael Spitzer are all bold demonstrations of power still eroding trust.

Editor’s note: The original post had Alberta Health Services. It was changed to Alberta Health.

Marco Navarro-Génie is president of the Haultain Research Institute and senior fellow with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. With Barry Cooper, he is co-author of COVID-19: The Politics of a Pandemic Moral Panic (2020).

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Opinion

SLOBODIAN: WATCH: Pastor remained jailed while maskless Manitoba ministers escape sanctions

Gordon’s apology for posing in one photo with her cabinet colleagues and three other women — all maskless — seems disingenuous.

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Manitoba Pastor Tobias Tissen, who didn’t abide by public health rules, is sitting in a Winnipeg Remand Centre jail cell.

Three provincial cabinet ministers, including Health Minister Audrey Gordon, who didn’t abide by public health rules, will sit in the legislature and anywhere else they please.

Tobias, whose arrest in front of his family Monday night was captured in a heart-wrenching video, has never tried to downplay what he’s doing.

It appears Gordon did. 

So much about this is offensive to any clear-thinking person’s sense of justice.

Gordon, along with Minister of Families Rochelle Squires and Minister of Sport, Culture, and Heritage Cathy Cox were maskless at a weekend fundraising ball at Winnipeg’s Art Gallery. 

The proof lies in photos Squires posted to her Instagram page. When outed, Gordon and Squires said sorry for violating health orders dictating people in public places must wear a mask which can be removed when seated and eating or drinking. 

Oh well then, move on now. Crickets from interim Premier Kelvin Goertzen’s office and the PC party.

“I got up and joined the group in the photo, neglecting to wear my mask. It’s unfortunate and it was wrong, and it should not have happened and for that, I deeply apologize,” said Gordon. “I do believe as minister of health, I should be held to a higher standard, and I have always upheld that standard.”

Gordon’s apology for posing in one photo with her cabinet colleagues and three other women — all maskless — seems disingenuous. 

Proof lies in another photo posted by Squires showing her seated at a table with former Winnipeg Mayor Susan Thompson. 

In the background, several people stand socializing, including Gordon. All but a couple of them, including Gordon, are maskless.

Obviously, Gordon doesn’t believe wearing a mask in public is necessary to avoid contracting COVID-19. That’s her right — one I’ll fiercely defend. 

The problem is, her government’s mandated masks and double vaccines are denying others their rights, costing them jobs and, like Tissen, freedom.

Gordon said she hasn’t been fined or reprimanded.

Tobias and his Church of God Restoration in Steinbach face $53,000 in fines on 16 tickets for violating health orders during protests and both in-person and drive-in services.

Steinbach, a city of 16,000, has had a high rate of COVID-19 test positivity. There’s never been an outbreak among Church of God members.

Yet they, as Christians, have been relentlessly hounded. 

It’s called persecution from egos in the province who appear to dislike taking a backseat to God. 

Why is it we never hear of non-Christian worship places where crowds freely gather getting fined?

“We have boldly and unashamedly proclaimed Christ as head of the Church, not (former premier) Brian Pallister or Kelvin Goertzen,” Pastor Heinrich Hildebrandt told Western Standard

“The state does not have jurisdiction to order churches to place limits on how the Gospel is preached. We have not been silent on that topic, and they are trying to suppress that.”

“Canada’s on a very dangerous path right now. Our leaders are abandoning the foundation of our nation ‘whereas Canada was founded on principles that recognize the supremacy of God’ that are codified in our Constitution. The Dominion of Canada was founded with the inherent knowledge that’ He shall have dominion from sea to sea’ not petty tyranny, kings or queens.”

“As we drift from that we are seeing the grave effects of that in our society. May we withstand the forces of evil that want to rob us of our God-given freedoms.”

Tobias was robbed of his freedom when picked up on an outstanding warrant when the family arrived at their home. His crying mother and wife Elizabeth, holding their sons aged four and two in her arms, helplessly watched.

The pastor offered no resistance, only repeatedly asked to hug his mother, who is moving to Austria, goodbye. He was denied. They kissed through the glass of the cruiser.

How do you explain to frightened children why dad’s up against a cruiser, being searched, handcuffed, then taken away?

“Tell papa goodbye,” said a sobbing Elizabeth. “It’s OK Silas, it’s OK. The Lord will take care of papa.”

Thank goodness for that. Few have stepped up to support him. 

Other church leaders? Mostly meek mouses, except for a mere seven Manitoba churches that united to fight Manitoba’s health restrictions curtailing the freedom to worship. The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms argued in court the restrictions requiring vaccinated attendees and severely reduced capacity are unjustified violations of charter-protected freedoms. 

The Church of God has long warned: Today it’s our pastors, tomorrow it’s you.

Politicians? Some quietly expressed support. Others who staunchly stand behind enforcing health mandates traipse about the ball maskless.

To obtain his release, Tissen must sign conditions that violate all he’s been fighting for.

“We ask that Christians would pray for Tobias’ strength, wisdom, and release, as well as for his wife and sons,” said Hildebrandt.  “May God bless this situation unto His own glory, as the heathen rage.”

Amen to that.

Slobodian is the Senior Manitoba Columnist for the Western Standard
lslobodian@westernstandardonline.com

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