EDITORS NOTE: The Western Standard Editorial Board encourages open debate by its columnists. The column below reflects the views of its author, however the WS Editorial Board takes no position on vaccines.
Statistics Canada recently released a survey designed to gauge the likely response of Canadians to a COVID-19 vaccine when (or if) one becomes available.
The results showed that only 57.5 percent of those surveyed said they were “very likely” to get the vaccine. The remaining respondents said they were either somewhat likely, somewhat unlikely, or very unlikely to get the vaccine, while 9.4 percent of individuals responded that they “didn’t know.”
A reasonable headline for an article reporting on this information would have been: “As many as 42.5 percent of Canadians have some doubts about getting COVID-19 vaccine.”
However, the National Post chose to use the headline: “One in ten Canadians would refuse COVID vaccine.” Published on August 26, the article dealt briefly with the survey, then concluded by saying that Dr. Theresa Tam (the Chief Public Health Officer of Canada) says “authorities need more information about those who are worried about or opposed to a vaccine to ensure they have the proper information about how vaccines are approved.”
As someone who would have responded “very unlikely”, I’d be happy to provide that info.
For starters, Dr. Tam, my name is Karen, and I would not only like to speak to the so-called management, I’d like to fire you.
In the five years since I retired from my law career, I’ve found time to read nine books dealing with vaccines—including two written by Dr. Paul Offit, one of the most vocal proponents of vaccines in the U.S. I gave Dr. Offit a fair chance to persuade me, but his research and arguments didn’t hold a candle against the opposition.
I’m two years younger than Dr. Offit. In my youth I believed (as he still seems to) that vaccines are safe and effective. Maybe the difference between our perspectives is that Dr. Offit holds several vaccine patents, while I hold none. There is no financial incentive tugging at me to continue believing that everything is hunky-dory.
I began having doubts in the 1990s when reports came out that the flu vaccine was a dismal failure, year after year. I never got a flu shot myself. Why bother, since I rarely got the flu? The vaccine seemed to be hit-or-miss at best, with effectiveness rates as low as 40 percent in some years.
But then the news emerged that those who did get the flu vaccine seemed to be at greater risk for other respiratory viral infections. That cemented my decision. Why get vaccinated for one minor illness if it would increase your chances of getting others? But the study piqued my curiosity: what was it about vaccines that would make people sicker, rather than healthier?
I learned that the flu vaccine contained a preservative called thimerosal. As a former contact lens wearer, I recalled that many years ago, contact lens storage solution had contained thimerosal. When the manufacturers eventually took it out, they considered it important enough to splash across the package, “Now thimerosal-free!”
So I wondered: if thimerosal is bad enough that you shouldn’t get any in your eyes, is it okay to shoot it into your veins? The answer is no.
Thimerosal contains mercury, which is extremely toxic to humans. The best amount to have in your body is zero. Vaccine apologists like Dr. Offit argue that opponents are confusing ethyl mercury (which supposedly leaves the body quickly because it isn’t found in blood tests after a short time) and methyl mercury which accumulates in the body. But in his book Thimerosal—Let the Science Speak, author Robert F. Kennedy Jr. explains that the reason ethyl mercury becomes undetectable in the blood after a short time is that it accumulates even more quickly than methyl mercury in the organs—especially in important places like the brain. As of February, 2020 there have been 22 studies that confirm this problem.
Considering the worldwide explosion of brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s and autism over the past few decades, you’d have to be a reckless ignoramus to recommend that people continue to inject themselves annually with mercury. Why do you do that, Dr. Tam?
Next, what about everyone’s favourite vaccine legend: how vaccines saved the world from polio? Well, I’ve read up on that too—in Dissolving Illusions by Dr. Suzanne Humphries, MD, a US board-certified nephrologist (kidney specialist). She started out, like most Americans, believing in the safety and efficacy of vaccines—until she began observing the some worrisome symptoms among patients who had recently been vaccinated.
Humphries’ book provides credible evidence (data drawn from public records in the UK and the US) that it was neither the Salk nor the Sabin vaccine that saved the world from polio. Rather, it was improvements in public sanitation in the first half of the twentieth century. Global populations began gaining access to clean drinking water. Newly installed sewage systems meant that residents of densely populated cities no longer lived amidst their own waste. Knowledge about safe food handling practices and handwashing grew and disseminated.
