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Victor Lau champions Universal Basic Income for Greens

Wascana Green Party candidate Victor Lau used to lead the provincial party, but now champions the Universal Basic Income in the federal campaign.

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Regina, SK: Green Party candidate Victor Lau will give his best to win Regina–Wascana, but his real goal is to open minds on the merits of a universal basic income (UBI).

“I hope to improve on the last federal vote, just to do a good showing. If we can knit together disaffected rural voters with disaffected New Democrats, I think we may find some breakthroughs,” Lau told the Western Standard.

“It’s putting out a message more than actual trying for the seat, because we’re labeled the Green Party, the easiest way to rise to power would be an environmental catastrophe. If there’s nothing happening on the environment (it would be) unlikely to get a Green in unless you’re really, really popular, like if we ran [former Regina mayor] Pat Fiacco or somebody like that that maybe converted to Greenism.”

Lau has a profile of his own: He helped found the Saskatchewan Green Party in 1999 and led the provincial party in 2006 and again from 2011 to 2016.

One of Lau’s favorite memories as Green leader was a twitter exchange with then- Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall.

“I said, ‘Well, as the Green Party leader, I have no problem supporting your position against the carbon tax. We have too many taxes. We’re trying to get rid of carbon, if that’s the problem. Why wouldn’t we look at the source, the largest sources of carbon emissions and find a solution? Nothing needs to be another tax. In fact, we don’t know if the tax is even working,’” he recalled.

“I have the distinction — I believe I’m the only Green Party leader possibly in the world that has stood against the carbon tax.”

The former UFCW shop steward ran in five provincial general elections and two by-elections and is currently the provincial Greens’ deputy leader. Lau was motivated to run federally because of his enthusiasm for the Green’s platform plank of a UBI, a concept which Greens are endorsing around the world. He believes artificial intelligence could displace jobs and make the concept increasingly important.

“It would start out at $2,000 a month if you had no job. If you got a job that paid you $1,000 a month, then it would reduce to $1,700, and so on…Once you hit $6,000 or more a month, well, the government basically says, ‘Look, do you really need any handout from us? I mean, you’re making $6,000 a month, that’s comfortable.’”

Lau says a UBI could cancel complicated government programs.

Lau, an assistant for NDP-turned-independent MP Erin Weir until his term ended in 2019, found working with Ottawa’s army of civil servants to be a mixed experience.

“You wouldn’t need EI necessarily, you wouldn’t need a whole bunch of programming. You could get rid of a bunch of departments that are just redundant, right?” Lau said.

“These bureaucrats, some of them are very friendly, they will work with you, and others are just downright stubborn. And they shouldn’t have the job they have because all they see themselves as ruthless gatekeepers, and they’re not suffering. They don’t feel the pain [when] that senior gets cut off.”

Now Lau just has to convince voters. He says he can’t always reach voters who chose incumbent Conservative Michael Kram in 2019.

“The open-heart Conservatives, they’re just gonna they tell you, ‘I’ve got my party, I’m voting for Conservative. Thank you very much.’ And they usually don’t take the literature. Then there’s the soft ones that [say], ‘Anybody but J.T.’ So that sounds like they’re not going to vote Liberal but they’re open to voting anything else,” Lau said.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole made tax reform a plank of his party’s platform, something Lau says he has told Conservatives to do for years. “Make it a lot more transparent and efficient so that it actually creates more uptick in the economy, rather than dragging down businesses, dragging down consumers,” Lau said.

Lau thinks O’Toole might win and the national race “will be interesting to watch.” What disappoints him is the People’s Party Leader couldn’t tangle with party leaders on the national stage.

“I’m really upset with Maxime Bernier not allowed in the debate. My left-wing friends are like, ‘Are you crazy?’ Look, is this a democracy? Or is this a kind of oligopoly? What re we talking about here?..[The PPC is] running more candidates than the Greens, so doesn’t that deserve something?” asked Lau.

“It’s not a democracy. I don’t know what the hell you call it, but it’s so frustrating.”

See more WS coverage of Ralph Goodale’s former riding of Regina–Wascana: Conservative Michael Kram vs. PPC Mario Milanovski and Liberal Sean McEachern.

Lee Harding is a Saskatchewan-based correspondent for Western Standard

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. mm

    Lee Harding

    September 10, 2021 at 1:38 am

    @Left Coast I remember a poem by the Polish miners during the Communist era: “Whether you sit down or you stand erect, 1000 Zlotys you expect.”

  2. Left Coast

    September 9, 2021 at 2:11 pm

    Universal Basic Income . . . sounds so Soviet Union and IT IS ! ! !

    Back in the day the workers in the USSR used to Joke . . . “we pretend to work & the Govt pretends to pay us” . . . this of course is “Shared Poverty” the goal of the Watermellon Party, the NDP and Trudope’s Lieberals.

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Three unvaxxed U o W staff suing province

The instructors allege that due to their vaccine status they’ve had to withstand “ridicule, hatred, maltreatment and discrimination,” in a statement of claim?

