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FILDEBRANDT: Alberta’s government lied about the death of young teen Nathanael Spitzer, and the media buried it

As much as I may take glee in sticking it to our mainstream competitors, I write this at the end of my regular workday genuinely depressed about the state of government communications and media.

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On October 8, Nathaneal Spitzer — just 14 years old — died.

The death of a promising child so young in this world is every parent’s nightmare. My heart — and that of every Albertan hearing the news — was broken.

On Tuesday, Alberta Chief Medical Officer Deena Hinshaw reported that a 14-year-old had died in Alberta as a COVID-19 case, although there were “pre-existing conditions”.

As it turns out, Nathaneal didn’t die from COVID-19 at all. Those “pre-existing conditions” were in fact Stage 4 terminal brain cancer. He was on his deathbed in palliative care when he tested positive for COVID-19.

He died days later of brain cancer, but Alberta Health labeled his death a COVID-19 fatality, which Hinshaw reported to the media.

The media dutifully reported on the death, a case that showed COVID-19 doesn’t just kill the elderly and sick, but the young.

NDP Leader Rachel Notley took to Twitter to express her outrage the government would even mention “pre-existing conditions.” Better that his death be counted among those lost to COVID entirely. Better to lay his death at the feet of Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.

“Telling their loved ones that there were other health complications that contributed to their death offers no comfort whatsoever,” tweeted Notley.

“No matter what ‘pre-existing conditions’ they had, this child died during a fourth wave that was preventable. This shouldn’t have happened. We need to know what will be done to stop it from happening again.”

But Nathaneal’s death had nothing to do with the “fourth wave that was preventable.” In fact, his death was entirely due to what Notley called “other health complications.”

This is the morbid state of pandemic politics in 2021.

As of publishing, Notley has not apologized or removed her tweets.

Nathaneal’s sister Simone was devastated by the government and media falsely reporting her brother’s death as a COVID-19 case. She took to Facebook, to tell the truth about what happened.

“He died from Stage 4 brain cancer, not from covid. This is fake news,” she wrote.

“He was diagnosed in January 2021, and hospitalized in August. Two days before his death he was tested for covid and it turned out positive.”

This clarification came to the Western Standard’s attention not long after it was posted. Our reporters investigated and confirmed that Simone was in fact the sister of Nathaneal.

Western Standard correspondent Melanie Risdon published the story Wednesday afternoon.

And unless I’m mistaken, every single last mainstream, government-funded media outlet in Alberta ignored the family’s story entirely. The family — who might just know something about the fate of their lost loved one — were ignored. Their story didn’t fit with what was already in print and on the TV. Their story didn’t fit the narrative. Their story was best forgotten.

This was not an inconsequential story. This was not sensationalist click bait. This was not some Q’Anon conspiracy theory.

This was the Government of Alberta inflating the COVID-19 death statistics. This was mainstream media ignoring the facts from the family that contradicted the official government story, which had already been dutifully reported.

This did not come out of left field — we know there have been bogus government reporting on what constitutes COVID-19 deaths in many jurisdictions.

The Western Standard kept at this story. At our morning editorial meeting today, I instructed that this story remain our focus, and that we tell their story until someone listened.

By the afternoon, someone had. Hinshaw took to her podium to apologize for misidentifying Nathaneal’s death as a COVID fatality. She promised fatality numbers would be better classified for young people under 18 going forward. From now on, only actual COVID-19 deaths would be labeled COVID-19 deaths – for those under 18.

At last, the MSM could report on what really happened. Long after the Spitzer family publicly told the truth on social media for the world to see, the legacy media felt comfortable enough to report on the issue. It was now a part of the official story, as the government tells it.

As much as I may take glee in sticking it to our mainstream competitors, I write this at the end of my regular workday genuinely depressed about the state of government communications and media. Errors happen (we’ve made them.) Newsrooms can be short-staffed, and stories missed (we have.) But this was different. This was mass omission of a key and indispensable element of a story that everyone had already published when the information was there for all to see (we had already reported on it).

The only part of the story more important than government lying about a child’s cause of death, was that a child died before his time.

Our politicians need to stop playing football with life and death. Our media need to stop trusting everything they are told by the government, and the public needs to stop trusting everything they are told by the media.

