The News Rundown
- For anyone who lives or even has just visited British Columbia, no matter which part of the province, it can be hard to deny that Canada's westernmost province is filled with an overwhelming abundance of wealth. I'm not referring to the literal wealth found in towering bank skyscrapers in downtown Vancouver, but in the very weave of the cultural fabric that makes up our province. That wealth can be found in the people that live here, in the values that those people hold, and the keen appreciation for our surroundings that can be found in every British Columbian, regardless of political leanings.
- That wealth is what attracts people to this province, either to live, work, or to just take in the sights. It's that wealth that has the capital of our province, and my hometown of Victoria being ranked #5 for small cities in the world by UK-based magazine Monocle. It's that wealth that sees BC have the 2nd biggest tourist industry in Canada, only behind Ontario, located much closer to American cities. It's that wealth that has created a provincial economy the envy of most of the rest of Canada.
- With that in mind it's important for us to keep in mind all of the things that make BC great, and try to change that which is actively stopping that greatness. BC has always been an abundant province of resources, and businesses and economic activity around those resources have always been, and have always will be. The forestry industry in BC takes care of thousands of jobs, and is one of the major economic lifebloods of the province. That said, it's important that the sources of that provincial wealth are taken care of sustainably so that we as citizens may continue to benefit from our best features.
- Late in the summer on Western Context 183 I profiled a story about the Fairy Creek watershed on southern Vancouver Island, which is described as the last unprotected unlogged watershed of old growth forest on the island. Old growth is described as a forest that has attained great age without significant disturbance and thereby exhibits unique ecological features. Old-growth forests are valuable for economic reasons and for the ecosystem services they provide, such as maintenance of biodiversity, water purification, flood control, and nutrient cycling.
- Activists had blockaded logging roads heading into the old growth forests late in the summer, in an attempt to halt clearcutting of the trees held there, some up to 800 years old. At that time in late August, the BC government had been stalling on releasing the Old Growth Strategic Review Panel’s report, and finally released it in mid-September along with logging deferrals in nine areas. Unfortunately, despite further promises from the BC NDP government, old growth clearcut logging is still ongoing on Vancouver Island, over 3 months after the first story I did on the subject.
- During the election campaign, the NDP claimed that they had "protected" nearly 353,000 hectares of old growth forests...but that's all political spin. As mentioned earlier, what they did was defer logging - a logging deferral lasts for just 2 years. Not only that, but only 3,800 hectares of productive old-growth forest is being deferred, a mere one per cent of the amount the NDP claims is off the chopping block for two years.
- Their ceremonious announcement will offer no protection for the last, rare and irreplaceable 35,000 hectares of ancient forest with “very large” trees left in BC. There is no protection for the last 380,000 hectares of forest with “large” trees.
- These numbers were provided by two independent scientists and a registered professional forester in the Last Stand report published in April. The industrial destruction of these internationally significant old-growth temperate rainforests, critical carbon sinks and repositories of biodiversity found nowhere else on Earth, continues unabated, and has even accelerated under the B.C. NDP. The last of these ancient old growth forests are not even provided a two-year reprieve from logging. More than 140,000 hectares of old growth is logged each year in B.C. – which means that the rest of it is less than three years to liquidation. That's right, without intervention, it will be gone before the next BC election in 2024.
- While uber-left leaning BC newspapers like The Narwhal and The Tyee have extensively profiled the old growth issue, no mainstream outlet like CBC, CTV, Global, etc. have even touched this issue at all. The latest news reports from them that we can find are from September. That's unacceptable.
- It's clear that the BC NDP, while claiming to care about the environment, have no actual plans to protect these ancient life-giving groves. They are now 3 and a half years into government. They can no longer blame the previous BC Liberal government for their own failings. It's time the government stepped up to the plate and protected these places and to turn them into a park, before they are gone forever. Enough is enough.
- The Alberta government has resisted the call for another lockdown in the province against the continued push from the media, NDP, health “experts”.
- Instead we have a series of restrictions including:
- No indoor social gatherings, outdoor gatherings limited to 10 people, and funeral services and weddings are also limited to 10 in person attendees while following heath guidelines.
