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65 signs that you might be an Albertan

Crackmacs, prairie oysters, Stampede, rat genocide, caesars, and weird small town kitsch are just a few of the signs that you might be an Albertan.

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Albertans are a special breed. There’s no one quite like us anywhere else in the world.

What makes us unique as a people? That’s the question the Western Standard Editorial Board has been contemplating since going to a bar after work is illegal.

We spent some time on the project, and with the help of some brilliant friends across the country, came up with a still-growing list of some of the things that make us just a wee bit different.

“Crackmacs” in Calgary

65 – Crackmacs

You should avoid going there.

Prairie oysters

64 – Prairie Oysters

You have to try them before you can become one of us.

63 – Newcomers

You are a more fanatical Alberta patriot if you weren’t born here.

62 – Quebec

You don’t know why, but you really don’t like it.

61 – Saskatchewan

You don’t know why, but you like it.

60 – Newfies

They might talk funny, but they’re the best Albertans around. 

Toronto

59 – Toronto

You may not like Quebec, but you hate Toronto. 

58 – Vancouver 

You both love and hate Vancouver.

57 – Ottawa

A place your money goes to be spent somewhere else.

56 – Getup

You wear a decent pair of cowboy boots, a Stetson, and a pair of Wranglers on at least one day during Calgary Stampede or whatever Klondike days is calling itself these days. 

Cowboy boots


55 – Boots

You can pull off cowboy boots at a downtown office any time of the year. 

54 – Rodeo

It’s not your first one.

53 – Cowboys

You think you’re one because you dressed up for Stampede and have been to the Last Chance Saloon outside Drumheller. 

52 – Calgary Stampede 

It’s redneck Oktoberfest.

51 – K-Days

Something Edmonton does because it doesn’t have Stampede.

A “Rat Patrol” propoganda poster

50 – Rat Genocide

You live in the only place on earth (other than Antarctica) with zero rats because your government has an actual department called the Rat Patrol. Killing them is a civil duty, and you don’t think this is weird at all. 

Main characters of the Trailer Park Boys

49 – Trailer Park Boys

What you think the East coast is really like.

48 – Hail Caesar 

You drink caesars, not bloody Marys. And you drink them with pride knowing they were invented in Calgary by Walter Chell, at the Owl’s Nest in the Westin Hotel.

47 – The Metric System 

You’re still not completely sold on it.

Ginger fried beef

46 – Prairie Chinese food

You’re proud that the best Chinese food in the world comes from the other side of the planet from China: prairie ginger beef.

45 – Chinese and Western

You don’t think there’s anything strange about a small village’s only eatery being a ‘Chinese and Western’ restaurant that serves ginger beef alongside hamburgers and fries. 

44 – Breakfast beer

You don’t see anything wrong with pouring some Clamato in your beer to take the hair off the dog. 

Ian Tyson

43 – Four Strong Winds

You tear up when listening to Four Strong Winds, by Ian Tyson.

42 – Four Strong Winds (II)

You burst into rage after listening to Four Strong Winds, by Neil Young.

41 – Alberta Bound

You’re unable to remain composed or resist singing it at the top of your lungs whenever it comes on. 

Big Sugar frontman Gordie Johnson (photo credit: Big Sugar)

40 – All Hell for a Basement

You stand up proud at attention as Big Sugar’s Alberta national anthem plays on the radio.

39 – Nickelback

You either want to forget about it, or think that it’s our greatest cultural export. 

kd lang

38 – k.d. lang

When she belted out Hallelujah during the 2010 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremonies in Vancouver, you were sure she’s Alberta’s patron saint. 

37 –Cal-gree”

You know when someone isn’t originally from here, because they pronounce it ‘Cal-ga-ree’ not the proper ‘Cal-gree’.

Banff National Park

36 – Banff

The reason Calgary thinks it’s better than Edmonton.

35 – Jasper

Where Edmontonians go to pretend they’re in Banff.

34 – The River Valley

The reason Edmontonians think their city is better than Calgary. 

33 – Red Deer

It’s neutral meeting ground for Calgarians and Edmontonians. 

Head smashed in buffalo jump

32 Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

An actual place.

31 – Tar Sands

You’ll murder anyone in cold blood who calls them that.

30 – Fracking

Something you do to extract oil and gas, or with your significant other. 

