As a Canadian, who just witnessed the historic Canadian Truckers Freedom Convoy travel from coast to coast across Canada to convene in our great capital, Ottawa, for a peaceful demonstration on Saturday, January 29, to protest vaccine mandates imposed this month on truckers by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, I find myself perhaps a little more surprised than I might usually be by the actions of two Canadian musicians—Neil Young and Joni Mitchel—who took it upon themselves, this week, to give an ultimatum to Spotify regarding vaccine “misinformation.”
On Tuesday I came across the Global News headline, Neil Young threatens to pull music from Spotify over Joe Rogan vaccine ‘disinformation.’ Not much later it was followed by the CTV News headline, Spotify pulling down Neil Young’s music collection. I waited and the plot thickened as CTV News reported the next day, Joni Mitchell removing music from Spotify in solidarity with Neil Young.
“I am doing this because Spotify is spreading fake information about vaccines….” —Neil Young professed.
I think this can only be understood in the context of the original article’s statement that “a group of 270 scientists and medical professionals previously shared an open letter with the platform on New Year’s Eve.”
Young has removed the open letter he penned on his personal site and this is unfortunate because I really wanted to get a closer look at the letter. As a matter of fact, I thought I read the letter on a news site which no longer has it either and to me the wording sounded suspiciously familiar. If somebody put Neil Young up to this, that didn’t go over so well. By no means do I think we have seen the end of this little skirmish. Not at all.
But it really is about nothing. I mean with all the money spent on advertising and the procurement of vaccines, and all the effort already put into stamping out “misinformation” I can hardly imagine that some talk show host could be a threat to the vaccine effort. With between 80-90% of adults already vaccinated and health officials telling us that everybody—vaccinated and unvaccinated—will get the Omicron variant and we should think of it as the flu and go back to work in five days, how can this “misinformation” be any kind of a threat?
Sometimes timing is everything. Just like Prime Minister Trudeau’s timing of slapping a vaccine mandate on truckers and potentially taking 16,000 Canadian truckers off the road—drivers who made sure we had food in our grocery isles during two years of a pandemic—comes at a very bad time, I think the open letter to Spotify comes at the wrong time as well. Because this virus is going to have its way, without any regard for mandates or vaccination status. It’s much ado about nothing. And it’s not very friendly.
We’ve placed our trust in science. We’ve placed our faith in the government. And now we are here.
This morning I received the news that my uncle passed away in a care home. No, he did not die of Covid-19 or any of its variants. At 1:00 a.m. he was going to go out for a smoke, but was stopped by staff who told him it was too cold outside and he wasn’t allowed to go out. For as long as I can remember he has smoked outside without anyone telling him it was too cold.
My uncle is not one to respond mildly when provoked. An hour later, at 2:00 a.m. he was found deceased in his room. We are to believe he died of a heart attack.
In a country where we are accustomed to certain rights and privileges we don’t do well with someone removing rights we have had all of our lives. I’m now talking about the right to work, the right to travel, the right to sit in a restaurant of our choice.
Our Canadian Health Care system is in crisis and if we don’t pay attention we may ALL lose the right to medical care.
In Canada, the province of Quebec declared at the end of December that the province had “no choice” but to allow health-care staff who test positive for COVID-19 to keep working while infected. This is a direct quote from a Global News article.
Due to vaccine mandates created at the stroke of a pen, healthy, trained medical staff are not allowed to work while the health care crisis escalates. Imagine the impact of allowing up to 15% of our healthcare workers, those wrongfully dismissed, to come back to work.
There are Canadian citizens whose right to work in their field of training and medical expertise is being denied. They have been dismissed, along with numerous of other workers in government, banking, airline, hospitality and various other designations.
Take a moment to think about this and let this fact sink in. Don’t reason it away. We are allowing sick health-care staff who test positive for COVID-19 to keep working while infected.
Have we lost our minds?
The answer is, yes.
Jordan Peterson has painted a pretty clear and alarming picture of what he has witnessed happening in Canada, first hand, and warns us of the path we are headed down at break-neck speed. Read it here, National Post: Jordan Peterson: Open the damn country back up, before Canadians wreck something we can’t fix.
In some ways the Global News and National Post articles are saying the same thing: Canada is in crisis and our health-care system, along with our banking and airlines and other systems are failing due to emergency COVID-19 restrictions. The staff that could be working because they are still healthy, are not allowed to work, while the sick are mandated to work.
The two articles, however, offer opposite solutions. Peterson says, “open up the damn country.” The Opposition parties want to do more of the same…increase health measures…the things that have not been working. Peterson knows that there was a time before the current restrictions when things were working surprisingly well in Canada. There was food in stores. Airlines could be relied upon to provide travel, on time. Banks didn’t put you on hold for hours due to staff shortages. He still believes there is a possibility that we can make the necessary reversals and go back to that time.
