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.

4000 Health Care Workers in BC, Canada, Told By Health Minister to “Get a New Job”

On October 26, British Columbia Health Minister, Adrian Dix, told over 4000 unvaccinated health workers to get a new job. They have been terminated.

“throughout the pandemic these individuals risked their lives and were regarded as heroes”

The BC Area article states, While many in the community celebrate the departure of those workers, accusing them of being ‘against science’ or not wanting to get over this pandemic, others have tried to remind us that throughout the pandemic these individuals risked their lives and were regarded as heroes; they risked their livelihoods and careers over making this choice for themselves.

I cannot imagine how people could be celebrating the departure of health workers.

This loss of skill will not only affect nurses in hospitals, but numerous areas of health care.

Here is a breakdown by region as reported in Kelowna Now.

  • British Columbia-wide: 4,090 unvaccinated, 2,626 partially vaccinated
  • Interior Health: 1,369 unvaccinated (7%)
  • Northern Health: 376 unvaccinated (5%)
  • Island Health: 678 unvaccinated (3%)
  • Fraser Health: 644 unvaccinated (2%)
  • Vancouver Coastal Health: 522 unvaccinated (2%)
  • Providence Health: 122 unvaccinated (2%)
  • Provincial Health Services: 496 unvaccinated (2%)

Note that Interior Health is losing around 7% of their healthcare workers. The list does not include the 1,1996 long-term care or acute care workers who were suspended without pay on Oct. 12, as reported by CTV News Vancouver, bringing the total to over 6,000 workers.

A CBC article related that B.C.’s Minister of Jobs and Economic Recovery, Ravi Kahlon, said the B.C. government will invest in the health-care system to mitigate any challenges that arise from workers choosing not to get vaccinated and, ultimately, being let go.

In the same article Troy Clifford, president of the Ambulance Paramedics and Emergency Dispatchers of BC, estimates that up to 200 of 4,500 paramedics in the province risk job loss. 

The ambulance shortage in BC was felt keenly during the summer heat wave as reported by The Globe and Mail in the article, ‘This isn’t a heat wave issue’: B.C. paramedics say there’s a systemic crisis in emergency care.” Here is an excerpt:

At least 719 people died in a week during the heat wave, three times what the BC Coroners Service says would be normal for that period. BC Emergency Health Services did not activate its emergency coordination centre until the day the heat began to subside.

“Our entire pre-hospital system collapsed, and it collapsed with warning that it was going to collapse,” a Greater Vancouver paramedic, who Global News is not identifying to protect his employment, said in an interview Friday.

The paramedic told Global News that one of the major problems first responders have faced for years is the requirement to stay at hospitals with the patients they are transporting until beds or nurses are available.

He said that often results in delays of 30 minutes to several hours, during which they are unavailable to take urgent calls.

“We have eight paramedics at any given time that are held at (Vancouver General Hospital), that are held at Burnaby General, because the nurses are overwhelmed with the amount of patients coming in,” he said.

Back in February of 2021, Vancouver City News reported a paramedic shortage that left 29 ambulances unstaffed on a weekend and increased urgent wait times to one hour and non-emergency calls up to 16 hours. A woman who had fallen on a sidewalk and broken her hip would be considered non-emergency.

Troy Clifford blames failures in recruitment and retention, a situation which hasn’t happened overnight and highlights issues with BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS), responsible for running the ambulance service, and Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA), the health authority that BCEHS falls under.

Nurses are overwhelmed at hospitals when ambulances arrive because hospitals are short of nurses. I am interested hearing just how the province plans to “mitigate” this exodus of workers. Since it takes 4-5 years to train an R.N., perhaps we can have an increase in nurses in five years. It’s unlikely that we will recruit nurses from other countries and leave them short, but it could happen. Throughout the pandemic our nurses have travelled to the U.S. to work, as they did beforehand. Maybe some of these nurses can be recruited.