29 – Separatism

You want to separate from Canada when you’re 10 beers deep, but sing O’Canada when you sober up. 

28 – Canada Day

A day off to get ready for the Calgary Stampede

27 – MPs

People we send to Ottawa to forget about.

Courtesy dailiyxtra.com

26 – Anyone named Trudeau

You, your parents, and grandparents hate everyone with the name.

25 – National Energy Program

You will never forget. 

24 – Petro Canada

You remember when for decades the Petro Canada Tower was the largest building in Calgary, and you hated everything it represented. 

23 – The government

You worked for four years to vote out the NDP, and still hate the government.

22 – Federal elections

You, your parents, and grandparents federal voting history is a straight line. 

21 – Your provincial vote

You don’t care that you voted for the Conservatives federally and voted Wildrose or NDP provincially.

Spring camping in Alberta

20 – Spring blizzard camping

You’re so sick of winter that you don’t care if there’s a snow storm when you go camping on the May long weekend. 

19 – Patio season

You take the patio furniture out of the garage and hit the local bar patio as soon as the temperature soars to a high of 10C.

Summer in Calgary. Courtesy CBC

18 – Summer

There is no such thing. Only construction season.

17 – Labour Day

You know Labour Day has been set aside as a CFL Battle of Alberta. And winter starts tomorrow.

16 – Winter BBQ

You don’t think there’s anything strange about firing up the BBQ to grill some steaks when it’s -30C. 

15 – Cabins

You go away for the weekend to a cabin, not a cottage.

Image Credit: CBC

14 – Gun Control

You think ‘gun control’ means being able to shoot a moose at 100 yards with iron sights. 

13 – Lindsay Park

You refuse to call it the Talisman Centre.

The Big Beaver in Beaver Lodge, AB

12 – Weird, giant small-town kitsch 

Your idea of a romantic first date is to drive to Beaver Lodge to see the big beaver. 

11 – Ukrainians

You don’t really know why the Ukrainians in Alberta are the word leaders of weird small-town kitsch, with the giant pysanka (Easter egg) in Vegreville, the World’s largest kielbasa sausage in Mundare, or the massive perogy in Glendon. 

Bow Island Pinto Bean

10 – Pinto Beans

You’ve seen the Bow Island Pinto Bean, and it scared the hell out of you as a child.

The USS Enterprise in Vulcan, Alberta (Image Credit: Travel Alberta)

9 – Vulcans

You don’t have to be a Trekie to make pilgrimage to Vulcan and take in the small town’s fanatical devotion to Commander Spock, and its own weird, giant small-town kitsch: a massive model of the USS Enterprise.

8– More Aliens

You know that there’s an actual UFO Landing Pad in St. Paul, and you don’t think there’s anything weird about that. 

UFO Landing Site in St. Paul, AB

7 – French

‘Poutine’ is the extent of it.

6 – The Great Ones

You know who Gretz, Mess, Lanny, Iggy and Kipper are.

The Greatest One

5 – Vegetables

Your potato salad on the side of your beef-on-a-bun is sufficient. 

4 – Brooks

A place where cattle go to die.

3Valhalla 

A place where the glorious dead feast, and a few guys farm wheat. 

T-Rex in downtown Drumheller

2 – Dinosaurs

You think you know all about them because you went to the Drumheller.

1 – Deerfoot Trail

You agree that it is one of the worst-designed roads in the history of Western civilization.

So that’s a less-than-scientific rundown on what makes Albertans. But have we missed any? Let us know at dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com and we will run a list of some reader-inspired “You know you’re from Alberta when …?”

Western Standard Editorial Board

Features

Alberta’s cross-border quarantine gong show

What she experienced, and shared in an interview with the Western Standard, is not something Jen wants to happen again.

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Jen thought it would be a breezy five-hour drive from Montana back to Alberta last Saturday.

She could not have been more wrong. Instead, it was what she called “one gong show after another.” Her name has been changed and the name of her hometown and small manufacturing business withheld.

After what she went through, she wants no cause for further hassle at the border. What she experienced, and shared in an interview with the Western Standard, is not something she wants to happen again.

SIX MINUTES BECAME TWO DAYS

When Jen pulled up to the border crossing at Sweet Grass, Montana just days ago, she didn’t expect any problems. She had taken the border crossing, 100 km southwest of Lethbridge, a few times before without incident.

