Over the past two years, amid stiff competition, the province of Alberta has earned the dubious distinction of having arrested the most Christian pastors in all of Canada.
Pastor Artur Pawlowski, Pastor James Coates, and Pastor Tim Stephens have all been behind bars for refusing to bend the knee to the litany of COVID restrictions forcing them to close their churches when people needed them most.
Premier Jason Kenney put more pastors in jail over the past two years than Communist China. (We even put a billboard up reminding Albertans of that.)
There’s also Pastor Derek Reimer. A Fight The Fines alumnus who received multiple fines for carrying on his pastoral duties when the state considered that a “high-risk” activity. He beat those fines with the stellar legal help he received thanks to our viewers’ generous donations towards his legal fees.
This weekend, Pastor Derek found himself in trouble with the law once again.
He allegedly violated an injunction issued to the City of Calgary, which banned honking and loudspeakers. A move clearly meant to stifle the city’s weekly freedom rallies.
When Danielle Smith was chosen by the United Conservative Party of Alberta to replace Jason Kenney as their leader early last month and consequentially became that province’s premier she started off her premiership with a bang by giving an exceptionally great speech. Even if we had not heard a word of it we would know it to be very good from the outrage it provoked on the part of Alberta’s socialists and the clowns in the legacy media, that is to say, the print and broadcast news outlets that predate cable news, talk radio, and the internet, which in Canada are all hopelessly corrupt having been bought off years ago by the dimwitted creep and lout who currently occupies the Prime Minister’s Office. The best response to the legacy media, other than to cut oneself off from it altogether, is to look at what they are promoting and root for the opposite and to look at what they are saying and believe the opposite. So when they began to howl and rage and storm and demand that Smith apologize for saying that the unvaccinated had experienced the most discrimination of any group in her lifetime, their reaction in itself was a powerful indicator of the truth of Smith’s words.
It has now been a few generations since the old liberalism succeeded in generating a near-universal consensus of public opinion, at least within Western Civilization, against discrimination. At the time the discrimination the liberals were concerned with was of the de jure type – laws and government policies which singled out specific groups and imposed hardships and disadvantages of various types upon them. It was not that difficult, therefore, for liberalism to create widespread public opinion against it. Since ancient times it has been understood that government or the state exists to serve the end of justice. In Modern times justice has come to be depicted in art as wearing a blindfold. This imagery is somewhat problematic – blindness to the facts of the case to be ruled on is not an attribute of justice but of its opposite – but is generally accepted as depicting true justice’s blindness to factors which should have no weight in ruling on a dispute between two parties or on the evidence in a case involving criminal charges against someone, factors such as wealth or social status. If this latter is indeed a quality of justice then for the state to discriminate against people on the basis of such factors is for it to pervert its own end and to commit injustice. This is what made the old liberalism’s campaign against discrimination so effective. What they were decrying was already perceivably unjust by existing and long-established standards.
Liberalism, however, was not content with winning over the public into supporting their opposition to laws and government policies that discriminated on such grounds as race and sex. Liberalism had set equality, which is something quite different from justice as that term was classically and traditionally understood, as its end and ideal and consequently with regards to discrimination on the grounds of race, sex, etc., they adopted a much more ambitious goal than just the elimination of existing unjust laws and policies, but rather set their sights on the elimination of discrimination based on such factors from all social interaction and economic transaction and as much as possible from private thought and speech. Indeed it was this goal rather than ending de jure discrimination that was clearly the objective of such legislation as the US Civil Rights Act (1964), the UK Race Relations Acts of 1965, 1968 and 1976 and the Canadian Human Rights Act (1977). Ironically, having so expanded their anti-discrimination project to target private thoughts and actions the liberals had to move away from their initial opposition to the injustice of state discrimination. The project of achieving equality by eliminating private discrimination required the cooperation of the state and laws and measures enacted by the state in pursuit of the ends of this project were themselves discriminatory albeit in a different way from the discriminatory laws to which the liberals had originally objected.
Today, decades later, the anti-discrimination project has become even further removed from the opposition to unjust laws that had won it broad public support. “Discrimination” has ceased to be defined by specific actions or even general attitudes that underlie actions and has become entirely subjective. Such-and-such groups are the officially designated victims of discrimination, and such-and-such groups are the officially designated perpetrators of discrimination, and discrimination is whatever the members of the former say they have experienced as discrimination. Loud and noisy theatrical displays of outrage cover up the fact that a moral campaign against “discrimination” of this sort lacks any solid foundation in ethics, logic, or even basic common sense.
Liberalism, or progressivism as it is now usually called having given up most if not all of what had led to its being dubbed liberalism in the first place and adopted a stringent illiberalism towards those who disagree with it, has clearly gone off the rails with regards to discrimination. If any discrimination deserves the sort of moral outrage that progressivism bestows upon what it calls discrimination today it is the sort of discrimination that the old liberalism opposed sixty to seventy years ago, discrimination on the part of the state. If we limit the word discrimination to this sense then Danielle Smith was quite right in saying that the unvaccinated have been the most discriminated against group in her lifetime.
In early 2020, you will recall, the World Health Organization sparked off a world-wide panic by declaring a pandemic. A coronavirus that had long afflicted the chiropteran population was now circulating among human beings and spreading rapidly. Although the bat flu resembled the sort of respiratory illnesses that we have put up with every winter from time immemorial in that most of the infected experienced mild symptoms, most of those who did experience the severe pneumonia it could produce recovered, and it posed a serious threat mostly to those who were very old and already very sick with other complicating conditions, our governments, media, and medical “experts” began talking like we were living out Stephen King’s The Stand. Our governments enacted draconian measures aimed at preventing the spread of the virus that were more unprecedented – and harmful – than the disease itself. They behaved as if they had no constitutional limits on their powers and we had no constitutionally protected basic rights and freedoms that they were forbidden to impinge upon no matter how good their intentions might be. They imposed a hellish social isolation upon everybody as they ordered us to stay home and to stay away from other people if we did have to venture out (to buy groceries, for example), ordered most businesses and all social institutions to close, denied us our freedom to worship God in our churches, synagogues, etc., demanded that we wear ugly diapers on our faces as a symbol of submission to Satan, and with a few intermissions here and there, kept this vile totalitarian tyranny up for almost two years. All of this accomplished tremendous harm rather than good. Towards the end of this period they shifted gears and decided to create a scapegoat upon which to shift the blame for the ongoing misery. It was not that their contemptible, misguided, and foolish policies were complete and utter failures, they maintained, it was all the fault of the people who objected to their basic rights and freedoms being trampled over. They were the problem. By not cooperating they prevented the government measures from working. Those who for one or another of a myriad of reasons did not want to be injected with an experimental drug that had been rushed to market in under a year, the manufacturers of which had been indemnified against liability for any injuries it might cause, the safety of which had been proclaimed by government fiat backed by efforts to suppress any conflicting information, or who did not want to be injected with a second or third dose after a previous bad experience, were made the chief scapegoats. These were demonized by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in terms and tone that call to mind those employed by Stalin against the kulaks and Hitler against the Jews. A system was developed, seemingly by people who regard the beast in the thirteenth chapter of the Apocalypse as an example and role model to be emulated, whereby society was re-opened to everyone else, but the unvaccinated were kept under the same brutal and oppressive restrictions as earlier in this epidemic of ultra-paranoid hypochondria. Indeed, some jurisdictions imposed new, harsher, restrictions on them.
