On Liberty and Alberta’s Covid Crisis

This is for the woman who yelled “Do you feel safer now?” when my daughter stepped off the sidewalk to give the woman and her rambunctious dog room to pass. Do you feel safer now? My daughter stepped off the curb to give the woman and her dog some space. The woman took this as a challenge to her anti-whatever beliefs.

It’s time for the anti-mask, anti-vax, anti-restrictions (“Antis”) to come to terms with their decision to reject life-saving vaccines and defy public health restrictions while at the same time demanding the state save them from the consequences of their ill-informed decisions.*

It’s also time for the Kenney government to rectify the mess it created by pandering to the Antis.  

First let’s recap.  

In Alberta

We have over 20,000 active cases, over 1000 in hospital with 243 in ICU. More than 2,600 Albertans have died.

We’ve doubled our ICU beds from 173 to 350. Non-ICU nurses are being redeployed to ICU, retired nurses and doctors who haven’t set foot in an ICU since medical school are being asked to pitch in. All non-urgent surgery for adults and children (including transplants, tumors, and cancer) have been cancelled. Nurse to patient ratios are out of whack, standards of care have been “relaxed” and the rates of hospitalization, ICU admission and death among unvaccinated Albertans are between 8 to 60 times higher than in the fully vaccinated population.

Jason Copping and Jason Kenney

The only reason AHS hasn’t triggered the triage protocol is the number of ICU deaths is keeping pace with the number of ICU admissions.

The Kenney government put us in this position ostensibly to protect the Antis who believe their right to exercise their freedoms trumps our right to avoid illness and death.  

There is no philosophical basis for this position (more on that below) so one can’t help but think this is Kenney’s heartless way to keep the libertarians and misinformed onboard.   

On Liberty  

This feels unfair and it is.

A quick read of John Stuart Mill’s treatise On Liberty illustrates why.

Mill set out two maxims to address the exercise of individual freedoms within society. The first states the individual is not accountable to society for his actions if his actions concern no one but himself. The second states that individual actions that are “prejudicial to the interests of others” may be subject to social or legal punishment.  

As the political theorist Theresa Man Ling Lee put it: individuals are free to do whatever they want unless and until their actions pose a threat to others. At that point the state can intervene to stop them.  

How does Mill’s treatise play out here?

Maxim #1: The Antis refuse to get vaccinated (okay), but it is unacceptable for them to refuse to comply with public health restrictions and threaten, deride, and assault others who do.    

Maxim #2: The Kenney government failed to intervene to protect Albertans against the Antis who endangered their health by violating Maxim #1. Kenney’s restrictions were too little, too late. Cases spiked. When he finally reintroduced public health restrictions, they were confusing, and included an easy-to-forge vaccine passport that shifted the burden of enforcement from the province to municipalities and business owners.  

Finally he fiddled with the health ministry, swapping Jason Copping for Tyler Shandro. Nothing new came of this.

Copping announced three priorities. Two (increasing baseline hospital capacity permanently and preparing the healthcare system to “more adequately respond to potential future waves of covid”) do nothing to address the immediate problem. The third (educating vaccine hesitant Albertans to get immunized by speaking with experts) is ineffective at boosting vaccine rates when compared to mandatory vaccine passports.

The only effective government intervention—imposing additional firebreak restrictions—isn’t in the cards.  

So we’re back where we started.

Most Albertans are doing the right thing, but a minority are exercising their individual freedoms without taking responsibility for their actions and the Kenney government refuses to intervene.

Some questions  

Given that we’re heading full steam ahead into the crisis, it’s appropriate to ask Kenney and the Antis to defend their positions. John Stuart Mill’s two maxims are helpful here.

First, to the Antis who preach the sanctity of individual choice, will you accept responsibility for your decision, stay home and observe public health restrictions when you go out? No? Then how about this, if you become ill with covid or a loony internet remedy, will you stay away from the hospital—you chose to run the risk of getting covid, you’ll have to tough it out—so the rest of us can access the medical care we need.  

