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MAKICHUK: Canada up you-know-which creek without a competent paddler

But he wasn’t then, and he isn’t now, a leader for our country. And he never should have been elected as such.




There I was on Wyandotte St. East, standing on the median, holding a sign.

Pierre Trudeau’s motorcade was set to pass right by and I was full of excitement, caught up in what was then called Trudeaumania. 

He drove right by me, but never looked at me. I was disappointed but it was cool seeing “the man” himself.

Very heady days, of course. Circa 1968. I was 13.

In Windsor-Walkerville, anybody could win on the Liberal ticket, and Mark MacGuigan, the local Grit candidate, would cruise to victory.

MacGuigan, who woud serve as justice minister and attorney general, would later earn accolades for his exceptional work on The Report of the Subcommittee on the Penitentiary System in Canada (1977). 

Alas, the Trudeau government would completely ignore this report and its recommendations.

Like him, or, hate him — and many of my Alberta friends do, mostly because of the NEP and other things — Pierre Trudeau was a true leader with a vision for Canada.

When the motion to suspend the civil liberties of Quebecers during the October Crisis crisis passed by a vote of 190-16 in the House of Commons, NDP Leader Tommy Douglas would slam Trudeau’s response as “using a sledgehammer to crack a peanut.”

Trudeau didn’t even hesitate.

“Peanuts don’t make bombs and don’t take hostages and don’t assassinate prisoners. And, as for the sledgehammer, it was the only tool at our disposal,” he would say.

PET was not a man, to be trifled with.

Pierre Trudeau paddling Courtesy berarmountainboats.ca

Western alienation aside — by far, his biggest failure — he was a street fighter, who just happened to be a politician. 

And he looked great in buckskins and a birch bark canoe.

Fast forward to the new century — someone at the Calgary Herald offered me tickets to an avalanche awareness fundraising dinner. One of the few perks we actually had at the paper — the journalistic ethics at the Herald were strict, but this was deemed OK.

And young Justin, who sadly lost his brother Michel to an avalanche, was going to appear and speak.

What the hell, it was free food. I took the ticket! 

And so I met him in the receiving line. We had a short chat, I told him I admired his dad. He seemed to buckle at that and gave me a rote answer. It didn’t go much beyond that.

And then a famous Everest mountain climber, who was also in the receiving line, upon hearing I was a Herald writer grabbed me and pulled me into the line! 

He was eager for coverage for something, but now, people were showing up, big, important, monied people. So Justin, this climber guy, and me, were in the receiving line!

I shook hands with everyone, and they wondered who the hell I was! Little did they know I was a complete nobody.

Long story short, Justin melted every single woman attending that dinner when he spoke. He did very well, and I was impressed.

We all knew he was destined. We all knew.

It is with that Trudeau lineage, the good looks, the dynamic personality and Liberal financial backing — those wonderful pin-striped Bay Street bankers that charge you 18% interest on your credit cards — that would later make him prime minister in 2015.

At that time, Canadians were willing to take a chance on the youngish 44-year-old. If he was anything like his dad, he must be a good leader, we thought. He must be, right?

Not really taking into account his accomplishments or his qualifications, beyond the name. Yes, the name. 

Now I digress to tell you a little story told to me by a well-known columnist in Alberta, whose name will not be mentioned.

When Justin was running for PM, this columnist managed to get a personal interview — a rare thing for a western scribe. At that time, the columnist asked the budding politico who was he more like, his mom or his dad.

Justin paused and breathed deep. 

He said, “I like people … my Dad had to learn to like people.”

Of course, he was more like his mom, Maggie Trudeau. Not that it’s a bad thing, nor would I suggest that. But he definitely was not his dad.

The first sign, the wheels were coming off was when Justin was found to have broken corruption laws for accepting a 2016 Christmas vacation on the Aga Khan’s private island.

That was followed by embarrassing images of Justin in “black face” during a Halloween party and the bemusement of Indian officials when Trudeau attempted to dress like the locals during a 2018 visit.

Then came the ugly SNC-Lavalin affair, and his abject and disgusting betrayal of Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould — this from the man who supposedly supported women in government.

Canadians began to wonder what kind of man — who billed himself as progressive — would throw a woman of this distinction and repute under the bus?

That was followed by the WE punch to the gut scandal, where a multi-million contract was handed via a sole-source agreement, not an open competition.

Even his wife, Sophie, along with mom Margaret, and former finance minister Bill Morneau’s family were pulled into the maelstrom.

Everybody benefited. Nobody owned up to it or was accountable. Only Morneau would walk the plank.