These improvements also brought about dramatic declines in diseases such as diphtheria, whooping cough and measles. Most people don’t realize that the mortality rate for all of these diseases had declined almost to zero before any vaccines were developed for them. Some diseases such as scarlet fever and typhoid fever declined dramatically in lockstep with the rest, despite the fact that there was never a vaccine for them.
In fact, there is good evidence that the paralytic polio epidemic of the 1940s and 1950s was actually caused by the extreme toxicity of a combination of commonly used agricultural pesticides, including DDT, lead and arsenic. Polio had been known since the 1800s but was a mild illness then. Most victims recovered quickly and never suffered paralysis. Polio only began paralysing people permanently during the 20th century, reaching its heights as pesticide use soared. The eventual decline in paralysis cases corresponds closely to the declining use of these toxic pesticides.
Furthermore, the medical conditions necessary for a diagnosis of “polio” changed abruptly in 1958, shortly after the introduction of the polio vaccine. Many diseases that had previously been diagnosed as polio suddenly got their own separate label. And as author Brett Wilcox points out in his book Jabbed: How the Vaccine Industry, Medical Establishment, and Government Stick It to You and Your Family, the classical definition of polio as “a disease with residual paralysis which resolves within 60 days” was changed to “a disease with residual paralysis which persists for more than 60 days.” Since the vast majority of cases did resolve within 60 days, the change of definition was just like waving a magic wand over a huge percentage of polio cases and making them vanish. Poof! Nothing had changed except the labelling, but vaccines got the credit.
Dr. Tam, I learned something else in my reading, from a book called The Virus and the Vaccine, by Debbie Bookchin and Jim Schumacher—something that disturbs me very much. The oral polio vaccine of the 1950s—that innocent-looking pink liquid given to me at my elementary school—was widely contaminated with something called SV40. SV stands for simian virus. The vaccine was grown on the kidneys of monkeys imported from Africa, and it turned out they had numerous (at least 40) viruses that found their way into the polio vaccine.
According to this scientific study on SV40 published in 1999, “there may be an increased incidence of certain cancers among the 98 million persons exposed to contaminated polio vaccine in the U.S. Further investigations are clearly justified.” Have the further investigations been done, Dr. Tam? Are you looking into them now? Or are you still maintaining that vaccines are perfectly safe and we shouldn’t worry?
Finally, I learned from a book called The Vaccine Court: The Dark Truth of America’s Vaccine Injury Compensation Program by Wayne Rohde that vaccine manufacturers were so heavily besieged by lawsuits for the harm their products caused in the 1980s that they threatened the US government that they’d stop making them entirely unless they were granted immunity from liability. Congress keeled over obediently and passed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) of 1986, absolving manufacturers of responsibility for vaccine injuries. The most recent data available from the US government (they seem to have stopped publishing the totals after 2018) shows that $4.4 billion has been paid out to vaccine-injured individuals. Experts say that barely scratches the surface of the harm done, since most Americans don’t even know they can make a claim, and many physicians (thanks to the influence of Dr. Tam and her ilk) don’t even recognize vaccine injuries when patients present with them.
Do you think cars would be safer if injured drivers and passengers were prevented from suing manufacturers for defects? Of course not. No product is safe if all liability for defects or harm is removed. This 2017 peer-reviewed study published in the Review of Industrial Organization compared the adverse vaccine reactions before and after the NCVIA was passed. It should be no surprise that the author found “that vaccines that were licensed after legislation that preempted most product liability lawsuits are associated with a significantly higher incidence of adverse events than were vaccines that were licensed under a previous regime that permitted consumers to sue.”
Do you understand me sufficiently yet, Dr. Tam? I could go on, but you probably get the gist of my objections by now. Vaccines are not safe, and their efficacy is highly questionable.
Dr. Tam, there are many other things individuals can do to ensure that their immune systems meet and defeat coronaviruses successfully, without vaccines. I’d be delighted to tell you about some of them in another article—but I have the sneaking suspicion you might not want to read it.
Karen Selick is a columnist for the Western Standard and a retired lawyer who now works as a freelance writer, editor, and video maker.
ANDRUS: Kenney prepares to fight “all-out war” from his knees
“A constitutional convention may be the only way to keep the country together. Without one, enflamed regional anger will continue to divide the country and the viability of remaining a single nation will continue to deteriorate.”
“The only time in the Speech from the Throne that Saskatchewan was essentially mentioned was in the phase out of our energy industry workers.”
