Go Surfing or Commemorate the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada

Last year, on the occasion of the inauguration of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation by our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau was found taking a holiday with his family and enjoying the ocean waves in the West Coast village of Tofino. He wasn’t attending any commemorative events.

It really is difficult to know what to do on this national holiday. Should we follow his example and all go to the beach? Or is this a day of mourning? If that is the case, how much of the day should we spend in mourning? Should we spend an hour from 11:00 a.m. to noon and include a minute of silence? Is it alright to go to the beach afterward? Should we close all beaches to the public?

And that begs the question, what exactly are we commemorating?

I think the simplest explanation is to say we are mourning the children who didn’t come home from the residential schools. They lie buried in graves near the schools. It was not practical to send home their small remains due to the expense of transportation and probably the cost of embalming. If cremation had been done, then that might have changed the entire story because the remains would have been sent home. No, they were given a proper Catholic burial in the vicinity of the schools or churches. Neither the government, nor the schools, nor the families were willing or able to foot the bill to transport them home so now we have unmarked graves. Graves where the original wooden markers have disappeared over the years.

It seems that with this new holiday we will have a day of mourning for aboriginal children in perpetuity.

How many of the children who went to residential schools did not return? Did most of those who died, die of illness? Was the cause of each death investigated? Did any die a violent death? Who was responsible? Did some die as a result of deprivation or other reasons? One thing that has come of this holiday is this article and these questions, but the thought of repeating this every year is troubling. And the thought that efforts at truth and reconciliation haven’t happened in the past is simply not true. News articles bear witness to repeated reconciliation efforts. I think a maudlin preoccupation with abuse is a symptom of our age.

One can look at this from so many angles but first of all we have to admit that the Canadian government, in its wisdom, has for generations mandated that children from six to sixteen attend school, preferably the government-funded public school. Since it was impossible to have schools staffed by teachers in the regions where aboriginal families were scattered, a solution was found. Send the children to residential schools.

For generations parents have coughed up high tuition and boarding fees to send their children to residential schools. We actually call them boarding schools. They are reserved for the elite who can afford them. So separating children from parents is actually not a barbaric practice. But of course, these schools differ substantially from the primitive aboriginal residential schools and not only in terms of luxury. Parents of children in residential schools did not wield any kind of influence in the schools. The real difference between the two is choice. Parents choose to send their children to boarding schools. They are not mandated by the government to do so. Their children are not hauled away by government officials. That is the critical difference.

My immigrant forefathers reached agreements regarding schooling arrangements before arriving on Canadian soil, agreements that were subsequently ignored by the government. Many who would not comply were left with no recourse but to move to another country, and they did so. It was important to raise their children with their own values and without the intrusion of government. Their request to the Canadian government was to have their own teachers and to teach in their own language and this provision was denied.

Now we might say the government, at the time residential schools were implemented for aboriginal children, was being benevolant. Schooling, as well as room and board, were provided at no cost to the parents. But once again, the issue is that the will of the parents was not consulted. It was ignored. There was coercion and forced compliance. The government took it upon itself to replace the parent figure as the one who knows what is best for the children.

We are still up against this today. Parents who protest values they do want to see taught to their children in schools have their objections fall on deaf ears, or worse: they are outright ridiculed. I have witnessed this. Under pressure from special interest activist groups the United Nations mandates ideologies and our governments are compliant, or should we say complicit, in implementing this in a “we know better” approach. These activists carry on international surveillance to gauge compliance.

I am at a loss to know how we ought to behave on this holiday because it is essentially a Canadian holiday meant to point out the failings of our government to consider the wishes and needs of early inhabitants of this grand country. We are commemorating a mistake we don’t want to make again. Yet, in not so small ways, this mistake keeps being made. Government leaders think they know what is best and mess things up. In a few years we might see a Truth and Reconciliation Day for Truckers.

Community “events” are being planned. On Remembrance Day we commemorate sacrifices of honor made for our freedoms. In contrast, I find nothing to celebrate on the Day of Truth and Reconciliation and I’m not sure I want to risk attending these events.

Let’s remember that the Catholic Church is not to blame for being called to do the bidding of the government to educate, feed and house aboriginal children. Individuals who were there, who abused their role, should be held to account and efforts have been made to that effect, but I fear the time has passed now since the perpetrators of alleged abuses are no longer with us.

However, in terms of holding to account, there really is no excuse to continue to allow men with a penchant for young boys to be in positions of access to children within the Catholic Church or in schools.

I don’t want to offer excuses for anyone, but let’s remember that caring for large numbers of children who are away from their parents, around the clock, cannot be an easy task. And anyone who has lived a few decades has seen a tyrannical teacher. My first grade teacher ordered the students in the class who had run around inside during lunch hour to crawl around the circumference of the room, on their hands and knees, and one by one as they came by her, each would receive a strap. I can still hear the wailing and see the tear-stained faces. This was a public school, by the way.

I want to point out something that the media seems to be misrepresenting. There were no mass graves. There was no genocide. Genocide involves intent. Neither the Catholic Church, nor the Canadian government intended to wipe out aboriginal children. The intent was to educate. Some “survivors” have actually given testimony of benefits derived from an education. They would not describe residential schools as institutions of genocide. Yes, there was an abuse of power. But does that call for setting aside a national holiday?

When children died, whether of disease, or loneliness, or abuse, graves were dug for them and wooden markers with names were placed on the graves, according to Catholic tradition. The markers disappeared over the years as the graves were neglected, as I stated earlier. Aboriginal chiefs will tell you the graves are not a surprise. They have known about the graves. If we are talking about a Day for Truth, this should be part of the narrative.

Now we have set aside a day in which every person who settled in Canada, after aboriginals staked a claim here, is to share blame and be shamed for deeds in which they had no part. To me this is taking a very narrow view. I fail to see that anything positive will be accomplished by this holiday, because everyone, guilty or not, is set up to fall short of the required guilt sacrifice.

Canada Has an Open Wound – Let Me Explain a Few Things

There’s been a lot of ruckus in the past days over words that should not have been spoken to Chrystia Freeland during her visit to Alberta, however, no investigation has been made into what might have caused a verbal backlash and the obvious frustration.

I’m not familiar with the people involved and I’m not making excuses for them, but I’ve been watching as the anger and fear in Canada has increased. It is not without reason. The CBC coverage by Christian Paas-Lang of the incident is a clear example of exactly the reasons I am talking about.

The headline states, Chrystia Freeland latest target of public threats, intimidation against women in Canadian politics. The article makes us believe this was about Chyrstia Freeland being a woman and about women, especially black women journalists being targeted. Further, the implication here is that this attack was made by misogynists and racists. Where have we heard those familiar words before? It’s difficult to believe, but this was what Trudeau called people associated with the Freedom Convoy, not so long ago.

Let’s be clear about something. The person targeted was a very specific woman in power in the Canadian liberal government, namely the deputy Prime Minister of Canada. Prime Minister Trudeau has been targeted, frequently, himself, in recent months since he refused to meet with the trucker’s convoy, and refused to enable them to go back to their jobs. Whatever the reason, imagine an entity in power making it impossible for people to earn a living (not to mention the bank accounts he froze). However, calling attention to his race or gender could scarcely be fitting.

There is an open wound in Canada and it will not go away until there is either an apology and about-face from our Prime Minister or a change in government.

Day by day people see more of what they have been seeing for the past few years and it makes them angry. The Prime Minister of Canada is able to get away with name calling and dismissing Canadians who are in pain as a result of his unnecessary and illogical actions. There is an open wound in Canada and it will not go away until there is either an apology and about-face from our Prime Minister, or a change in government.

In Canada Indigo will not display the book on the right in their bookstores. Why not, when they are perfectly fine with the selections on the left?

This week a video aired in Canada of Jordan Peterson interviewing Dr. Leslyn Lewis, one of five candidates running for the leadership of the Conservative Party, Canada’s official opposition party. Lewis shared that when she ran for the party leadership in 2020 the Canadian media ignored her and gave Kamala Harris, an American, 800 times the coverage Lewis received around the same time. Leslyn Lewis is a black woman and also shared that she does not receive media coverage in Canada because the media sees her party as a “white, racist” party. Is there anything to be angry about here?