But the worst of all, the absolute worst, was nobody seems to give a damn about his Liberal spending and the ballooning deficit.

Canada’s net debt is now over $1 trillion for the first time ever after a $354 billion deficit for the pandemic year. It’s expected to keep climbing with deficits of nearly $155 billion this year and $60 billion in 2022-23.

That is driven in part by $101.4 billion in new spending over the next three years including costs to maintain federal wage and rent subsidies and employment benefits.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said the government’s spending “is necessary,” “reasonable,” and “sustainable.”

Nothing to see here, move along folks.

The kiss of death, to Alberta, of course, was Freeland’s message that Canada’s path out of the COVID-19 pandemic was going to be green.

“To [the] question about decarbonization as part of our economic plan going forward: Of course it has to be part of it,” Freeland said after she was sworn in.

“I think all Canadians understand the restart of our economy needs to be green. It also needs to be equitable. It needs to be inclusive.”

That one statement, mirroring the Trudeau economic “reset,” was the final nail in the coffin of any Liberal hopes in the West. It was the last thing we wanted to hear.

When I shook hands in that receiving line with Justin he seemed a nice enough kid.

But he wasn’t then — and he isn’t now — a leader for our country. And he never should have been elected as such.

His re-election will only spell disaster for Canada, especially the West.

My friends, we are in for a rough ride.

Dave Makichuk is a Western Standard contributor. He has worked in the Calgary media for three decades, including as an editor with the Sun and Herald.

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  1. Left Coast

    August 20, 2021 at 8:42 am

    It’s a sad commentary on Canadian Media. Law Enforcement and of course our Political Class that kept the history of now Canada’s Second most Corrupt PM under wraps for 70 years.

  2. Penny4YourThouhts

    August 20, 2021 at 8:29 am

    Gee, I learn more from @LeftCoast than from most of the articles written in the WS

  3. Steven

    August 19, 2021 at 8:58 pm

    PE Trudeau’s vision for Canada Left Coast (LC) wasn’t for Canada. It was for Quebec and the long game that we all, in Western Canada, see playing out right before our eyes LC. What PE started his boy is finishing. Canada never was a unified nation and never will be.

    Quebec won’t allow that & for purely selfish reasons of power over Canada. Quebec, in the end won the war. Our English politicians of the time capitulated to their every whim and are still capitulating today in 2021.

    Go Maverick !

  4. Left Coast

    August 19, 2021 at 7:16 pm

    “Like him, or, hate him — and many of my Alberta friends do, mostly because of the NEP and other things — Pierre Trudeau was a true leader with a vision for Canada.”

    I was 22 when the LPC hired my girlfriends to cheer for the Balding Despot in Winnipeg in 1968 . . . I thought he was a poser then . . . and time proved me right.

    In the 70s Pierre’s runaway spending, double digit inflation & third world immigration surge changed Canada forever. He had a vision all right . . . and Justin sat on his knee for years listening to his exploits, his luv for Castro & Communists.

    Have you ever read this Bio?

    “In 1947, Trudeau was a student at the London School of Economics, founded by the Fabian Socialists to train Marxists and spread Marxism. Professor Harold Laski, then head of the Fabian Society, was publicly advocating violent revolution at the time.

    Almost twenty years later, Trudeau, about to become Prime Minister, reflected on his training and told reporter Norman DePoe that Laski is,

    “the most stimulating and powerful influence he has encountered.”

    For instance, Trudeau was also a student in Paris, where, apparently under the influence, he was arrested with other demonstrators but escaped from the police. Then come a mystifying couple of years, during which, we are told, Lucky Pierre was a vagabond. Money comes in so handy.

    Apparently, he visited Communist Yugoslavia. He was in the Middle East during the first Arab-Israeli war. He was in Shanghai when Mao Tse-tung took over. He had many dangerous adventures. He fought bandits. He fought pirates – all of whom his overwhelming masculinity helped him overwhelm.

    Then the young millionaire came home, dressed like a hippie, sporting a beard. In 1949, he got a job as an economic advisor to the Privy Council in Ottawa. Igor Gouzenko, the Soviet Embassy official who exposed Communist espionage activities in Canada after World War II, says Trudeau got that job with the help of Robert Bryce, who was Clerk of the Privy Council at the time.

    Bryce had earlier served in Washington, says Gouzenko, where he belonged to a Communist study group and was a close friend of Soviet spy Alger Hiss.