So yes, Danielle Smith spoke the truth. Our governments’ attempt to shut the unvaccinated out of society as it re-opened from a forced closure that should never have occurred in the first place was indeed the worst case of discrimination by government to have occurred in Canada or the Western world for that matter in her lifetime. Her critics in the legacy media know this full well of course. Since they hate and are allergic to the truth, which they never report when a lie, a half-truth, a distortion, or some other form of mendacity will suffice, this is why they howled with rage and fury when Smith spoke it. Hopefully, she will give them plenty more to howl at. Posted by Gerry T. NealDanielle Smith, discrimination, Jason Kenney, Justin Trudeau, legacy media, Stephen King, vaccine mandates, vaccine passports
How Can Jason Kenney Be Considered a Christian or Populist When Yet Another Christian Pastor Derek Reimer, Arrested For Violating Injunction on Loudspeakers
Over the past two years, amid stiff competition, the province of Alberta has earned the dubious distinction of having arrested the most Christian pastors in all of Canada. Pastor Artur Pawlowski, Pastor James Coates, and Pastor Tim Stephens have all been behind bars for refusing to bend the knee to the litany of COVID restrictions forcing them to close their churches when people needed them most. Premier Jason Kenney put more pastors in jail over the past two years than Communist China. (We even put a billboard up reminding Albertans of that.)
There’s also Pastor Derek Reimer. A Fight The Fines alumnus who received multiple fines for carrying on his pastoral duties when the state considered that a “high-risk” activity. He beat those fines with the stellar legal help he received thanks to our viewers’ generous donations towards his legal fees. This weekend, Pastor Derek found himself in trouble with the law once again. He allegedly violated an injunction issued to the City of Calgary, which banned honking and loudspeakers. A move clearly meant to stifle the city’s weekly freedom rallies. We covered the rally this weekend and obtained footage of the arrest from one of Derek’s congregants shortly after it happened.
The attempts by Alberta’s political class to silence religious leaders and COVID dissidents from voicing their concerns against government overreach have been a blight on the province. Details are still short on the legal implications of Pastor Derek’s arrest, but we will be speaking with him soon for his personal account of what happened. And while we turn our attention to Pastor Derek’s plight, Pastor Artur sits under strict house arrest conditions with the legal fight of a lifetime ahead of him. To learn more about his case and to donate towards his legal fees, please click here or visit SaveArtur.com.
Yours truly, Adam Soos
P.S. The mainstream media has turned a blind eye to the egregious assaults on our freedom of speech and religious liberty. Only Rebel News covers the crackdown on Canadian Christian pastors fairly and accurately. If you think that’s important, please consider donating right here so we can keep telling the other side of the story when others won’t.
New Billboard: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has put more pastors in jail than China during the pandemic
Things are reopening in Alberta. The economy is picking back up. But we should not forget what was done to civil liberties in the name of public health in Alberta.
It’s awful. But it’s true.
Calgary Pastor Tim Stephens was arrested in front of his crying children for refusing to force his congregation to comply with government COVID rules on places of worship. He was held for weeks. His congregation held services in secret away from the prying eyes of police and health bureaucrats.
Edmonton area Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church turned himself in and spent 35 days in jail when he ran afoul of public health regulations on places of worship that he said violated the religious freedom of this congregation. The church building itself was confiscated by the province for nearly 3 months and the congregation was forced underground to avoid fines and harassment.
Pastor Artur Pawlowski has been arrested five times. His trouble started when he was feeding the homeless in downtown Calgary and was fined for holding an illegal public gathering. That initial contact with police set off a cascade of events that has seen him slapped with a compelled speech order, a travel ban and serious fines for not limiting church services and allowing inspectors to interrupt prayers.
Artur is currently in jail, the only person ever charged under a law designed to target pipeline bombers and wellhead saboteurs. His crime was offering a sermon to truckers who were blockading the Coutts border.
Things are reopening in Alberta. The economy is picking back up. But we should not forget what was done to civil liberties in the name of public health in Alberta.
That’s why Rebel News has put up a brand new billboard along the side of Highway 2 south of Leduc, Alberta where it will receive 1.3 million monthly impressions. The billboard bears the faces of these arrested pastors.
Our billboard is expensive to maintain, but we think it’s important to not let what happened to these men at the hands of the Alberta government be forgotten.
Arjun Singh: Left wing values have invaded Canada’s legal system and diminished our charter rights
Arjun Singh: Left wing values have invaded Canada’s legal system and diminished our charter rights
[Social justice warriors now dominate our judiciary and are making the always limited guarantees of individual rights in Pierre Trudeau’s Charter a joke. Far from protecting free speech or freedom of movement, the Courts have endorsed massive state repression as long as it advances “equity” and other leftist goals. — Paul Fromm]
Why Canada should abolish Section 1 Author of the article: Arjun Singh, Special to National Post Publishing date: Sep 23, 2021 • 1 day ago • 4 minute read • 368 Comments
By all accounts, vaccine passports are here. Quebec, with the most provincial chutzpah, first introduced them, and B.C. followed suit. As have Ontario and Alberta, after Doug Ford’s U-turn from his “Hard no” earlier this year and Jason Kenney’s similar opposition. Outside government, scores of businesses are mandating vaccinations for employees, with proof being required — else, they be terminated.