Trudeau tried to tarnish the truckers by tying them to any sketchy association, even calling repeated attention to the presence of a single Nazi flag within the vicinity of the truckers. It turns out that Chystia Freeland has a family heritage of working for Nazis, as does Klaus Schwab, the leader and founder of the World Economic Forum. I found this information freely available online. To many Canadian the WEF represents a loss of national sovereignty and Chyrstia Freeland is on the board of the WEF. Might that be a reason to be disturbed?

I think we can assume this was not a random attack on a woman, and what we are seeing is not attacks on black journalists, specifically, at all. People in Canada, like the protesters, feel they have lost their representation in the media. The above-mentioned article appears to be a rallying cry for further dismissing and shutting down concerned Canadians by calling on the government to enact stringent legislation throttling free speech. In other words, spelled out more plainly, find a means to silence opposition. More than anything, unhappy people need someone to listen to them. They want to know someone cares. After the truckers convoy Canadians increasingly feel that nobody in Ottawa is willing to listen.

Trudeau’s response to the episode was that this was, “unacceptable and this kind of cowardly behaviour threatens and undermines our democracy and our values of openness and respect.” How can Trudeau speak of values after his unacceptable response to Canadians, as a leader of Canada, name calling and labeling people as racists and misogynists? His contemptuous treatment of the Freedom Convoy is seen by Canadians as exactly the kind of cowardly behavior he is condemning. He needs a reminder that this is still a democracy, meaning people are represented by elected government leaders and actually have a say in what happens in this country. However, we have seen little, if any, representation in the Liberal-NDP coalition government we now have. The MPs are only representing the wishes of our Prime Minister and that is a problem.

The verbal attacks on journalists are not because they are female or women of color or of a minority group. The CBC made two retractions regarding the truckers and still, today,  this government-funded news organization fuels resentment against the Freedom Convoy protesters and any others who might have an inclination to see the Canadian flag as a symbol of freedom.

Yes, Chrystia Freeland represents a direction many in Canada do not want to take. It is no conspiracy theory that she is among the global elites who fly to Davos on their private jets and conspire how to rule the world. Canadians do not want a world health system where all of our medical information is no longer private. We do not want digital ID and a few of the other great proposals these wealthy global leaders are arrogantly presenting. We can see where this is leading. We do not want to lose our sovereignty and freedoms.

The world is reverberating with Schwab’s claim, “You will own nothing and be happy.” Does he really think that we don’t have any questions about who will own what we no longer own? Another gem out of the WEF is that there will be a temporary, painful period of transition but this is simply the cost of progress. In this case we don’t have any question about who will be impacted. I did, however, come up with a question this week. How many farmers did Bill Gates displace with his farmland acquisitions?

If you want to know more of what Canadians are resisting, you can get your Kindle copy of Klaus Schwab’s COVID-19: The Great Reset at Amazon for $7.63. That’s U.S. funds. Closer to $11.00 CDN. Jason Kenney, Premier of our province of Alberta, reported that he received a free copy, courtesy of Klaus Schwab, and so did others in positions of political authority in Canada. However, we ordinary citizens will have to buy our own copy. It’s probably worth it, though, because we need to wake up and determine what kind of action to take. Name calling will not accomplish what we need to see happen in our country, but it does have the effect of drawing attention.

Here is an update on September 16 from the author of The Freedom Convoy.

SDG’s -Sustainable Development Goals

For first hand information on global Sustainable Development Goals, watch the video and read the info here. I am presenting a summary along with my personal views. The video premiered September 19, 2020.

The video, interestingly, opens with an Andrea Bocelli Amazing Grace rendition on Easter Sunday ,April 12, 2020, “by invitation of the City and of the Duomo cathedral of Milan.” This was in the middle of lockdown and I remember watching the performance and being moved by it, as were millions of others.

The SGD video concludes with some disturbing video footage during a solo performance by Beyonce. You can watch the song with footage on its own here.

This article gives the following summary of the video, Nations United-Urgent Solutions for Urgent Times:

“Nations United-Urgent Solutions for Urgent Times” sets out what must be done to tackle the world’s biggest issues, from COVID-19 to poverty, inequality, gender discrimination, climate change, justice and human rights. The broadcast will also mark the UN’s 75th anniversary, as well as the 5th anniversary of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The film is directed by UN Sustainable Development Goals Advocate Richard Curtis. It features leading activists such as education advocate and UN Messenger of Peace, Malala Yousafzai, Professor of Educational Technology, Sugata Mitra, UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace, Forest Whitaker, actor and women’s rights activist Thandie Newton OBE, as well as UN Goodwill Ambassadors, Don Cheadle (UNEP) and Michelle Yeoh (UNDP), and UN Secretary-General António Guterres and UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed.

On 25 September 2015, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, 193 world leaders committed to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (or Global Goals). These are a series of ambitious objectives and targets to end extreme poverty and hunger, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change, by 2030.

United Nations releases special 2020 broadcast calling for collective action

Here is a screenshot of the 17 sustainable goals.

The Sustainable Development Goals

The primary focus of the video appears to be on addressing inequality and climate change. It speaks positively of climate changes that resulted from lockdowns, such as air pollution lifting over Punjab and the water in Venice canals becoming clear. This is the utopian world imagined where people do not live. The slippery slope is the devaluing of human life as being hazardous to the climate. I see this as a danger greater than the supposed climate change threat.

In the video we hear, “People showed enormous capacity to adapt, change the way they live, work, organize themselves….Change is possible, the problem is political will.”

The Sept 25, 2015 Sustainable Development Goals were considered “a set of solutions to the biggest problems the world faces.” Although I am skeptical, I must say that I’m sure there were good intentions. The key areas addressed were Climate, Poverty and Inequality, and Gender Inequality.

There is an excerpt from an essay in Arundhati Roy’s book, Azadi: Freedom. Fascism. Fiction, entitled, “The Pandemic Is a Portal” in which she says, rightfully, the pandemic brought the world to a halt when nothing else could. “In the midst of this terrible despair it offers us an opportunity to rethink the doomsday machine we have built for ourselves. Nothing could be worse than a return to normality. Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next.” The quote is found here.

Regarding climate change have seen what I would say is no less than an attack on the fossil fuel industry without proposing a feasible and affordable alternative. Even banks are now being brought on board and pressured not to lend to these industries. Francis Menton points out the problem in his June 6, 2022 article, More On Energy Fantasy Versus Reality In Woke-Land, “When the demand is there and the product works, it takes off. Not so for wind and solar for energy generation, nor for that matter for electric vehicles. Nobody buys these things unless subsidized, and as soon as government subsidies are reduced or go away, they disappear.” In other words, if the government keeps putting money into alternative energy then the constructing of solar panels and wind turbines will continue.

It is noteworthy that the SDG agreement followed closely on the heals of the December 12, 2015 Paris Agreement. Incidentally, a 10 day meeting of world leaders on the subject of Climate Change just concluded in Bohn Germany. This follows on the heels of the WEF meeting of world leaders in Davos. Whenever world leaders meet, there is no shortage of private jets and limos, not to mention other evidence of excess. My whole problem with the Climate Change agenda is the total inconsistency from the leaders who promote it. In the end it makes me wonder if there is really more interest in wealth and power than climate. Investments merely shift to countries that have no climate controls, such as China.

In this article, Open Borders Must Be Part of Any Response to the Climate Crisis we read, “Over the last hundred years, borders have come to function much as serfdom did until the 19th century: as a means of restricting the movements of the poor.” This is one of the solutions proposed for the problem of poverty and inequality, but it is lacking a lot of context. Ultimately it implies a world without borders which means no more sovereign nations and anyone can come and “colonize.”

When one looks at who is involved in these world leadership meetings we see the United Nations and its subsidiary entities, such the World Economic Forum (WEF). The SDG’s are under the umbrella of the United Nations as well. I’m relatively new to this understanding of how the UN influences countries, or should I say imposes on the sovereignty of nations, because this is what we have seen in education. IGLA has been very active, lobbying the UN and following up on gender equality and education compliance in all countries.