Second, to Health Minister Jason Copping. Surgeries were cancelled across the board to make room in ICU for covid patients, the majority of whom are unvaccinated, will you work with AHS to convert 173 ICU beds back to non-covid ICU beds and start scheduling the surgeries that have been cancelled. That will return AHS to its pre-covid position and still leave 177 surge beds for covid ICU patients who you can triage to your hearts content. While you’re at it, could you pay all nurses a covid bonus, say $15,000, to ensure we’ll have some nurses left to deal with this crisis and its aftermath.

And lastly, to Jason Kenney, will you please for the love of God, focus on the covid crisis and forget, for just one moment, the internecine battles threatening your leadership.

Really, is that too much to ask?

*NOTE: these comments relate only to those who could get vaccinated and comply with restrictions but choose not to do so.

This entry was posted in Alberta Health Care, Crime and Justice, General Health Care, Politics and Government and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

85 Responses to On Liberty and Alberta’s Covid Crisis

  1. Michael Klein says:

    In an earlier discussion, the notion of class action taken against the government came up. Maybe the class action should be taken against all people not following health guidelines, thereby causing harm to others. Then let the unmasked initiate their own class action against the government for dereliction of duty and condoning the unmaskeds’ actions and inactions.

    What a situation.

  2. Dwayne says:

    Susan: Thanks for another great blog. The UCP clearly proves that it doesn’t know what it is doing and lives are being put at risk in the process. It’s really sad to see what’s happening. I’ll share a couple of songs that fit the UCP’s way of thinking. They are from 1969. This is a Matthew Fisher and Keith Reid composition. The Wreck Of The Hesperus. It features Matthew Fisher on piano and vocals. It is the British rock group Procol Harum.

    • You know Dwayne, I was talking to some friends today who said it’s important for us to take a few minutes to enjoy the little things in life. None of us are going anywhere or doing much of anything. And luckily none of us have loved ones in hospital or languishing on a surgical wait list that at this rate will take years to clear. So thank you for sending this songs our way. Without them our blood pressure would be through the roof!

      • Dwayne says:

        Susan: I remember getting this from a record store, decades ago. One of my older brothers was with me, and he looked at the song titles, and he asked. What is this? What are you listening to? He didn’t understand Procol Harum, until several years later, when I showed him a film of a live concert I was at, which featured Procol Harum live with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. Procol Harum’s music has been covered by many artists, over the years. They do different styles of music, from blues based rock, classical based music, Caribbean influenced music, pop, to progressive rock. I’m glad I could share some music here. Hopefully, we will get to see some live music again.

  3. Dwayne says:

    Susan: This next song from Procol Harum, is a Matthew Fisher, Gary Brooker and Keith Reid composition. Matthew Fisher is on lead vocals, while Gary Brooker does some backing vocals. Matthew Fisher is also playing marimba, and also likely plays acoustic guitar and recorder on this track. It doesn’t feature Robin Trower’s electric guitar work, like on the other track. It also describes what is going on in Alberta so well, at the moment. The song is called Boredom. Procol Harum were good at doing different styles of music.

  4. drbobdickson says:

    Hi, Susan. Interested in your comments on this letter to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta from a pediatric neurologist and researcher at the Alberta Children’s Hospital.
    The letter by Dr. Eric Payne is at these two websites. See https://angrynetizen.com/covid19/letter-to-college-of-physicians/ and https://www.eastonspectator.com/2021/09/18/mandatory-mrna-vaccine-mandate-for-alberta-physicians-by-eric-t-payne-md-mph-frcpc/ by Eric T. Payne, MD, MPH, FRCP(C) – Easton Spectator. I’m not aware of any comments on it in mainstream media.

    • Erin says:

      I have also seen this article, pushed by a FB group called Holding Alberta MP’s Accountable. These people are anti-mandate, anti-vax & are mad that the government is doing the little that they have done. The moderator of the Drayton Valley-Devon group has been asked to step down from the local UCP board. She is looking to Jordan Peterson for wisdom.