One would think, in governments’ cases, that the law would safeguard citizens’ freedoms. Indeed, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that Canadians have the “freedom of conscience and religion” (Section 2a), freedom of movement within Canada (Section 6) and “equal protection … before the law” (Section 15). At the very least, this would prevent the imposition of vaccine passport requirements on citizens — vaccinated or otherwise — for travelling, let alone while accessing basic services: for most charter rights are fundamental. Quebec’s programme and the Trudeau Liberals’ recent federal vaccine mandate for flights and trains, thus, ought to be dismissed.
Arjun Singh: Left wing values have invaded Canada’s legal system and diminished our charter rights
But this is Canada: where, for years, left-wing Liberal values have slowly invaded our legal system. This was true for Trudeau’s father, Pierre Elliot, as it is now. Hence, in 1982, when the charter was introduced, its first section included the following proviso: “The Canadian Charter … guarantees the rights and freedoms set out subject only to reasonable limits … as can be justified in a free and democratic society.” In essence, the charter rights of anyone may be limited for what the state considers “reasonable.”
By itself, this clause is only partly dangerous. Absolute freedom, in any context — especially if causing physical harm — is undesirable; as the ever-pithy Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. said, “the right to swing your fist ends at the tip of my nose.” But, as most would agree, allowing the government to judge whether its own acts are “reasonable” is, itself, an invitation for power to abuse such privilege. From Quebec’s strict curfews to Ontario’s police crackdowns, the pandemic and its oppressive responses in the name of “science” have laid that truth bare.
In response, one would expect the courts, upon petition, to step in and stop government overreach, being the constitution’s supposedly “non-partisan” referees. Until 1986, in Canada, that was true — until left-wing jurists, after rewriting the law, captured the judiciary that interpreted them. That year the Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision by Trudeau appointees, established the Oakes Test in R. v. Oakes to determine what restrictions on charter rights were “reasonable.” Among others, it allowed the curbing of charter freedoms in the name of “a commitment to social justice and equality” and “respect for cultural and group identity.”
With this decision, a faction of activist judges — seeing the constitution as a ‘living tree’ to be pruned without the people’s consent — reset the foundations of freedom overnight, bending them towards progressive politics. Instead of having minimal restraints for public order, all charter freedoms could now be legally impeded in the name of contested left-wing concepts like “social justice” and protecting “group identity.”
Worse, neither did the court define what these terms meant, enabling the left — via its dominance of social science academia — to influence their meanings, suiting the moment’s political objectives. As its late Chief Justice, Antonio Lamer, himself said, Section 1 empowered judges to “make essentially … a political call.” In effect, the constitutional “referees” changed the rules mid-game, to ensure their side would always win.
Thus, with Oakes, the dangers of Section 1 were fully unleashed, and have since beat a toll on Canadians’ civil liberties — capturing our constitution for the supremacy of “woke” social mores. “Whoever would overthrow a nation must begin by subduing the freedom of speech,” said Benjamin Franklin; and, true to form, it was one of the first casualties. In the Keegstra and Andrews decisions, the Supreme Court used Section 1 to allow the criminalization of speech “inciting hatred” — an ambiguous offence, at best, which effectively curbs free speech for the sake of hurt feelings. Once more, in the Little Sisters case, Section 1 rubber-stamped the Chretien Liberals’ banning of LGBTQ books’ import for their “obscenity.” This spate has continued, with governments and courts in concert over the years using Section 1 to curb the presumption of innocence until proven guilty (R. v. Stone), conservatives’ participation in elections (Harper v. Canada) and, most recently, to ban travel by citizens during COVID-19 (Taylor v. The Queen).
In defending such overreach on the charter, the progressive establishment has often asserted the notion of “collective rights” as the reason for restraining individuals, e.g., “safe spaces” precluding free speech to avoid public offence. There are few greater absurdities than this; “rights” exist to protect individuals and minorities from tyranny of the majority, which — with strength in numbers — needs no further safety in a democracy. By claiming a “collective right” of any kind, the Canadian left turns the very notion of rights on its head. It is legal fiction at best, and a neo-Marxist praxis at worst — a desperate attempt to stir up “class conflict” between the majority and minority where none ought to exist.
In the future, it’s highly likely that Section 1 will be used again to uphold encroachments upon citizens’ rights — from vaccine passports to online censorship (e.g., Bill C-10) and others. Canadians must, hence, stand on guard for thee and expunge this threat — regardless of the high bar for constitutional change. If Section 1 is the end of charter rights, we must end it, first.
Arjun Singh is a recent graduate of political science from the University of Toronto.
I have never thought very highly of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms which was added to our constitution in 1982. Note the wording there. The Charter is not itself our constitution but merely a part of it and a late addition at that. Those who make the mistake of calling the Charter itself our constitution have bought in to the American superstition that a constitution is a piece of paper that keeps a government from going bad through its magical powers. A constitution is a country’s system of law and government, the institutions that comprise it, and the traditions that inform their motions. The largest part of it is unwritten and this is true even in the American republic. Documents like our Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the one the Americans call their Constitution are merely parts of the Canadian and American constitutions respectively. They are the laws that define and set limits to the power of government institutions. They have no power to keep government within those limits apart from the loyalty of those who hold public office in obeying them, the willingness of the courts to uphold them, and the faithful vigilance of the public.
My low estimation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms is not because I don’t like the rights and freedoms that are listed in that document. With a few exceptions, such as the “equality rights” written in Animal Farm style doublespeak in Section 15, these are rights and freedoms that I consider to be among the most valuable elements of our Common Law tradition. It is rather because the Charter has made these rights and freedoms less secure rather than more. In part this is due to flaws in the Charter itself such as the “notwithstanding clause” in Section 33 and the broad loophole in Section 1 which effectually nullify the Charter as far as the whole point of constitutionally protected rights and freedoms, that is to say that they are supposed to limit what the government can do so as to protect us from the abusive exercise of its powers, goes. The Charter’s loopholes and exceptions protect the government instead of us and for this reason former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney was right to say that it is not worth the paper it is written on. It is also, however, because the Charter has encouraged a way of thinking about our rights and freedoms in a way that is the fundamental opposite of that which has historically belonged to our Common Law and traditional institutions of constitutional monarchy and parliament. It encourages us to think of our rights and freedoms as privileges bestowed upon us by government to be limited or taken away by government freely as it sees fit, rather than our own property.