Between 2014 and 2019, 7 Treaty Bodies selected 33 SOGIESC recommendations for their follow-up review.

17 decisions on Individual Communications were adopted by three Committees in 2014–2019, with a violation found in 9. Two of the cases were brought by trans persons, however, have been no intersex cases so far.

Out of 27 General Comments adopted by Treaty Bodies, 20 (77%) contained references to SOGIESC.

These achievements would not have been possible without the active and consistent participation of LGBTI defenders from around the world, who collected data, drafted and submitted shadow reports, travelled to Geneva, and engaged with Committee members….

United Nations Treaty Bodies: References to Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Gender Expression and Sex Characteristics

So, what we have here is powerful lobbying entities, backed by a lot of money, to be sure. There is little that is democratic about this.

I am in favor of many of the Sustainable Development Goals, however, I do not see the value in swallowing the proposals whole, without a careful analysis. For instance, perhaps we cannot get behind the plan to halve global emissions by 2030, or putting an end to building new coal power stations and subsidizing of fossil fuels, or implementing carbon taxes, but I can support reducing pollution of waters, putting limits on deforestation, and providing affordable education and health care. Many goals are not clear like the reference to need to “fix the financial system.” What does that involve? We give up our personal privacy as digital currencies are introduced?

Investing in “global peace” and “a global ceasefire” sounds good, but we have seen how impotent the UN is when faced with a real situation. The same applies to the lofty ideal to “break the vicious cycle of systemic corruption.” What systems are corrupted? How does a world governing body get involved? By creating little activists in our schools?

I nearly laughed at the proposal of a “free, independent media” seeing how we have not had this freedom throughout covid, to discuss alternate views. And “responsible social media platforms that encourage healthy debate,” after vaccine injury reports were repeatedly ignored and removed and doctors were threatened if they spoke out. “Free and fair elections” and “the right to protest.” I get the sense these were slipped in as a token to appeal to a certain audience, the Amazing Grace audience, versus the Beyonce one.

“Increase the power of the people to keep check on the people in power” stumped me as well, since this is the opposite of what we see happening. The rich get richer and the world leaders unite to become more powerful.

“Gender equality” of representation is not a good idea for reasons I don’t have time or space to discuss here. Equal access is good, but equal representation is not. It results in the less competent leading and I would say this is already becoming an apparent consequence, evidence being some of the poorly thought out proposals presented above.

I found the following on the Manhattan Contrarian website, which incidentally is a very comprehensive source for credible information on Climate Change by someone who has the knowledge to speak on the subject:

One of my intellectual heroes is Milton Friedman. In 1964 he spent a year as a visiting professor at Columbia University in Manhattan. In 1974 Friedman wrote an essay titled “Schools at Chicago” that includes the following passage:

 

In 1964–to the disgust and dismay of most of my academic friends–I served as an economic adviser to Barry Goldwater during his quest for the Presidency. That year also, I was a Visiting Professor at Columbia University. The two together gave me a rare entree into the New York intellectual community. I talked to and argued with groups from academia, from the media, from the financial community, from the foundation world, from you name it. I was appalled at what I found. There was an unbelievable degree of intellectual homogeneity, of acceptance of a standard set of views complete with cliche answers to every objection, of smug self-satisfaction at belonging to an in-group. The closest similar experience I have ever had was at Cambridge, England, and even that was a distant second.
The homogeneity and provincialism of the New York intellectual community made them pushovers in discussions about Goldwater’s views. They had cliche answers but only to their self-created straw-men. To exaggerate only slightly, they had never talked to anyone who really believed, and had thought deeply about, views drastically different from their own. As a result, when they heard real arguments instead of caricatures, they had no answers, only amazement that such views could be expressed by someone who had the external characteristics of being a member of the intellectual community, and that such views could be defended with apparent cogency. Never have I been more impressed with the advice I once received: “You cannot be sure that you are right unless you understand the arguments against your views better than your opponents do.

Inequality of Information: When You Want to Read the News But Can’t

I want to read the news but I can’t. It’s behind a paywall.

I want to read a left leaning newspaper, The Globe and Mail, and a paper labeled as right wing, The Epoch Times. But I can’t read either because they are behind a paywall. I don’t think it is right to restrict those who cannot afford a subscription. That may not be me, but it may be a vast number who are living at the poverty level.

I could sacrifice and I could justify getting subscriptions, while living what is defined as just above the poverty level in Canada, but I think of the many others who may not have such a carefully crafted budget and who may not be able to keep the credit man at bay.

Lower income means a lower standard of living but when this effects knowing what is going on in the world, I think this is of concern. The trouble with poverty is that it can affect access to information in other ways, and reduce possibility of advancement. For instance, if you cannot afford college tuition then you can’t get a higher education and if you cannot get a higher education then you stand less chance of lifting yourself out of poverty. Today, however, education itself will cause poverty as tuitions escalate. A friend who finally received her Masters Degree stated she is now $60,000 in debt and that is low by comparison to others I’ve heard of.

But back to the topic. Is there not a way to allow everyone to simply access a newspaper, any newspaper? Sometimes the two newspapers I mentioned offer special subscription deals, but once they have your credit card information it can be difficult to “unsubscribe” after the offer runs up. With The Globe and Mail this has been an ongoing problem that many have complained about. You can subscribe online but you cannot unsubscribe without making a phone call. We have all experienced the hassle it is to get a real person who knows what they are doing on the other end of the line. I must add that it is demoralizing to go through this process, repeatedly, but that is a topic for another day.

With all the focus on misinformation and disinformation, are we finally supposed to content ourselves with no information?

To Elon Musk: Why Not Buy Bots?

Photo by Alex Knight Pexels.com

The Elon Musk and Twitter saga keeps me entertained these days. From the initial outrage that a billionaire would dare buy a media company (not that this is unusual)…to the threats of lawsuits…to Twitter’s board’s insistence that Musk must indeed buy Twitter now…do you get the sense that somebody knows how to play this game?

Musk has put his purchase of Twitter on hold until he gets accurate information on bots on Twitter. For anyone who doesn’t know what bots are, well, they are “robots” essentially. In other words, not real people. The way I see it, someone might create 20 “fake” accounts, bots in other words, and then spam Twitter. What is the impact and why would anyone do this? The result is that it looks like some people have way more followers than they actually do, and that some ideas are much more popular or disliked than is the actual case. Why would anyone want to do this? You might be able to come up with a few reasons.

I’ve noted that certain more right wing figures, like for instance Tim Pool and Stephen Crowder, reported on their YouTube channel that within days of Elon Musk requesting information from Twitter about bots, they suddenly had a significant increase in Twitter followers, to the tune of tens of thousands. I’m pretty sure Twitter didn’t create more bots to follow them, because that is not what you do when you are trying to sell a business. Investors don’t want to learn there are more bots, maybe not even that there are bots. Is it possible that Twitter suddenly reinstated accounts it had closed? I don’t know. This would offset bot numbers, I would think, making it look like there was a lower percentage of bots. I’m just following a trail of information breadcrumbs as I try to understand this.

Twitter bosses and employees had a literal melt-down when Elon Musk began to pursue the purchase of Twitter and it’s not difficult to figure out why. Twitter has a lot of power. After all, it de-platformed a sitting president of the USA. To be forced to hand over this power to a billionaire, whose political views might not agree with theirs, well…you can imagine. You can also imagine that the decision to boot Trump off Twitter was not made in a Twitter vacuum. A lot of pressure was put on Twitter and other social media to influence the election in favor of Democrats. As this opinion piece says, “Controlling this public square of political debate has been of immense benefit to Democrats, the media, globalists, and the government bureaucracy.”

Here is a sample of what is going on, taken from a May 16 article by the New York Post, entitled, Elon Musk says Twitter claims ‘bot check’ broke NDA

Elon Musk on Saturday tweeted that Twitter’s legal team accused him of violating a nondisclosure agreement by revealing that the sample size for the social media platform’s checks on automated users was just 100 accounts.

“Twitter legal just called to complain that I violated their NDA by revealing the bot check sample size is 100!” the Tesla CEO tweeted. “This actually happened.”