    • Drbobdickson and Erin. I parted company with Dr Payne very early in his letter. His issue is with the AHS policy that requires all AHS workers to be fully vaccinated by Oct 31, failing which they will be put on unpaid leave of absence. He does not want to be vaccinated. He doesn’t want to be put on unpaid leave of absence. Well, there’s a third alternative. He can work as a physician somewhere else.
      I’m not persuaded by the non-medical arguments he raises at the beginning of his letter. He says the vaccine mandate appears to violate the Charter and directly violates the the Nuremberg Code. Any lawyer will tell you the Charter does not make any of our rights absolute. Section 1 of the Charter specifically says our rights and freedoms are subject to “reasonable limits” that are justifiable in a free and democratic society. Many provinces have passed such laws which have been upheld by the courts. And while the Nuremberg Code requires the “voluntary consent” of patients enrolled in medical experimentation no one is conducting medical experimentation on Dr Payne and no one is forcing him to take the shot against his will.
      I’m not qualified to comment on his epidemiological/public health comments but I note he says only 3.6% of Alberta physicians continue to avoid these shots, so that leads me to believe that 96.4% of Alberta physicians are fine with it.
      I really can’t comment on Erin’s additional points because I haven’t seen the FB group and have no knowledge of who they are.
      Bottom line: I support the AHS policy requiring all AHS workers to be fully vaccinated by the end of October. I only wish more employers would do the same.

    • carlos says:

      Just because Eric Payne is a doctor does not mean he knows what he is talking about.
      I have seen a you tube video of a doctor talking to a crowd of conspiracy theorists and saying that the vaccine caused magnetic fields grow on the body as well as hair.
      Like Susan I detect this is a letter written by someone that does not want to get vaccinated but wants to sound like a doctor that really can discuss the matter. Does this fellow even exist?
      This is my modest opinion.

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      I wonder if Dr. Payne is one of the guys who irritated the Alberta College of Physicians & Surgeons?


  5. Gerald Pilger says:

    Susan, I disagree with calling these people Antis. Call them what they really are: Pro-pandemics. I honestly believe the pro-pandemics want Covid to disrupt our society, defeat our health system, and kill people. This cult of individuals are driven by misguided political, religious, anti-society, and/or libertarian ideals. They have already drunk the Kool-Aid offered by societal disrupters and have no choice left but to be cheerleaders of the pandemic in order to justify their beliefs.

    • Gerald your description certainly fits some of the people I’ve seen espousing this “you can’t make me!”attitude. I used to wonder what drives these people? Why are they so wedded to their beliefs that they accost perfect strangers like my daughter on the street? What is wrong with them? I certainly don’t know the answer but I 100% agree with you that politicians like Jason Kenney are taking advantage of this crisis to push their privatization agenda. It will take Alberta years to recover from the damage Kenney and the UCP have wrought.

    • Mike J Danysh says:

      Actually, I tend to call them overgrown children who refuse to eat their vegetables. That kind of immature “No! No! Don’t want to!” is all the justification they need.

  6. Reynold Reimer says:

    I fear we’re going to have to live with wave after wave of covid until such time as we can vote the scoundrels out of office and elect a government that understands the issues.

  7. Neil Fleming says:

    Great post Susan, thank you!
    My brother who lives in the Kootenays and tiring of the anti-vaxers there, says he is at the point where he thinks the unvaccinated reporting to hospital should be given an organic gummy bear, a clove of garlic and be sent home to do their own research and treatment. In Alberta, I guess they could be prescribed ivermectin!
    Sadly, the doctors comments I am seeing, is that it is not the hard core anti-vaxers getting sick it is the ones who are hesitant or those not taking it seriously enough who might be motivated by some real government action.

    • Neil, apparently they’re also reaching for nebulized iodine and hydrogen peroxide. Can you imagine what that will do to their lungs. You make a good point about the vaccine hesitant and those who don’t take Covid seriously, the answer there would be to require mandatory vaccine passports for all discretionary activities.
      But Kenney won’t have it.
      So no mandatory vaccine passport and no firebreak. Today he said a hard lockdown would be unfair to the 80% who are vaccinated and the 20% unvaccinated wouldn’t obey the restrictions anyway.
      If we’re going to talk about unfair, let’s discuss the thousands of men, women and children who’ve had their life-saving surgeries cancelled so the ICUs can accommodate the 20% who refuse to get vaccinated.
      This is such a mess.

