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FILDEBRANDT: In the face of tyranny, freedom demands our defiance

“Our silence is compliance. Our compliance is surrender.”

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Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has crossed a line.

When and where he crossed it is not easily discerned, but he has most certainly crossed it.

The premier announced at an early evening press conference Wednesday he was putting Alberta back under lockdown, the fourth so far. It didn’t work the first three times, but government is nothing if not a mandatory recurring set of bad ideas.

Yet he went much further than another routine lockdown this time. This time, he imposed a vaccine passport, a policy he and his party had been fundraising in opposition to just days earlier. Will the hapless UCP members who handed over their cash be refunded for these donations?

It is a nakedly authoritarian policy, designed to deprive men and women of free choice over what to do with their own bodies. Kenney’s vaccine passport will create a two-tiered, legalized segregation of society.

As the Hindu caste system did in times of old, society will be divided between the “clean” and the “unclean.” Alberta’s government will create a legally required class of untouchable people lowered to the status of second-class citizen. These Albertans will have vastly fewer rights and freedoms than do their betters.

Political disagreement too often leads to overheated rhetoric, with unjustified labels thrown around too casually. Every conservative is a ‘fascist’, and every liberal is a ‘communist,’ in Twitter political parlance.

Bad government does not always equal tyrannical government, but tyrannical governments do exist.

At what point does a government cease being merely “bad”, and become tyrannical?

Most dictionaries define a tyrant as “a cruel and oppressive ruler.”

It’s a broad definition that can admittedly be applied haphazardly. Not every ruler we strongly disagree with is a tyrant, but we know tyrants do rule.

A single act does not a tyrant make, but at some point, Alberta’s government has become tyrannical.

Was it when they sent police to beat up kids for playing hockey?

Was it when they jailed Christian pastors?

Was it when they raided and barricaded churches?

Was it when they seized small businesses that were going under for staying closed?

Was it when they outlawed rodeos and protests against the government?

Or was it when the rulers were caught on camera enjoying a nice dinner on the rooftop of the Sky Palace—in contravention of their own laws—while the ruled were locked down in the confines of their homes?

If it was not at any of those moments, it certainly must have been when Kenney and Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced the legalized segregation of Albertans into a new stratified class system.

A keystone marker of an authoritarian government is ‘otherism’, or scapegoating a minority.

It’s true the overwhelming majority of currently infected COVID-19 cases are among the unvaccinated, and the government is not wrong to point this out; but it’s language used to demonize the unvaccinated as a selfish, dirty, untouchable ‘other’ is dark and divisive.

The vaccine passport will have one set of rules for one class of people, and another set of rules for the other.

This is a difficult position for those of us in the minority of the majority – who support and encourage COVID-19 vaccinations – but oppose the authoritarian imposition of mandatory vaccines or vaccine discrimination. Until now, I have always encouraged my friends, family, and colleagues to get vaccinated as a generally safe and largely effective defence against COVID-19. But I only ever encouraged them to do so as a free choice.

Now, getting vaccinated is no longer a free choice, but an act of compliance with an authoritarian government. The ‘decision’ to get vaccinated has ceased to be a matter of making a good choice.

When government legislates personal morality, the act of compliance with the law ceases to be an act of morality.

Giving to the poor through charity is a moral act. Giving to the poor through mandated taxes is an empty fiscal transaction.

Getting vaccinated under threat to one’s liberties from the government ceases to be a selfless act for the good of others when compelled to do so by force.

It’s questionable that a vaccine passport will see more than a moderate increase in vaccination rates, as the vaccine-indifferent give in to forced compliance.

The refuseniks—those who range from anti-vaccination and vaccine-hesitant—now see reason to dig in. The hardcore anti-vaccination crowd will be unchanged regardless, only more entrenched in their beliefs as they are discriminated against by their own government.

The vaccine-hesitant, however, may well see a hardening of their views into a kind of conscientious objectionism.