Shares of Twitter were down by nearly 10% in pre-market trading on Monday.

Musk Musk on Friday tweeted that his $44-billion cash deal to take the company private was “temporarily on hold” while he awaited data on the proportion of its fake accounts.

He said his team would test “a random sample of 100 followers” on Twitter to identify the bots.

When a user asked Musk to “elaborate on process of filtering bot accounts,” he replied: “I picked 100 as the sample size number, because that is what Twitter uses to calculate <5% fake/spam/duplicate.”

I chuckled.

With power potentially shifting it is becoming necessary to shore up media control. CNN found a quote by Tom Wheeler who wrote on Tech Tank at the Brookings Institution where he is a visiting fellow, “The idea that a handful of platforms can continue to make their own behavioral rules even when those decisions harm the public interest is no longer sustainable.”

Until now, the Trump ousters at Twitter have been fairly successful in making decision they consider to be in the “public interest.” But with power slipping out of their hands they are doubling down on efforts to control “misinformation.”

Even Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is now obsessed with controlling information, in the style of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Here is another link. Did you know that Ukraine is the first country, according to Wikipedia, to have a Jewish head of state and head of government? I find this interesting because the countries supporting Ukraine against Russia have shown some ambivalence towards Israel, particularly when the American embassy was moved to Jerusalem as recently as 2018, under Trump’s presidency. I know this has nothing to do with bots, but it does have a lot to do with who is influencing who. This one remains a mystery as it doesn’t quite fit the mold, particularly since Ukraine has typically been a Nazi safe haven.

A Yahoo News report states that in addition to shutting down his opposition in parliament, Zelenskyy is “combining all national TV channels, the program content of which consists mainly of information and/or information-analytical programs, [into] a single information platform of strategic communication” to be called “United News.” This is in order to combat Russian misinformation and “tell the truth about the war.”

It amazes me that when the Freedom Convoy of truckers arrived in Ottawa to protest newly implemented vaccine mandates targeting truckers, Prime Minister Trudeau immediately falsely presumed and reported that the Convoy was funded by Russians. He tried to convince Canadians we had an insurrection on our hands, funded by foreigners, and froze the bank accounts of those who donated to truckers who lost their livelihoods as a result of the mandate.

Maybe Trudeau didn’t get the memo that there was no truth to the Russia collusion campaign Hillary Clinton instigated against President Trump. It does make you wonder what will happen if these people muscle their way into information control.

The most recent report on Twitter bots is that bots now represent in the neighbourhood of 20% of Twitter accounts. Oh, dear.

When a Prime Minister Holds His People Hostage

Canadians cannot leave the country by air or rail if we are not vaccinated because we are not allowed on a plane or train. We cannot even take a plane or a train to another province if we are above twelve years old and not vaccinated.

As I write there is a court case in progress in B.C. that will determine the validity of vaccine mandates for Health Care Workers. Our heroes suddenly became villains and this is a most cruel way to treat our caregivers. These were the women, primarily, many of them recent immigrants, who donned layers of protective gear and faced a frightening pandemic with an unknown outcome. The did not cringe. They did not draw back. Yet our government is cringing from them and treating them like lepers.

At least the fact that a court case on behalf of the Health Care Workers is allowed is commendable. However, think of how disturbing it is that it has come to the point where we are surprised we can have our day in court: B.C. court allows case against Henry’s COVID-19 vaccination order to proceed

Everyone is getting covid, vaccinated or not. Vaccinated are dying of covid, as well as unvaccinated. This is not a vaccine, by definition. It is a shot.

Right now if you get covid, you are recommended (not required) to stay home for five days. Meanwhile, my 12 year old grandson who lives across the border will have to isolate for 14 days–even if he tests negative for covid before and during his stay–just because he is crossing a border. Canadian federal regulations. And note that he still can’t get on a plane after his 14 day isolation! So due to all this he will have to miss a family reunion and possibly his last chance to see his great grandmother. Let’s add that he has had covid and recovered, so he is forced to take a vaccine for a disease he already had. This is bordering on criminal.

The benefits of vaccinating children are not proven to be significant while the risk involved with vaccination is real. If it were my choice, I too would not vaccinate children and the primary reason is because it is taboo to mention vaccine injuries. We are being controlled. Compelled speech. Only say the party line, the politically correct thing. How much of our taxes have gone towards vaccine ads? Let’s not even begin to talk about money spent on tracing and testing. One must admit this is a business to keep going, lucrative as it is, especially now that the vaccine is not working and an antiviral treatment is selling fast.

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/05/03/covid-pfizer-pfe-earnings-q1-2022-.html

Does any of this make sense? Meanwhile airports don’t have workers. Why? Federal mandates. My son and his wife missed their flight due to long security check lines and they were by far not the only ones. They had to shell out an extra $700 to reach their destination last month.

Does freezing the bank accounts of people who gave to the truckers make sense? My husband met someone at a Pierre Poilivre leadership rally who had their bank account frozen for one month because they gave a $25 donation to truckers. This is why people are coming to Poilivre’s rallies by the droves wherever he goes. Truckers, in their cabs, were not spreading covid. There was no need for a last minute call to mandate vaccines for truckers. The whole protest could have been avoided if our government had behaved in a reasonable manner. It’s time our Prime Minister stops holding Canadians hostage.

The Real Misinformation Machine

In Canada Prime Minister Trudeau and his New Democratic/Liberal Coalition are proposing a bill to give the government greater access and ability to censor Canadians on the internet. Prime Minister Trudeau claims the need to combat “misinformation.”

China and Russia are great models of speech censorship. However unlike Canada, the UK and the US, they are not democratic countries. In recent days all three countries have moved towards increasing online censorship. We know, of course, that Liberals/Democrats putting pressure on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube is nothing new. But now it appears to be necessary to go after smaller publications as well.

Governmental powers have discovered how easy it is to create legislation that gives them even more power. We have an example, this week, of the BC government giving itself power to expropriate not only land for Sky Train development but land for development next to Sky Train development. See New legislation to allow BC government to buy more land around SkyTrain for housing

The recent Canadian Liberal coalition with the New Democratic Party is a desperate attempt by the Liberals to retain power following the Emergencies Act fiasco which was implemented under false pretences by the Prime Minister in collusion with the government-funded media. We have yet to see any corroborated news report of actual violence. No weapons were found by the “national guard.” The City of Ottawa needlessly shut down businesses in the area. An anonymous resident of Ottawa reported, I am a local resident. I can confirm that the media put a very false spin on the entire situation. Bars getting out at 2am in the market is more disruptive than this protest ever was. Period!

Squashing a peaceful truckers’ gathering in Ottawa after a sudden vaccine mandate threatened the livelihood of 10% of truckers is simply inexcusable for a democratic country. We are supposedly free to choose our medical procedures in Canada. However, if we make a choice unapproved by the government then we will be verbally attacked in the media and by our Prime Minister, in a very public way, while in private we lose our incomes, businesses and homes. Does that not appear to be a form of coercion? Medical decisions are not to be made under duress of any kind.

BC is the last province to lift its vaccine mandate, on April 8, but federal government vaccine mandates for federal employees and truckers remain in place. This is without any medical support for the current efficacy of the vaccine to prevent infection. The jab should not be distinguished as a vaccine since it does nothing to prevent contracting the current virus.

This is not about health. It is purely political. And that is what is riling Canadians.

Our government is toying with the people because it can. Nobody can stop this. So it appears. All the opposition can do is talk. Either this or the wheels of change are moving painfully slowly.

Yesterday I had a fatalistic moment as I thought about the future of free speech and other democratic freedoms in Canada. Like Elon Musk, on the subject of potential abuse of Artificial Intelligence, I became less fearful. Musk admitted he had resigned himself to a fatalistic acceptance once he realized the powers that could regulate AI abuses were not listening and not inclined to take action. This is not good news. It is a characteristic of totalitarian regimes. People stop resisting because they think it is pointless. Those in power can then have their way with the people.