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Three unvaccinated University of Winnipeg Collegiate instructors forced to take unpaid leave are suing the province and several parties over an “overboard, unreasonable, and discriminatory” vaccine mandate.

The instructors allege that due to their vaccine status they’ve had to withstand “ridicule, hatred, maltreatment and discrimination,” in a statement of claim reported by CBC and Winnipeg Free Press Friday.

“All of the plaintiffs have suffered vilification and extreme ill-will being directed at them as ‘unvaccinated’ people as a result of the University of Winnipeg and other government of Manitoba representatives making false public statements and promulgating policies which have the effect of stating the unvaccinated are to blame for the pandemic,” says the lawsuit.

The university, province, Manitoba’s chief public health officer, Manitoba Health, and the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Immigration are included as defendants named in the lawsuit filed Monday in Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench. 

The plaintiffs, placed on unpaid leave last September 7, are Renise Mlodzinski, who holds degrees in education and music performance; Evan Maltman, who holds degrees in kinesiology-physical education and education; and Kyle Du Val, who holds degrees in science-physics, music performance, and education.

The instructors allege being placed on unpaid leave caused their vaccination status to be “immediately apparent.”

They point to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms that protects Canadians from being compelled to disclose private medical information, including vaccine status.

As well, they note, the Criminal Code of Canada deems it an offence to make statements that willfully and promote hatred an against an identifiable group.

They allege the province’s vaccine policy amounts to “an expressed intention to engage in a conspiracy to commit assault” because it attempts to force employees to be vaccinated.

The lawsuit calls for the vaccine policy to be stayed until the court reviews the matter.

The provincial government has implemented policies that cast blame on the unvaccinated for hospital overcrowding, the spread of COVID-19, and restricts their rights to access society treating them as “sub-humans,” says the lawsuit.

It challenges the university’s policy claim that vaccination is the single most effective health measure “essential to the university’s institutional response” to reduce the spread of COBID-19 and claim scientific evidence doesn’t support that.

“The rhetoric has resulted in a large portion of Manitobans believing that if they are fully vaccinated, they are safe from the virus and cannot be infected or infect others. Omicron has exploded this mythology,” says the lawsuit.

Scientific studies show no significant difference in the viral load between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals who tested positive for COVID-19,” says the lawsuit, pointing to breakthrough cases of COVID-19 in vaccinated people.

The province and chief medical officer Dr. Brent Roussinhave promoted a “false sense of security” that the vaccinated are protected, it alleges.

“There is neither a moral obligation to vaccinate, nor a sound ethical basis to mandate vaccination under any circumstances, even for hypothetical vaccines that are medically risk free.

“Under the present circumstances, when the science clearly demonstrates that the so-called vaccines do not provide either complete sterilizing immunity nor prevent the ‘fully vaccinated’ from infecting others, the grossly unethical nature of vaccine mandates” becomes even more clear.”

The vaccines, with ingredients not revealed to the public, haven’t undergone the standard approval process that takes years “to properly assess the benefits and risks from clinical data, including any potential long-term side effects,” it says.

“The vaccination program in Canada is being adjusted on the fly as adverse effects manifest necessitating the need for constant amendments of safety guidelines. This underlines the experimental nature of these vaccines.”

They point to Ontario data showing one in 5,000 suffered myocarditis from the Moderna vaccine, and one in 28,000 patients from the Pfizer vaccine.

Recommendations that people age of 18-24 receive the Pfizer vaccine as opposed to Moderna because of an increase in myocarditis and death in that age group have been made by Ontario, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and Sweden

“The government of Manitoba has not followed this safety protocol, nor has it provided an explanation for ignoring these concerns to Manitobans,” says the lawsuit.

The university rejected vaccine exceptions on religious grounds applied for by all three instructors.

They’re seeking $1 million in damages for violating their Charter rights and up to $1 million in damages for the “intentional infliction of mental distress, and assault and battery” they allege resulted in threats and assaults, loss of income, post-traumatic stress disorder and lost employment opportunities.

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

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Canadians want more indigenous representation on Parliament Hill

The survey followed a Liberal cabinet proposal to address “colonialism, patriarchy and racism” in historical commemorations.

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There is too much colonialism represented on Parliament Hill and the majority of Canadians asked said they would like to see more Indigenous representation, says a Department of Public Works survey.

Blacklock’s Reporter says the survey followed a Liberal cabinet proposal to address “colonialism, patriarchy and racism” in historical commemorations.

“Sixty percent believe it is important for Parliament Hill to be reflective of the cultural diversity of the country,” said an internal survey.

“Somewhat fewer but still half of Canadians believe it is important for Parliament Hill to be a gathering place reflective of Indigenous cultures (56%).”

Twenty percent rated reflection of Indigenous cultures as “unimportant” on Parliament Hill, said the report.

Findings were based on questionnaires with 1,551 people nationwide. The public works department paid Ekos Research Associates $57,865 for the survey.