The wife of a friend—an acclaimed biochemist—has not been vaccinated, but had every intention of doing so once she had enough time to observe the results in the general population. Since Kenney and Shandro’s announcement of a mandated vaccine passport Wednesday, she has made a decision not to be vaccinated. For her, it is no longer a matter of making a good choice, but a matter of refusing compliance with an unjust government order.

As much as I may think she would be better off getting the jab, I have a hard time blaming her.

The “my body, my choice” pro-choicers are nowhere to been seen. Most of them have scurried under the rocks of paternalistic authoritarianism with nary a word to say about the sanctity of personal sovereignty.

Free men and free women–vaxxed and unvaxxed alike–have a duty to resist.

An unfree society is not one worth protecting and is deserving of resistance. A free society is worth everything we have to give and sometimes demands it by choice.

Churches should refuse to turn away worshipers. Restaurants should refuse to require discriminatory vaccine passports. Bars should refuse to stop serving beer after 10 pm. Employers should refuse to shut down their offices. Kids should refuse to stop playing hockey. Ordinary men and women should demonstrate openly in the face of oppression.

Our silence is compliance. Our compliance is surrender.

Derek Fildebrandt is Publisher of the Western Standard

Derek Fildebrandt is the Publisher, President & CEO of Western Standard New Media Corp. He served from 2015-2019 as a Member of the Alberta Legislative Assembly in the Wildrose and Freedom Conservative parties. From 2009-2014 he was the National Research Director and Alberta Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. dfildebrandt@westernstandardonline.com

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18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Bill Mccann

    September 18, 2021 at 11:43 am

    Enjoyed the article except for the fact that you “encouraged” others to get vaccinated. I believe it’s up to each individual to decide for themselves without outside iterference.

  2. Eldon

    September 18, 2021 at 10:18 am

    Watch Isreal. They are realizing that it is the vaxxed who are the spreaders. Not the unvaxxed.
    There are studies out of Isreal, and Oxford University which support this.
    On the surface your reporting the higher number of covid cases to be in the unvaxxed is true. But if you’d researched the AHS website a little further you’d have learned that the hospitalizations were basically equal. On, the bright side, that high number of unvaxxed covid cases will be contributing to the provinces herd immunity.
    Unlike the vaxxed due to the extremely short life span and low efficacy of the jabs.

  3. Penny4YourThouhts

    September 18, 2021 at 7:31 am

    It’s actually NOT true that the hospitals are overwhelmed with the unvaccinated. Your bias prevents you from even entertaining the idea that their statistics are manipulated to fit their narrative.

    It’s clear the folks at the WS, save one or two, are heavily biased toward vaccines and that’s fine. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Keep virtue signaling though, and your membership will decline.

  4. Saskie

    September 17, 2021 at 8:10 pm

    Why are so many people apt to go along with anything disseminated by these bureaucrats and health officials? How many times have they lied about basic facts? In the past two weeks, I’ve known of two individuals who passed with sudden health complications, both recently fully vaccinated.

    And yet, in the face of incessant lies, many intelligent people continue to uncritically consider all assertions in the mainstream. Instead of inviting our moral outrage, it should alarm us that public health care providers are refusing to get the jab and protesting outside of hospitals. Perhaps we should carefully consider what makes these front-line workers hesitant about this health agenda.

    Moreover, shouldn’t we be asking questions about these reports about the ‘unvaccinated’ filling up hospitals? A closer examination might reveal shifting definitions and manipulation of data. If I visit a hospital with a health issue within 14 days after receiving my second shot, I would be counted as unvaccinated. If it has been more than 90 days since my second shot, I would counted as unvaccinated. Shouldn’t we be demanding more detailed health stats from our public authorities, given that they are using these claims to divide us and conquer our freedoms? Why don’t they give us a clearer picture of what they mean by ‘unvaccinated’?—I suspect because when they do, the impetus for this wealth and power generating vaccine agenda might fall apart.

