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.