That was Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe’s response to the massive shift in direction signaled by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Throne Speech on Wednesday. His words rang true across the West and the fight for the heart of the energy industry has ramped up yet again.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney described the Throne Speech as a “full-frontal attack” on the constitution.
“There were more policies that invade provincial jurisdiction than I could count,” said Kenney. “Alberta will continue to work with our allies across the country to focus on lives and livelihoods.”
From the reaction of the premiers, it is now clear that national unity hangs in the balance.
The announcement of ambitious legislation guaranteed to be detrimental to the interests of Westerners, pits Moe and Kenney against the full might of a federal government targeting the heart of the energy industry.
The rhetoric both have displayed in recent days highlights the rage bubbling amongst their electorates, already concerned about their futures, but rhetoric is just that.
While both premiers have talked the talk, angry citizens await firm action. In Alberta, Kenney has slow walked his Fair Deal plan to a crawl. Two of his best options – a provincial pension plan and referendum to abolish equalization – have been delayed until next fall at the earliest. Constitutional challenges, while bold in rhetoric, will take years to unwind. Strong letters are just words on a page; empty threats unless backed up with strong action.
More than ever, the need for bold leadership is of vital importance. The constitution is under attack. Western alienation, scoffed at by the Laurentian establishment and Trudeau himself, is on the rise. Further delays will only see that anger redirected at provincial governments and Premiers that are seen to be waffling. Watering down messaging in a time when strong action is needed will further weaken the fabric of national unity.
The next few months will demonstrate clearly that constitutional reform is required to strengthen national unity and provide equal footing for provinces wary of federal intrusion into provincial jurisdiction. The current constitutional order is designed to favour voter-heavy provinces, with no real defence available to smaller provinces.
A constitutional convention may be the only way to keep the country together. Without one, enflamed regional anger will continue to divide the country and the viability of remaining a single nation will continue to deteriorate.
These reforms are long past due. It’s time to recognize gravity of the situation and act. Words will simply fall on deaf ears.
Josh Andrus is a columnist with the Western Standard and the Executive Director of Project Confederation.
BYFIELD: An open letter to Jason Kenney
Vince Byfield writes that the UCP risks losing power if it does not let Albertans vote directly on its future.
Editors Note: The following guest column is an open letter from Vince Byfield
Dear Premier Kenney,
A recent Alberta poll showed the NDP tied for support with your UCP at 38 per cent, and the remaining 24 per cent broken into a variety of smaller parties, several of them sovereigntist. It appears from this poll that your unification of the right is unravelling, with some Albertans now turning to independence, and some to socialism.
The fault of this splintering of the right falls squarely on your shoulders, and your refusal to explore and explain to Albertans all of the political options available to them.
Instead, your decision to schedule a non-binding referendum on equalization two-and-a-half years after your election just isn’t good enough. You’re moving too slowly, sir. You have to do more, and you have to do it now. That’s what you were elected to do, and with each passing week you are wasting your mandate. Your base is now abandoning you, and you risk re-electing the NDP. Your foot-dragging carries the very real risk of Alberta falling into a socialist oblivion from which it may never recover.
All because you are not doing the right thing for Albertans. Clinging to a confederation that is so unbalanced, so unstable that it has to rob Albertans en masse to bribe Quebecers to stay in Canada is madness. And yet this, Premier Kenney, is precisely what you are perpetuating with your procrastination. Wasting precious time like this effectively buries our children and grandchildren with $200 million more crippling debt every single week.
Enough is enough. This must to stop. By continuing to do nothing constructive to correct Alberta’s biggest grievance, conservative Albertans are left with no choice but to chart a future with someone who will.
As I see it, Albertans have three options: one, remain in confederation; two, become an independent nation; or three, become Americans. Yet of those three options you support the first, dismiss the second, and ignore the third. Why is that? Why do you appear to be going to great lengths to hide the third option from Albertans?
We have tried and failed with option one. We have been a part of confederation for 115 years. There are clear inequalities which we have endeavored earnestly for decades to repair. Time and time again, the rest of Canada has rejected us. Now they don’t even bother to respond. It’s clear to any Albertan with any semblance of common sense that further attempts to work within option one is futile and hopeless. Ottawa politicians are tired of listening to useless whining, and quite frankly, so are Albertans.