The consequences of this way of thinking having become pervasive have been most evident over the course of the last year. Section 2 of the Charter identifies four freedoms as being fundamental. The first of these is freedom of conscience and religion. The third is the freedom of peaceful assembly. The fourth is the freedom of association. The whole point, remember, of having the Charter designate these freedoms as essential is to place limits on government power, to tell the government that it must keep its hands off of these things. Yet ever since the World Health Organization declared the spread of the Wuhan bat flu to be a pandemic last March, our provincial governments have treated these freedoms as if they were completely non-existent, much less fundamental and protected by constitutional law and the Dominion government has constantly been urging the provincial governments to clamp down on us in violation of these freedoms in even more severe ways.
In 1986 the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in the case of R v Oakes. David Oakes had been arrested with drugs in his possession and under what was then Section 8 of the Narcotics Control Act was presumed to be guilty of trafficking. He challenged the constitutionality of Section 8 on the grounds that it violated the presumption of innocence, a civil right spelled out in Section 11 (d) of the Charter and which had been long established as part of the Common Law tradition. That the provision of the NCA being challenged did indeed violate the civil right in question was easily demonstrated, but the Court then had to decide whether the violation was justifiable under the “reasonable limits” loophole in Section 1 of the Charter. The Court’s ruling established what has ever since been the litmus test for this question. The Court ruled that for a law which violates a Charter right or freedom to be justifiable under the “reasonable limits” clause, it first had to have a “pressing and substantial” goal. Second, it had to meet the three qualifications of a) being “rationally connected” to the goal of the law, b) only impairing the rights and freedoms in question minimally, and c) not overwhelming the benefit hoped to be achieved with its negative effects.
It is quite obvious that the public health measures fail to meet the second of the three qualifications of the second part of the Supreme Court’s Oakes’ test. When the public health officer tells you that you cannot have any visitors to your home, even if you meet outside, as is currently the case in Manitoba, he is clearly not trying to only “minimally impair” your freedom of association. What he is doing is disregarding freedom of association entirely. The provincial legislature is not allowed to do this constitutionally, nor can it delegate to the public health officer the authority to do so. The legislature cannot delegate what it does not legitimately possess itself. When the public health officer orders churches, synagogues, and mosques not to meet for the largest part of a year, cancels the most important festivals of these religions, and only permits re-opening at a severely reduced capacity that requires churches to betray the tenets of their own faith and turn worshippers away, he is similarly disregarding freedom of conscience and religion rather than making sure that his orders only “minimally impair” this freedom. There is also plenty of evidence that the public health orders fail to meet the third qualification of the Oakes’ test as well. The costs of lockdowns, measured in the destruction of lives due to the breakdown of mental health and the rise in substance abuse and suicides, the erosion of community and social capital, and the devastation of businesses and livelihoods, has been tremendous and far exceeds any questionable benefits of these insane, unjust, evil and oppressive restrictions. Indeed, I believe the case could be made that the public health measures fail every single element of the Oakes’ test.
The provincial governments have gotten away with all this stercus tauri because they have until fairly recently met with only minimal resistance on the part of the Canadian public. This can be attributed to a number of causes. One of these, of course, is the hysterical and irrational fear generated by the mainstream corporate media that have been deceitfully and despicably portraying a virus that produces no to mild symptoms in most people who contract it, from which the vast majority of people who actually do get sick recover, and which in many if not most jurisdictions has an average age of fatality that is higher than the average expected lifespan of the general public, as if it were the second coming of the bubonic plague. Another cause is the new attitude which has been encouraged among Canadians, especially by the Liberals, since 1982, of regarding our rights and freedoms as privileges bestowed upon us by the government in the Charter rather than what they are, our lawful property as free subjects of the Crown which it is the government’s duty to respect.
The assault on our freedoms of religion, peaceful assembly, and association have come from the provincial governments. At the same time the second of the four freedoms designated as fundamental in the Charter has come under attack from the Liberals who are in power in the Dominion government. This is the freedom of “thought, belief, opinion and expression”. Whereas our freedoms of religion, peaceful assembly, and association have never been this besieged before in Canadian history, our freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression has taken hits every time the Liberal Party led by a Trudeau has come to power in Ottawa. It has been less than ten years since we finally got rid of one of the vilest elements of Pierre Trudeau’s legacy, the notorious Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. While the entire Canadian Human Rights Act of 1977 is, in fact, an affront to freedom of thought because, despite its title, it has nothing to do with protecting our rights either as Canadians or human beings from government abuses, but is instead all about prohibiting the crimethink of discrimination on the part of individual Canadians, Section 13 was the Act’s worst provision by far. By defining any electronic communication of information “likely to” expose someone protected against discrimination “to hatred or contempt” as an act of discrimination it in effect forbade all negative criticism of groups protected against discrimination or individuals belonging to such groups, regardless of the truthfulness or justice of the criticism in question.
Section 13 was finally abolished during the premiership of Stephen Harper thanks to a private member’s bill repealing the foul section that received enough support from Conservative MPs and Liberal MPs of the pre-Trudeau variety – these had not yet been purged from the party – to pass Parliament. Neither Stephen Harper nor his Minister of Multiculturalism, Jason Kenney, who is currently overseeing the throwing of pastors in gaol and the barricading of churches in Alberta, had much to do with this for although they had spoken out against Human Rights Tribunals and their unjust infringement upon freedom of thought and speech on their road to power, in office they betrayed most of what they had once stood for, apparently having sold their souls to get there. The demise of Section 13 has long been lamented by Pierre Trudeau’s son, Captain Airhead, and when he became Prime Minister in 2015 he dropped a number of hints that he would be seeking to revive it. The appeal of Section 13 to Captain Airhead was based on more than just the fact that it had been originally introduced when his father was in power. More than any previous Liberal leader, Captain Airhead has been of the mindset that once a progressive goal has been attained, all debate about it ought to cease. This was evident even before he became Prime Minister when he purged the party of its pro-life members. More than any previous Liberal leader, he has enthusiastically endorsed fringe progressive causes that could not possibly achieve widespread popular support on their own merits without measures that intimidate and suppress dissenters. More than any previous Liberal leader he has been prone to tell Canadians who disagree with him that they are not welcome in their own country. He has used the expression “there is no place for X in Canada” far more liberally than any previous leader and with a much wider range of Xs. (1) In all of this he has demonstrated the sort of sick, censorious, mindset to which something like Section 13 appeals. In December of 2019, after he won re-election in the sense that he managed to squeak out a plurality despite falling majorly in the polls from where he had been four years previously, he instructed his Cabinet that fighting online “hate speech” would be one of their priorities in the new session of Parliament. Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault was specifically charged with finding a way to force social media platforms to remove what the Liberals consider to be “hate speech” within twenty-four hours of being told by the government to do so. This would be Section 13 magnified to the nth degree.
