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FORSYTHE: Meghan Murphy: The woman at the centre the fight between feminism and transgenderism

An up-and-coming young feminist, she could do no wrong until she went a bridge too far; believing that declaring yourself a woman, does not make you so.




Meghan Murphy used to be adored by the social justice crowd. An up-and-coming young feminist, she could do no wrong until she went a bridge too far; believing that declaring yourself a woman, does not make you so.

Meghan Murphy believes that there are biological sexes; that minor children should not be given hormone replacements and puberty blockers; that men are not women by simply declaring themselves to be so. Most radically, she believes that women (biological women) have a right to their own spaces, like bathrooms and changerooms.

These are her ‘controversial’ positions, denounced by Toronto Mayor John Tory, along with an assortment of trans activists and anti-free speech protestors when she presented a talk in that city on October 29.

On November 2nd, she was back in her hometown of Vancouver and once again found difficulty securing a venue. Moving from Simon Fraser University’s downtown campus to the Pan Pacific Hotel at the last minute presented little problem, much to the chagrin of the protestors.

“It was awesome. I’m so proud of the event we put on. We actually sold 100 more tickets. I think 300 people in total attended,” said Murphy, when I caught up to her a few days later.

Jessica Yaniv (source: Twitter)

Murphy is a journalist and founder of feministcurrent.com. More recently she has been in the news for presenting talks on gender identity and the media bias that informs the debate (or more accurately, shuts it down).

When it comes to the mainstream corporate media, Murphy doesn’t mince words. “I think they’re cowards. Reporters, editors, they’re all afraid of losing their jobs. So they toe the party line. Until recently, they didn’t even acknowledge there was a debate. They presented it as a few transphobic bigots on one side and the rest as progressive, enlightened people.”

She specifically targeted Bill C-16, the bill that enshrined gender identity into Canadian law and arguably makes it illegal to mis-pronoun someone. Murphy was at the forefront in challenging that bill.

“I went to the Senate to speak against it. No one else really said anything. People didn’t understand what this law was going to mean, everyone was just sort of, it’s for trans rights, what’s the big deal? How could anyone disagree with this legislation?”

With Bill C-16 in place, men are allowed into women’s prisons to serve their terms. Murphy recounted tales of female prisoners who have been assaulted by these men.

More famously is Jonathan (or Jessica) Yaniv who made international headlines for insisting female beauticians give him a bikini wax despite having male genitalia. His insistence that these women wax his bits even went all the way to the BC Human Rights Tribunal.

“He found a way to get money from these women – many of them immigrant women –who lost money because of him and at least one lost her business.”

Bill C-16 and the federal Liberal’s approach to gender identity in general hasn’t given any rights to trans people they didn’t already have says Murphy. There already is anti-discrimination legislation in place. But, as she notes, it has taken rights away from women to have female-exclusive spaces such as rape crisis centres, transition houses, or just everyday female domains such as washrooms and change rooms. 

Jessica Yanic (source: TwitteR)

She also feels children are falling prey to a trans trend.

“Yes, this has become a social trend. One with potentially tragic ramifications. The schools go along with it. The teachers lie to them [children], telling them if they take these drugs and hormones they’ll be happy and everyone will accept them. We don’t know the long-term effects of these drugs, but we do know they prevent a body from developing properly. These kids aren’t equipped to make these decisions, they don’t know if they want to have children, they could be in danger of increased cancer risk. They don’t even talk to their parents. It’s just cool and trendy and schools are actually encouraging it.” 

The gender identity business is also proving harmful to girls and women in sport. Men who were mediocre athletes can now declare themselves to be women, and dominate the field. 

“This is so awful. So unfair. Girls just can’t win against a dude. It’s totally unfair. Feminists fought for fair competition for years, for girls and women to have their own competitions. Now, all of a sudden that’s gone, because any man who says he’s a woman can compete, win and get scholarships. It’s a total joke.”