My battle is not with AI, although we will all suffer as a consequence of the inevitable abuses to come. My battle is with misinformation–the battle for truth over lies. Trudeau, Russia and China peddle in misinformation. As do CNN, MSNBC (who hired Jen Pasaki this week), The New York Times, The Washington Post and other outlets with a similar bias who are at this moment scheming to form an alliance to ‘collectively bargain with Big Tech platforms’ as to which information you and I are to see.

 You can listen to Russell Brand discuss this topic on his April 5 documentary here. The Journalism and Competition and Preservation Act is a bill proposed in the US Senate, intended to create an alliance between Big Tech and Big Media. This merge is not so dissimilar from Trudeau’s merge of the Liberal Party with the NDP to retain power.

As Brand puts it, “…centralized power will have yet more ability to control the narratives that dominate our lives.” Brand points out that this will be at the expense of smaller outlets and independent content creators and asks, “Why would a democratically elected official do something that prohibits the free flow of information?”

The major media outlets point fingers as they repeat a talking point in unison, “The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common….” Apparently, having a bias, other than theirs, is no longer tolerated.

Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn warns about more censorship from Big Tech.

Trudeau, similarly, is working to censor free speech in Canada with the introduction of Bill C-11. The National Post’s First Reading article,The Liberals’ weird obsession with censoring the internet states, “Despite Liberal assurances that C-11 would avoid the “controversial” excesses of its predecessor (Bill C-10), this new bill was also broad enough that it could similarly impose government controls on the content of everything from podcasts to Facebook posts to YouTube channels. If passed, it would create a new position, the Digital Safety Commissioner of Canada, who would have the power to order 24-hour takedowns of a broad swath of “unauthorized” web content.”

We see the same thing happening in the UK. Today’s headline reads, UK censorship bill tasks Big Tech with deciding when something is “illegal” or “fraudulent It refers to the introduction of the Online Safety Bill. A copy of the bill can be found here.

According to Reclaim The Net news , “The bill…gives these tech giants additional powers that aren’t granted to police and the courts, such as the power to set their own rules around how they’ll deal with harmful content.”

The article goes on to say, “By deputizing Big Tech, the Online Safety Bill also creates a dystopian censorship alliance between these powerful companies and the UK government. The government can dictate its censorship requirements directly to its Big Tech enforcers without the police gathering any evidence of an alleged offense and without prosecutors gaining a conviction in a court of law or even a court order.”

The sudden international escalation of censorship is astounding.

In a small counter-effort, Elon Musk purchased stocks in Twitter that made him a major share holder this week and gave him a seat on the Board. This followed a survey he recently conducted of two million people on Twitter, 70% of which believed Twitter does not adhere to principles of free speech.

In the meantime Big Media conglomerates team up to influence Big Tech. What is happening here?

Twitter

I am reminded of the interesting developments around Gamestop. Check out this ThinkSpot podcaster. I am also reminded of the GoFundMe and GiveSendGo accounts started (and cancelled) for truckers. And then there is the recent targeting of the American Frontline Doctors website by Google with, “Reduced display features, lower rankings, or even removal from Google Search results.” What do all three have in common? Ordinary citizens communicating without gatekeepers.

I think what is happening here is really quite simple. There is information that must be concealed from the public. We have the clear example of the CDC with New York Post article, CDC withholding COVID data over fears of misinterpretation: The CDC has admitted it is withholding large portions of COVID-19 data — including on vaccine boosters — from the public because it fears the information could be misinterpreted.

We might not come to the right conclusions if we have all the information, is that right?

Senators overwhelmed by emails, calls pushing conspiracy theories about basic income legislation

The headline reads: Senators overwhelmed by emails, calls pushing conspiracy theories about basic income legislation

I’d like to take a closer look at this article, written for the government-funded CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) by a skillful journalist named John Paul Tasker.

First of all, to Tasker, why the attack on people who don’t want Universal Basic Income? Can we not all have our individual opinion?

To call thousands of people you have never met conspiracy theorists and then go to the further extreme of labeling them as mentally unstable (a reference in the article that compares letter writers to people who go through manic and schizophrenic episodes) is really not appropriate. An individual assessment is required by a psychiatrist or psychologist before such a life-altering diagnosis. Otherwise it could be considered slander. I might add that groups of people are not mentally unstable just because they disagree with, or do not fully comprehend, the actions the government is taking.

If the government wants to do a “study” it is because the matter is being seriously considered. Studies generally lead in a certain direction. And let’s remember the cost of these studies generally runs in the millions of dollars. So, if the government is not considering a basic income then scrap the study. But, as with the truckers protest, we can now expect the government to become obstinate. Because the protesters have to be wrong.

Some people got wind of this and didn’t like it and found their voice. It’s so much more convenient if nobody makes a fuss about what the government is doing, but unfortunately actions of the government affect us all. And fortunately we have a voice. Or so we have thought was the meaning of democracy—representative rule by the people. The idea of representing the people is falling out of fashion, however, and along with it democracy.

What is really scary for the government and the CBC is finding out that a “fringe minority” might be a bit more than a fringe. So, as a mechanism of defence it become necessary to find a way to discredit those who disagree. Make them look like de-ranged crazies. This is a particular skill of the CBC–character assassination. Read the sub-heading: “Red Chamber grappling with a flood of messages claiming basic income is a plot by a shadowy global elite.” How could anyone possibly think that our government or global elites are “plotting” anything?

Of course basic income is not a plot. It is a plan. Am I right about that?

And then we have a photo, in the article, of COVID-19 protesters, dated back to December 20, 2020 with a caption stating “One protester holds a sign referring to the ‘Great Rest’ conspiracy theory.” This refers to the book written in 2020 by Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum, entitled, COVID-19: The Great Reset, in which he talks about COVID-19 presenting an “opportunity” for a global reset. We have heard from Premier Jason Kenney that every premier in Canada received the book. I don’t exactly see how this fact qualifies as a conspiracy theory. However it could validates some of the fears expressed.

The author seems to dig himself deeper and deeper into the mire and anther example is a reference to LifeSite news, a conservative, Catholic news site, which, according to the CBC must not be believed, but none-the-less states exactly what we can find on the World Economic Forum’s website: LifeSite, a social conservative, anti-abortion website, has published a post on the legislation, linking Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland with the WEF. The WEF website states at the end of a lengthy bio that Freeland is “a member of the Forum’s Board of Trustees.” Let’s just add that there are more sources for information besides the CBC.

I recently did an article on my discovery of the WEF as a result of hearing Prime Minister Trudeau’s half-brother Kyle Kemper tell that Klaus Schwab is proud to call Trudeau his protege. There is video footage to support this. It’s not a big leap from there to imagine that this group of global elites—for that is what they are—might want to influence governments world-wide. Especially when you hear Klaus Schwab brag about infiltrating governments with young leaders.

The Great Reset is described in Wikipedia and the book is available on Amazon.

And as to the assurance of Kim Pate, Ontario MP who introduced the bill, that there would “absolutely not” be any clawing back of existing EI or Pensions, well, it is difficult to be reassured when in BC we were told we would absolutely not have vaccine mandates.

OK, I know that some are taking this a step towards basic income further than might be warranted, but they are afraid. They are afraid because we have had some pretty scary things happen in Canada. Our freedoms have been trampled on. You might have your bank account frozen if you support those who disagree with the government. You might be given a court order that disallows you to speak against the government or its mandates. And if we were to become dependent on a basic income then the government might one day decide to withhold funds because of such a thing as not getting a vaccine. See: National Post: Unvaccinated workers who lose jobs ineligible for EI benefits, minister says.

Klaus Schwab is famously known for saying, “You will own nothing and be happy.” Who is he talking about? What is he implying? A socialist form of government, maybe? You may want to check out his father Eugen Wilhelm Schwab, and also Freeland’s maternal grandfather, Michael Chomiak both of whom have Nazi ties. The WEF is an essential part of the UN and it cannot be denied that the UN has already influenced our public education, our climate change policy and our aboriginal treaty rights for better or for worse. The latter is being tested in courts.

I want to add that we may indeed be near the point of requiring a “guaranteed livable basic income” due to astronomical rising inflation. But CERB has shown us that an income supplement can be a disincentive to work. It also puts more money into the hands of drug dealers and increases overdose fatalities.