- In all schools, Grades 7-12 will move to at-home learning on Nov. 30, ending in-person classes early.
- K-6 will continue as planned to Christmas break and all students will resume in person classes on January 11, 2021.
- Places of worship are limited to one third of their normal capacity.
- Working from home should be considered, where possible
- As for restrictions on businesses and services:
- Banquet halls, conference centres, trade shows, auditoria and concert venues, non-approved/licensed markets, community centres and children’s play places or indoor playgrounds must close.
- All levels of sport are suspended and special exemptions may be considered.
- A max of 6 people may sit at a table at a restaurant and no movement between tables.
- Only seated eating and drinking is permitted. No other services or entertainment will be allowed, including billiards, games or darts.
- Liquor can be sold until 10 pm and food-serving establishments must close to in person-dining at 11 pm. Liquor sales apply to casinos, but casinos are not required to close at 11 pm.
- Most retail businesses may remain open with capacity limited to 25% of the occupancy set under the Alberta Fire Code.
- Some entertainment and event services may remain open (movie theatres, museums, libraries, casinos, bingo halls, water parks, and amusement parks) with capacity limited to 25% of the occupancy set under the Alberta Fire Code.
- Indoor fitness, recreation, sports and physical activity centres, including dance and yoga studios, martial arts, gymnastics and private or public swimming pools also falls under this category.
- Now while the health “experts” and NDP have been pushing the lockdown agenda with the media’s help, there are those who will say that they will favour a lockdown such as Edmonton restauranteur, Paul Shufelt, who sees a lockdown as “the right thing to do at this point”
- Paul says, “We’re not doing enough at this point to make change...these half-measures are putting lives at risk and making it more likely that more people are going to be sick and more people are going to be hospitalized and unfortunately more going are going to die.”
- Outside of the government payroll, media, and NDP this is the reporting we see from the media justifying the lockdown.
- But anyone who understands economics, runs a business, or has done payroll knows that it’s not quite that simple.
- For those who say that these measures are not strict enough, the Premier has said, “For the first time in the history of our province we’ve just told people they’re not allowed to have anybody over to their homes and they’re going to be fined if they do.”
- There’s also been of course questions about whether or not this is a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms since Jason Kenney himself said that he feels we’re walking very close to that line.
- Instead the debate this Thursday has turned to a recording leaked by an anonymous source to CBC from an Emergency Operations Centre meeting in June where Dr. Hinshaw was taken out of context and it was made to seem that the government was disregarding her medical opinions.
- The doctor herself has said that she feels like all of her recommendations were respectively considered and said that the leaked tape is a personal betrayal by whoever gave it to the media. This is the discussion that the media establishment would prefer we have rather than focusing on what’s happening going forward.
- Alberta is built on the premise of being strong and free, the same strong and free in our national anthem, but do we live up to it? DO our governments live up to it? Most of the time no, but Jason Kenney has proven that his government will.
- In answering questions after unveiling measures, Kenney said, “this government made a grave mistake in the spring, when we made a stupidly arbitrary decision between essential and nonessential retail businesses that had the unintended consequences of allowing Walmart’s and Costco’s sell darn near everything because they have a grocery section or sell pharmaceuticals while shutting down thousands and thousands of retail small and medium sized businesses.”
- He also highlighted a fifth generation family running a store in rural Alberta that saw 100% of their business go to the big US retail box store.
- He then proceeded to say that it was a “stupid mistake” that the government made and said “for that I apologize.”
- When further pressed he said he’s not pushing for zero cases by lockdown and believes that the pandemic will be over soon due to rapid testing and vaccine development.
- But we also know that much of what people see as the pandemic has taken place in nursing homes and is the result of the consistent day to day coverage of case counts and death counts when in reality the virus is a lot less deadly for those who are healthy and young.
- We’ve gone over the numbers before and simple arithmetic supplements the Premier’s case this week.
- The Albertan economy was fragile coming into 2020 and it is refreshing to hear common sense that we should not be funneling business towards the big US box stores while shutting down small business, that makes no sense whatsoever. We have been saying that here at Western Context since the beginning when it comes to the pandemic.