It should be obvious that men, who are generally larger framed, have greater muscle mass and lung capacity should not be competing with women. But holding that old-fashioned view has the formerly ballyhooed feminist Murphy, vilified as a bigot. 

“I was appalled that mayor John Tory wanted to shut us down, saying the [Toronto Public] library isn’t the place for these types of talks. That’s exactly what public institutions are for. It should also be happening in academic institutions. For him to apply pressure to shut down a conversation on women’s rights is just so gross, shocking and awful, it’s completely out of line for a mayor, who should know how democracy works.”

Murphy adds that her detractors never want to engage and debate with her. Just silence her. 

“Honestly, the reason activists won’t engage is because they’d have to agree with me. What I’m saying is a very reasonable concern for women only spaces. I’m not a scary person, so it’s easier for them not to listen and instead turn me into a villainous monster.”

Accordingly, when Murphy gave her talk in Vancouver, there had to be a sizable police presence, security for the venue itself, and Murphy’s own personal bodyguards.

Biological men threatening and silencing a feminist for speaking up for woman’s rights appears to be acceptable now. 

Vickery Bowles, the Toronto librarian who gave Murphy’s talk the go ahead has since been attacked online and in the media.

“This is appalling,” says Murphy, “It’s free speech, it’s what libraries are for. It’s especially appalling that some of the people calling her a fascist are writers.”

Murphy adds that some women have spoken up against Bill C-16 and the human rights abuses it has encouraged, but several have lost their jobs for doing so. “I wish more people would speak up, but I also understand they don’t want to become criminally unemployable.”

Still, she remains optimistic that there will be a pushback against this legislation and others like it, but she knows it won’t come from the current government.

“The Liberals won’t back this up. In fact, they’re doubling down, and the NDP are fully on board.”

So, for the foreseeable future any man who declares himself a woman legally has access to the lady’s room. And to declare yourself against it, is to invite condemnation as a bigot and a fascist. Somewhere, the struggle for women’s rights took a strange turn. 


Search for a Western Anthem: “All Hell for a Basement” (Heaven in Alberta)

You must hear this song to understand why it speaks to so many Albertans on a visceral level




The Western Standard put out a call for our readers to help us pick the unofficial anthem for Alberta (or more broadly, Buffalo or Western Canada). We asked you to submit songs that would inspire us during hard times, would speak to our distinct Western culture, and would be good for crowds to sing together. You didn’t disappoint.

We received many great anthem ideas: some familiar classics, some newer hits, and many excellent rarer songs which I had never heard before. Many are strong contenders, and some a little off mark. I have been sifting through reader e-mails and social media comments, and narrowed it down to the best handful of songs. We will not be able to cover all of them, but over the next few weeks we will be selecting some of the best suggestions and explaining why we think they would make a great pick to become the unofficial anthem of the West.

As expected, one of the top submissions was “All Hell for a Basement”, also known as “Heaven in Alberta”, by Big Sugar. Originally released in 2001, the song features thrashing drums and electric guitars. For some listeners, this original version evokes the feeling of driving an F350 to a rig site, across the empty prairie landscape before the sun comes up.

In my opinion, the unofficial acoustic version does the most compelling job of capturing the song’s emotions. Like all anthems, you can’t just read the lyrics. You must hear this song to understand why it speaks to so many of our people on a visceral level.

The title “All Hell for a Basement” sounds odd at first. The phrase actually comes from a quote by Rudyard Kipling, the novelist and poet famous for The Jungle Book. Upon visiting Medicine Hat, Alberta in 1907, Kipling was impressed by the region’s massive quantities of underground natural gas. He remarked, “This part of the country seems to have all hell for a basement, and the only trap door appears to be in Medicine Hat.”

Gordie Johnson wrote this song when he was the front man for the Big Sugar. Johnson was born in Winnipeg and grew up in Ontario before his family moved back west to Medicine Hat.