“The public opinion research forms part of the public engagement strategy to obtain feedback on how their experience on Parliament Hill and the broader precinct could be improved in the future, and how to ensure the precinct continues to be a welcoming place that reflects the values and aspirations of all Canadians,” wrote researchers.

Parliament Hill tributes currently celebrate Caucasian people including statues honouring Queens Elizabeth and Victoria, former prime ministers Macdonald, Mackenzie, Laurier, Borden, King, Diefenbaker and Pearson, a War of 1812 Monument, and statues for two Fathers of Confederation killed by assassination, George Brown of Toronto and D’Arcy McGee of Montréal.

Cabinet in a 2019 report said historical tributes must address “colonialism, patriarchy and racism.”

The document was written as a guide for the National Historic Sites and Monuments Board.

“There is a need to be cognizant of, and to confront, these legacies,” said the report. “This contributes to the ongoing process of truth-telling and reconciliation.”

Cabinet in 2017 removed historic plaques marking the Langevin Block, the home of the Prime Minister’s Office named for Hector-Louis Langevin, a Confederation-era Superintendent of Indian Affairs. Cabinet members have also expressed unease in using a meeting hall across the street from Parliament named the John A. Macdonald Building.

It was “uncomfortable coming into this building,” Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller told reporters last June 2.

“He was one of the key authors and perpetuated the Residential School system,” said Miller.

The national archives in 2021 deleted a web feature First Among Equals honouring Macdonald.

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U of M prof: Alberta suffers least, Ontario most by unvaxxed trucker ban

“You can quote me: they’re gonna spend a lot more lettuce for their lettuce,” says University of Manitoba professor Barry Prentice.

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As of Saturday, truckers who cross the American border into Canada must be vaccinated for COVID-19, something one Manitoba professor says will hurt all Canadians, but Westerners the least.

Barry Prentice, Professor of Supply Chain Management at the University of Manitoba, tells the Western Standard the federal government has failed to properly assess the risks.

“This is nonsense. We’ve been now 22 months into this, and suddenly they think, ‘Oh, people have to be vaccinated.’ Is there a big risk? No, there’s no risk assessment associated with this decision whatsoever. And, indeed, the drivers, they tend to stay in their cabs. They’re not getting out running around. So who are they going to infect?” Prentice said.

Although the announcement was made November 19, the timing for follow-through seemed odd to Prentice, since Manitoba minimized its isolation requirements. As of January 1, vaccinated Manitobans who tested positive for COVID-19 but have no fever and were feeling better needed only five days’ isolation.

“The Manitoba government has just told us, ‘We’re cutting y’all loose. You’re on your own, good luck.’ In so many words that’s what they’ve said. ‘Look after yourself now, we’ve done as much as we can do.’…Saskatchewan’s in that train as well. Kids are going back to school, and there’s more damage done to them, psychologically, being trapped in their houses, than what risk a virus might have,” Prentice said.

“It’s back to the vaccine, either it works or it doesn’t work. Now we all know that the vaccine won’t stop you getting the virus; it just stops you from becoming a hospital patient. That is the premise. Of course, nobody wants to get the flu…I take precautions anyway, as do most people.”

The trucking industry has already had worker shortages for years and Prentice believes the border policy will raise trucking prices and push some truckers out of the driver’s seat altogether. This will mean higher prices for goods, especially for fruits and vegetables bought east of Saskatchewan.

“You can quote me, they’re gonna spend a lot more lettuce for their lettuce,” Prentice says, as he explains why cross-border trucking is less prevalent on the Western Prairies.

“There’s nothing really south of Alberta. So if you drop a load off in Alberta, you can’t pick up a load there to take back somewhere in the States because there’s nothing in Montana or Wyoming. Whereas, if you’re coming to Winnipeg, you can drop down to Fargo, Minnesota; or Minneapolis. And if you’re in Ontario, there’s a huge number of loads there to Chicago, Detroit and so on.”

Prentice believes Transport Minister Omar Alghabra is “incompetent” and his Liberal colleagues have a blind spot when it comes to supply chains.

“It really shows that this is a party of three big cities. And they don’t really understand how things move around because they’re urban, they’re urban people represented in government. Alghabra, I don’t think he’s ever been to Manitoba, let alone the rest of Western Canada or to the North. And he’s a Mississauga MP,” Prentice said.

“It goes back to the quality of leadership in the country. I don’t have a lot of belief that this prime minister understands transportation.”

The US is planning a similar mandate for truckers crossing into their country, requiring vaccination as of January 22. Prentice is more concerned about U.S. thinking and politics crossing the border than COVID-19.

“You literally can look up almost anything on the Internet. But of course, it also is a great vehicle for spreading falsehoods…to the political peril. What we’re seeing in the States right now scares me. Living next door to them doesn’t protect us from their craziness,” he said.

“We need to vaccinate them for stupidity. That’s what we need a vaccine for.”

Lee Harding is a freelance contributor living in Saskatchewan.

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