Option two is by no means the cure all. Becoming an independent nation of four million souls surrounds us with one nation ten-times our size (the rest of Canada, now angry at our departure) and the other a hundred-times our size (the United States, now self-sufficient in oil and protectionist). History shows us how large nations typically treat much smaller ones, and it is not pretty. Yet, in spite of this dismal future, many Albertans are now so mad about Canada that they see independence as their only recourse. They believe this because their leaders – like you – are not informing them of the third option.
You promised transparency in your government, but then you choose to black out 134 pages – or 90 per cent – of the Fair Deal Panel’s documentation. The idea of conducting a public inquiry and then refusing to let the public see what it found is confusing a great many of your supporters. It is clear you are hiding something. What are you so desperately trying to keep away from Albertans? Why was the third option not even discussed?
When Albertans carefully consider all three options – when the fog of anti-American rhetoric is given time to clear – becoming part of the United States stands out as the only really sensible solution.
Here is the roadmap to Alberta statehood as I understand it. First, we must hold a referendum on independence. The United States cannot recognize or negotiate with Alberta until we sever ties with Canada by having the majority of Albertans vote in favour of independence from Canada. This referendum essentially serves as a declaration of independence.
The biggest benefit of a successful independence referendum is that it effectively serves notice to Ottawa that the equalization and other transfers are over. The Canadian government and its revenue agency would no longer have any standing on Alberta soil. Albertans will file their income taxes – all of their income taxes – with the new national Alberta government. Along with the end of equalization payments the begging to Ottawa will no longer be necessary.
Once we declare ourselves independent, Albertans are well advised to schedule a second referendum swiftly to determine how many Albertans would then want to become a part of the United States of America. If passed, Alberta would then formally apply to be admitted as a territory or protectorate of the United States.
This is not a new path. It has essentially been followed in the vast majority of cases since the first 13 colonies declared independence and formed the United States of America. Other than the original 13 Colonies, most states that joined the union were first unincorporated US territories. We would be following in the footsteps of what would later grow, prosper, and become powerful states in their own right, like California.
Alternatively, Alberta could follow the path of Texas, which was admitted directly to full statehood quickly after declaring its independence from Mexico.
Being a territory or protectorate of the United States is not the same as being a state. Statehood would be an option at a later time and would require a third referendum by Albertans. However, US territorial status gives Albertans at least three very important benefits right away.
First, instant US citizenship to every Albertan and the freedom to travel, work and trade anywhere in that great nation. Furthermore, Americans are free to travel and, more importantly, invest in Alberta. This means badly needed jobs will return. Business will be able to thrive. Albertans will be able to enjoy real freedom and real prosperity once more.
Second, immediate US military protection. When the most powerful nation on the planet vows to defend Alberta, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau knows that sending Canadian soldiers onto Alberta soil would be impossible. Therefore, US territorial status assures a peaceful resolution for Albertans whatever they decide to do next.
Third, freedom to leave the United States at a later date. Being a US territory – and not a state — means Albertans are not obligated to remain a part of the United States. Albertans would be given the freedom and time to heal and consider the future that is best for ourselves.
As a US territory, we even have the freedom to return to Canadian confederation, should Albertans decide to forgive Ottawa and Quebec for their swindles of the past 115 years.
Critically, Alberta would have the right to negotiate the terms of entering the American union. This contrasts with Alberta’s entry into confederation in 1905, which was unilaterally dictated by Ottawa without any negotiation or consultation.
We may also decide to remain as a US territory. This gives us all the freedoms and benefits described above, but US territorial status does have one important price: no political representation in Congress. As a territory, we may not be able to elect Alberta senators or Albertans to the House of Representatives, but we will be able to vote for the next president. This means that Alberta’s liberals and socialists will be free to vote for the Democrats, and conservatives for the Republicans.
Most importantly, as a US territory – and no longer crippled by Quebec’s multi-billion-dollar ransom payments – Albertans would be able to focus on what we do best: working hard and prospering.
Premier Kenney, you still have time, but not much. I propose you schedule a referendum on our independence to be held no later than Alberta Day, August 3, 2021. If you do this, I predict that your base will return – their confidence in you restored – and the nightmarish possibility of another NDP Alberta reign of error banished to the realm of socialist dreams.
Failure to follow through on this proposal puts your supporters in a difficult situation. Failure to show real leadership for Albertans means we have little choice but to find a real leader with the guts to do the job. Are you that leader? I hope and pray your answer is yes, but am prepared to act if you are not.