And this is not a new problem. It is a “long-standing problem exacerbated by COVID-19,” according to a July 16, 2021 article in The Globe and Mail, entitled, Canadian nurses are leaving in droves, worn down by 16 merciless months on the front lines of COVID-19. Hospital beds have been closed, emergency hours scaled back and operating rooms shuttered. The Ontario government offered $75,000 bonuses to attract experienced out-of-province critical care nurses.

“We’ve seen nurses leave and leave and leave,” said Bernard Mathieu, an emergency physician at Montreal’s Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital. “We see new, fresh nurses come in for orientation who decide not to stay because they see the quality of life they’re being offered is terrible.”

The article says that in Manitoba, more than 60 emergency doctors from three hospitals in Winnipeg sent a missive to the province, warning of epic levels of burnout. “Many senior experienced nurses in our EDs have resigned, while many others are planning to leave,” the letter said. “Morale and staffing are at all-time lows. We view the situation as critical, unsustainable and in need of immediate action.”

The reassurance from the Minister of Jobs and Economic Recovery regarding mitigating the problem is anything but reassuring.

If You Think They are Messing With Our Minds…They Are

The Great British Baking Show

I was going to write about how the vaccine mandate is putting Canadian health care in an unprecedented state of crisis, with services being shut down due to staff shortages and the BC Nurses Union president resigning in objection to the mandate. The last date for vaccination, to get full vaccination before the October deadline, passed on September 27 and that is the date one ER in particular had to close. Those vaccinated against covid appear to be living in great fear of getting covid and they are the ones imposing further restrictions, even on themselves. Of course there are exceptions when it comes to big business and big entertainment such as major sports leagues and the movie industry which have avoided significant disruption throughout the pandemic. I drove by a closed gurdwara (Sikh Temple) at the height of the pandemic lockdowns, only to see trailers and tents of a movie set on the parking lot. Gurdwaras are attended daily and also provide food for the needy, when they are allowed to be open.

Evenings we sit quietly at home, vaccinated, but not supporting mandates and special privileges for special groups. And during recent quiet evenings we’ve watched the latest series of The Great British Baking Show, filmed during the pandemic, everyone quarantined, of course, but it still does give pause for thought when you read the credits. Yes, taking advantage of the very activity I criticized. Well, now I have to pay for it, literally.

On my last post I wrote about the CBC’s drop in ratings. The CBC is Canada’s government-sponsored television and radio conglomerate that receives a base of $1.2 billion in funding annually from the Canadian government. Divide that by approximately 35 million citizens–not households–to figure out our compelled subscription rates.

This week as my husband and I came to the second last episode we paused it, to be continued the next day. To understand the popularity of the show on CBC Gem programming, the Toronto Sun reported recently that, “In the week of Sept. 6-12, just three CBC programs showed up in the top 30 shows watched by Canadians – the English language leaders’ debate, Coronation Street and The Great British Baking Show.”

As my husband and I tuned in the next day, we unexpectedly found we couldn’t access the episode we had paused. We couldn’t press ‘resume. We couldn’t even get into the show we watched the night before. Overnight, the two remaining shows, including the one we started watching, had been placed behind a paywall!

A little red flag on the last two episodes read, Try Premium. My husband kept going back and forth between the subscription requirement and the show, thinking there must be some mistake. I was less surprised.

Not only is our government-sponsored news and entertainment source now asking for premium subscriptions, but the CBC was recently also blasted for introducing paid advertising. To add insult to injury, the Trudeau Liberals promised an extra $100 million, annually, to the CBC in this month’s federal election.

Although the CBC is supposed to represent Canadians, it leans strongly to the left in its content, and is not particularly representative, given that the Liberal party, in the last two elections, lost the popular vote to Conservatives. This sheds light on the drop in ratings. Adding a $4.99 premium subscription requirement in the middle of a series, for the final two episodes, won’t help, even if the first month is free. Incidentally, the new age of consent seems to be 13, as that is the required age for a subscription.

P.S. On Oct 12 we discovered the paywall was removed. I suspect the CBC heard about this matter from a few unhappy viewers.

News Commentary – September 28, 2021

I am beginning a little experiment. Every day, like so many other people, I read and hear a lot of news reports. Like not as many others, I try to keep track of these reports. Now I’ve decided to share a commentary, my thoughts on what is happening around me, drawing out a few highlights.