We know that home ownership in parts of Canada is already out of reach for a dual income family. Meanwhile large corporations like Blackstone, with huge buying power, are snapping up homes at an unprecedented rate and turning them into rentals in North America. See here and here.

These people sending letters are not all “crazies.” Some are actually very well informed. It turns out that much of what is being expressed is based on facts that are significant, especially in light of recent events. They consider the government and some news organizations as not completely forthcoming with the truth, I might add.

I think there is a better way of addressing the issue than continuing to aggravate people. It is true that some have been “broken” by covid. A few are believing clear fallacies. The first step towards helping people is validating their fear. Do we want to help these people or further alienate them?

For the CBC to print an article like this is only going to fan the flames. I’m surprised they don’t see that, unless it is their intent. Their descriptive of the people who wrote the letters is not too far from the truth about the CBC as well, “They’re trapped in their own echo chamber and they start to believe that everything outside of it is corrupted.”

See the article below.

Senators overwhelmed by emails, calls pushing conspiracy theories about basic income legislation

Red Chamber grappling with a flood of messages claiming basic income is a plot by a shadowy global elite

John Paul Tasker · CBC News · Posted: Mar 31, 2022 1:19 PM ET | Last Updated: 7 hours ago

People participate in a demonstration in Montreal protesting measures implemented by the Quebec government to help stop the spread of COVID-19 on Dec. 20, 2020. One protester holds a sign referring to the ‘Great Reset’ conspiracy theory. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

Members of the Red Chamber have been hit by a wave of questionable correspondence from Canadians convinced that a pending Senate bill would take away their pensions and lead to some sort of totalitarian world government.

Tens of thousands of calls, emails and handwritten letters urging senators to oppose Bill S-233 have flooded into the Red Chamber. The emails — many of them based on outlandish conspiracy theories — have at times overloaded the Senate’s servers, bringing the normal workflow to a grinding halt.

Bill S-233 calls for the creation of a national “framework” to allow the federal government to begin studying a “guaranteed livable basic income” program in Canada.

If passed, the one-page bill, which was introduced by Ontario Sen. Kim Pate, would not establish a basic income program in Canada. It would simply compel the Department of Finance to study the concept and report its findings.

Under parliamentary rules, a senator cannot propose any new spending or tax increases through a Senate public bill like S-233. Moreover, bills of this sort — and non-government legislation more generally — rarely pass through both houses of Parliament into law. The federal Liberal government has also been cool to the idea of a basic income program.

Despite those facts, senators are grappling with a well-organized letter-writing campaign driven by people worried that the bill’s passage will somehow result in real harms, like an end to Old Age Security and Employment Insurance or the contributory Canada Pension Plan.

Some of the thousands of letter-writers also falsely claim that, if passed, the bill would limit future social welfare programs to people vaccinated against COVID-19, or that cigarette smokers will be barred from government assistance.

The bill would not make any changes to existing government programs and does not stipulate who would qualify if the government were to implement a basic income scheme.

Some of the concern about pensions and income support seems to stem from a tweet by Peter Taras, a former Ontario candidate for the People’s Party of Canada. He told his followers that, if Bill S-233 passes, “if you are not vaccinated you will not receive EI, CPP, OHS, Social Services or Pension that YOU PAID INTO.”

‘Fantastical and untrue’

That message has been retweeted more than 700 times.

Pate told CBC News that the tweet is “absolutely fantastical and untrue” and people like Taras are “spreading misinformation … that unnecessarily terrifies people by telling them their access to financial support and services upon which they rely would be terminated.”

She said it is “absolutely not” her intention to wind up any existing program.

Ontario Sen. Kim Pate in 2013. Pate said people have been spreading misinformation about her bill, S-233, which would prompt the government to study implementing a universal basic income program in Canada. (Colin Perkel/The Canadian Press)

“Bill S-233 would not claw back or reduce services or benefits meant to assist individuals with needs relating to their health, disability, retirement, etc.” she said.

“The bill proposes developing a framework for implementing guaranteed livable basic income, an income support program available to anyone living in poverty in Canada. In my humble opinion, it could form one component of a robust, responsive, and comprehensive economic, health and social safety net that includes housing, child care, education, pharma, dental and mental health care, as well as programs like pensions, disability supports and EI.”

Other letter-writers took an even darker view of Pate’s push to have the government study a basic income.

Alberta Sen. Paula Simons told CBC News she has personally received “thousands and thousands” of emails, letters and phone calls from people who say the bill is some sort of plot by nefarious actors to establish a “new world order” or a system of state surveillance.

Simons said she and other senators have had trouble navigating through their clogged inboxes. They’ve had to resort to other messaging platforms because their email accounts have become “functionally useless,” she said. The Alberta senator said her voicemail is always full because of the sheer volume of calls.

Fascists, Soros and cyborgs

Those contacting senators’ offices to oppose S-233 blame the purported conspiracy to destroy the Canadian way of life on a range of bad actors: fascists, socialists, the Masons, billionaires like Microsoft founder Bill Gates or investor George Soros, or World Economic Forum (WEF) head Klaus Schwab.

Others bizarrely maintain the legislation will lead to “transhumanism” — an alleged plot to turn people into cyborgs.

“This is CANADA . . . not North Korea, not Russia, you are employees of the people! NOT EMPLOYEES OF THE WEF OR THE WHO,” one correspondent told Simons in a recent email.

“Bill S-233 is just the beginning. We are losing our freedoms to a group of elites that want to depopulate and control mankind, enslave us to experimental transhumanism, and the removal of any Christian and Godly devotions,” said another.

“Nobody voted for Nazi Klaus Schwab. Nobody even knew he existed 2 years ago. He has NOTHING to do with Canada or any other country. Schwab holds a statue of Lenin in his office! This is NOT CANADA. We are NOT going BACK to NAZI GERMANY. Please see NUREMBERG CODE & TRIALS,” said one letter-writer, referring to the WEF founder who has been the subject of many conspiracy theories since the onset of COVID-19.

Alberta Independent Sen. Paula Simons gives an interview in a park in Victoria, B.C. on Nov. 30, 2021. (Mike McArthur/CBC)

On Tuesday, all senators got an email that claimed the adoption of a basic income program would lead to the forced sterilization of people of child-bearing age and the extermination of the elderly and the disabled.

Simons said an untold number of Canadians have been “manipulated and terrified” into believing “outrageous” conspiracy theories that are patently false.

“Since the trucker convoy ended we’ve been bombarded. There’s been just a really sudden, dramatic spike in letters and many of them are from people who are deep into a conspiracy theory spiral,” Simons said.

Politicians are used to getting messages and calls from people who are “unwell,” Simons said, but there’s something different about this campaign.

‘COVID has broken a lot of people’

She said the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting public health restrictions have wreaked havoc on mental health, priming people to believe claims circulating online.

“I really do think COVID has broken a lot of people. There is a real delusional paranoia that runs through some of this mail. They’re writing to me about how this is a eugenics plot, a Masonic plot and at some point you go, ‘OK, this is really upsetting that people are preying on people who are already vulnerable.’ This is a thing that happens when people go through manic or schizophrenic episodes.”

Beyond Taras, the failed People’s Party candidate, Simons said it’s not clear who’s behind the effort to convince people that S-233’s passage would have such sweeping consequences.

LifeSite, a social conservative, anti-abortion website, has published a post on the legislation, linking Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland with the WEF. That website also quoted former U.S. presidential candidate Ron Paul who has claimed that the WEF wants to introduce global socialism through a universal basic income.

Since the LifeSite post was published, Simons has heard from church and community groups that have sent in large batches of form letters.

The WEF, a non-governmental organization that hosts discussions between world and business leaders at an annual summit in Davos, Switzerland, does not dictate what will or will not become law in any country.

The ‘great reset’ lives on

But Amarnath Amarasingam, a professor at Queen’s University, and one of Canada’s leading researchers on conspiracy theories, said the WEF is at the centre of so many COVID-related conspiracies because, in 2020, some its leaders talked about a “great reset” after the health crisis — a chance to evaluate how the global economy is structured after grappling with such a devastating pandemic.