      • Tami says:

        Neil and Susan: Kenny has been in the habit of putting restrictions in place WITHOUT exceptions that make no sense (rodeos come to mind) and without adequate measures of enforcement – punctual response from police/AHS with substantial and immediate consequences, as well as without adequate support to businesses to enable them to effectively participate in the passport program. This tactic feeds the anti-vaxxers/maskers idea that this situation is not serious enough to warrant infringing on their so-called rights and freedoms and furthermore does not hold people accountable for the choices they make. My sons both work in liquor stores which are regulated by ALCANA (the province). They report having increasing patronage by anti-maskers and have been directed via policy that they MUST serve these people and are not allowed to ask them to either put on a mask or to vacate the premises. This is absolute negligence on the part of the province because it not only puts other patrons at risk – it also puts their own employees at risk. Whatever the reason for this policy, the gov’t has a responsibility to protect their employees both from covid as well as from violence in the workplace – linking access to the premises to the scanning of a QR code would be a simple solution. Just one example of enforcement the gov’t should be making available.

      • mikegklein says:

        That is disgusting Tami. I thought I was sort of kidding with a BC friend today when I said we are trying to live with this Alberta Government’s own version of the reality game “Survivor”. Turns out it is indeed a real struggle for survival, your sons and the rest of us deserve leadership of principles, the first of which being to protect the person of each and every person who is in Alberta for whatever reason, for whatever period of time.

      • Tami, I’m saddened to hear about your sons’ situation. I was listening to a webinar yesterday put on the the UofC school of public policy. One of the panelists was the head of the Calgary Hospitality Association. He said the province’s passport policy was a disaster and was particularly upset that it put the onus of enforcing on business owners who would be subject to random audits to make sure they were complying with the policy. He said this is a joke because business owners aren’t policeman. He also said that travelers and conventions are avoiding Alberta because of word has gotten out on how poorly we’re addressing covid. The reputational damage will take years to overcome. Isn’t it ironic that Jason Kenney, the politician whose top priority is the economy, is tanking our economy because he’s afraid to implement a mandatory vaccine passport system like the other provinces.

  8. Amy says:

    I wish there was some way to clearly see who was vaccinated and who was unvaccinated so I could keep my distance from the unvaccinated. Frankly, I do not want to associate with the unvaccinated and I am not alone. I do know there are a tiny number of people who can’t be vaccinated and I am sorry about that.

    • Amy I know how you feel. All our friends are double vaxxed but when I find myself outdoors and run into people I haven’t seen for a while, the first thing out of my mouth is: “I’m double vaxxed, are you?” So far everyone I talked to was double vaxxed. If they’d hadn’t been I would have had to walk away. I have people with health issues in my household so I won’t hang around with unvaccinated people to be polite.

  9. Renée says:

    I was at the Edmonton airport Thursday checking in with Westjet.The person at the desk and I were talking and I asked her when she thought passengers would be required to be vaccinated.This is a concern of mine as I fly a lot and most times it’s on small bombardier planes where we are very close.She said something about end of October and then proceeded to tell me that she was unvaccinated.When I called her on that she said my choice.I said no not when she puts others at risk.In any event I have now written the CEO of westjet who is looking into this.It is hard to believe that Westjet is allowing unvaccinated to be working directly with public.I understand this may be changing at end of October but in meantime,one would think that unvaccinated people would be placed on jobs not requiring public interaction.That of course,does not help her fellow workers.That is worrld we live in.

    • Renee, good for you for calling out the WestJet employee on being unvaccinated and better yet letting the CEO know this isn’t good enough. As of today 73.8% of Albertans 12 and up are fully vaccinated, we have such a long way to go before we’re out of the woods. So all we can do is pressure the employers to do the work the government refuses to do. Shameful really.