“I’m a trucker and I can bring my product back across the border. An import number and licence gives me the ability to do that as often as I need without having to have the testing done and the quarantine,” Jen said.

The process normally takes six minutes, but not this time. When the border guard found out the Canadian woman had been in Montana for ten days, she decided that was too long, and declared her a non-essential traveller.

“I asked her what the time limit is so I know for next time, and she said, ‘Well there really isn’t one.’ …That was at her discretion.”

The border agent sent her to the nurse. Jen had not done a COVID-19 test within the previous 72 hours because essential travellers do not need to do so. Having been arbitrarily denied that status, she now had three choices.

“One option was to go back to the United States and get a COVID test and wait and then re-enter. My second option was to do the quarantine hotel. And my third option was to claim non-compliance, in which case they would come to my home and give me a $5,000 to $10,000 fine. So I chose the hotel.”

Jen recalled how the nurse laughed and said: “’This is so ridiculous. I can’t believe I have to make you do this, but I do.’

So she gave me a little square of paper and it said, ‘Go directly to the airport.’ The address was on it for the airport in Calgary, drive to Gate 17…Do not exit your vehicle. Phone this number, someone will come. They’re waiting for you. And they will escort you to the quarantine hotel.”

Because the drive was three and-a-half hours, Jen was given four hours to get there. Any later than that, and she would have faced penalties for non-compliance. She made it in time, but five attempts at the phone number gave the same message: ‘This number is not in service.’ Was it because she had an American phone?

At some risk of defying the rules, she walked out of the car and into the airport where she found 10 police officers assembled. She explained her problem and they phoned on her behalf. The number worked for them, and it was the Red Cross. They told her to return to her vehicle and someone would pick her up.

Fifteen minutes later, a man in a large black van rolled up and asked for her name.

“Then he said, ‘Follow me.’ You know, my mama taught me not to follow strangers in a van, but whatever. So I followed this gentleman. We pull up at a hotel. Now this is very odd. There was no markings on this hotel whatsoever.

“This is now 11:30 at night in a rainstorm. There’s three men dressed in full PPE. They had a mask, they had goggles, they had a shield, they had rubber gloves, they had booties on their shoes, and they had a white gown. And I get out of my car, and they say, ‘Get whatever you need out of your car put on this cart because you will not be allowed out of your room after this point.’”

QUARANTINE HOTEL

The hotel looked like a work in progress.

“I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a project that is they’re going to be sanding or something and so they mask everything off and there’s plastic everywhere. And that’s what the hotel was like. You go in a back door escorted by two men, and it’s a very sci-fi movie – sneaky, everything’s sneaky, sneaky … I couldn’t have found my way out of that hotel if I would have tried because it’s like a haunted house. Everything masked off and broken.”

A Red Cross employee got an item from the front desk, took her to her room and put the item on the metal doorframe of the door. When she asked what it was, he claimed it was a colour-coded item that clarified the age category in each room. 

“I said, ‘That one’s green. What category is green?’

“‘Oh, middle aged.’

“I said, ‘How old am I?’

“‘Well, I don’t know that.’

“That doesn’t make any sense. Like what’s that? Clearly your b.s.’ing me to death.”

She took a picture of it and sent it to her son who is a sheriff.

“He says, ‘Oh, that’s a sensor so that when you open the door, it’s sending somebody a signal that you’ve opened your door.’”

She made a phone call of her own for a COVID-19 test. The company would only serve her if she named the hotel she was at. “You got to choose your meals for the next day on the menu and really tiny print is the name of the hotel.” Having told them, a COVID-19 test was scheduled for 4 p.m. the following day.

Door sensor or not, Jen said she got calls every 45 minutes to confirm that she was still in her room.

“They don’t even put like latches on windows. The windows don’t open. No getting out of there.”

Although staff got close enough to take her temperature, they wouldn’t come in the room.

“When they bring you your food, it’s in a brown paper bag and they just set it on a plastic bucket outside this green tape square and bang on your door. And then they leave and then you can come out and get your food.”

Jen had bad experiences with nasal swabs in the past, saying she “sounded like I had snorted fiberglass.” When someone arrived to do her test on Sunday, she chose the throat swab instead. During the interview on Tuesday, her throat was still sore.