Amarasingam said some theorists see Davos as a place where evil elites “basically do their plotting and their criming.”

Protestors hold a banner reading “COVID-19 The Great Reset, Klaus Schwab” — referring to World Economic Forum chairman Schwab — during a demonstration against coronavirus-related restrictions in Amsterdam on May 2, 2021. (Peter Dejong/AP Photo)

“A lot of people think sinister elites manufactured the pandemic to bring about a ‘great reset,’ and make humans financially dependent on the government,” he said.

“There is a concern that the vaccines and a basic income are all woven into a grand plan to basically make us robots, cyborgs that will listen to anything these billionaire elites tell us to do. They think programs like a basic income will take away financial independence and that that’s part of a broader plot by evil-doers so that they can eventually have their way with us.”

Amarasingam said there’s nothing new about conspiracy theories but the pandemic has “pushed them into hyperdrive,” fuelling a movement of people willing to believe there’s a global movement to “enslave” humanity.

‘Closed ecosystems of thought’

A noted decline in people’s trust in government, the press, academics and experts and public health authorities has made the situation worse, he said, while the advent of alternative social media platforms like Telegram has made conspiratorial material readily available.

“These alternative platforms have seen insane growth. It’s created closed ecosystems of thought where people only trust what they hear from other people online. They’re trapped in their own echo chamber and they start to believe that everything outside of it is corrupted. There’s a growing proportion of people who just live in an alternative universe.”

Amarasingam said people in these online forums are largely unaware of how the government operates — or how a bill is passed through Parliament — and those knowledge gaps “are easily filled with fantasy.”

“It’s easy to see a sinister plot when you don’t actually understand how the government works. These people aren’t civics majors,” he said.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

John Paul Tasker

Parliamentary Bureau

J.P. Tasker is a senior writer in the CBC’s parliamentary bureau in Ottawa. He can be reached at john.tasker@cbc.ca.

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Truth Can Be Misrepresented Rather Easily

This past week our province, British Columbia, announced the dropping of mask mandates, as of Friday, March 11. Masks will still be required in medical facilities.

On Friday my husband suggested we go to a mall to see how people were responding to the lifting of mask mandates. About 65% of the people we saw were not wearing masks. I entered two business with staff who were not wearing masks. Most staff were still wearing masks.

Last year BC briefly dropped the mask mandate but then re-instated it to coincide with a surge in the Delta variant.

During the early months of the pandemic B.C.’s Public Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, held back on mandating and encouraging mask wearing. We found comfort in Bonnie Henry’s daily, almost motherly, encouragement and admonition at the beginning of the pandemic as we sat isolated in our homes. It was reassuring to learn she has a background working with pandemics. When her approach differed slightly from that of other provinces we concluded that she was looking at the bigger picture and was in particular concerned about the psychological impact of a pandemic. She knew how important it was for us to remain calm and hopeful. She knew the necessity of health officials being able to maintain the trust of the public. And she knew it was crucial for people to be a support to one another during these trying times.

So much has changed since then. 

Two specific decisions eroded my trust in Dr. Henry. Both exhibited a change in what were once her strongly held beliefs. The first was implementing mask mandates after repeatedly telling us for weeks that masks did not offer significant protection against covid-19. The second was bringing in vaccine passports after saying on May 25, 2021 that “there is no way that we will recommend inequities be increased by the use of things like vaccine passports for services with public access here in British Columbia.” I wrote a letter to her, asking for an explanation, and received no response.

Not everyone is happy with the lifting of mask mandates. This is how the World Socialist Web Site news media and other sites responded to her decision:

“Thursday’s announcement is just the latest in a crush of decisions by provinces from coast-to-coast over the past five weeks that effectively implement the far-right Freedom Convoy’s demand that all anti-COVID public health measures be rescinded and the potentially deadly virus be allowed to run rampant.” (Note “far-right” is an opinion and does not accurately describe the truckers. Note also that the government-funded Canadian Broadcasting Company recently retracted two articles, one with a false claim that the Freedom Convoy had Russian influence and the other claiming that hefty donations to the truckers GoFundMe came from foreign sources. Both false insinuations originated with our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and served as his justification for employing the Emergencies Act against the truckers protest.)

In Burnaby Now you can read a similar opinion article that voices the fear that Henry is not “following the science” by lifting mask mandates.

The trouble is that we don’t know where to find the truth about the science anymore. It may not be so far-fetched to think that our governments and health officials are actually following opinion polls and have been doing so for some time.

Another question I have concerns the science. Is the science being communicated faithfully? This week I read an article referencing five instances of wrong conclusions being reported in “the science.” What led me to the article was my own observation when I decided to look for scientific research and scholarly reporting on the efficacy of masks.

I first went to the Mayo Clinic website where I found a recommendation that a cloth mask have multiple layers and is tightfitting in order to prevent “droplets” from escaping. Initially we were told that the virus was spread by droplets but a few months later scientists informed us that the virus was in fact spread by aerosol particles. This changed the whole mask-wearing paradigm since evaporated respiratory particles can get through a porous surface. Note, if we want to inhale air, we will have to use a mask with a porous surface.

On the Mayo Clinic website I read, “Can face masks help slow the spread of the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)? Yes. Face masks combined with other preventive measures, such as getting vaccinated, frequent hand-washing and physical distancing, can help slow the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19.”

My search for data on the protectiveness of masks alone against the spread of the coronavirus was unsuccessful. I found a lot of discussion on comparisons between masks. I found studies done in labs, but no assurance that lab results translated to effective protection by masks worn by the general public. In fact there was evidence to the contrary.

I went to the CDC website where I read, “Masking is a critical public health tool for preventing spread of COVID-19, and it is important to remember that any mask is better than no mask.

OK, that is like saying, “any condom is better than no condom.” Would you say a leaky condom is a “critical public health tool” in the prevention of transmissible disease? Because masks are “leaky.” There is scientific evidence for that. Hence the insistence on “layers” and “tight fitting.”

But how many layers of a “leaky” mask are enough? The Mayo Clinic website also says, “Don’t add layers if they make it hard to breathe.” So, added layers can make it hard to breathe and when a child says, “I can’t breathe,” we should listen. I have low blood pressure and a low oxygen level and sometimes I find I am just not getting enough air with a mask. But that is another issue.

The CDC advises us to “Wear the most protective mask you can that fits well and that you will wear consistently.” And it further states, “Wearing a well-fitted mask along with vaccination, self-testing, and physical distancing, helps protect you and others by reducing the chance of spreading COVID-19.”

Wherever we read of the effectiveness of masks, note that it is always mentioned in conjunction with other protective measures. That is because, masks, on their own, are not sufficient protection. It has never been proven that masks are effective to prevent infection. Every reference to masks has a qualifier such as “tightly fitting”or a comparison of the fabric or weave or construction (N95 KN95 medical masks). One of the most troubling pieces of guidance offered is for people with hearing disabilities to wear a “clear mask.” We’ve always been warned not to put plastic over our heads. This is the same, unless there are breathable parts of the mask where air can enter. But do they not get the point that it is not the hearing challenged person who needs to wear a clear mask? They need to lip read others and they cannot do this if other people are wearing masks.

The CDC website goes on to say, “Masks and respirators are effective at reducing transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, when worn consistently and correctly.” Medical staff have to be trained to put on their masks, and they have masks that are rated for higher protectiveness. Masks prevent droplets from escaping, so, in the case of surgery, I would want my surgeon to wear a high quality mask.

I looked at an article referenced on the CDC site entitled, An evidence review of face masks against COVID-19. The authors claim to have synthesized the relevant information and conclude that “The preponderance of evidence indicates that mask wearing reduces transmissibility per contact by reducing transmission of infected respiratory particles in both laboratory and clinical contexts.” Preponderance of evidence in a court of law means that there is a greater than 50% chance that the claim is true. Another research article referenced on the site states this result: A total of 3030 participants were randomly assigned to the recommendation to wear masks, and 2994 were assigned to control; 4862 completed the study. Infection with SARS-CoV-2 occurred in 42 participants recommended masks (1.8%) and 53 control participants (2.1%).