  10. Gail Foreman says:

    Nailed it as usual

  11. Carlos says:

    What is so frustrating about all of this is that despite an average of 15 people dying everyday the unvaccinated continue to run this province with their leader Jason Kenney. This is what is happening in reality. The 30% running the 70% who are following the rules. The only reason being because Jason Kenney and his government are a bunch of idiots who are with the 30%.
    Furthermore in their last meeting no one in the caucus had the balls to stop this madness because in the end they are all the same or worse. Now there is no other system to shut down the government and so the only way available to us is to witness this garbage.
    I am surprised the Union does not more forcefully organize a major protest in the Legislature because I think many Albertans are ready for it

    • Carlos, according to Kenney it’s more like the 20% running the 80%. Truly unbelievable.
      Apparently the 20 or so UCP MLAs who were going to bring the non-binding non-confidence vote against Kenney wimped out when they were told they couldn’t vote by secret ballot. In other words, they were only prepared to act on the strength of their convictions if they could do so anonymously. And these guys call themselves “leaders”. Hah!
      I heard Steven Carter, Alison Redford’s former chief of staff on CBC the other day. He said three groups bring pressure to bear on the Premier: the executive (cabinet), the caucus, and the party. It looks like the first two groups (cabinet and caucus) are cowards, so it’s up to the UCP party now. We’ll see whether they are successful in bringing a motion to review the Kenney’s leadership at their AGM in November.

  12. lungta mtn says:

    it may seem to you
    that they are getting everything wrong
    but it is just that they have a totally different result in mind

    the backroom UPC conservative agenda
    has very little to do with general wellbeing of the Alberta population

    what you have to do
    is wonder what they are constructing
    if this is going more or less exactly to plan

    • Carlos says:

      Yes I agree they are already blaming Verna Yiu and next is the AHS being public and we have to privatize it because they cannot run with the money we giving them, blah, blah
      This could be the wanted outcome and I would not be surprised at all. Let them collapse and then blame them and use it as the reason we should be private.
      Shock doctrine

      • JCurrie says:

        I agree that this is all shock doctrine and what a gift to the UCP. Kenney doesn’t care about people getting sick and dying, he has hcws who will continue to work because they need their jobs or know their services are essential, he can be true to the calls of freedumb among his followers, many from rural Alberta, and he can then “save us” with private health care. Unfortunately for them, most rural voters won’t be able to afford private health care in their non-existent hospitals but who cares? When the dust settles, Alberta will have lost a huge number of its nurses, doctors and specialists so the salaries are going to have to be huge. It is a tragedy in all respects. So interesting that the province with the greatest wealth in Canada is in the worst shape and has been the most mismanaged….wish we could take a lesson from that.

      • JCurrie. I think the rest of Canada is watching this disaster unfold and is crystal clear that they must never ever let Kenney back on to the federal political stage. Alberta took a bullet for the rest of Canada, it came at much too high a cost. As you point out our healthcare system is decimated. It will take decades to recover.

      • I agree Carlos. Kenney will blame AHS for failing to surge fast enough to deal with his incompetence. This is after he spent the last 2 years attacking doctors and nurses and cutting the healthcare budget.
        I wonder if the bright lights who thought he was the man for the job back in 2019 still believe that. Newspapers from the New York Times to the Wall Street Journal are reporting on his incompetence.

      • ingamarie says:

        Yes……….it’s beginning to look like some of them have read Naomi Klein’s indictment of the neoliberal right, and found some good ideas for collapsing public services.

      • GoinFawr says:

        Naomi Klein, who literally wrote the book on the Shock Doctrine, specifically mentions Jason Kenny’s malfeasance in the following published in December of last year:

        “For a glimpse of how all of this fits together, take a look at what is going on in Alberta, Canada, under its truly reprehensible premier, one Jason Kenney. Kenney came to power pledging to serve as a shameless valet for the Alberta oil patch, specifically its extra-fast-planet-cooking tar sands. He promised to ram through all pipelines, no matter the opposition, and create a “war room” to surveil all opponents….
        Back in March, in the early days of the pandemic, I observed that Kenney deserved the award for the most craven Covid-19 disaster capitalist because he had just laid off 20,000 education workers, supposedly to cover pandemic costs, even as he lavished $7 billion in public subsidies on the Keystone XL pipeline, despite the lockdowns having created a massive glut in crude oil. He followed up in the fall by laying off 11,000 health care workers, a clear effort to use the Covid-19 crisis to open the door to partial U.S.-style health care privatization.