“My throat is, it’s like cut. And I’m gargling with salt water. I don’t know what are on those swabs, but there’s something horrible on them.”

COVID NEGATIVE AND STILL CAPTIVE

Sunday night turned to Monday morning.

“I have all my test results back the next morning at 7 a.m. Now you’d think you would be able to go, right? My tests are negative? No, you can’t go. So when you get your tests, you phone this Red Cross number. So I phone the Red Cross number I start phoning at eight o’clock. No answer. Leave messages. But all circuits are busy. I must have phoned 15 to 20 times.”

Jen had had enough.

I thought I’m going to cause a nuisance until they let me out of here. So I just went out in the hallway. The guard stood up and he came at me and he said, ‘Get in here. Return to your room immediately.’

“I said ‘No, I will not actually. My test results come back and I need to leave now.’”

The guard tried to phone the Red Cross.

“So this went on three times. I had to go out in the hallway three times and upset the guard. Finally someone from the Red Cross phoned me. She said, ‘Listen, the quarantine officer who has to sign off to let you out is at the airport. And she’s busy because three airplanes full of people have just come in internationally and she needs to deal with all of them. So it could be up to 48 hours before she can get here.’”

The idea of a detention until Wednesday for a Saturday trip did not sit well with her.

“I got a little upset and caused some grief and this made a nuisance of myself because I thought that’s how I’m gonna get out of here. And so I’m about four hours after that someone knocks on my door and I don’t know who it is. They say we’re so and so with the Red Cross. The quarantine officer can’t leave the airport. So she sent us to just get a picture of your results to text to her.”

After two hours pass, Jen created another hassle and called again. Someone knocked on her door with signed discharge papers and orders to self-isolate for 14 days.

“Doesn’t say anything about taking any more tests. And it says, ‘To remain from getting bored, we suggest getting your neighbor or friend to bring you sidewalk chalk so that you can doodle on your sidewalk inside of your property or make an obstacle course in your backyard.’”

Monday night at home gave way to Tuesday morning.

“I get a phone call this morning at 7:30, which I don’t answer because it comes up on my phone as spam. And the message says, ‘This is the Alberta Health District whatever, blah, blah, blah. You are required to answer our phone calls and you are required to take a test on day eight.’ 

“Well you didn’t give me a test. You gave me a discharge paper with nothing in it except making an obstacle course in my backyard!”

AMERICA, LAND OF THE FREE

Back in Canada, home sweet home is not so sweet now. America has spoiled her.

“I’m Canadian, I’m but I had just come from Montana. And I spent six months there in the winter time, and it’s just so free and open and their numbers are almost nothing. So to come from that back to this. There’s just such a, like it’s opposite. Night and day. People’s attitudes are different. I mean, just five days ago, I was sitting at a ballgame in a ballpark with 90 other people watching a ballgame, not one mask. I was in a band concert with 500 other people, no masks and then you come here and you can’t get out of your car without fully masking outside.

“I know the truth. And it’s good. It’s sweet. You can talk to people in the grocery store because they don’t have their masks on. Yeah, and you never hear of a vaccine. Nobody talks about it, nobody. I don’t know anybody that’s gotten it there. I know lots of people here but I don’t know one person there who’s got it.”

The contrast between Canada and the U.S. is something she still struggles to get over.

“There’s no COVID rules there. It’s as if COVID didn’t exist, there’s no masks. There’s no rule. There’s nothing. It’s 100% open, has been for about four months now. And the COVID numbers drop about 10 to 15% a day, and they have almost zero cases now. So you go there and you’re free to live your life, morally, right up until that border. And then two feet past that, you’ve got to mask up, gown, up. COVID is everywhere. It’s gonna kill you. You’ve got to go in these quarantine hotels.”

Getting to the land of the free may not be smooth. Jen has advice for those crossing the 49th parallel.

“Be prepared for anything because it all depends on who you get at the border. There are no rules that go steadfast.

“If it wasn’t for that one woman who initially stamped my paper [that] I’m non-essential, it would have been a breeze and a wonderful experience. And I would be on my merry way and doing my job now.”

Harding is a Western Standard reporter based in Saskatchewan

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ANALYSIS: New seat projection shows big shake-up in Alberta

Martin & Kioussis’s projection shows the UCP facing two battles: one against the NDP in the big cities, and another against Wildrose in the countryside.

