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MAKICHUK: Prince, Stephen Harper, and a nation on the edge

Demonized by the Liberal eastern press and Laurentian elites, Harper held a steady hand on the tiller of Canada’s economy.




I met a guy on 10 Ave.

This was years ago, and it was a music/poster type shop that doesn’t exist anymore.

Anyway, I got to chatting with the owner of this place, and man, did he have a cool story to tell — one that I never would forget.

He was a huge fan of Prince, the talented rocker from Minnesota who sadly left us in 2016 at the age of just 57.

This guy had every music CD or record Prince ever made and when he got a call from his buddy he was totally blown away.

“Get yourself to (a guitar shop in Calgary) now!” said the friend. “And bring a good selection of Prince CDs.”

“What’s up?” he answered.

“Prince is there … he’s in town … doing a concert tonight, and he needs to listen to a few CDs to get things right.”

Those weren’t the exact words but that was the gist of it.

Needless to say, he scrambled, loading up a ton of CDs, and headed to the guitar store.

Arriving there, he was led to a small music recording room in the very back … and holy crap! … there sat Prince!

I had to ask, what was Prince like?

“Fantastic,” said the guy, “could not have been nicer. A total gentleman. He thanked me for bringing the CDs, and, I was led out.”

I begged him to tell me more. I mean, this was Prince, FFS. More! I wanted more!

“Well,” said the guy. “One thing stood out. He had perfect skin. It was perfect.”

Buddy also got tickets to the concert, right upfront. And when Prince spotted him, he threw him his tambourine.

There was something else that was interesting.

Prince ran a tight ship. Anybody who screwed up was docked money on the spot — a fine, essentially. And Prince would nod or gesture toward that person who messed up. 

He did not tolerate a sub-par performance. He demanded the best and he got it.

So … let me tell you, about someone else, who ran a tight ship, financially.

His name was Stephen Harper, and he was prime minister of Canada from 2006 to 2015.

Demonized by the Liberal eastern press and Laurentian elites, Harper held a steady hand on the tiller of Canada’s economy.

He didn’t have boyish good looks and never painted his face black. 

He didn’t have JFK-like hair, the family heritage of a federal icon or spend his holidays on the Aga Khan’s Caribbean island. 

He was just a man, a politician, who wanted to do his best for Canada and the West.

Yes, he was a control freak, but name me a world leader who isn’t. And yes, he liked cats, which scored big points with me.

According to The Financial Post, “The federal surplus for fiscal year 2005-6, at the very end of which Harper took over, was $13.2 billion. He ran surpluses for two more years but then in 2009-10 he broke the bank and posted a deficit of $56.4 billion …

“Why did Harper do that? For the understandable reason that in the fall of 2008 a major financial crash in the U.S. and other places threatened to deflate the world economy.

“Within five years the $56-billion deficit was down to $0.6 billion — basically gone, as Harper and (Minister of Finance Jim) Flaherty had said it would be.”

Imagine that? Strong, fiscal guidance. A man who cares. A country staying on course, despite a massive economic crash south of the border that devastated nations around the world.

Countries like Iceland took it on the chin.

Its national currency fell sharply in value, foreign currency transactions were suspended for a week and the market capitalization of the Icelandic stock exchange fell by more than 90%.

Canada was safe, partly because Paul Martin and Jean Chretien wouldn’t let Canadian banks merge with US banks.

Joked Chretien, in his down-home Shawinigan style: “If I’m bigger, does dat make me better?”

These were men who knew what they were doing. They protected us.

Now fast forward to the regime of the Court-Jester-In-Chief, Justin the Younger.

According to the Fraser Institute, Ottawa ran budget deficits worth a total of $94.1 billion from 2015/16 to 2019/20. 

“This proclivity for deficit-financed spending (i.e. borrowing) helped fuel Ottawa’s growing debt burden pre-COVID. In fact, pre-pandemic, Prime Minister Trudeau’s government was one of only three in Canadian history to accumulate federal per-person debt outside of war or recession,” it said.

“By spending through borrowing, this government is effectively sticking future generations with the bill for today’s spending.

“And it’s a big bill. In total, net debt (total debt minus financial assets) reached $812.9 billion in 2019/20 and is expected to eclipse $1.3 trillion in 2021/22.” 