- This next story is going to be a bit wacky, to paraphrase outgoing BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson. In a media cycle this week where there are only a few really big stories, it gives us the chance to delve into a story we wouldn't normally do on the show, as others would generally take up it's place. And this one is a bit of an odd one, as it wasn't a mainstream story until just recently, and it actually got its start from the MTLBlog, who referenced a freelance journalist on Twitter. Weeks later, and the mainstream is only just starting to pick it up.
- To begin, the Canadian government has grants set up through various non-profits to help Canadian artists. This story will focus on one in particular, a program by the name of Factor, a Canadian arts subsidy program that’s partially funded by the federal government.
- There are a lot of starving artists out there who could use some help — particularly now, when so much of the world has been flattened by the pandemic and its economic shock. Particularly hard-hit have been the service-sector jobs that many young artists turn to to survive, to put food on the table and make rent, while they direct their remaining time into honing their crafts and chasing their dreams. Arts grants, particularly government-funded ones, are always controversial. They’re a flashpoint in the culture war between those who think the government’s job is to make life easier and nicer and those who think its job is to stick to the basics.
- In this particular case, the Canadian government funded grant was going to a Canadian artist from Vancouver by the name of Grimes. For those who haven't heard, Grimes, born Claire Boucher, is a successful and talented electronic pop artist who has been making music for about a decade now. She also happens to live in California full time and be the common-law partner of the 2nd-richest person in the world, Elon Musk.
- Now, we could talk about Elon Musk, and that would be fascinating, but his many interesting decisions and businesses are not really the purview of this podcast. All that needs to be said is that the Canadian government essentially gave free money to a couple that really don't need handouts.
- Factor claims that Grimes met all criteria for the grant, and that it was actually her recording company, Crystal Math Music Inc. that made the application. According to Karina Moldovan, a communications manager for FACTOR, the label met requirements for its Comprehensive Music Company program, a “full-length sound recording program accessible to eligible record labels.” Moldovan also says that recipients don’t have to be full-time residents of Canada to receive funding, which is partially distributed through the Department of Canadian Heritage.
- “FACTOR’s mandate is to provide assistance toward the growth and development of the Canadian music industry […] with a focus on commercial success,” she said. “In this way, FACTOR greatly differs from an arts council and should not be regarded as such.”
- You can’t blame the company for that. If some government-backed arts incubator wants to hand your world-famous and well-established client a big cheque, what, you’re going to say no? A company seeking grants is no different than a person hiring an accountant to max out their tax refund. Even if it’s silly, don’t blame the company or the person. Blame the policy.
- And this is, we must acknowledge, a weird policy. Grimes is a genuinely talented musician, and she has had a successful career. From an arts-grant perspective, it’s time to move on to someone who could use the help. Someone, for instance, who isn’t romantically involved with the world’s second-richest man, who literally launches people into orbit when he’s not changing ground transportation as we know it.
- On the scale of government waste, handing Grimes’s company a big cheque is a rounding error of a fraction of an irrelevancy. And that was true even before 2020’s geyser of spending from the Canadian government.
- But you know who might be up in arms over this? Genuinely up-and-coming artists who are trying to find a way to pursue their passions in a year when all the performance venues are closed, all the festivals cancelled and the jobs they were counting on to pay the bills have all been killed by public-health decrees intended to save our struggling hospitals from collapse.
- If you’re one of those people, hoping against hope that Factor or some other program will toss you a few bucks so you can survive and continue to create beautiful things, you might indeed fret a bit, even lose a few winks of sleep, over the unfairness of an established artist with access to vast financial resources (and space flight) getting grants because she has a record company with enough staff to apply for them. Yes, I can see how that might sting a bit, indeed.
- Just a few weeks ago, health “experts” and those in the media were unsure if a vaccine would ever come for the virus.
- There have been promising results from Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and other companies and organizations.
- Pfizer and Moderna, the two American companies were part of the Trump administration’s “Operation Warp Speed” which sought to find a vaccine or therapeutic as quick as possible.