Please accord Albertans the courtesy of a response and your reasons. If those reasons are examined and found wanting, be assured that conservative Albertans will not sit idly by while you continue to wreck our province. We will act.
Jason, no one would regard your position as enviable. Your love of Canada is without question. We all love Canada. But when put to the test, when forced to choose between Canada and the calculated destruction of Alberta, the needs of Albertans must be your highest priority.
Vincent Byfield is manager of SEARCH, publisher of the 12-volume history series “The Christians: Their First Two Thousand Years” and other history books. Since 1973 Vince has worked with his father, Ted Byfield, to publish Alberta Report Newsmagazine and his brother, Link Byfield, who was elected in 2004 as an independent senator-in-waiting for Alberta.
TERRAZZANO: Alberta needs recall legislation now
“Recall rules would be a big step towards reaffirming the role of citizens as boss. It’s time for Kenney to make good on his promise and pass recall legislation during the upcoming fall legislative session.”
When most of us stink at our jobs, we get sent packing. That standard doesn’t apply to politicians, who don’t need to worry about impressing their boss, taxpayers, outside of an election every four years.
Fortunately, Premier Jason Kenney promised to change that by introducing recall legislation.
“Albertans want their MLAs to be accountable to them. That’s why a United Conservative government would introduce a Recall Act allowing voters to fire their MLA in between elections if they have lost the public’s trust,” Kenney said while on the campaign trail ahead of the 2019 provincial election.
“Empowering citizens to hold their MLAs to account will strengthen Alberta democracy.”
The most obvious benefit of recall legislation is allowing voters to hold misbehaving politicians accountable more than once every four years. Recall legislation in British Columbia helped citizens give former MLA Paul Reitsma the bootwhen he got caught sending fake letters to the editor.
There are several examples where recall could have been used by Alberta voters.
Take the case of former premier Allison Redford. It took months of mounting political pressure over expense scandals, including the infamous $45,000 South Africa trip, for internal political machinery to finally force her to step down. Or consider former Lethbridge coun. Darlene Heatherington, who refused to step down after being charged with fabricating a story about a stalker. In both cases, recall could have been a handy accountability tool for voters, who should be the ones making these decisions.
The on-going scandal over Calgary’s Coun. Joe Magliocca’s expenses is another example where citizens should have the ability to hand out a pink slip through the recall process.
Ensuring citizens can hold their elected officials accountable is crucial, but just as important is the role that recall rules could play in discouraging politicians from messing up in the first place. It doesn’t take a PhD in psychology to understand that a politician will think twice before blowing tax dollars on steaks and martinis if there’s a chance they could have to face the voters immediately rather than in four years.
Alberta’s recall rules must be extended to the local level, so voters have the same ability to hold local councillors and mayors accountable as they will with MLAs. Fortunately, the government’s last throne speech promised exactly that.
“To further make life better for Albertans, my government will undertake significant reforms to strengthen democracy in Alberta, including the tabling of … a recall act, allowing constituents to remove their MLAs, municipal councillors, mayors, and school board trustees from office between elections,” reads the speech.
When designing recall legislation, Kenney must make sure the requirements to force a by-election aren’t too onerous. Beyond the Reitsma example, there hasn’t been any successful recall campaigns in B.C. This is partly because of B.C.’s onerous requirement to collect signatures for more than 40 per cent of eligible voters in that district in 60 days.
This threshold puts B.C. at the upper limit when compared to American states, where the most common requirement is to have 25 per cent of votes cast in the last election to sign the petition to trigger a byelection. A 25 per cent threshold would be a good starting point for Alberta’s recall rules to balance political stability with accountability, and is what the Canadian Taxpayers Federation recommended in our presentation to the Alberta government’s Democratic Accountability Committee. The most important thing to remember when thinking about signature thresholds, however, is that it doesn’t have to be perfect. Albertans need recall now, and politicians can always tinker with the requirements down the road to make improvements.
Recall rules would be a big step towards reaffirming the role of citizens as boss. It’s time for Kenney to make good on his promise and pass recall legislation during the upcoming fall legislative session.
Franco Terrazzano is the Alberta Director for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. This column is an abbreviated version of the presentation he made for the Alberta government’s Democratic Accountability Committee.
UCP MLA calls Alberta CERB recipients lazy ‘Cheezie-eaters’
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EXCLUSIVE: CN Rail to send emergency propane shipments to Quebec
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ANDRUS: Trudeau has bet double-or-nothing on Freeland to pacify with West
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