    Canadians need to wake up and turn off the news and propoganda or at minimum take a position of extreme skepticism toward all claims. Stop the stupidity. Start asking questions and guard ourselves from hatred, moral superiority, and the foolish proclivities of the crowd.

  5. Susan Grant

    September 17, 2021 at 3:12 pm

    PROVE IT, PROVE TO US ITS UNVACCINATED CAUSING HOSPITAL ISSUES.. I CALL BULL! THE GOVERNMENT MAKES STORIES UP EVERYDAY. THEY WONT RELEASE EVIDENCE OR DATA SO BULLSHITE. WE SHALL SEE Who’s still standing after this flu season.

  6. Lee Morrison

    September 17, 2021 at 11:38 am

    Until it became a source of societal division I never gave the matter of vaccinations much thought. Over the course of 50 years (when I lived in the real world and my work involved constant travel) I was subjected to Lord knows how many mandatory vaccinations and I just rolled up my sleeve in the knowledge that vaccination was preferable to smallpox, typhoid, typhus, cholera, diphtheria,, hepatitis, yellow fever etc.

    Until recently, I was a semi-Libertarian who regarded anti-vaxxers as harmless with their attitude of “my body my choice, I’ll die if I want to”, but with hospitals plugged by the unvaccinated while their cohorts at hospital entrances mock exhausted medical personnel, I’ve reached my tolerance level. With vaccination cards available refusers now have the choice of getting their shots or staying in their basements until the emergency has passed, and the rest of us will be able to return to normal lives.

  7. Pamela Bridger

    September 17, 2021 at 9:42 am

    You best be careful with promoting what is clearly a deadly medical therapy because as much as you think you are being kind, the Nuremberg Code applies equally to media people promoting illegal treatments.

    Take this as your Notice of Liability Derek.

  8. Kelly Fonos

    September 17, 2021 at 9:09 am

    You do realize that most of us are slaves to the grind stone. How many people are 1 paycheck from losing everything? And God for bit that you have to pay child support by pre-covid income. And you are expecting us to go to a city protest when we can barely make ends meet.
    When they tell us we can’t work without a vaccine you are going to see some angry people.
    As for the vaccine, the fastest a vaccine has been put into general use was 7 years. And they are expecting us to put it in our bodies and our children’s bodies?

  9. K

    September 17, 2021 at 8:04 am

    How can you think that the same government that is instituting violence and coercion to force their population take a vaccine for a 99.98% survival rate virus—the same government who is separating us into ‘clean’ and ‘unclean’ and depriving us of our rights—How can you think that the vaccines they are forcing on all of us can be good for us? Sunk cost fallacy? Like, come on already.

  10. Donald KEVIN Lafayette

    September 17, 2021 at 7:55 am

    Vote to be free.
    Vote to be a slave.
    I have already made my choice. There is the PPC, and they are the only party that is still standing in opposition to any of this.
    Bloc, NDP, Green, Liberal, CPoC; all the same.
    Anyone still clinging bitterly to the political party that abandoned them decades ago?

  11. francis witzel

    September 17, 2021 at 7:39 am

    When are we going to understand that anything, and everything they say they will not do, they have done? So why do we keep believing them? I for one will never, ever believe anything that comes out of their mouths again. And I was never an anti-vaxer before all of this, BUT I AM NOW !!!!!!!!!

  12. Claudette Leece

    September 17, 2021 at 7:05 am

    Hitler did the same thing, the unders they called them and slowly with constant talk from him about how they are ruining society, the Jews were killed

  13. Dennis

    September 17, 2021 at 6:23 am

    Well folks, if this drug works in 3rd world countries, why the HELL is it censored here. This treatment has been used around the world with great success but not here. WHY? Is it time these tyrants answer to the people they work for?

    https://www.thedesertreview.com/opinion/columnists/the-ivermectin-deworming-hoax—part-ii-eric-clapton-s-human-rights-warning/article_284902bc-14be-11ec-8d43-43e98275cff8.html?fbclid=IwAR1_vK6SqZbcZZWMBeiQffmrooq6l3YLPGeHCh1iDaOyGxLq7pXtax9yrFo

  14. Baron Not Baron

    September 16, 2021 at 9:05 pm

    We are decent men and women. Who the hell are these criminals to tell you how to live? They are our SERVANTS ! These are tactics (see “The Art of War”) to tire you, so you would give up.
    The time to end all of this is here, now.