Another article listed on the CDC site concerning masks states, There is moderate certainty evidence that wearing a mask probably makes little or no difference to the outcome of laboratory-confirmed influenza compared to not wearing a mask (RR 0.91, 95% CI 0.66 to 1.26; 6 trials; 3005 participants). This is the “preponderous” evidence we have. It makes little or no difference. The “little” might tip us above the 50% threshold of evidence of truth.

Here is something more of interest I discovered. “While laboratory tests generally suggest that N95 masks are superior in performance to surgical masks, population studies in healthcare workers have not documented significant differences. This discrepancy may be due to the lack of proper fit when using N95s. Conversely, cloth masks generally perform poorly compared to N95 and surgical masks in laboratory tests. However, in part because of the global PPE shortage, cloth masks have become the most commonly used PPE by the general public. Despite their shortcomings, community-based research has demonstrated the efficacy of cloth masks in slowing down the spread of COVID-19.”

Do you want to hear about the community-based research on which mask wearing has been based? Here it is, from the same article:

As of July 2020, the CDC recommended that all Americans wear masks in public settings [20]. This recommendation was made, at least in part, due to a report from a hair salon in Missouri that demonstrated the efficacy of wearing masks [21]. In May 2020, two hairstylists in Springfield, Missouri received positive test results for SARS-CoV-2 and were exposed to 139 clients in total since the onset of their symptoms [21]. Both stylists, as well as all 139 clients, wore some kind of facial covering while in the salon, with the stylists wearing either a double-layered cotton face covering or a surgical mask. Despite their proximity to the infected stylists, for appointments ranging from 15 to 45 min in duration, it was found that none of the 139 clients developed COVID-19 symptoms within the two-week quarantine period. Furthermore, of the 67 clients tested, all results were negative. Interestingly, the type of face mask worn by the 139 clients varied, with only two clients wearing N95 masks, 46% wearing surgical masks and 47% wearing cloth masks [21]. Although anecdotal, this incident suggests that consistent and proper usage of facial coverings can help minimize symptomatic transmission of SARS-CoV-2 during close contact, as at a hair salon. In fact, it appears that COVID-19 transmission rates are generally lower in countries and regions where citizens are accustomed or required to adopt universal masking, such as many parts of Asia [22,23]. Simulations and mathematical models have also predicted that the adoption of universal masking would substantially curtail the spread of COVID-19 [24].

Yes, it is as a result of an anecdotal survey done by two hairstylists and because it “appears” that COVID-19 transmission rates are lower in regions like Asia…. This is the science behind mask wearing. Then, again, the article says, “Although there is a lack of published work evaluating the efficacy of universal masking by healthcare workers to prevent spread of SARS-CoV-2, the continuous use of masks by healthcare workers in clinical settings is widely supported.”

We wear masks because the continuous use of masks is “widely supported.”

It is important to take careful note of wording when you read anything. It is, after all, the truth we want, is it not? And, as I have discovered, truth can be misrepresented rather easily. There is sufficient evidence for that.

This is Worse Than Jail for Tamara Lich

Tamara Lich, who was imprisoned on a charge ‘to counsel to commit mischief’, has been released from prison on bail this week but her lawyer describes her bail conditions as worse than jail. Her bail conditions “would make Putin envious,” Keith Wilson states. “She is not allowed to criticize the government. She is not allowed to criticize or speak against covid-19 restrictions or do anything in support of the Freedom movement. She is not allowed to be on social media. She is not allowed to directly or indirectly communicate or support with anyone in those things.” Even Putin’s strongest critic can do more from his prison cell than she can, Willson says.

Watch here.

Watch the Western Standard interview of Tamara’s lawyer, Keith Wilson, who spent nineteen days on the ground in Ottawa during the protests, working on behalf of the truckers to free GoFundMe funds. Wilson is on contract with the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedom. He is also currently representing Brian Peckford in his challenge of the constitutionality of the government of Canada’s travel mandates. Brian Peckford helped draft the Canadian Constitution and Charter of Rights in 1982 so he is arguably the best living authority on the rights of Canadians as set out in our Constitution.

Tamara Lich’s lawyer describes her as the “average concerned, honest Canadian,” and adds that she was was never going to put anyone at risk, so her treatment is entirely unwarranted. When she set up the GoFundMe, Lich anticipated raising a few thousand dollars but ended up receiving an overwhelming show of support with the total donations exceeding ten million dollars. This was very nearly matched, later, on GiveSendGo, after GoFundMe was shut down under pressure from the government of Canada. Americans took note that they could be the next victims, as this article reveals. GoFundMe’s claimed to shut down the funding for the truckers because of “reports of violence and other unlawful activity,” yet these reports remain unsubstantiated. Meanwhile, as has been pointed out, actual violent protests in the U.S. were never in violation of GoFundMe policy. All of the targeted shutting down of accounts happens from one end of the political spectrum.

The level of misrepresentation of what happened in Ottawa is startling. For example it is a blatant lie that the RCMP contacted people before their bank accounts were frozen. People who donated as little as $20 to the truckers ended up discovering their accounts were frozen, meaning they couldn’t pay for their mortgage, their gas, their food, their daycare. It is incredulous that this happened in Canada and the whole world is shocked. Cory Morgan says it well in the interview, “The blanket punitive approach that this government has taken on this has been horrific.”

Wilson’s analysis of the past weeks is that the government of Canada, meaning the Prime Minister and his support team, just could not accept that a large number of Canadians disagreed with what the government has been doing and that Canadians are deeply troubled by government over-reach. Trudeau found this so threatening that he threw everything in his arsenal at the convoy, including invoking the Emergencies Act.

The donations to GoFundMe and GiveSendGo represented an undeniable opinion poll and were were evidence of the Canadian support behind what the truckers wanted–the removal of vaccine mandates and travel restrictions.

A literal witch hunt ensued, tracking down anyone remotely supportive of the Freedom Convoy. Gerald Butts, a former highly influential staff member of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, shared hacked donor information from GiveSendGo publicly on Twitter. There ought to be legal repercussions for that. Even the lawyer, Keith Wilson felt he might be victimized by the government. We are in a serious place when legal representation is threatened.

The announcement by Deputy Prime Minister, Chyristia Freeland, that the government would be going after donors to the Freedom Convoy meant the possible targeting of roughly 200,000 people with average donations around $35, according to Wilson. I am thinking that these donors each represent a lot of Canadians who did not donate. The Prime Minister really should take note. The donations to GoFundMe and GiveSendGo represented an undeniable opinion poll and were were evidence of the Canadian support behind what the truckers wanted–the removal of vaccine mandates and travel restrictions. The significance of this is not lost, even if the truckers never receive any of the money.

The interview of Tamara Lich’s lawyer, Keith Wilson, appears to have less than 2000 views on Youtube. I think every Canadian citizen owes it to themselves to watch this and become aware of the gravity of the situation in which we find ourselves and the direction we are headed as a country.

It was pressure from the banking sector that caused Trudeau to wake up and reconsider going forward with the Emergencies Act after he had already intimidated Liberal and NDP members of parliament into voting for invoking the act only two days earlier. They must feel like they have been played. Remember, too, that the Prime Minister slighted politicians by announcing his invoking of the act to the media before presenting it to parliament and he then enforced the act before any vote whatsoever.

When people began to withdraw their money from banks, the banking conglomerates, legitimately, began to become nervous. Yes, there were bank runs, and understandably so. Bankers saw they were losing the confidence of the public. In their case, and Trudeau’s, money talks.

The Emergencies Act still had to pass a vote in the senate but it never came to that. However, the senators’ debate on the matter began and we can be thankful for the thoughtful remarks. I encourage every Canadian to listen to a sampling of the speeches of the senators as part of their civic duty. Two particularly impressive speeches are the ones by Donald Neil Plett and Denise Batters.

Key to all of this, as Wilson says, is the “sort of narrative that the government created and is acting out on it, despite the evidence of what really happened on the ground.” Wilson believes we must have a public inquiry.

In the meantime, Lich’s bail conditions are going to be appealed to address her restrictions on travel and mobility, her right of association and her right to freedom of expression.