There are some who say one of the reasons Trudeau called the election was because he wanted to nail down his mandate before Canadians finally came to realize just what a financial mess we are in.

The man, or woman, who inherits this disaster in the PMO’s office, won’t have a frikkin’ chance in the world. And neither will your kids, or mine. Someone is going to have to pay that bill.

With more money going to pay down the interest to the debt, and less to social programs, health care and other needs, it’s only a matter of time before it all comes tumbling down.

Then, and only then, will those who voted for this idiot feel the brunt of his legacy.

Purple Rain, my friends, Purple Rain.

Dave Makichuk is a Western Standard contributor
He has worked in the media for decades, including as an editor for the Calgary Herald. He is also the military editor for the Asia Times.

Dave Makichuck is a Columnist for the Western Standard. He is a 35-year veteran journalist who has served at both the Calgary Sun and Calgary Herald.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Left Coast

    September 24, 2021 at 10:10 am

    Great read . . .

    No Doubt Harper was easily the best in the last 50 years !

    Unfortunately the majority of Canadians have now idea of the dire straights of Canada today. Ontario’s Manufacturing base collapsed more than a decade ago, today the Alberta Oil Patch is on Life Support . . . and our now 2nd most Clueless Leader on the Planet just keeps on spending.

    And the Fantasy Green Economy is going to be like an EV on a hot day with the AC on and dead on the side of the road after 220 miles.

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BC removes capacity limits in some areas, but only if you’re double vaccinated

The change comes into effect October 25, and it applies to indoor sporting events, concerts, theatres, weddings, funeral receptions outside of a funeral home, and organized parties.




British Columbia will be seeing some restrictions eased for those who have can prove two doses of vaccination against COVID-19.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced Tuesday that capacity limits for events and gatherings throughout much of the province — where proof-of-vaccination is required — will be lifted.

The change comes into effect October 25, and it applies to indoor sporting events, concerts, theatres, weddings, funeral receptions outside of a funeral home, and organized parties.

Health officials will also be removing the requirement to stay seated at restaurants.

The changes do not apply to regional restrictions in effect in Interior Health, Northern Health, and eastern Fraser Valley.

Personal gatherings, both indoor and outdoor, are restricted to fully vaccinated people throughout the Northern Health region, with the exception of Terrace, Kitimat, Haida Gwaii, Prince Rupert, Stikine, and the Nisga’a areas.

Indoor mask requirements remain in effect for all indoor gatherings and events.

Reid Small is a BC correspondent for the Western Standard

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WORLD WATCH: U.K. warns of new COVID variant as cases rise yet Japan numbers plummet

Experts are taking a close look at AY.4.2. to see how much of a threat it may pose, but say it is not yet considered a “variant of concern”.




News reports out of the U.K. are linking an uptick in cases to a new variant that “could be 10 times more infectious than Delta,” yet Japan is seeing some of their lowest case counts since this time last year.

According to the latest official data out of the U.K., an increase in COVID-19 cases includes a genetically sequenced variant labelled AY.4.2 accounting for 6% of new cases.

Graph courtesy worldometers.info

The new strain, some call “Delta Plus”, is said to contain mutations that could give the virus “survival advantages” and could make it more contagious.

Experts are taking a close look at AY.4.2. to see how much of a threat it may pose, but say it is not yet considered a “variant of concern”.

Meanwhile, reports from Japan say a very different narrative where cases have mysteriously plummeted over the last two months.

Low case rates have not been the norm in Japan throughout the pandemic. However, despite the 2020 Summer Olympics being postponed to the summer of 2021 and Japan seeing some of the highest COVID-19 case rates in the world at times, the country has never implemented any full lockdowns.

Over the last two months, rates in Japan went from over 26,121 new cases recorded on August 22 to 494 new cases as of Monday.

Graph courtesy worldometers.info

Some are crediting the incredible turnaround to a late but rapid uptake in vaccinations. Others say it could have something to do with bad August weather in the latter part of the month that kept people home.

Officials are still trying to determine the cause of the huge decline in cases and experts are warning Japan could face another surge with the gradual waning of vaccine efficacy as well as heading into the colder winter months.

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard

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EXCLUSIVE: Chu vows not to resign, apologizes and speaks out on allegations

Chu speaks out after allegations against him come to light.