We have long left the era of writing when journalists presented a mostly unbiased version of facts. No, along with the declaration of a pandemic came an edict that the vaccine was the only way out of the pandemic, as spoken by our own Prime Minister, and therefore it followed that this was the only message allowed to proceed from podium and pen.
I watched an interview of Elon Musk awhile ago. It was several years old and he was talking about the dangers of Artificial Intelligence. When questioned as to whether he was afraid of the potential risks of AI, his response was, not as afraid as he once was. AI is a risk in as far as the players who use it for nefarious purposes and fail to see the need to set up appropriate boundaries. Upon further inquiry Musk revealed why he was less afraid now. He confessed it was because he had become more fatalistic.
Musk, who undoubtedly is one of the most knowledgeable people on earth, was not happy about what he saw coming. However, upon seeing there was little to prevent these dangerous outcomes, his only remaining option was to resign himself to acceptance of a risk he knew was inevitable. Since his words of caution to the world were not being heeded, all he was left to do was to mitigate his own fear.
There is only one thing more ominous than misinformation. It is when those who have the truth remain silent or are silenced.
Because I am an optimist, I think we still have a very small window of opportunity for Canada to turn things around. Unfortunately many of the voices we need to listen to have been silenced or have self-censored. Like Musk, they’ve stopped speaking because no one is listening. They are watching the drama unravel.
I am a woman of faith. And I believe in a God of justice. The way I see it is that the Omicron variant is showing up the injustice of firing unvaccinated health care workers. Claiming we don’t have enough health care workers, when we do and we have fired them, is unacceptable deception. The people who could help us out of our dilemma, and I’m not only talking about health care, are facing insurmountable barriers set up by our government in conjunction with our health leaders.
Peterson points out a clear life lesson: There are no risk-free paths forward.
But there paths that are more just than others.
We have an option beyond trusting science and government. We can do the right thing and trust God with the outcome. The right thing is to love our neighbour and not discriminate against them based on their personal health choices. We can place a little bit of confidence in the high vaccinations numbers we have reached, because this is aiding in reducing serious illness among the vulnerable. But to place all of our confidence in vaccination is to fail critically in other areas which could prove to be more detrimental to our society than any current disease.
In the clinic I frequent I was told that everyone there got COVID-19 and recovered. All were vaccinated according to our government mandate. This shows us that we can live with risk. We can get sick and recover and continue to work.
As I prepared to write, I noticed this article in my feed, National Post: FIRST READING: Ottawa’s 180-degree turn on mandatory vaccination. I admonish our leaders to stop and reverse mandatory vaccination requirements. To fail to do so is to show a serious lack of insight and to put our country at such a risk as we have not yet imagined.
The following is from the Global News: Opposition parties push for emergency health committee meeting amid Omicron surge.
Ontario, Alberta., B.C., Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and N.B. have cut their quarantine requirements, which followed controversial advice from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that quarantines could drop to five days from the previous 10-day rule.
“This is a balancing of the risks compared with the need to protect your critical infrastructure,” said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, in a press conference on Jan. 5.
“Even with five days of quarantine, contagiousness is possible after that.”
Nothing is stopping the Omicron variant. Definitely not masks. Definitely not vaccination.
The Prime Minister of Canada is intentionally creating a crisis. Yesterday’s headline in CityNews Toronto was, Empty Canadian grocery store shelves could become larger problem.
The problem of empty grocery shelves could worsen over coming weeks due to the decision by Prime Minister Trudeau that all truck drivers entering Canada from the United States will need to present proof of vaccination to avoid a mandatory 14-day quarantine, starting January 15. This will potentially force thousands of cross-border truckers off the road. We rely on them for our food supply.
Mandatory vaccination edicts such as these are wrong for our country at this time, but, like Elon Musk, I will mitigate my fears if our government moves ahead with this disastrous plan.
I wonder if Peterson is right when he says, We are deciding, by opinion poll, to live in fear, and to become increasingly authoritarian in response to that fear.
When David met Goliath, he packed five smooth stones in his sling, but I would say he knew for certain that if the first one missed the mark, he was done. If we want to slay “Goliath” it is time to drop all but the most essential protective measures and take that one stone, called faith.
There are no risk-free paths forward. There is only one risk, or another. Pick your poison: that’s the choice life often offers. I am weary of living under the increasingly authoritarian dictates of a polity hyper-concerned with one risk, and oblivious to all others. And things are shaking around us.
Jordan B. Peterson
BC provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry reversed her promise not to implement mandatory vaccination and she needs to reverse her order again. The real problem for Canada’s Health Care system began back in October with this report as read in CTV News Vancouver:
“We’ll be implementing a new order that makes vaccination against COVID-19 a condition of employment across all health-care facilities in B.C.,” Henry said.
It’s time for a new order that puts life back to normal. The risk of serious disease is reduced to the point that we can now live with it and to prolong mandates will do more harm than good.
On October 26, British Columbia Health Minister, Adrian Dix, told over 4000 unvaccinated health workers to get a new job. They have been terminated.
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 weresuspended 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.
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.