Derek Fildebrandt is Publisher of the Western Standard
dfildebrandt@westernstandardonline.com

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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17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Non-Compliant Alberta Separatist

    October 17, 2021 at 10:40 pm

    The top 5 layers of the AHS and almost every other public sector department of the Alberta government needs to be fired, instead of firing the bottom layers.

    The NDF government under Notley, installed layer upon layer of public sector workers to create a shadow government that they could control.

    Where were the 300,000 jobs created under NDP rule? They were ALL in the public sector.

    The only way to fix this “Globalist Agenda” is to clean house in unions, and public sector top layers.

    Of course AHS lied. That is the agenda of their Globalist puppet masters.

  2. Claudette Leece

    October 16, 2021 at 7:56 am

    Great job Derek AHS has fudged bed numbers for years, it took the virus to expose this stuff. In end of Oct 8 of 22 staff will be done in small community. Workplace so toxic , it’s unreal but many doing it because they need the job, not because they agree with it. Kenneys just become an extension of AHS,he lies as much as they do.

  3. Eddy

    October 15, 2021 at 1:51 pm

    Thank you Derek – well said.
    And I think Western Standard was right on top of this story from the start.
    It is a credit to your staff as well as you – and I am grateful that we have the WS reporting as an ALTERNATIVE to the MSM on the ground.

  4. Bonnie Parks

    October 15, 2021 at 9:54 am

    Why in Gods name do they have to test a young man on his last hours of life, for Covid-19? Some people say, “give Hindshaw a break, she’s just doing what she’s told to do,”. I say throw her in jail with the rest of this corrupt government and AHS. After all, she is chosing to stand there, and spew out this misinformation, and the apologize with absolutely no compassion or feeling whatsoever! She makes me ill!! Thank you Western Standard for having a caring attitude and posting real news!!!

  5. Left Coast

    October 15, 2021 at 9:32 am

    Canada’s Govt Funded FakeStream Media have been lyin to us for DECADES !

    Just like Hinshaw & Alberta Health have been doing for 21 months now . . . ginning up “Cases” with a PCR Test that CANNOT tell the difference between the many Corona Viruses of which Covid is just ONE. A Common Cold could be a + Test.

    The was NEVER any real threat to the Healthy under 70 population . . . it was ALL created by the Fraud PCR Tests and the Fear & Scare FakeStream Media.

    The Experimental Vaccine is far more dangerous to healthy people and as the VAXED start to pile up in Hospitals this Winter it will become apparent to all.

  6. TM

    October 15, 2021 at 9:27 am

    It is good that we have at least one media outlet trying to represent some of the truth at least.

    However, the vast majority of what Henshaw and AHS are lying about is not being reported on even by Western Standard. The statistics AHS are purposely distorting to push a covid-hysteria based agenda nor the processes they have implemented to negate the negative effects of covid vaccines, are being investigated or reported on. Rather, the general hysteria AHS is promoting, and especially that related to the overall case loads and the wholly inaccurate claims that it is the unvaccinated pushing that, is being parroted here.

    That is truly unfortunate.

    I can only hope the Western Standard goes that final yard and begins to write on ALL the lies and deceit emanating from AHS.

  7. Lisa

    October 15, 2021 at 9:15 am

    Thank-you to the Western Standard for being one of the few sources of truth! I think that your readers, like myself,are here because we have walked away from the toxic chronic lies of the MSM. Stories like this, as sad as they may be, arm us with the FACTS to throw back at the brainwashed masses!

  8. K

    October 15, 2021 at 8:46 am

    They’ve lied about every, single thing since the beginning. Big surprise. Hence why we don’t trust the vaccines are ‘safe and effective’. This one is particularly egregious however.

  9. jgl

    October 15, 2021 at 8:44 am

    Of course they lie. It is the only way they maintain power and control. They are psychopaths and could care less what the people think of them. They have an agenda to follow & follow it they must.
    Hope I’m wrong but I doubt our so called leaders will ever admit to their corruption and deceit.

  10. Darlene Craig

    October 15, 2021 at 7:42 am

    I don’t believe that all those people died FROM Covid, and I don’t believe that all those hospitalizations are strictly because of Covid. And they wonder why the public trust is frayed – we are lied to and subjected to rules that don’t make sense. Now they’ve pushed it too far and the truth can’t be ignored.