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new poll conducted by Mainstreet Research for the Western Standard shows Alberta’s political landscape quickly evolving toward a three-party system. 

If an election were held today, the NDP would likely form a majority government, the UCP reduced to official opposition, and the Wildrose Independence Party would be on the cusp of entering the Alberta Legislature. 

In the poll of 1,010 Albertans, the NDP had the support of 35% of respondents, and the UCP 28%. Support for the Wildrose has risen from 9% in January to 16% of decided and leaning voters.

According to a Leger poll conducted at the end of April, Alberta’s provincial government is the least popular in Canada. Jason Kenney’s approval rating has dropped from a high of 63% in July 2020 to just 30% in May 2021.

Our modeling at LeanTossUp.ca projects how this all would break down into seats if the poll was translated into an election today.

Due to the large NDP gains from 2019, it now completely sweeps Edmonton, including winning many exurban ridings, and makes deep gains into Calgary. Our model projects the NDP is likely to win four seats in the communities surrounding Edmonton, and will expand their current Calgary caucus from three members to 18, more than enough to secure a majority government.

Even traditionally “safe” conservative seats in Calgary are now in play. Jason Kenney’s own constituency of Calgary-Lougheed, has tightened considerably, as his lead has slipped to only 17.2%, down from his 41.2% win in 2019.

The UCP is facing challenges on two fronts, with the NDP pressuring them in the cities and suburbs while the Wildrose have become serious alternative in rural and small-town Alberta. The COVID-19 pandemic has effectively positioned the UCP as a centrist party within Alberta’s political landscape, with one side believing COVID-19 restrictions were too lax, and the other side believing the restrictions went too far. 

The same Mainstreet Research poll for the Western Standard showed 52% of Albertans supported continued lockdowns, and 45% said that they should end immediately, however, the intensity of those opposed to lockdowns was more than twice that of those in support. 

The UCP attempted to walk a tightrope between the two sides, and essentially pleased no one, which is reflected in its low approval rating. 

The Wildrose is building a sizeable base of support without a permanent leader in place. The party has announced it will hold a leadership campaign from June 5 to August 27. The final vote is scheduled for August 28, 2021. Once a new leader that people can identify is in place, the party should continue to see more gains.

Under Alberta’s first-past-the-post electoral system, third parties need to target specific ridings where they can win first place. By averaging out the historic performance of the old Wildrose Party from 2012 and 2015, and smaller right-leaning parties in 2019, we were able to forecast how the Wildrose Independence Party might perform in different regions of the province today. 

Our results point towards success in Medicine Hat, the rural south, and Fort McMurray. The following map shows the best and worst ridings for the Wildrose, respectively. The ridings are shaded by rank for the Wildrose: its best riding is the darkest green, while the worst is the darkest blue.

Highlighting the best and worst ridings for the Wildrose shows their main competitors are the UCP, as the ridings that are strongest for the NDP (Edmonton, Northern Calgary) are among the worst for the Wildrose. Additionally, the Lethbridge and Red Deer seats are on the weaker side for the Wildrose, while the NDP currently only hold one of the four of them. In 2015, the NDP won all four. This shows while there are many UCP/NDP battles — the universe of UCP/WIP is also large — but are being waged in completely different constituencies. 

Using the Mainstreet Research numbers, we project the Wildrose would win Brooks-Medicine Hat – currently held by Michaela Glasgo of the UCP – in a near-tie, with 35% of the vote. The Wildrose would also take over 30% in Chestermere-Strathmore, Drumheller-Stettler, and Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills. That would be sufficient to win a three-way race, but these are the most conservative ridings in the province, where the NDP is expected to win only around 10% of the popular vote. 

In order to send multiple representatives to Edmonton, the Wildrose will need to pull even more conservatives away from Kenney’s UCP. 

Based on our analysis, that will start happening once 20% of decided voters support the Wildrose. Then more than a dozen ridings across the province would start to become competitive. Additionally, 20% of the vote is when local effects can start to matter. If the new party leader has a strong following and runs in a riding we’ve highlighted as being strong for the Wildrose, it’s very possible they would, even at current levels of support. 

The two-party system heralded by the 2019 election that saw all parties but the UCP and NDP shut out appears to be headed for an end if current trends hold up. 