In response to this directive, Guilbeault came up with a bill that pursued the same goal as Section 13 through a different avenue. Last November he introduced Bill C-10, or “An Act to Amend the Broadcasting Act” into Parliament. This bill if passed would place internet media under the same regulatory authority of the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) as older electronic media such as radio and television broadcasters. By going this route, Guilbeault could maintain that his goal was not to censor what individual Canadians post on the internet, but to ensure that the companies that make shows and movies available through online streaming follow the same Canadian content guidelines as other broadcasters, a goal consistent with his portfolio as Heritage Minister. That having been said, the Bill as originally drafted would have given the CRTC regulatory authority over individual Canadians’ user-generated content on social media. When objections to this were raised the Bill was amended to include an exception for individual user-generated content, but this exception was removed in committee late last month around the same time that the government moved to shut down debate on a motion that the Conservatives had introduced calling for a review of whether or not the bill violated the Charter. None of this inspires much confidence in the Heritage Minister’s claim that the aim of this bill is cultural protectionism and not censorship of thought. On Monday, faced with backlash over all of this, Guilbeault promised that they would make it “crystal clear” that the user-generated content will not be subjected to the same sort of regulatory control as television programming. Needless to say, he ought not to be taken at his word on this. Indeed, Michael Geist, the law professor at the University of Ottawa who has been one of the foremost critics of Bill C-10, has already said that the amendment the Heritage Committee proposed on Thursday evening fails to follow through on Guilbeault’s promises.
It is worth observing here that with Bill C-10, Captain Airhead and Steven Guilbeault have returned to the very first thing the original Trudeau Liberals did to control the minds of Canadians and limit their freedom of thought. At the very beginning of the first Trudeau premiership the Right Honourable John G. Diefenbaker pointed out how the Liberals were threatening freedom of thought through the powers of the CRTC. In a speech entitled “The Twilight of Liberty”, the second included in the collection Those Things We Treasure (Macmillan, 1972), Diefenbaker said:
The Trudeau Government seems to be dedicated to controlling the thinking of Canadians. Through the power being exerted by Pierre Juneau, as Chairman of the Canadian Radio and Television Commission, (2) private radio and T.V. station proprietors in Canada are frightened to speak, fearful of being subject to the cancellation of their licences. One such station was CKPM in Ottawa, which dared to have an open line program critical of the Government. Pierre Juneau did come before a Committee of the House and he uttered lachrymose words in reply to the criticism leveled at him that he wishes to determine what Canadians shall hear, and to deny them the right to listen to what they will. His attitude was different when he spoke to the Association of Private Broadcasting Companies and in effect stated: “When I ope my lips, let no dog bark.” Under him the broadcasting network owned by the people of Canada is allowed to broadcast what he permits.
Diefenbaker’s warning of decades ago has gone largely unheeded, perhaps because the CRTC’s official raison d’être is cultural protectionism which appeals to a much broader range of Canadians than its more covert purpose of limiting freedom of thought. Certainly right-of-centre Canadians of the more traditional variety, such as Diefenbaker himself or this writer, would have no objections to the idea that Canadian culture ought to remain Canadian. It needs to be pointed out, however, that the CRTC has been a total failure in this regards. Fifty-three years later, the Canada of 2021 is far more Americanized culturally than the Canada of 1968 was. Indeed, much of what Canadians regard as distinctly “Canadian” culture today, is merely Hollywood culture with a maple leaf stamped on it. Read the novels of Mazo de la Roche and Robertson Davies if you want a taste of the more authentic pre-CRTC Canadian culture. Since the CRTC failed in its official appointed task, probably because its real purpose was thought control all along, there is hardly grounds here for extending its reach over the new online media. Indeed, the scarcely disguised agenda of censorship and thought control behind the move to so extend its reach, is sufficient reason why this bill, amended or otherwise, must never be allowed to pass. It is also more than sufficient reason for voting the Trudeau Liberals who dreamed it up in the first place out of Parliament and never allowing them to resume power again. For as Rex Murphy pointed out earlier this week, “What is more galling and more threatening that the bill itself, however, is the set of mind behind it”, and that won’t go away even if the bill itself does.
(1) Disturbingly, the leaders of the other parties – including the present leader of the Conservatives – have taken to aping his example in this.
(2) The full name of this agency was changed into the awkward and absurd redundancy that it is now in 1976, but the acronym remains the same. Posted by Gerry T. Neal
Corbella: Emergency expert says we should quarantine care homes and open society
“Governments took every emergency pandemic plan they’d ever written and threw them out the window when COVID arrived.” — Emergency management expert David Redman
Author of the article:Licia CorbellaPublishing date:Jan 15, 2021 • 1 day ago • 9 minute read
There’s not much point staffing and funding emergency agencies and plans if when an emergency strikes neither are called upon.
But that’s pretty much what’s happened in Alberta and in every other government in Canada, says an emergency management process expert.
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David Redman — a retired Lieutenant-Colonel with 27 years of experience in the Canadian Armed Forces and the former head of Alberta’s Emergency Management Agency — says while every emergency is different the planning process should always be the same.
“Governments took every emergency pandemic plan they’d ever written and threw them out the window when COVID arrived,” says Redman. “No one followed the process — even though they had plenty of time and forewarning as we had the benefit of seeing what was happening in China, Italy, Spain and France before the virus hit us in March (2020). Instead, they panicked, started flying by the seat of their pants and put the doctors in charge.”