The song is simultaneously tragic and hopeful. The opening line, “I am a working man, but I ain’t worked for a while,” captures a reality that requires no explanation for our readers. The writer feels discarded “Like some old tin can, from the bottom of the pile.” As the song understands, unemployment is not only a crisis of material means, but also of identity and meaning. So many of us derive much of our sense of self-worth from our work and from the ability to feed our families.

But there is hope in this song as well. The lyrics to the chorus are as follows:

“I have lost my way / But I hear tell / Of Heaven in Alberta / Where they’ve got all hell for a basement.”

There’s no question why this song was requested by so many of our readers. Alberta used to be a beacon of hope that attracted hard-working people from struggling economies far and wide. Many working men who had lost their way came here to find it. Of course, this song and its underlying drive hails from a time when Alberta’s economic engine was not under direct assault by Ottawa.

So yes, let’s acknowledge the tragedy that this song captures for us in the West: unemployment, loss of purpose, and the feeling of being discarded “like some old tin can” by those in power who no longer have a use for us. But let’s also take this anthem as a reminder of the hope that we in Alberta once provided for a hopeless people. Let’s reawaken that sense of hope within ourselves, and begin to take the necessary steps to get on the right path toward prosperity. Start with yourself as an individual by reclaiming who you truly are: not “some old tin can” to be discarded by the Laurentians, but a “working man” whose skills and work ethic are still valued by us here in the West.

So how does this song stack up as an anthem, based on the three main criteria we established? First, does it inspire us? Yes, in its call to face the tragedy of unemployment and reclaim one’s self-worth as a working man, this checks out. Second, does it speak to our unique culture, heritage, and experiences? Yes, at least to some aspects of our experiences (oil & gas: check). Third, is it good for crowds to sing at public events? That’s where I think this song may fall short of anthem material. The lyrics are simply not designed for that. With lyrics like “My words are like a rope / that’s wrapped around my throat,” people might see only the tragic side, and not the redemption part of the story.

Based on the reader responses, this song will no doubt make the top 10 list. Can I see it being the song that Westerners sing with their hands over their hearts at a hockey game? Personally, I don’t think so. The lyrics are applicable to the working man, but what about school children in their weekly assembly? An anthem needs to have wider appeal, in my opinion. But what do you think?

My verdict: Great song, but I’m not sure if we have found our anthem yet.

The search continues!

Do you have your own idea for the unofficial anthem of Alberta? It’s not too late. Leave a comment below, on social media, or send us an e-mail, and we will consider featuring your anthem idea in another column. Email your submissions for an Alberta, Buffalo, or Western anthem to anthemsearch@westernstandardonline.com

James Forbes is the Western Heritage Columnist for the Western Standard

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Working from home with dysfunctional ‘co-workers’




Need to put a smile on your face amid nothing but bad, worse, and awful news? Read on.

A North Carolina mom started working from home and decided to ask Twitter for ‘co-worker’ stories.

For the accountants and bookkeepers:


For the upwardly mobile:

For the artistically inclined:


Lunchroom dramas:

When to call human resources:

And some things stay the same..

Deirdre Mitchell-MacLean is a Senior Reporter with Western Standard
Twitter @Mitchell_AB

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Two Alberta businesses – different challenges in a pandemic

“Whatever has happened elsewhere is what we’re barreling towards,” Jacobs said.




Bryan Orr, a drilling engineer in Alberta, is employed with NBC Technologies, who subcontracts with larger operators such as Tamarack Valley.

“I love drilling but it’s about to fall off a cliff,” Orr said. “The oil price coupled with challenges relating to chemicals and materials from China…”

During the drilling process, water, or a mud mixture, is pumped down through the bit. Barite, one of the chemicals used in that process, as well as chemicals used to make cement, come from China. Orr says the supply is getting low.

There’s also other materials such as pipe which is also becoming more scarce. Piping used both in the drilling process so the rock doesn’t collapse itself and pipe that is used to transport product. Orr said some of the storage companies are setting to close and that’s going to cause a problem.