  11. Andrew Red Deer

    October 15, 2021 at 7:03 am

    YOU LIE, YOU RESIGN, YOU QUIT, OR YOU GO TO JAIL, THATS THE OPTIONS HINSHAW,KENNEY AND ALL NDPS.

  12. Declan Carroll

    October 14, 2021 at 10:27 pm

    Hey how do you know the government is lying? Their mouths are open and sound is coming out.

  13. Proud Albertan

    October 14, 2021 at 9:23 pm

    The bigger question might be why are they testing terminally ill patients for Covid and do the families of these folks know they are testing for Covid… law suits should be started when the time is right

  14. Kelly Carter

    October 14, 2021 at 8:51 pm

    The government has never made the distinction of dying FROM COVID or dying WITH COVID. The fact that they will correct it for kids 18 and under does little to fix the numbers. Most of the elderly are also dying WITH COVID. But the numbers don’t look near a fearful if they only count those dying FROM COVID.

  15. Tony

    October 14, 2021 at 6:39 pm

    Three cheers for bailout free media. Where are the apologies from the sensationalizing and opportunistic NDP, the permanent political class/bureaucracy who have mismanaged public resources so badly and an ideologically biased and partisan corporate media?

  16. CN

    October 14, 2021 at 6:34 pm

    Thank you Derek.

    I’m also concerned that AHS seems to think it was appropriate to subject a child on his deathbed to a COVID test (ie. an unnecessary medical procedure given the circumstances of the patient). Are they going around testing people in palliative care that do not have COVID symptoms? For what purpose? This has some serious ethical considerations to say the least and I’m guessing they reason it out with some nonsensical policy. My heart goes out to the family.

  17. Joc2257

    October 14, 2021 at 6:21 pm

    OMG can’t these politicians admit that they’re wrong and look the facts in the face. What is wrong with these people ??? Are they so used to throwing out BS they don’t know right from wrong any more!!!!

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Opinion

BRADLEY: No Central Bank Digital Currency can stack up to Bitcoin

Why Bitcoin will always be the superior digital currency.

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These days, many countries are considering introducing their own Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs).

The Bank of England recently released a research paper discussing the possibility of creating its own digital currency, saying it has “not yet made a decision on whether to introduce CBDC”.

In July 2021, the Bank of Canada issued a discussion paper called “The Positive Case for a CBDC”, citing it “could be an effective competition policy tool for payments” and “could also support the vibrancy of the digital economy.”

But no country is moving faster on this front than China.

The Central Bank of China has already introduced a digital yuan, which is expected to eliminate physical cash and provide a centralized payment-processing network.

As China continues to expand its CBDC implementation beyond its trial run in some cities, more of its citizens will be forced into using the government’s app to identify themselves, store their wealth and make everyday purchases. That means the Chinese government will be able to track purchases and even freeze or close personal accounts, for whatever reason they see fit.

That is a terrifying prospect – and it highlights one of the many reasons bitcoin will always be superior to any currency issued and controlled by any government.

The Bitcoin network uses blockchain technology to track the status of the network, including user balances and transactions. This allows transparency and decentralization by nature. Perhaps most importantly, this means that the system cannot be controlled or influenced by any one person, company or government.

China’s digital yuan – and any CBDC under consideration – have the complete opposite fundamentals. With a CBDC, one central bank has ultimate control and power over the currency, not to mention the ability to track and even reverse everyday purchases.

It’s a particularly worrisome situation in China, where its government has been pushing a social credit system that, at its core, rewards or punishes people for their economic and personal behaviours. As the country implements its digital yuan more broadly, there are fears China could use its CBDC to extend control over even more of its citizens’ rights and freedoms.

We don’t face that threat in western countries yet, but that’s not to say we are immune from the possibility. If Meta’s recent announcement that it’s shutting down the face recognition system on Facebook is any indication, our society is definitely not keen on being monitored, controlled, or surveilled in any way.

From 2013 to 2017, the U.S. Department of Justice ran Operation Choke Point to monitor and crack down on payments for what the government deemed “high-risk activities”, ranging from online gambling and payday loans to pornography and surveillance equipment sales. These activities were not illegal but they offended the government’s moral compass – a slippery and scary slope.

Most recently, in October 2021 U.S. President Joe Biden and his government backed down from requiring the IRS to collect data on every bank account with more than $600 in annual transactions. 