Redman was so alarmed with Canada’s pandemic response, in April he wrote a three-page letter to Premier Jason Kenney saying, “I am genuinely concerned by the GoA response to this pandemic. It appears that we have scrapped the Pandemic Influenza support plan, started from scratch and decided to ignore all principles of Emergency Management.”
To say that Redman knows what he’s talking about is putting things mildly. He has been to war and led troops in the former Yugoslavia, he was in charge of closing down Canada’s army base in Lahr, Germany in the early 1990s. He did such a great job of closing down that small city of 18,000 troops, their families, equipment and 940 pieces of infrastructure, including the fourth longest runway in Europe, that two years later he was deployed to Croatia and Bosnia to lead the unplanned withdrawal under the orders of Prime Minister Jean Chretien of Canada’s United Nations troops from the area, only to be charged again to establish the staging bases to bring the Canadian brigade structure back to the area this time under NATO command.
After retiring from the military, Redman was in charge of the Alberta Emergency Management Agency when everything changed on Sept. 11, 2001. On Sept. 12, along with “26 of the smartest people in Alberta” many of them government and industry leaders from the various sectors of the Alberta economy, including healthcare and critical infrastructure such as power plant, electrical lines, rail lines, etc., Redman pulled together all that information gleaned from brainstorming sessions and designed a system to protect Alberta. He was, as a result, made head of the province’s counter-terrorism strategy.Paul Cellucci, the U.S. ambassador to Canada at the time, toured Alberta’s command centre and was so impressed with what he saw, he invited Redman, who has a master’s degree in electrical engineering, to Washington, D.C. to brief both the Senate and the House committees on national security. He has been keynote speaker at conferences on emergency preparedness, including with the Conference Board of Canada and fully retired in 2013.
In his April letter to Kenney — and he has since sent similar letters to every provincial premier and the federal government receiving only automated replies — Redman says the approach to battling COVID-19 has been all wrong. It has been focused almost entirely on limiting the number of deaths and we’ve failed at that.
• Controlling the spread of influenza disease and reducing illness and death by providing access to appropriate prevention measures, care, and treatment.
• Mitigating societal disruption in Alberta through ensuring the continuity and recovery of critical services.
• Minimizing adverse economic impact.
• Supporting an efficient and effective use of resources during response and recovery.
“We’ve failed in all of those objectives clear across the country because they didn’t stick to a plan. They panicked. They were constantly surprised at the beginning with every new outbreak and every death in a long-term care home, but it was completely foreseeable.
“Pandemics happen continuously,” he points out. A pandemic — even an unknown and tricky one like COVID-19 — is not a public health emergency, Redman insists, it’s a public emergency, since all areas of society are affected: the public sector, private sector, not-for-profit sector and every citizen.
Redman says putting doctors in charge of a public emergency is the wrong approach.
He points to forest fires as an example. In Alberta, during a forest fire, like the one that burned down swathes of the city of Fort McMurray in May, 2016, the Wildfire Operations centre, was the subject matter agency, but it did not lead the provincial government’s response to the wildfire.
“Their job is to fight the fire. Their job was not to ensure that there was food and water. Their job was not to evacuate the citizens of Fort McMurray. AEMA leads the cross-government, private sector and municipal response.”
Clearly that has not happened with COVID. Most Albertans have no idea what the head of AEMA looks like, let alone his name. The names listed on its website of the executive director and managing director are both incorrect.
“We can’t keep doing this — locking down our whole society,” says Redman. “We don’t have 400 billion more dollars to tell healthy people to lock themselves in their houses and not go to work.”
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“In February we knew that over 95 per cent of the deaths in China and Europe were in seniors over the age of 60 with multiple co-morbidities,” says Redman, who backed uphis statements withreports.
“We should have immediately developed plans to protect our seniors over age 60 with co-morbidities, particularly those in long-term care homes. Our long-term care homes should have been placed into quarantine.”
Again, Redman points to Fort McMurray as an example, where many of its oilpatch workers do not live full time in that northern city. Many live not just outside of Fort Mac, but outside of the province of Alberta, working one month on followed by one month off of work.
Redman says LTC workers should have been asked to work one month on and one month off, living away from their families and being housed in accommodations set aside by the government.
Redman says, you wouldn’t need to force workers to do this, you would ask for volunteers.
“I never had a problem finding volunteers for really bad tasks in the armed forces,” explains Redman. “One of the things I was taught as a lieutenant is you never ask a soldier to do something that you wouldn’t do yourself. So you say, ‘I’m going? Who’s going with me?’
“For example, every day we ran convoys that left from the coast of Croatia, drove up over the mountains and into Bosnia and if you know what the 1995 war in Bosnia looked like it was particularly ugly because it was a civil war. It was neighbour versus neighbour. And they didn’t care that you were driving a white UN truck. They’d shoot at us just for fun. So the most dangerous job we had on most days was riding those convoys and protecting those convoys.”
Redman said he would “ride shotgun” armed with a C7 rifle at least once per week and as often as every four days. “I never had a shortage of people to volunteer to ride shotgun and we rotated who those people were.”
If you think care workers would never do that, Redman points to the care home near Lyon, France where for 47 days and nights 29 members of the 50 staff at the Vilanova home, brought in mattresses, sleeping bags and pillows and locked themselves in with their 106 residents in order to keep them safe from COVID. No residents died from COVID, though some passed away from other causes, and it was reportedly a joyous time.
Providing generous compensation to care workers who would quarantine with LTC residents would ensure an appropriate number of volunteers.
“To date, in Canada, over 96 per cent of our more than 17,500 COVID deaths have been in seniors, over the age of 60, with multiple co-morbidities,” said Redman. That is over 15,440 deaths. It is likely thousands of these deaths could have been avoided, as over 80 per cent of the deaths in the first wave occurred in long term care homes.
“LTC residents accounted for 81 per cent of all reported COVID-19 deaths in Canada, compared with an average of 38 per cent in other OECD countries.” And yet, no comprehensive plan for LTC homes was established. It’s shocking.
According to the National Institute on Aging at Ryerson University, by Jan. 5, 2021, long-term care and retirement homes reported just 11 per cent of the Canadian totals of COVID-19 infections and 73 per cent of total deaths.