Guest Column from Robert Martin & Nikos Kioussis
Robert Martin is the Founder and CEO of LeanTossUp.ca 
Nikos Kioussis is the Communications Director of LeanTossUp.ca 

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Weightlifting mama rallies Regina freedom movement

“I’m just heavy in it with them as they’ve been for a whole year. So I may have came late to the party, but I came in blazing,” said Jazmyn RayAnn.

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In life and in activism, it took time for Jazmyn RayAnn to apply herself. Once she did, no one could stop her.

Except maybe the police.

Weeks before teenage COVID-19 vaccinations raised the ire of some parents, RayAnn and others tried in vain to approach the school board on masks. When the Regina school board had a scheduled meeting, it was time to make their presence felt.

“We decided to show up to join, thinking, they’re not gonna let us in, but we might as well try, right?” RayAnn said in an interview with the Western Standard.  

“A police officer came up to me and said, ‘They’re not allowing anyone in there. It’s a closed gathering…So here’s what I can do for you. I can go in there and talk to them for you. What was your name?’”

Against her better instincts, RayAnn said who she was. After the officer was unsuccessful at arranging an in-person meeting, he left.

“About 30 minutes later, it went from one cruiser to two cruisers to three cruisers to four cruisers to five cruisers, six cruisers. And he rolls up with all his friends with a ticket in his hand for the [April] 24th rally. And I said, ‘You bugger! You identified me with this whole different regard. And now you’re giving me this ticket because you knew who I am?’ And he’s like, ‘Yep,’ 

“What is the point in that, seriously? But at least they didn’t come to my house.”

Building a home got RayAnn’s life on track.

“After high school, I fell into some bad habits: drinking, partying, and overall wild. I didn’t care about myself. I didn’t have much for standards and I knew I was disappointing myself and my loved ones. It wasn’t until I met Sean that I started cleaning up my act. I got out of the party life, starting making and building a home with my man, and was trying to be the best me I could be,” she wrote on her LinkedIn profile as a fitness coach.

RayAnn has a son, and for the first year of COVID-19 restrictions, she followed all the orders.

“I played the game, I played it safe. I stayed home for two weeks, I pulled my kid out of school, I started doing school from home,” RayAnn recalled.

Her willingness to comply began to unravel after she put her son back in school in the fall.

“The guidelines and the restrictions and the mandates that they have in their welcome package – it was just unnecessary. And that’s when I was like, ‘Hey, this isn’t gonna work. I’m not going to be able to take my kids to school feeling confident that teachers have their best interest when they’re masking them and they can’t even tell me why.’

“I actually asked his superintendent to provide us with information that Sask Health Authority was giving them that made them decided to mandate the masks. And he was like, ‘Oh, we don’t have it, nor can we give it to you.’”

By January, RayAnn had had enough.

“I started losing sleep. I wasn’t looking forward to the future. My kid’s birthday was coming up…and this was now a year since we’ve complied… I was just like, ‘You know what? I’m done with it.’ So I started coming out to these rallies.”

RayAnn’s participation in freedom rallies has already earned her nine tickets. Although her total is three less than that of Tamara Lavoie, RayAnn has been recognized as a leading “freedom fighter” in her own right.

“I’m just heavy in it with them as they’ve been for a whole year. So, I may have came late to the party, but I came in blazing,” she said.

RayAnn has a trainer of her own and is growing her biceps as she learns to lift at the gym. She knows not all she encounters share her passion or perspective.

“I don’t want to convince anyone. I want to educate and have them just open their minds to the idea that there is a second side to the story, a side that they’re not getting told through the media, through the radio, through the schools, through the emails that they get from work….” she said.

“Don’t go get the vaccine, don’t go get tested just because they tell you to. Go look into it first, make that decision for yourself based on your own independent research…

“History repeats itself. And the only way we get into these situations that we’re in now is when they gain the trust of the public, and then put fear into the public to keep them in compliance. And they’ve done it in previous years. Hitler did it, right? So that’s where I’m at.”

Jazmyn RayAnn is the online handle for the subject of this article. Her real name is withheld for professional reasons.

Harding is a Western Standard correspondent based in Saskatchewan

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Petition: No Media Bailouts

We the undersigned call on the Canadian government to immediately cease all payouts to media companies.

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