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MAKICHUK: Reflections on a dog day afternoon in south Calgary

Sorry to preach, but truly, these are the true heroes of our society, not the atypical overpaid and worshipped athlete who soaks up the adulation but does little or nothing to give back to society.




When I woke up, I was lying on my back in the middle of the street, surrounded by people and cars.

I was battered and bruised, blood was pouring down my face, and an Asian woman was trying to staunch it with a Kleenex.

Time froze, as I looked to my left — to my horror, my left arm was behind me, completely dislocated.

I instinctively pulled it back by my side, as if that would make a difference.

“Should I call 911,” the Asian lady said.

“No, no … please get the dog,” I pleaded. “Get the dog, her name is Georgia.”

That’s when a group of Good Samaritans, came to my rescue two weeks ago today.

I had been walking my nephews’ dog — they were on holidays — and I was dog-sitting, a task I normally enjoy, when she bolted after another dog.

Like an idiot, I held onto the leash and was rag-dolled onto the road with a terrible crash. It all happened so fast.

In seconds, a group of amazing Calgarians rallied to help.

A young couple jumped into their pickup to go find Georgia, who had taken off. The Asian woman dabbed my head wound and a fellow named Andrew helped me back to the house, dripping blood all the way.

My arm was screwed, my right thigh was aching. I had cuts and scrapes but all I cared about was the dog … please God, bring her back OK.

Thankfully, this wonderful young lady was able to corral the dog and bring her back — Georgia was sheepish, but fine.

I managed to stumble back into the house where I dumped food in Georgia’s food dish and topped up her water.

Andrew — a kind man I had never met before — said he’d take me to hospital and off we went.

On the way, I began hyperventilating and became afraid I would pass out.

“Hang on,” said Andrew, “we’re almost there.”

The folks in Emergency at South Campus could not have been more kind or helpful — the young lady who admitted me was near tears when I told her my story.

“My God,” I thought, “these people really do care. They really, really care.”

They wheeled me into a room where I immediately received pain meds. X-rays followed, and that was painful — but nothing in comparison to what was to come.

To make a long story short, it would take a team of eight to re-attach my arm.

I was a bit out of it, true, but I counted two doctors, two nurses, a couple of anesthesiologists, and two observing students.

The stage was set and I was the show!

I had asked for the “full Michael Jackson,” which drew some chuckles, and they did give me another shot of something.

Nevertheless, it seems I have a high tolerance for pain meds. I blame this on Alberta Premium whiskey. Damn that whiskey!

And so, Dr. Eileen Kabaroff worked tirelessly to pop my shoulder back, while another nurse — God bless her — held my right hand as I winced in pain.

One of my buddies later quipped: “Why didn’t you just pop it back in against a wall, like the guy in Die Hard?”

Sorry folks, it doesn’t work like that in the real world.

Let me tell you right here and now, I would not wish this kind of pain on anyone. Worst I have ever encountered since Mr. Sikora’s math class in Grade 10.

But seriously, it was bad. And then, it was over. My arm was in a sling and the excruciating pain subsided. The healing had begun.

Another set of X-rays to make sure my Lego arm was re-attached properly, and I was good to go. They had to wheel me out in a wheelchair and I felt like I just went 10 rounds with Joe Frazier, but I was patched up and alive.

My niece picked up Georgia and took over the dog-sitting reins. All was OK.

All I could think of was how grateful I was to fellow Calgarians who selflessly came to my aid, and the doctors, nurses and staff at the South Campus who went above and beyond.

Sorry to preach, but truly, these are the true heroes of our society, not the atypical overpaid and worshiped athlete who soaks up the adulation, but does little or nothing to give back to society.

And I’m not even talking about COVID-19 here. That’s on an entirely new level.

I’m a so-called scribbler, but even I have trouble putting into words the deepest thanks I have for attending staffers, Dr. Eileen Kabaroff and Dr. Marlis Sabo.

And to borrow a phrase from John F. Kennedy, let me say this about that:

Mr. Kenney, I implore you, please do not cut the wages or chop the jobs of our most amazing Alberta hospital workers. God forbid, one day you, or one of your loved ones, may need their help.

Maybe I’m biased, but I think we have the best medical care in Canada and I think we should maintain this high standard. If cuts are necessary one day, then let them work it out. Imposing random, top-down solutions will never work.

And, to be honest — and not everyone will like this — I would be OK with a nominal Jim Prentice-like family or individual health care premium, or any other creative solutions which would help balance the books and leave our health system intact.

If my visit to South Campus cost me $25, or even $35, I would not sweat it. 

If you’re OK with spending a few bucks to visit K-Country for a day to help fund conservation, why not for someone who might save your life?

For crissakes, I spend that in donations to Drop In The Bucket, a group that helps dig water wells for villagers in Africa, Ernesto’s Sanctuary For Cats in Syria or the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society — all great causes.

So what will I tell my buddies at The Scotsman’s Well? I was riding a bull named Blaster Jr., when all hell broke loose.

And another thing, if Rover bolts on you, don’t let it dog-sled you along the asphalt … let go of the damn leash! 

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. Dennis

    October 23, 2021 at 11:33 am

    Forgive me for doing the old copy/paste but this comment from another WS story hits the Medical Nail on the Head.
    This is where all the money goes. No need to subsidize these crooks any more than they are now.

    LEFT COAST October 22, 2021 at 12:55 pm
    AHS president and CEO, Dr. Verna Yiu is a fraud . . . make almost $600,000 a year, to keep Alberta Drs. intimidated and afraid to practice medicine and if you do you get fired.
    She is a tyrant who tells untruths . . . and like her sidekick Dr. Hinshaw has completely dropped the ball on the Wuhan Virus.
    Anyone remember when Yiu & Hinshaw told the Citizens about Therapeutics to help keep you healthy and out of the Hospital? Neither do I . . . but they did use a Fraud PCR Test to gin up “Cases” and feed nonsense to the FAKEStream Media for fear & scare.
    As the hospitals start filling with the “Vaxed” what are these fools going to tell us next? And how much loot have they received from Pfizer and other Drug Pushers?

  2. Dennis

    October 23, 2021 at 11:20 am

    Great story and Glad to hear you are recovering.
    I strongly disagree with your assessment of our healthcare system.
    The problem is not with the workers, far from it, they are the best as you say. I’ve not frequented the hospital but on the rare occasions I did, the people were top drawer, 2nd to none. And now, because there are a quarter of the workers that do not agree with a medical treatment being made mandatory by bureaucrats in glass towers, they are being treated as 2nd class citizens or worse. Despicable! And then we are told there is a shortage of beds. We are being lied to.

    The problem is Definitely Not money either. Alberta spends more on healthcare per capita than any other province but where does it go?
    It goes to an out of control, badly managed, bloated, overpaid bureaucracy called Alberta Health Services and an Alberta Government who have lost all connection with the people who pay their bloated salaries.
    No Sir, it’s not money that’s required. Dismantle the bureaucracy and rebuild it from the top down. 2023 can’t come soon enough. Wildrosenation.com is our way out of this mess.

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

Why Bitcoin will always be the superior digital currency.




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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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.




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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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.




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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