  15. Cosmo Kramer

    September 16, 2021 at 3:01 pm

    A very well written article. My only objection is on recommending the gene therapy injections to all. It is wrong to give medical advice online. What if, after X number of months or years, they turn out to have deadly effects? There’s a reason new drugs are tested over a period of years, which is far from the case here.

  16. Declan Carroll

    September 16, 2021 at 1:00 pm

    Amen this is what needs to be done at this point.

  17. Royden Yuill

    September 16, 2021 at 12:45 pm

    Remember those dirty unclean unvaxxed taking up hospital beds include everyone who got their 2nd jab up to 13 days ago. Soon it will include anyone who hasn’t gotten their 3rd booster, and 4th, and 5th…. It also includes everyone who got thier first jab and had a adververse reaction. Myocarditis or pericarditis anyone? Look up how many cases of those we have had in Alberta in young men prior to 2021. Don’t worry, we’ll soon be like Ontario, if the 1st jab kills you, we won’t force you to take the 2nd…

  18. Andrew Red Deer

    September 16, 2021 at 12:39 pm

    Derek, You are way off base advising people to get vaccinated. In doing so you are practicing medicine. Period.

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Opinion

The Western Standard at two years old

Western Standard Publisher Derek Fildebrandt on the journey from scrappy-startup to one of the most-read media platforms in Western Canada.

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Today marks two years since the Western Standard was reestablished and returned to publication. It has been a wild ride and has succeeded far beyond my expectations.

In August 2019, I began putting together a business plan for a new media company that would speak for Western Canadians who do not see themselves reflected in the priorities of the large legacy media outfits. I wanted to build something that would carry the mantel of the old Western Standard and the Alberta Report before it.

I consulted with some of the best in the business, and while their advice was critical to launching us on a solid footing, the outlook for success was far from certain.

As the plan began to come together, the opportunity presented itself to purchase the rights to the old Western Standard brand from an employee of the original company, Matthew Johnston. The Western Standard was far-and-away my favourite magazine to read between Marxist theory classes while I attended Carleton University in the mid-2000s. I remembered Mark Steyn’s back-cover columns forcing me to the ground as I rolled in laughter.

We had a name at least, even if it had been forgotten by many.

Media is a hurting industry in Canada. Even with a generous $600 million bailout subsidy from Ottawa, legacy media are struggling to keep their heads above water. Newsrooms across Canada are a macabre, pale reflection of their former glory. How would we break into an already dying industry and succeed without accepting the federal cash? It was a daunting prospect.

The one good thing going for us was that, unlike many other businesses, an online media company could get started with remarkably little upfront capital.

With a few thousand dollars and dozens of hours of YouTube tutorials, we managed to put together the basics of the technology required.

With no other capital available, we needed an innovative way to pay reporters, columnists, and other contributors. So instead of paying a salary, wage, or for each submission from writers, the decision was made to pay them based on a combination of revenues generated by the company, relative to how many readers each received on their contributions.

Those revenues wouldn’t be very significant for some time to come. We had no investors. We had no advertisers. We couldn’t put in place a paywall and expect people to pay for something that they knew nothing about. For the first while, it would take reporters and columnists willing to do this as a labour of love.