“Reasons for Canada running a fraction of the rigs of the US aren’t geologically driven but based on pipeline access and other regulatory issues that are solvable by a supportive federal government.”

But Orr says there are further difficulties with the changes enforced by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially when it comes to working remotely.

“Unique challenges with the pandemic lie with decision-makers – getting rapid approvals can be difficult.”

In a business that has been about face-to-face meeting and relationship building, the idea that all work can continue via email isn’t as welcome to those used to running the show in person.

Even with those challenges, however, Orr said he is still optimistic.

One positive of the rapid changes in oil that have been happening is that these issues also help drive efficiencies. Orr says the cost of drilling wells has gone down substantially in Canada – comparatively – to the U.S.

“We’ve been lucky (at Tamarack and NBC Technologies) because we had a huge success last year that’s been driving a lot of production this year. Even though it’s a reduction in drilling, we were able to prove that we could reduce our footprint with three-mile Tamarack wells that allow us greater access.”

The new drilling process is nominated for a Collaborative Trendsetter award at the Global Petroleum Show.

Orr admits the majority of his work, while reliant on a customer-base, isn’t reliant on in-person transactions. Others – who are reliant on the physical presence of consumerism – are facing additional challenges that aren’t just based on the point of sale.

Jonathan Jacobs owns a Fort Lanes, a bowling and virtual golf business in Fort Saskatchewan. He purchased the business after he was laid off from his job in the oil patch in 2015. Jacobs could see that times were changing for his trade and he and his wife decided to invest in a local business.

Jacobs says the family wasn’t likely to get rich but they made a living. He had enough business to hire some employees and, all in all, had a successful small business.

“We had a ‘soft’ year (in 2019),” he said. “We looked at 2020 and said ‘it’ll be fine as long as nothing goes wrong’.”

The small entertainment business Jacobs runs still has employees but a lot less customers.

“I underestimated (the impact of COVID-19) until right now,” he said. “As of last Wednesday, there was no reason to believe this was coming.”

“This” is mass cancellation of classes and people being told to self-isolate. What bothers him most is the apparent mixed messaging.

“The government response has been rapid fire and all over the map. It’s hard to get your feet under you,” he said. “And that’s just week one – what happens in week two?”

Jacobs said people are being told to stay home but the government is also saying businesses can remain open. He said it doesn’t help him to stay open if there’s no customers. It’s something he’s also hearing that from other business owners in the area.

“We (local business owners) talk every day right now,” he said. “I can’t work from home – I can’t deliver bowling pins to your house to play there.”

His alley hosts leagues for all ages and special Olympics training. Jacobs said they cut the league play but his alley won’t hold 250 people so he stayed open. Now the government is saying no more than 50 people should gather but they’re also saying people need to adapt to a ‘new normal’ that is based on social distancing.

Special Olympics is on hold until April 13, Jacobs said. but public health messaging is saying things will be on hold for “months”.

Jacobs said he’s getting a better idea of what to expect from watching what’s going on in other provinces – like Quebec – who just asked bars and restaurants to close.

“Whatever happened there is what we’re barreling towards,” he said.

He said he wished that business owners had better communication from the leadership in terms of what to expect. Jacobs said he realizes this is unprecedented but feels like a more coordinated effort to communicate, especially when so many businesses are reliant on customers being physically present, would have been beneficial for him – especially when it comes to planning.

“There were 29 cases when we implemented the social distancing. What are the parameters for ending this?” He asked. “Not knowing is the worst. I have employees. Is it going to continue until May? June? At least then I’d know it’s not April.”

“They have issues managers making a quarter of a million dollars per year – why don’t they manage some real issues?”

Jacobs said he’s hoping the communication will get better, particularly in terms of how “this ends”.

“What will they be looking for to ease the restrictions?” He asked. “How will we know if we should hold on or close up?”

Deirdre Mitchell-MacLean is a Senior Reporter with Western Standard
Twitter @Mitchell_AB

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