    While in Paris, Pierre had spent some time with Canadian Gérard Pelletier, who was then with World University Service, he says,

    “giving American money to countries that were about to go Communist.”

    (Maclean’s, February 24, 72.)”


    In 1971 election the Veterans ran a Full-Page Ad in the Edmonton Journal listing his exploits, including how Eisenhower banned him from the USA in the 50s.

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The Pipeline: YouTube cancels Western Standard

This week a Calgary Cop suspended for refusing vax, YouTube cancels Western Standard and D-Day on Kenney’s leadership vote rules. Join us live at 12 PM!




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MORGAN: Free speech in comedy under siege

“What has happened to our society when a comedy festival may turn into a street battle? “




Standup comedians have always been on the front lines in battles over free speech and expression.

In the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, most of the pearl-clutching busybodies came from the ‘moral majority’ religious right. They feared obscenity within comedy acts would degrade the moral fabric of the nation and for a while, the law agreed. Comedian Lenny Bruce was convicted and sentenced to four months in a workhouse in 1964 for the crime of spreading obscenity in his act. George Carlin was arrested seven times during the 1970s for his famous “Seven Dirty Words” routine.

Bruce died before the appeal of his sentence was completed. He was posthumously pardoned in 2003. Charges against Carlin were all dropped before he could be convicted. Carlin and Bruce refused to back down and in the end, the state couldn’t win. We will never know how many comedians allowed themselves to be cowed into changing their acts due to state and social intimidation in those days. Not all of them had the will or support bases Carlin and Bruce enjoyed.

The ability for comedians to freely express themselves is just as threatened today as it was 50 years ago. The source of puritanical outrage against comedy routines has changed, though. These days the prigs demanding the curtailment of free speech in comedy acts are the snowflakes of the politically correct left.

Canadian comedian Mike Ward found himself dragged before human rights tribunals and the Canadian courts for nearly a decade over a routine in which he mocked a disabled young Canadian performer. The case ultimately went to the Canadian Supreme Court where it was ruled in a tight 5-4 split decision Ward’s right to free speech was to be protected, and jokes were not subject to judicial review. We came dangerously close to having a comedian convicted for his routine during this decade. The threat to free expression is real and it’s ongoing.

The prime target of the cancel-culture mob lately has been American comedian Dave Chappelle. Chappelle has long enjoyed poking fun at the hypersensitive underbelly of the LGBTQ activist community and has never backed down in the face of the enraged blowback following one of his acts. In Chappelle’s most recent Netflix comedy special he went out of his way to antagonize the usual suspects as he made jokes about transgender ideological orthodoxy. The response to his act was immediate and predictable. Activists demanded Netflix pull the special down and small groups of Netflix employees staged widely publicized walkouts in protest of Chappelle’s act.

Netflix never pulled Chappelle’s special down and Chappelle has remained unapologetic for it. The controversy generated by apoplectic snowflakes in response to Chappelle’s act likely only increased viewership of the special.

It has just been announced Dave Chappelle is going to be headlining a Netflix comedy festival this coming April in Hollywood Bowl. This signals Netflix has done well with Chappelle’s routine despite or perhaps even because of the controversy it generated. In having a set date at a large outdoor venue and in such a populated area, Netflix is upping the ante in their battle with cancel-culture activists. Not only are they saying they won’t pull Chappelle’s older content, but they are also expanding the reach for his next act.

American and Canadian courts have proven they will protect the rights of free expression for controversial comedians, albeit grudgingly. Anti-free speech activists will have to take their case to the streets now and I suspect they will. With as many as 17,000 attendees arriving for a comedy festival being potentially greeted by a sizable number of protesters, things may get ugly.

What has happened to our society when a comedy festival may turn into a street battle?

Chappelle’s showdown this spring could be a turning point for comedy. Will he and Netflix stand their ground in the face of protests? Will local authorities ensure the show can go on even if activists vow to shut it down? This comedy event is going to be an important one.

As with any art, the enjoyment of comedy is subjective. Some people like simple clean humour, some like complex satire, and some like vulgarity-laden shock comedy. The only people who can judge good comedy are the audience and they should only be able to render judgment through voting with their feet (and wallets). In other words, if you don’t like it, don’t watch it.

Comedians ply their trade by observing the world and poking at sacred cows. They dig into subjects people commonly avoid and force us to think about them through the lens of humour. They provide a public service by pushing the boundaries of free expression and ensuring no subjects are ever out of bounds. They often make us laugh and we need a whole lot more of that these days.

Comedians will not be able to effectively practice their art if they fear censors or legal repercussions. They will be restrained and they will leave subjects that need to be brought before public scrutiny untouched.