On Oct. 23, 2019 we launched. It was just two days after the federal election that saw Justin Trudeau re-elected with a minority government. Westerners were incredulous that a self-righteous woke Liberal could be returned to power after a flood of pictures showing him in racist blackface was made public. Overnight, the WEXIT movement caught fire as many Westerners — especially Albertans and Saskatchewanians — began to believe Canada was a futile project designed to serve the interests of the East. With particular insight into what was driving these people — and who these people were — the Western Standard was in pole position to cover the movement.

Within our first week, Dave Naylor joined the team as news editor. It was a fateful moment for our growth as an organization. Dave brought with him 30 years of experience as a respected newsman at the Calgary Sun. From there, he built a small but mighty news division in the organization that would break a disproportionate number of exclusive stories and put the Western Standard on the map.

By January 1, 2020, we were already on track to be one of the most-read media platforms in Alberta, with promising signs that we could replicate this in the other Western provinces.

2020 was a long, hard year for us. We continued to slog away at delivering a high-volume of news and opinion content, but on a shoestring budget. We were still too new and unproven to attract major advertisers, and we had only a voluntary donation option to receive support from readers. Reporters, columnists and other contributors were all chronically underpaid, we worked from home, and had little in the way of a budget to professionalize our operations.

Some of the Western Standard staff in the Calgary Office, September 28, 2021

All of this began to turn around in December 2020. Advertisers began to take notice of the Western Standard. Readership reached new heights. And investors began to show interest.

March 2021 was the decisive month when the Western Standard began to move from a scrappy startup, to a professional media platform capable of challenging some of the biggest players in the Western media market.

Firstly, we implemented a soft paywall for readers. That is, we allowed readers to continue to consume a high volume of Western Standard content, but would eventually require those readers to pay if they read a lot. We were extremely hesitant to do this. There was no way that we could grow to where we wanted to be without asking readers to contribute towards our editorial work, but we wanted to keep our content open to as many readers as possible. That’s why we settled on a “soft-paywall.” The results were incredible. Readers signed up in huge numbers, and we reinvested every dollar back into professionalizing our editorial and operational capacities.

Those operational capacities included investments into our website (ending the constant crashes whenever we posted big breaking stories), renting sufficient office space, and building a professional studio to provide high-quality video and podcasts.

Investment in our editorial capacity was also significant. Staff and freelance contributors were actually paid fairly for their work. This incentivized them to provide content of a higher quality, and at a higher volume.

Daily Readership, October 2019-September 2021

The result was a continuing increase in Western Standard readership. In the period between January 1 and Sept. 30, 2021, the Western Standard had 9.5 million readers, triple that of the same period in 2020.

Much of this is driven by our focus on issues and angles that are too often ignored or not understood by the older legacy media. Our news division is professional and includes several veterans of the industry, but it looks at stories from perspectives not shared by a majority of reporters.

Probably the most obvious example of this is in our coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic. Legacy media have almost exclusively taken the view that governments must — as a default — exercise extraordinary powers to eliminate the virus through the imposition of lockdowns, forced-masking, vaccine passports, and other coercive measures. Those concerned with retaining their liberties are portrayed as a bunch of cranky, conspiracy theorist hillbillies.

The Western Standard took a different approach. We have taken COVID-19 seriously and covered government and medical pronouncements as fairly and objectively as we can, and we have had a zero-tolerance policy for giving credibility or a platform to conspiracy theories. But we have also not drank the Kool-Aid of accepting everything the government tells us. We have applied a critical lens to government actions and their justifications for them. We have done our very best to provide readers with a perspective that simultaneously takes the science around COVID-19 seriously, as well as the protection of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

As we complete our second year of operations, I’m immensely grateful to our staff, freelance contractors, advertisers, and individual members who have allowed us to get this far. We have gone from an idea on a piece of paper in 2019, to a well-read garage startup in 2020, to a professional media outlet that we can all be proud of in 2021.

We have big plans for 2022, and I hope that you will be a part of that journey with us.

Derek Fildebrandt is Publisher, President & CEO of Western Standard New Media Corp.