“The largest proportion of COVID-19 cases in Canada has been in individuals aged 20-29 years. The smallest proportion has been among people aged 70-79 years. However, most deaths from the disease have been among older Canadians — 71 per cent among people 80 years and older, and almost 97 per cent among individuals 60 years and older,” says the Library of Parliament report entitled: Long-Term Care Homes in Canada – The Impact of COVID-19.
On Wednesday, when Postmedia asked Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw whether she and the government consulted the 2014 pandemic plan, Dr. Hinshaw said that she had.
“The 2014 pandemic plan was, of course, a large part of our planning in the early days. Much of that plan is relevant to COVID, some of it is less relevant to COVID. We did not create a separate plan,” she said.
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That is obvious.
She added that she “liaised very closely” with the AEMA over the initial phases of the pandemic and we continue to liaise with them. We have an emergency operation centre in the Ministry of Health.”
Redman says the province and every other government in Canada had ample time to rewrite their pandemic plans to protect our seniors, particularly those living in LTC, none of them did. He also says that Premier Kenney should be the person relaying the government’s daily messages, not Hinshaw. She should have focused on creating surge capacity in our hospitals and passing on medical information to the public.
We all know hindsight is 20-20, but Redman was making these very points back in April.
“The only plan we’re using now is to lock down healthy people and hope that COVID isn’t brought into long-term care homes. Hope isn’t a plan,” he said.
Many more elderly people will die in Canada before they are all vaccinated and the healthcare of Canadians for generations to come will be compromised as we work to pay off our ballooning debt and deficits cause by the lockdowns. All for want of a good plan.
We must learn from this failure and never let it happen again.
Bladez 2 Fadez, a barbershop in central Alberta, first opened its doors in August 2020. It’s a tough economy to open any small business, but especially now, during a time of ever-evolving pandemic restrictions on retail and services.
Bladez 2 Fadez was, until yesterday, a recently closed barber shop. Premier Jason Kenney made a mid-December decision to ban all personal care services, including hair and nail salons as well as barbershops, as part of his latest swath of COVID-19 restrictions on business.
However, Tuesday morning at 9:00 a.m, Bladez 2 Fadez owner Natalie Klein served her first client in a month. Klein, despite the looming threat of fines, is opening her doors to the public. If that last name sounds familiar to you, it should. Klein is the niece of late, great Progressive Conservative Alberta Premier Ralph Klein.
It would almost seem as if Bernie Farber is trying to set a world record. That would be the world record for the number of unrelated news stories in which someone who is neither a celebrity nor a world leader appears within a short period of time. In the last half of August he appeared in connection with three stories of which I am aware. Perhaps there are others that I have not seen. He appeared on television and was quoted in the newspapers in connection with the story about a member of the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves who was accused of recruiting for a supposed neo-Nazi organization. He was also quoted in reference to the sentencing of Dr. James Sears who had been found guilty of the promotion of hatred in his satirical Your Ward News. I am sure that few of you will be surprised to learn that rather than lamenting and decrying this latest blow to freedom of thought and expression, as any decent Canadian would, Farber expressed an attitude that struck me as being smug, self-satisfied, cocky, hubristic, and downright arrogant.
The third story is the one that really takes the cake. Grant Hunter is a member of Alberta’s provincial Legislative Assembly and a minister in the province’s government. He holds the portfolio for red tape reduction. I have not checked, but I suspect that Alberta is the only province in the Dominion with such a ministry. Since red tape is generated by bureaucracy, expanding the bureaucracy for the purpose of reducing it seems slightly counterproductive to me, but apparently Mr. Hunter is of another opinion. He has come under criticism for a tweet that said the following:
Wernher von Braun said, “To conquer the universe you’d have to solve two problems: gravity and red tape.” We’ve made it clear that we are committed to reducing red tape in Alberta. Lots more to come.
It is not the part of the tweet in which he toots his own ministry’s horn for which he has been criticized, but for the opening quotation. He removed the tweet after a bunch of triggered snowflakes jumped down his throat. A more appropriate response would have been to tell them to stuff it.
The objection to the quotation is based not upon what it says but upon who said it. Wernher von Braun was a German aerospace engineer – in layman’s terms that means rocket scientist. He turned twenty-one shortly after Adolf Hitler became Germany’s Chancellor in 1933 and in 1937, like any other German in those days who valued his professional career – the philosopher Martin Heidegger and the industrialist Oskar Schindler are other famous examples that come to mind – he joined the Nazi Party. He served the Third Reich in his professional capacity as one of the leading scientists in their rocket development program, and yes, the rockets were designed for military purposes rather than space exploration. Then, following the Reich’s defeat in 1945, he and several others who had worked under him were drafted by the United States government to serve their military in basically the same capacity. It was undoubtedly von Braun who was foremost in legendary filmmaker Stanley Kubrick’s mind when he made fun of the American government’s recruitment of scientists, engineers, and other technical experts from Nazi Germany in his hilarious 1964 dark comedy Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned How to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. However, von Braun served the United States much longer than he served the Third Reich and was essentially the architect of the American space program.
Unlike Bernie Farber, Wernher von Braun was a brilliant scientist who achieved great things, and until very recently the idea that he was tainted with the crimes of the government he worked for at the beginning of his career and that quoting him is some sort of grave moral offense would not have been taken seriously and anyone silly enough to propose it would have found himself laughed to scorn. Sadly, those days are behind us and so we find CBC News reporting on Hunter’s tweet, the silly backlash, and its removal, and sure enough, there is Bernie waiting and ready to toss his two cents in:
“It was an unnecessary quote,” said Bernie Farber, chair of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network and former CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress.
“He’s at best a controversial figure. He is for sure a Nazi and … it was silly to quote a man like him. Politicians have to know better,” Farber said. “I just think it shows his [Hunter’s] thoughtlessness.”
Farber, whose organization monitors hate groups, said he doesn’t think people’s concerns about the quote’s use are being overblown. It would have been easy to quote a Canadian economist or another figure on the topic of red tape, he said.
“I just think [Hunter] should acknowledge he should have made a better choice in terms of who to quote and apologize,” Farber said. “That’s always the way forward out of things like this to acknowledge your mistake and move forward.”