If the speech and expression of comedians are allowed to be suppressed, no speech is safe. We need to stand up for our comics for both their sake and our own.

Cory Morgan is Assistant Opinion & Broadcast Editor for the Western Standard

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WAGNER: Hydrocarbon based fuels are here to stay

“Think of it as telling people to step out of a perfectly serviceable airplane without a parachute, with assurances that politicians will work out alternatives on the way down.”




Alberta’s future is threatened by a national campaign to dramatically reduce the production of hydrocarbons.

The political and media elite repeatedly assure everyone that such fuels can be replaced by new “green” energy sources such as wind and solar power. People currently employed in the oil and gas industry will supposedly transition into green energy production and life will continue on as before, except with fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Indeed, Justin Trudeau’s federal government has committed to transitioning Canada’s economy to producing net-zero GHG emissions by 2050.

Trudeau’s scheme is a fairy tale. Hydrocarbons are going to be required for a very long time because current green energy technology is nowhere near where it needs to be to replace them. Currently, there are no realistic alternatives to oil and gas, so reducing their production will only lead to energy shortages.

As Dr. Henry Geraedts put it recently in the Financial Post, “The ultimate goal of net-zero politics is to impose a radical energy transition that demands a top-to-bottom physical and social-economic restructuring of society, with no credible road map in sight. Think of it as telling people to step out of a perfectly serviceable airplane without a parachute, with assurances that politicians will work out alternatives on the way down.”

Geraedts’ Financial Post column is a brief description of a policy report he produced in June 2021, and how it was ignored because its conclusions contradict the ideological perspective that university professors are expected to support. He didn’t toe the party line, in other words, and therefore got the cold shoulder.

Geraedts’ report, Net Zero 2050: Rhetoric and Realities, is available online at the website of the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy which is affiliated with both the University of Saskatchewan and University of Regina. It’s a very credible piece of work.

Fossil fuels are hydrocarbons and Geraedts points out “hydrocarbons are nature’s most efficient embodiment of primary energy: the combination of high energy density, abundance, stability, safety, portability and affordability is unmatched by any other source of energy.”

Currently, hydrocarbons comprise about 80% of global primary energy. This is essentially the same percentage as 30 years ago, when the global warming craze began. Despite years of favourable government policies and billions of dollars in government subsidies, green technology such as wind and solar energy remain relatively small contributors to the world’s energy supply.

Geraedts also describes the negative environmental impacts caused by so-called green energy technology. Among the most interesting details he mentions is: “Neither turbine blades nor solar panels nor lithium-ion batteries are physically or economically recyclable. They are instead, at an alarming rate, ending up in landfills leaching toxic chemicals — an estimated 10 million tons/year of batteries by 2030 alone.” So much for protecting the environment.

Geraedts is not a so-called “denier.” He points to data from reliable sources indicating global temperatures have increased by one degree Celsius since 1900. But he also explains “the projections used to justify net zero policies and the Paris Accord, are based on fundamentally flawed computer climate models that overstate warming by some 200%.”

Not only that, but “observational, empirical evidence remains agnostic as to what, with requisite confidence levels, is attributable to anthropogenic influences vs. natural variability.” In other words, it cannot be determined with certainty to what degree the gradual temperature increase is the result of human activities.

But climate change worries aside, there is still a fatal lack of realistic alternatives to hydrocarbons. The International Energy Agency forecasts that even if all countries fulfill their Paris Accord commitments — an unlikely prospect — hydrocarbons will still account for 60% of primary energy in 2040. With accelerating energy demand in Africa and Asia, Geraedts expects hydrocarbons will remain the dominant energy source for decades to come.

This is what it all means: If we put progressive ideology aside and take a hard, honest look at the energy situation, hydrocarbons are here to stay for quite a while. Knowing the ingenuity of human beings in a free society, the discovery of new energy sources is likely at some point in the future. For now, though, we need oil and gas, and Alberta has lots of both.

With strong international demand for hydrocarbons forecast to last for decades, there is no reason why these resources cannot continue to provide the foundation of economic prosperity for the province. The biggest obstacle to such prosperity, of course, is the federal government. Due to its determination to prevent the development of hydrocarbons, independence may be the only way to maintain and increase the resource-based wealth that is Alberta’s birthright.

An independent Alberta could implement policies maximizing economic growth and avoid the suffocating policies of Canada’s central government. A free Alberta would be a prosperous Alberta.

Michael Wagner is a columnist for the Western Standard

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