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Opinion

MORGAN: Albertans need real recall legislation now

“The UCP needs to bring their recall legislation back to the legislature, correct the flaws in it, and proclaim it into active law as soon as possible.”

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Nobody should have the ability to remove an elected official from office aside from the electors who put them there in the first place. Recalling a politician should never be easy, but it shouldn’t be impossible either.

If some of the allegations against embattled Calgary City Councilor Sean Chu prove to be true, there will be little the constituents of Ward 4 will be able to do about it, other than ask him to step down. Chu doesn’t face any criminal charges nor has he been convicted of any, which would be required for any legal by other councillors to expel him. It would be up to Chu to decide if he wants to continue to sit as city councilor until the end of his term or not.

Even if Chu can provide proof exonerating himself of the acts he has been accused of, a terrible flaw in our electoral system has been exposed. Alberta needs viable voter recall legislation. Citizens need to be empowered to fire elected officials before the end of their term in exceptional circumstances.

Recall legislation was a key promise made by Jason Kenney and the UCP in the last election. While the government did table a form of recall legislation in the last legislative session, it was an anemic, nearly useless bill, and the government hasn’t bothered itself to formally proclaim it into active law yet.

Even if the new recall legislation was active right now, it couldn’t be applied in Chu’s case. The legislation doesn’t allow a recall to be initiated until at least one and-a-half years after the most recent election. While this clause was built in to prevent people from trying to frivolously recall politicians the day after an election, it leaves a gaping hole in the intent. In both Chu’s and Liberal MP George Chahal’s cases for example, allegations of wrongdoing surfaced literally within days of their having been elected.

While the need to recall elected officials is thankfully rare, it happens often enough to demonstrate a need for viable legislation. The Alberta Party had not one, but two of its former candidates convicted of child sex crimes. What would have happened if they had been elected? In 2018, former Wildrose MLA Don MacIntyre was charged with heinous child sex crimes. MacIntyre resigned and was subsequently convicted of sexual interference. Had MacIntyre refused to resign however, the constituents of Innisfail-Sylvan Lake would have had to endure being represented by a convicted and imprisoned child sex predator until the 2019 election.

Many Albertans can remember the bizarre saga of Lethbridge city councilor Dar Heatherington. Heatherington made international headlines when she disappeared from a conference in Montana. She later surfaced in Las Vegas and claimed she had been abducted and raped. An investigation later found Heatherington had fabricated the entire episode along with other stories of a fictional stalker. Heatherington was eventually convicted of mischief which allowed the Lethbridge city council to have her removed from her seat. The issue began with rage, but later turned into pity as it became evident Heatherington was suffering from serious mental illness. Recall would have been an act of mercy for her and her family were she not convicted.

Kenney’s recall legislation is an unworkable bill modeled to pay lip service to the principle of recall but is built in such a way it will likely never be used. The bar for petitioning is set too high, and the timelines for petitioning are far too tight. Even in the most egregious of cases, it would be exceedingly difficult for any elected official to be recalled.

Kenney’s reticence in providing viable recall legislation to Albertans has managed to come back to haunt him. Pressure is being put upon both Kenney and Municipal Affairs Minister Ric McIver to intervene and somehow block Chu from taking his seat on council. There likely is little the provincial government can do in this case since Chu hasn’t been criminally charged, much less convicted of anything. Chu’s sanctions were from within the police force, not the justice system. Kenney could have taken the pressure off himself if he had given Albertans recall legislation as he had promised. Kenney could have pointed to it today and said the issue was in the hands of the voters of Ward 4.

Adding salt to the wound, is the fact that Kenney has allowed the Recall Act it sit in legislative limbo, unproclaimed into active law despite being long ago passed by the legislature. The cynics among us may suspect he may fear its use against him and his caucus.