Proverbs 5 warns against committing adultery and you may ask what this has to do with my commentary today. It goes on to say, “For your ways are in full view of the LORD, and he examines your paths.” I believe that the only way out of the predicaments in which we find ourselves today is by taking a good look at how God views our lifestyle.

We are in trouble. I’ve wanted to be positive and say that things aren’t so bad. But they are bad.

I believe the only way out is by paying attention. Pay attention to how we, as individuals, are living our lives. Pay attention to our physical, mental and emotional health. Pay attention to our relationships. Pay attention to our need to provide for ourselves, and our need to stay strong and not give up. To keep walking forward. To stay above water and not drown. Maintain the faith that you can do this, and that, with God’s help, you can do it well.

In my previous article I wrote that writers are needed. You may have a message burning in your heart that we need to hear. You have a unique perspective and a way of saying things that is yours alone. It needs to be added to all the other voices.

I want to share something personal before I dive into my commentary. I edited my ‘About’ page and gave a summary of things which have affected my writing in recent years. I’ve been distracted by what is going on in the world around me. I’ve been busy trying to expose myself to information and to make sense of things. In the process, I have not always been understood. I’ve had the impression that what I was doing was not appreciated by everyone. I believed, and still believe, that the truth will come to light. And I believe I have a responsibility to be faithful in what I feel I am called to do, in the face of opposition.

Since this is a new endeavour, I may be tweaking things as I go along. For now I will just dive in.

The backdrop, to the news I want to discuss, is a book I am reading which came off the press recently, entitled, Willful Blindness, by Sam Cooper. It is a must-read, much more fascinating than a fictional crime thriller. On the back cover Calvin Chrustie, RCMP, summarizes the contents this way, “Canada is a haven for nefarious national security and trans national organized crime networks, and our democracy is at risk.”

The most recent big news in Canada is the release of Meng Wanzhou. Here is the initial CBC article. A Global News article clarifies, “In a statement, Canada’s Department of Justice said that there was “no basis” for proceedings to continue after the U.S. extradition request was dropped.” It adds, “Speaking Friday evening shortly after Meng’s departure, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed that both Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were on their way back to Canada after spending over 1,000 days in detention in China.”

For three years we have waited for this issue to be resolved, while the two Michaels languished under trumped up charges, in a prison in China, in what China denies was a related ‘tit for tat’ arrest, although they were arrested on espionage charges days after the Huawei executive’s apprehension. Now China claims that the release of the two men was similarly unrelated to Meng’s release and Chinese officials state the men are out on bail due to health reasons and can be required to return at any time.

In a National Post write-up we read, “In a post on her Wechat account reported by state media, Meng called China her backbone and said her freedom was thanks to a powerful home nation.”

An article by yahoo!finance reflects on the significance of Biden dropping the charges, “The agreement opened U.S. President Joe Biden to criticism from Washington’s China hawks who argue his administration is capitulating to China and one of its top companies at the centre of a global technology rivalry between the two countries.”

The Guardian reports the view of some that “the intended victim, a global bank, knew the truth even as it was allegedly being lied to.”

Meanwhile, the headline in the Georgia Straight, a local Vancouver newspaper, reveals another detail, Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou loved Vancouver and has two homes worth at least $18.2 million.

Meng, as a “prisoner” in Canada was surrounded by security in her home and wore an ankle tracking bracelet, but was free to come and go as she pleased. The Canadian government even brought her family over to visit on one occasion. The Michaels did not have these luxuries and it was reported that the lights were left on 24/7 in their cells.

Yesterday we read this in a Global News article, Canada, China trade barbs at UN General Assembly over 2 Michaels, Meng Wanzhou. I don’t think this is the end of the story.

What do I conclude? I have no conclusions. I only know that the night before the releases I prayed that it was time. Did this have an impact? Maybe.

I think a shout out should go to Canada’s ambassador to China, Dominic Barton, who was responsible for ongoing negotiations that brought about these events.