Infringements like these on our privacy are unacceptable. But the likelihood of them happening will grow exponentially if, and when, western governments introduce their own CBDCs.

Aside from a potential loss of personal freedom and privacy, CBDCs would introduce another undesirable outcome: even greater inflation than we’re experiencing today. Governments, including our own here in Canada, are printing money faster than ever, which simultaneously drives inflation and devalues personal wealth.

As Saifedean Ammous writes in his fantastic book, The Fiat Standard: The Debt Slavery Alternative to Human Civilization, “CBDCs would allow for the implementation of…inflationist schemes with high efficiency, allowing for increased central planning of market activity. Government spending would proceed unabated by whatever little discipline credit markets currently exert. Real-world prices are likely to rise, which would lead to more control over economic production to mandate prices.”

To sum this up, CBDCs could lead to higher inflation, less personal autonomy, and more government meddling. For those reasons, whenever I’m asked if the introduction of CBDCs will kill bitcoin and its relevance, my answer is a resounding, “No.”

Central bank digital currencies are not the same thing as bitcoin. They aren’t even competitors with bitcoin, nor will they ever replace bitcoin. They are a distraction. In my opinion, CBDCs will only create greater demand for bitcoin and its many advantages.

Bitcoin offers individuals the profound ability to own sound money, protect their wealth from inflation and keep governments from micro-managing their finances. That is certainly not what CBDCs will do, and it’s why we should all be very apprehensive about giving central banks the ability to issue, oversee and control digital currencies.

No CBDC can, or ever will, stack up to bitcoin.

Guest Column from Dave Bradley, Chief Revenue Officer at Bitcoin Well
@bitcoinbrains on Twitter

Sponsored by Bitcoin Well

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Opinion

ROYER: Canada ignores Alberta. Because it can

The only conclusion is that Canada is not a functioning, modern federal democracy. It caters almost exclusively to the needs of the two primary provinces.

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Crickets. That is the sound of Canada’s response to Alberta’s request to consider revisions to the equalization program over a month ago. What does the deafening silence say about Canada?

Trudeau brushed off the referendum saying that he couldn’t unilaterally address the issue, although he clearly can. His government has several bilateral agreements with provinces other than Alberta.  He can agree to change the equalization formula to drain less wealth from Alberta and Saskatchewan in the first place.

The federal Conservative Party’s silence is due to their leader Erin O’Toole’s decision to pander to Ontario and Quebec, taking the West for granted.

The silence has made one thing absolutely clear: Alberta has no voice in Canada. Voting against the Liberals hasn’t worked. Voting in a couple of Liberal MPs hasn’t helped. Relying on protection provincial sovereignty under the constitution has proven to be useless; Trudeau’s government intercedes into those defined powers with impunity.

All that remains is to look at the big picture. Alberta had no democratic input into decisions that dramatically diminished its economy. Wealth continues to be drained from the province and it has no means to stop it. A referendum — the ultimate expression of democratic rights — is ignored. What does this make Canada?

First, it clearly is not a modern democratic nation. Modern democracies give voice to minorities and seek compromise.

We do not have a federal government. There is no structural input from the far reaches of the country in the nation’s decision-making process. It is a central government, serving only the centre.

We are not really a federation either. Rights of the lesser provinces are extinguished at the whim of the central government. Those intrusions are dutifully upheld by the Supreme Court, an institution with a majority of judges from central Canada. The Senate is completely ineffective in protecting the federation. It over-represents Quebec and Atlantic Canada, is appointed at the sole discretion of the prime minister and has very limited powers to disagree with him. Alberta’s attempt to introduce democracy into the selection of Senators has been ignored by the prime minister.

Power is extremely concentrated. Trudeau’s emissions cap on hydrocarbon production is just the most recent example. No discussion with Parliament or the provinces was taken; he just made the decision with his personal staff, and announced it

He has this power because hyper-partisanship, strict party discipline and the overly centralized government concentrates power. We’ve abandoned our historic Westminster Parliamentary system of government and taken on an American style constitutional system with judicial supremacy, but with an all-powerful prime minister that lacks the checks-and-balances placed upon an American president.

The only respectful response to Alberta came from Saskatchewan’s Premier Scott Moe. He called for his province to become a nation within a nation, a status effectively granted Quebec. Neither the federal structure nor the national parliament protect the outlying provinces. They now need to gain near national powers in order to protect themselves from the central government.

