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MARSDEN: Not every Afghan who wants to come to Canada can

At the centre of the trouble was the Taliban, medieval zealots who not only nursed the terrorists who conducted the attacks but indiscriminately kill their own countrymen, with a particular hatred for women and girls.

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The calls to bring any Afghan who shook hands with our soldiers grow louder each day. The number of people clamoring to come to our country, and the number of former military members and assorted do-gooders speaking out on their behalf, has become too much.

The war – which cost the lives of 158 Canadians and the dedication of more than 40,000 of our troops – was meant to root out the rot that was linked to the attacks in 2001 on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Canada was duty-bound by treaty and honour to go to war after the attacks.

At the centre of the trouble was the Taliban, medieval zealots who not only nursed the terrorists who conducted the attacks but indiscriminately kill their own countrymen, with a particular hatred for women and girls.

For two decades, this war has been waged in Afghanistan. Canada left the battlefield in 2014, seven years ago.

The Taliban we know today, carries a grudge against those who helped the allied forces’ attempt to make Afghanistan a safe and secure nation. Presumably, the interpreters and other aides who assisted Canadian forces did so because they cared for their country’s welfare and wanted to forge a fairer society. Canadians weren’t there on holiday. They were there to lend assistance when it was needed.

But to think that those who provided support to our troops were some sort of employees, or that after all these years, they have the right to come to Canada, is silly. If they feared for their lives and were skilled in many languages, they should have left the country years ago.

Canada is considered the easiest country to immigrate to in the world. We take anyone because newcomers tend to vote Liberal.

The government is expecting to welcome 401,000 immigrants each year, an increase from 341,000 previously. This is at a time of high unemployment in an already saturated labour market.

Postmedia reporter Keith Gerein – who spent time with our troops – just this week expressed skepticism about some of the Afghan helpers’ motives.

“I recall leaving the country with serious questions. Qualms about the futility of NATO’s attempts to alter the country . . . to the point that this week’s developments always seemed a strong possibility to me,” he writes.

“Those doubts grew out of several moments. I can remember conversations with Afghan soldiers about family, food and work. And in those talks, while some came across as highly dedicated, there were also many who seemed to have a more mercenary mindset, and difficulty adapting to western military approaches.”

We should take these observations to heart. If we’re flying out planeloads of Afghans because the country is not safe and the nation’s president has fled, then it’s an admission of the failure of the exercise.

The object was to make Afghanistan a safe country for all of its people, particularly women and children, not to spirit out the chosen few, many of them with sketchy connections to our values.

The effort was meant to stamp out the threat of terrorism, establish a democracy, and make living conditions better for the country’s people.

The more Afghans that Canada shuttles to our country, the more we concede that the contribution of our brave men and women — our best — fell short. If the Afghan people can’t stand up for themselves after two decades of international help, their fate rests on them.

Self-responsibility is a character they need to learn for themselves. It’s a strength demonstrated through two hard-fought world wars that tugged at the depths of what humans can bear.

If the world worries Afghanistan remains a hornets’ nest of terrorism, then troops have left too soon.

Otherwise, leave Afghans to their own mess.

David Marsden is a columnist for the Western Standard. He served as managing editor of the Red Deer Advocate and editorial page editor of the Calgary Herald as well as several British Columbia publications.

Dave Marsden is a Columnist for the Western Standard. He has served as the Editorial Page Editor of the Calgary Herald and the Managing Editor of the Red Deer Advocate.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Steven

    August 23, 2021 at 3:02 pm

    Dave Marsden, when President Trump was in office he was drawing down troop numbers & maintaining control of the situation so that shit show Biden has now started wouldn’t happen.

    If you understand Afghanistan and clearly you don’t. The collation was focused on bringing Afghanistan to a democracy under a central government. Anyone with half a brain knew that wasn’t going to happen & after 20 years of trying. Afghanistan has gone back to it’s goat herder tribal backwater Islamic way of life, at the first chance they got. The KEY word is Tribal.

    Afghanistan has never been conquered by a foreign military. Occupied, yes, never conquered. It was inevitable & a waiting game till the democracies decided to leave.

    How President Biden couldn’t see pulling out the soldiers first and leaving the civilians behind wasn’t a bright idea is puzzling. Is Biden a senile cognitive braindead of an old man who shouldn’t be President. Only History & the American people will decide that.

  2. Cosmo Kramer

    August 23, 2021 at 1:31 pm

    Get with the times boomer Dave! The Afghanistan Taliban are now less barbarous and way more free than Kanada and certainly Australia. Did you know that in Afghanistan?:

    * People are allowed to step outside without a passport.
    * They can even enter government offices, museums, and stores without said passport.
    * Men may walk outside without face coverings.

    On the other hand, the Taliban do at least ban concerts, cinemas and night clubs so there are still similarities with Kanada.

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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? “

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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
cmorgan@westernstandardonline.com

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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.”

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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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