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TULK: Kenney is the Hamlet of Canadian politics, unable to commit to a plan

“Like Hamlet, Kenney’s dithering and hesitation is leading to disaster for his political career, Alberta’s future and ultimately for the Canadian confederation.”




Many of William Shakespeare’s peers referred to him as the “Great Teacher.” Throughout all of his plays he was seen to be teaching one common theme – prudence. The main characters in all of his plays are constantly dealing with challenges that require them to make decisions upon which there is no sure correct course of action. All of his plays are studies in making prudent choices; in other words: what is the best choice when there is no perfect, risk-free option?

With apologies to Walter Russell Mead from whose book God and Gold I take the following analogy:

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s political challenge is like that of balancing a three-sided pyramid where the top has been levelled off and a ball bearing has been placed upon it – the challenge being to keep the ball bearing from rolling off. 

In Kenney’s challenge, the three sides are: What is in the best interest of Canada? What is in the best interest of Alberta? And what is in the best interest of Jason Kenney?

Many long-time observers believe that ever since he was in short pants, it’s been Jason Kenney’s over-arching goal to one day become Prime Minister of Canada. They also think he has enormous political talent and boundless energy with which to reach that goal. 

His problem seems to be that he cannot conceive of a pathway to reaching it, he thus lacks a strategy for accomplishing this life-long dream. And, like all pursuits where there is no strategy, the tactics and actions as premier have become muddled, incoherent and sometimes conflicted with one another. Predictably, these actions have failed to engender faith and loyalty in those who would like to support him and agree with his overall objectives.

In effect, the question facing Mr. Kenney is what is the prudent course of actions that he should take to achieving his (supposed) life-long goal of becoming prime minister? 

As Shakespeare spectacularly shows in his plays, there often is no perfect path; that all choices come with their potential risks – sometimes fatally so. 

And doing nothing at all – which was Prince Hamlet’s choice – can be as terrible a decision as any other.

A large and growing number of Albertans – and indeed many Canadians – believe confederation is in serious crisis. The tyranny of the majority has allowed the federal government to bleed provinces with strong economies to sustain those that are not, via programs like Equalization, Employment Insurance, the Canada Pension Plan, and others. These programs are manifestly unfair and are being gamed by some provinces, yet the federal government looks the other way as the scammer provinces snicker from behind the federal government’s skirts. Couple that with measures such Bill 69, tanker bans and national carbon taxes (supported by all major parties) that are rightly seen as existential threats to the economies and lifestyles of those provinces, and the crisis continues to worsen.

So what, alas, (poor Yorick) is Premier Kenney to do? 

To aggressively push back at the Trudeau government (and O’Toole’s acquiescence to most of his major policies) and call out the gaming of the equalization formula by Quebec and other provinces would almost certainly ruin his chances at acquiring the regal title of ‘Right Honourable’. 

And he has not done so. However, the consequence of that has been plummeting support for Kenney and his party in Alberta to the point where his re-election as premier is seriously in doubt. 

And yet he continues to dither and remain silent. We still await the items and language that will be in this fall’s coming referendum. He is completely and entirely mute on the O’Toole’s carbon tax and his lack of forthright support for more pipelines. 

Jason Kenney has assumed the role of Prince Hamlet in this tragedy. 

And like Hamlet, his dithering and hesitation is leading to disaster for his political career, Alberta’s future and ultimately for the Canadian confederation.  

Premier Kenney needs to act boldly as if the future of the Canada is at stake if he doesn’t. 

Because it is. 

Gord Tulk is a Columnist for the Western Standard

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  1. David Heinze

    May 6, 2021 at 1:33 pm

    Quoting Gord: And what is in the best interest of Jason Kenney?

    Maybe it is time the politicians start telling the truth and doing what is best for the people they represent.

  2. R3

    May 6, 2021 at 10:45 am

    Too many Albertan’s have succumbed to the PsychOp fear porn and want more lockdowns.
    These are quickly becoming the majority, who have been programmed to only believe the official “experts” narrative and to dismiss reality and the doctors/nurses/scientists/researchers who know better but been silenced. Discredited with “tin foil hat”, “conspiracy theorists” and what not.

  3. R3

    May 6, 2021 at 10:36 am

    With the two more years renewal of the AHS President and CEO Dr Verna Yiu’s contract that was up in June. Verna Yiu the is protected and behind most of what is going on.
    I’d say he is under tight control by these people who have all the power.
    After all, AHS is controlling all of us, including every doctor in the province.

  4. Left Coast

    May 5, 2021 at 6:08 pm

    Kenny could be the Second Dumbest man in Canada and a shoe-in to replace the Dumbest man in Canada Justin Trudope.

    Kenny’s problem is he does not know how to lead . . . how many Leaders of Successful Jurisdictions has he spoken to in the last few months?

    Did he call Gov. Noem in South Dakota and pick her brain? Did he call Gov DeSantis in Florida to see what he did so well as to be normal today . . . Hell NO !

    He rallied the brain-dead Govt employees and Dr Hinshaw . . . and the results are obviouse to all!

  5. Dennis Richter

    May 5, 2021 at 3:39 pm

    Hopefully between Kenny’s inept leadership and Trudeau’s corruption, Albertans will wake up to the fact that there MUST be a better way. Wildrose.party

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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.




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…”




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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