The only conclusion is Canada is not a functioning, modern federal democracy. It caters almost exclusively to the needs of the two primary provinces: Ontario and Quebec. The concentration of power and the malleability of federal sovereignties has makes the prime minister effectively an elected dictator. The only check on the prime minister’s power is in an occasional national election, the results of which are determined almost entirely in Ontario and Quebec.

So, what is Canada? It is a country in which the central provinces in conjunction with the central government have dominion over the outlying provinces, and those central provinces elect a prime minister who is given near royal prerogative.

Our country is called (at least officially) the Dominion of Canada, a constitutional monarchy. By the word dominion are we saying that the centre has dominion over the rest of the country? And does constitutional democracy say that the constitution concentrates power into the hands of a single person?

We can do better.

Randy Royer is a Western Standard columnist

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Energy

VENKATACHALAM & KAPLAN: Oil and gas production is essential to BC’s economy

Here’s another slice of statistical bread to consider: In 2017 the BC oil and gas industry purchased $5.6 billion worth of goods and services from other sectors.

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Guest column by Ven Venkatachalam and Lennie Kaplan of the Canadian Energy Centre

British Columbia has been producing oil and natural gas since 1952. In fact, as of 2018, BC produced 32% of Canada’s natural gas production and 2% of Canada’s conventional daily oil production. British Columbia collects royalties from oil and gas development, supporting the economic prosperity in the province.

Want to know how important the oil and natural gas industry is to the BC economy? Using customized Statistic Canada data from 2017 (the latest year available for this comparison), it turns out oil and gas in BC  generated about $18 billion in outputs, consisting primarily of the value of goods and services produced, as well as a GDP of $9.5 billion.

As for what most of us can relate to — jobs — the BC oil and gas industry was responsible for nearly 26,500 direct jobs and more than 36,100 indirect jobs (62,602 jobs in total) in 2017. Also relevant: The oil and gas sector paid out over $3.1 billion in wages and salaries to BC workers that year.

Here’s another slice of statistical bread to consider: In 2017 the BC oil and gas industry purchased $5.6 billion worth of goods and services from other sectors. That included $600 million from the finance and insurance sector, $770 million in professional services, and $2.8 billion from the manufacturing sector, to name just three examples.

Spending by the oil and gas sector in BC is not the only way to consider the impact of the industry. Given that a large chunk of the oil and gas sector is next door in Alberta, let’s look at what Alberta’s trade relationship with its westerly neighbour does for BC.

BC’s interprovincial trade in total with all provinces in 2017 amounted to $39.4 billion. Alberta was responsible for the largest amount at $15.4 billion, or about 38%, of that trade.

That share of BC’s trade exports is remarkable, given that Alberta’s share of Canada’s population was just 11.5 percent in 2017. Alberta consumers, businesses and governments buy far more from BC in goods and services than its population as a share of Canada would suggest would be the case. Alberta’s capital-intensive, high-wage-paying oil and gas sector is a major reason why.

If Alberta were a country, the province’s $15.4 billion in trade with BC would come in behind only the United States (about $22.3 billion in purchases of goods and services from BC) in 2017. In fact, Alberta’s importance to B.C. exports was ranked far ahead of China ($6.9 billion), Japan ($4.5 billion), and South Korea ($2.9 billion)—the next biggest destinations for BC’s trade exports.

BC has a natural advantage for market access in some respects when compared to the United States. For instance, BC’s coast is near to many Asian-Pacific markets than are U.S. Gulf Coast facilities. The distance between the U.S. Gulf Coast and to the Japanese ports of Himeji and Sodegaura is more than 9,000 nautical miles, compared to less than 4,200 nautical miles between those two Japanese ports and the coast of BC.

The recent demand for natural gas in Asia, especially Japan (the largest importer of LNG) and price increase for natural gas, presents an exciting opportunity for BC oil and gas industry. The IEA predicts that by 2024 , natural gas demand forecast in Asia will be up 7% from 2019’s pre-COVID-19  levels. 

Be it in employment, salaries and wages paid, GDP, or the purchase of goods and services, the impact of oil and natural gas (and Alberta) on BC’s economy and trade flows is significant.

Guest column by Ven Venkatachalam and Lennie Kaplan are with the Canadian Energy Centre

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