- These two companies use a new technology utilizing RNA to synthesize a vaccine and Pfizer had their vaccine candidate ready very early this year but it was held up by the rigours of scientific testing.
- Both companies plan to apply for emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration.
- The vaccines are also going to be getting the green light from the UK, Mexico, and Germany to name a few countries.
- The UK will begin distribution and inoculation in just a few days on December 1st while the US will begin in the first week of December and Mexico will begin in mid-December.
- The US is using their military to distribute the vaccine to CVS and Walgreens pharmacies. They aim to have 20 million people vaccinated in December.
- This week the Trudeau government reiterated its statement that they have millions of doses on order that will be available “once a safe, effective vaccine is ready for Canadians.”
- They’re ready now.
- What is good enough for the US should be good enough for Canada.
- What’s good enough for the US, UK, and Germany should also be good enough for Canada.
- It isn’t.
- There is no timeframe as to when we can expect the vaccine to first arrive in Canada.
- We are told early 2021. But what does early mean? There’s no way of knowing. On Thursday Dr. Supriya Sharma the Chief Medical Advisor at Health Canada suggests Pfizer’s vaccine approval would quickly follow the FDA with first shipments arriving in early January.
- The media isn’t asking the questions and are covering for yet another Trudeau lie.
- SNC. Black face. The pandemic wouldn’t affect Canada. Border closures were not needed, racist, and ineffective. Not necessary to use masks, sanitizer, or gloves. The blank cheque. WE. No budget. No checks and balances on CERB. No concern for small businesses who were made to pay rent before qualifying for subsidies. Continued deficit spending with no end in sight and waiting for a vaccine to appear.
- Trudeau’s lies are so big and so frequent that you could fill up an olympic swimming pool with his blather.
- The media of course has also been there to cover. The story this week rather than questioning the government has moved to one of why we have lost our vaccine manufacturing capacity over the last 30 years.
- And as usual the media finds someone to blame a previous administration on.
- Meanwhile people are getting sick and our care homes have seen the biggest surge of death and destruction from this plague.
- There must be an inquiry on why we’re at the back of the line and why so many people in our senior care homes have succumbed to the virus.
- Patty Hadjdu says that a vaccine won’t come to Canada until the government approves it.
- This is government bureaucracy created by the Trudeau administration killing more people while the media provides covering fire.
- But if you delve into the details the contracts signed by this government do not permit for vaccine delivery or storage in Canada until the vaccine is approved. This came from Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand.
- So while the government does what they do and the media seeks to provide cover by blaming past administrations, the Minister herself identified the problem.
- Keep in mind though that we weren’t allowed to ask about vaccine development progress until Pfizer and Moderna announced.
- This of course was because anyone who suggested there may be a vaccine by the end of the year was ridiculed and laughed at because you’re obviously listening to US President Donald Trump.
- But make no mistake, it is Operation Warp Speed in the United States, led by the Trump administration that has brought a number of these vaccine candidates forward in record time.
- We could’ve asked in September or the summer what the logistics would look like or if we could store a potential vaccine here, but it was out of the realm of possibility that it would happen so soon because that was branded as a false story by the media since US President Donald Trump said it was true.
- There are so many questions yet to be asked about why we ended up in this situation and what the actual timetable looks like.
- But so far, all we’ve got is the marker early 2021, maybe January, and that Canada has purchased 100 freezers to store the vaccine in. This leaves the disturbing question, was there anything the federal government got right? Or have the results we seen been due to the way the provinces acted?
Word of the Week
Old Growth - a forest that has attained great age without significant disturbance or harvesting and thereby exhibits unique ecological features
How to Find Us
Episode Title: On the Chopping Block
Teaser: The BC NDP government fails to protect old growth forests, Alberta’s restrictions aim to not harm businesses, and a Canadian government arts grant goes to the partner of Elon Musk. Also, Trudeau’s promise of an early vaccine for Canadians gets broken.
Recorded Date: November 26, 2020
Release Date: November 28, 2020
Edit Notes: None
Podcast Summary Notes