Embattled Calgary Councillor Sean Chu says he has no intention of resigning, but has apologized to a woman he had a sexual encounter with 24 years ago.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean any harm,” Chu told the Western Standard in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.

City of Calgary officials confirmed Chu won the election race in Ward 4 by a mere 52 votes after allegations surfaced last week of his involvement in August of 1997 with a girl who was just 16 at the time.

“This was nothing but a political assassination,” said Chu.

Chu, who has represented Ward 4 since 2013, also fired back at some media reports which he claims were completely wrong.

Chu said he met the unidentified girl at a pub near Macleod Tr. and 94 Ave. S and not the Husky House restaurant downtown that some media had reported.

“Because it was a licensed establishment I thought the girl was at least 18 years old,” said Chu, who was in uniform with his partner at the time.

“I was single at the time and I thought some girl liked me.”

The Western Standard cannot confirm at this time if there is documentary evidence the encounter was at the Husky House or at the pub on Macleod Tr.

At some point in their interaction, Chu caressed the girl’s leg, an incident that later earned him a letter of reprimand on his file.

Chu said the girl seemed interested in him so when he was off duty he changed into civilian clothes and went back to the pub to meet the girl.

The evening continued with Chu and the girl eventually heading to his home.

Once there, the pair “started kissing and hugging, but there was no intercourse,” said Chu.

Chu admits there was “some touching underneath clothes”.

“She then said she wanted to go home and I drove her straight there.”

Chu denied media reports that a gun was produced during the evening at his home. He said he checked his service weapon in at the police’s traffic office when he signed off duty.

At one point Chu said he owned a shotgun, but denied that weapon was ever produced or shown in any way that night.

“If there had been a gun involved there would have been charges,” said Chu.

The Western Standard has not seen any documents that indicate the presence or absence of a firearm on the evening in question.

Chu said he does not drink alcohol, but added he didn’t know if the girl had been drinking.

After the incident, the girl reported the case to city police claiming she was sexually assaulted. That lead to nine years of investigations, court battles and appeals, with news of the case only leaking last week, days before the civil election.

There were never any sexual assault or weapons charges laid, and Chu says the letter of reprimand was the only discipline that came out of the entire process.

Documents obtained by the Western Standard and other media indicate that the woman claimed the whole process was a “cover-up.”

Chu served as a Calgary police officer from 1992 until he was elected in 2013.

Chu is now at the centre of a political storm with friends and supporters deserting him.

Premier Jason Kenney described the allegations as “appalling” but said he didn’t think there was any way for the province to remove a councillor who han’t been convicted under the Criminal Code.

He said he would be happy to meet with Mayor-Elect Jyoti Gondek to discuss the situation.

Kenney said as much of the legal documents are under seal, it’s up to Chu to prove his innocence.

Calgary-Nose Hill MP Michelle Rempel Garner tweeted her disgust at the incident.

“I have supported Mr. Chu in the past, but firmly withdraw all such support in light of these reports. Believing women means walking the talk,” she tweeted.

“In light of the disciplinary action, as a result of inappropriate contact with a minor which has been reported by CBC Calgary, MP Rempel Garner is formally withdrawing her endorsement of Councillor Sean Chu and he is no longer a member of her Constituency Association.”

Rempel Garner tweet

Now Chu said he is looking at his legal options and a possible defamation suit over some of what he called the false reporting.

“I have always told the truth. My reputation is important to me and now my family is hurting,” said Chu.

Chu said he wouldn’t comment on remarks made by Gondek that she will try and remove him from council.

“I will continue to tell the truth at council and will be a fiscal hawk,” he said.

“The most important thing is I told the truth and the truth will prevail.”

It appears any bid to try and remove Chu would fail because he was not charged or convicted criminally.

Calgary police released a statement Monday about its investigation in 1997. It states:

“We want to reassure Calgarians that when this matter came to light in 1997 it was taken seriously by the Service and managed in accordance with the Police Act. This has been a complex legal matter with multiple complaints and investigations as well as appeals to the Alberta Law Enforcement Review Board. One of those decisions was overturned by the Alberta Court of Appeal. Ultimately, one allegation of misconduct was sustained through our internal disciplinary process.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

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