We need a mechanism to remove elected officials from office before their term is up if they prove to be unfit for office. We can’t put that power into the hands of other elected officials who would inevitably abuse it. Do we really want to see the premier able to fire elected mayors and councils in Alberta? In looking at how vitriolic and tribal some municipal councils are, could you imagine what would happen if these councils and mayors had the ability to fire each other? Former Calgary Mayor Haheed Nenshi and his gang on Calgary city council likely would have had Jeromy Farkas kicked out of city hall within his first year in office for being a nuisance.

The UCP needs to bring their recall legislation back to the legislature, correct the flaws in it, and proclaim it into active law as soon as possible. The wheel does not need to be reinvented here. Workable recall legislation exists in many jurisdictions. Electors deserve nothing less.

Cory Morgan is the Alberta Political Columnist for the Western Standard and Host of the Cory Morgan Show

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Opinion

SLOBODIAN: Maskless Maintoba ministers get free pass from top health doc

However, since 99.999% of Manitobans don’t get to go to a ball, let’s look at other indoor situations they regularly find themselves in. 

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Manitoba’s chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin essentially leapt to the defense of three cabinet ministers — including the health minister — who appeared maskless at a recent ball.

Roussin gave the ministers a pass for taking a photo wearing no masks at last weekend’s event held at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.

“For the most part, that mask should be on. There are brief periods where it’s reasonable for it to come off,” said Roussin. “If it was simply to remove a mask for the purposes of getting a photograph, and then you put it back on, then … that’s in keeping with advice we’ve provided.”

Well, it wasn’t quite ‘simply’ that. 

Unmasked Health Minister Audrey Gordon, Minister of Families Rochelle Squires and Minister of Sport, Culture, and Heritage Cathy Cox posed for a photo with three other women. 

Squires posted it to her Instagram page. (Do you think the other two are still talking to her for outing them? Maybe eating at different lunch table at the legislature shooting glare darts in between bites?? Did they unfriend her on social media yet?)

Yes, yes, Gordon and Squires said they were really, very sorry. Gordon and Cox adamantly said they had removed their masks to eat, then spontaneously jumped up only to take the photo. 

Hmmm … is that really the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

It isn’t.

Manitoba COVID-19 public health orders require mask use in all indoor public places, with some exemptions, including temporarily removing masks to eat, drink, give a speech or receive a service that requires them to be removed.

On Monday, Roussin issued a dire prediction that all harsh rules will likely remain in place through to spring.

Roussin said he wasn’t familiar with all of details of what transpired at the ball, so let’s enlighten the good doctor.

Squires posted another photo. She was seated at a table. Gordon and Cox, Winnipeg city Councilor Marcus Chambers, and several other people were standing behind her. No masks. No social distancing. None of that.

Roussin didn’t specifically elaborate on mask protocol while standing and socializing at balls. 

Thankfully, Manitobans can follow the health minister’s lead on acceptable guidelines.

However, since 99.999% of Manitobans don’t get to go to a ball, let’s look at other indoor situations they regularly find themselves in. 

An indoor venue is an indoor venue, right?

Surely the same rules apply to both politicians and regular folk in all indoor situations.

So, go ahead, be like Gordon. If you’re at the grocery store and see people you know, or even people you don’t know, by all means, rip off those cumbersome masks, stand really close, and visit — chat up a storm as long as you like. 

Same applies for acceptable mask protocol in Walmart, Home Depot, the gas station, school hallways, drug stores, the kid’s hockey game, etc.

And if the mask police descend and try to give you a $298 ticket — just whip out a copy of the photo of the health minister doing exactly that at an indoor event when tough COVID-19 mask restrictions are in place.

Remind them in a reasonable, calm manner the ministers have not been slapped with such silly fines. So, you shouldn’t be either.

And go ahead, post photos of the visits on Instagram, Facebook, wherever. Squires did that. So, there’s apparently nothing to hide.

The defense rests, your Honour. 

The only problem is — unlike the cabinet ministers — you probably wouldn’t get a pass.

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

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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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