        It has surprised no one that Kenney has also presided over a U.S.-style coronavirus explosion, with the province’s positivity rate recently topping 10 percent (higher than the average south of the border). Now Kenney, a self-proclaimed big-government-bashing libertarian, has been reduced to begging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for funds to build field hospitals.”
        -Naomi Klein

    • Lunges mtn: yes, you’re probably right. A small subset of Albertans must be happy with what Kenney is bringing to pass (I’m thinking of those who benefit from privatization and unrestricted exploitation of the environment and its people), but surely the rest of Kenney’s supporters will wake up to the reality that Kenney is hurting them more than he’s helping them.

  13. Barry Jewell says:

    “one can’t help but think this is Kenney’s heartless way to keep the libertarians and misinformed onboard”.
    This may be counter-productive for the UCP. As noted earlier: the ICUs are still operational due to the mortality rate allowing new patients; a large percentage of patients in the ICU are unvaccinated. If these unvaccinated are UCP supporters then the cull rate should help remove the UCP after the next election.
    If we can survive long enough then the UCP handling will be solved.
    Unfortunately we will lose too many who are simply hesitant as opposed to anti.

    • Barry, this is a bizarre situation, isn’t it. Instead of implementing policy to stem the flow of patients into ICU, he’s blaming AHS for not having enough ICU beds on hand. Next he’s going to blame the funeral homes for not supplying enough coffins and the graveyards for not having enough space to bury them.

  14. lungta mtn says:

    Think about hospital and school anti mask/vax protests
    and then think about albertas new law , Bill 1, the Critical Infrastructure Defence Act that got kenney to say this

    “The right to protest does not include being able to prevent your neighbours from getting to work and putting food on the table, or threatening their security. Albertans expect their government to deal with lawlessness and stand up for the values that all law-abiding citizens share. This government is doing just that.”

    Jason Kenney, Premier

    then wonder why hospitals are not included as critical infrastructure
    pipelines and related infrastructure , oil and gas production and refinery sites
    utilities (electric, gas, and water)
    telecommunication lines, towers, and equipment
    mines are

    this is kenney at his core, pro money and anti people (select few excepted, see UPC donation site for details)

    • Lungta mtn: when Kenney was asked about Bill 1 in connection with the hospital and school anti mask/vax protests he said the police have all the power they need right now to break up the protests and he didn’t need to do anything. Be that as it may, the debate in the Legislature around Bill 1 was focussed solely on pipeline blockades, protecting Alberta’s energy industry, blah, blah, blah. And I suspect that was the only reason he passed Bill 1 in the first place. The last thing he’d be comfortable with would be to be seen to be interfering with the “right” of these lunatics to harass and intimidate the healthcare workers trying to keep them alive. God, what a province!

      • lungta mtn says:

        he said “the police have all the power they need right now to break up the protests and he didn’t need to do anything”.
        It’s the Weasle UPC tapdance
        the law enforcement officers have consistently said they will not enforce any law without political backing,
        klown kar kenney would have to ask
        so it is power with out permission AND neglecting to give permission

        a quick lawsuit to declare hospitals Critical Infrastructure might hang him on his own nail
        (don’t judge me harshly … i do tend to dream)

    • Ingamarie. says:

      And it may get worse, since I detect a large overlap between anti vaccers and climate change deniers. Both have a simple modes operandi….if you don’t like some piece of information or real life situation, deny it. There’s something closed and fearful in the right wing mind………..and it doesn’t deal with novel events or unconventional threats well.
      It it’s native or environmental activists protesting the rape of their homelands, the RCMP can shut them down…….

      But if its a blasted virus threatening right wing lifestyles and entitlements……..just refuse to acknowledge the little upstart!!!!
      It’s not really very funny, but as a way of dealing with life….it does have its cartoonish qualities.

      • Ingamarie, you make an interesting point when you talk about the overlap between anti-vaxxers and climate change deniers. There must be some switch that clicks off when a new piece of information or a new fact lands in their lap. What bothers me the most is that while these people may not have the smarts to figure out complex issues, Kenney does. The man has a $50 plus billion budget, we’re in the middle of a global pandemic, there are countless examples of how to do it right and how to do it wrong and he continues to get it wrong over and over again. Which leads me to believe he WANTS to get it wrong because he’s working to a different agenda. A point that is being thoroughly canvassed by all the comments on disaster capitalism.