Not a single one of these statements is accurate. Von Braun, at his best, was a genius, a pioneer in the field of rocket science, whose work laid the foundation of space exploration and gave subsequent generations a new heroic role model to add to policeman, soldier, and fireman – the astronaut. As for his being a Nazi, it would seem that English verb tenses are not Farber’s strong suit. The present tense is hardly appropriate for someone who has been dead for forty-two years and whose membership in the Nazi Party ended thirty-two years prior to his death. Perhaps Farber holds to a rather twisted version of Calvinism and believes “once a Nazi, always a Nazi.” It was not silly to quote von Braun, what is silly is Farber’s attitude about all of this. There is no indication here of any “thoughtlessness” on Hunter’s part, and there is absolutely no need for him to apologize. Indeed, there is a need for him, Hunter that is, not to apologize, because he is the victim of a form of bullying, and the true way forward in this situation is to refuse to apologize to people who do not deserve an apology and to tell them to take their manufactured offense and blow it out their ears.
If anyone should be apologizing over a quotation it ought to be the news media apologizing to the Canadian public for inflicting so many Bernie Farber quotes on us. By uncritically accepting him as the expert on hate and hate groups that he has appointed himself to be, much as the American media used to do with Morris Dees and his Southern Poverty Law Center [sic] before that organization’s reputation finally collapsed under allegations of hypocrisy, shady fundraising, serial defamation, and the like, they have lent him a credibility that in my opinion he does not deserve. Incidentally – or perhaps not, I’ll let readers judge for themselves – when Farber and Evan Balgord founded the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, of which Farber is chairman, last year it was with a start-up grant from the SPLC, and the organization, in a letter to the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security that was signed by Farber and Balgord, along with two of its board members, said of itself “The organization is modeled after, and supported by, the esteemed Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in the United States.”
I first remember hearing the name Bernie Farber around the turn of the millennium. At the time the Liberal Party, headed by Jean Chretien, had been governing the Dominion since 1993 and their Immigration ministers had been trying to strip several elderly men of their citizenship and deport them. These were men of German and Ukrainian ethnicity, who had fled to Canada as refugees following the Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe at the end of the Second World War. They had been teenagers during the war and had been forced by the Nazis to serve the German forces in various auxiliary capacities, usually as interpreters but in some cases also as guards. On February 2, 1997, CBS aired an episode of 60 Minutes in which the main segment was entitled “Canada’s Dark Secret.” In this segment Mike Wallace interviewed a private investigator named Steven Rambam who claimed that Canada was a haven for Nazi war criminals. The Liberal government, in response, was trying to project an image of clamping down on Nazi war criminals and since there were no Adolf Eichmanns or Klaus Barbies at hand to prosecute they decided to pick on these men instead. Cheering them on at every turn was the Canadian Jewish Congress, which had hired Rambam and for which Bernie Farber worked as Executive Director for the Ontario Region and National Director of Community Relations. Later Farber was promoted to Chief Executive of the entire organization before it was taken over by the Canadian Council for Israel and Jewish Advocacy which soon after renamed itself the Centre for Jewish and Israel Affairs and dissolved the CJC. Farber had also been interviewed by Mike Wallace in the aforementioned 60 Minutes segment and in the controversy surrounding the attempted deportations was frequently quoted as supporting the government’s actions.
Peter Worthington, the late, great, founding editor of the Toronto Sun, went to bat for the elderly Ukrainians who were being so unjustly railroaded. He was particularly incensed over the cases of Wasyl Odynsky and Helmut Oberlander. Odynsky had been forced by the SS, during the German occupation of the Ukraine, to serve as a concentration camp guard. The Nazis told him they would kill him if he refused and would kill his family if he ran away. Oberlander, a Ukrainian of German ancestry, was forced by the Nazis to serve as a translator and supply guard for the Einsatzgruppe. Neither man served the Nazis voluntarily, nor was either of them an active participant in the war crimes of the Schutzstaffel. As Worthington put it in his column for April 29, 2001:
Men like Odynsky and Oberlander were victims, too – first of Sovietism which seized their country, then of the Nazis and now of a misguided quest for justice without discretion.
That column, entitled “Ukrainian Teens Were Nazi Victims” was written as a rebuttal of one by Bernie Farber that had appeared the previous day, itself in response to an earlier column by Worthington on the subject. Farber took the position that these men deserved to be deported, because even though they may not have tortured and murdered anyone themselves, their labour as translators and guards – forced labour, remember – enabled those who did commit these crimes. This is a particularly disgusting form of the fallacy of guilt by association and Worthington, quoting from Farber’s column, rightly, in my opinion, said “In my view, that statement by Farber is so wrong, mistaken and out of line, that it inadvertently demeans the Holocaust.”
This would not be the last time Worthington and Farber would lock horns on this subject and while Worthington always got the better of Farber the latter never retreated one iota from his position. In 2012, when Stephen Harper’s Immigration Minister Jason Kenney stripped Oberlander of his citizenship – one of many reasons why I have nothing but contempt for the present premier of Alberta – Farber told the Globe and Mail “It matters not if he was a translator or a cook – they were all part of the pirate ship and they helped oil the wheels of genocide.” Earlier this year, when the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed the 95 year old Oberlander’s motion to have the fourth (!) revocation of his citizenship overturned, Farber was again all over the news gloating and saying that he hoped the Liberal government would quickly deport him.
My point, if it is not obvious, is that someone who cannot tell the difference between the Nazi thugs who tortured and murdered civilians and kids who were forced by these same thugs to do their bidding, should not be taken seriously when he poses as an expert on Nazis and Nazism. Someone who for over twenty years acts as the head of the cheerleading squad while governments, Liberal and Conservative alike, try repeatedly to denaturalize and deport an elderly man, who has been a law-abiding subject of Her Majesty for his entire adult life, because the unit that he had been forced to serve by the invaders of his country of birth when he was still a teenager were responsible for war crimes, caring neither about the aforementioned difference nor the trauma being inflicted upon this man’s family, has absolutely no business whatsoever lecturing the rest of us about “hate.” When he throws a silly conniption about a government minister quoting the leading American aerospace engineer we should pay him no heed.
Good luck with the Nobel Prize, Bernie, but you can take your silly posturing and blow it out your ear!