  15. mikegklein says:

    Problem is logical arguments in favour of life of each and every individual, in favour of prevention of mental and physical anguish, are not effective at all, no evidence these are being heard at all, much less heeded. This is the worst of “mob rule” at work. I think that is one of the main points in Anne Applebaum’s essay, angry mobs do not operate by any rules of logic, critical thinking, empathy. It is simply raging for the sake of raging, sort of rage as drug. It seems forthright rational argument and discussion cannot change minds precisely because it is forthright and rational.

    Ms. Applebaum’s oblique approach might work to re-educate, certainly has a better chance of success than honesty and frankness. In the meantime, the ill educated are running around throwing Molotov cocktails and must be stopped now to save even themselves. Hard sanctions with severe penalties might be the only effective means to get control of this in the short and medium term.


    • Mikegklein: well said. The difficulty for me when I think about the angry mob in the covid scenario is they are ignorant or uncaring when it comes to the harm they cause others. We have twice as many ICU beds now than we did pre-covid and yet we’re still condemning adults and children to suffering and death as we cancel their surgeries because there’s no room for them in these ICU beds, they’re presently occupied by the thick-headed antis.
      This is monumentally unfair.

  16. Mike J Danysh says:

    The pushback continues. Following Shane Getson’s asinine attack on Dr. Verna Yiu and AHS, this Twitter reply from Dr. Ilan Schwartz. The letter she attached is damning.

  17. Michael Klein says:

    The Ontario Human Rights Commission has voiced its opinion about the right to bare faces etc.

    Here it is:


    • Mike J Danysh says:

      Thanks for this, Michael. Fascinating reading–especially the final section. Of course, this is Oilberduh, so we can expect the Alberta Human Rights Commission to err on the side of Libertarianism.

    • Michael K: thanks for sharing the OHRC report which clearly states at the end that “the Code prohibits discrimination based on creed, [however] personal preferences or singular beliefs do not amount to a creed for the purposes of the Code.”
      Mike Danysh: as you point out, it would be interesting to see whether Alberta’s Human Rights Commission would make the same ruling.
      Perhaps Dr Payne could test the strength of his rights and freedoms argument at the AHRC and we’ll find out.

  18. Mary Axworthy says:

    Great post Susan! Mary and Trevor

    On Sun., Sep. 26, 2021, 8:31 p.m. Susan on the Soapbox, wrote:

    > susanonthesoapbox posted: ” This is for the woman who yelled “Do you feel > safer now?” when my daughter stepped off the sidewalk to give the woman and > her rambunctious dog room to pass. Do you feel safer now? My daughter > stepped off the curb to give the woman and her dog some space.” >

  19. Sharon Hundert says:

    The united clown party has taken a public health crisis and turned it into a healthcare system crisis. If they believe that a private system would have been better, they are wrong. For starters a private system is not beholden to the government or the people. They are a business. Healthcare should never be a business – it is a disgrace to make money off of people who are in a vulnerable weakened state.m

    • mikegklein says:

      Not to mention their proprietary nature creates information and service silos inhibiting population-wide coordination required in a pandemic.

    • Sharon and Mike: agreed. Although I’d extend Sharon’s comment even further. The UCP’s mismanagement of the public health crisis has upended our education system as well as our healthcare system. The education minister, Adriana Lagrange, has been MIA throughout the 4th wave and the fact parents are in the dark as to the presence of covid in their schools is shameful. If the government wants the public to trust it, it must be transparent and open in everything it does. That hasn’t been the case here.

  20. Carlos says:

    We are not the only ones who believe this is a shock doctrine strategy
    If this is true one can easily see the level of cult ideology this man is capable of.


    • Dwayne says:

      Carlos: There is a downside to proportional representation, and I’ll explain why. Maxime Bernier, leader of the PPC, said the PPC would have had 20 seats if electoral reform was present. Maxime Bernier supports lifting covid restrictions, and also supports a mix of public and private healthcare in Canada. That’s not a type of leader we want to have.

      • Carlos says:

        With all due respect Dwayne we cannot choose the democracy that is convenient to our personal ideologies. Proportional Representation is fair and equitable to the percent of votes you get in the election. The PPM had 7% and should have 7% of the seats. That does not make Bernier part of the government but they have the voice in parliament they deserve. With Proportional Representation people no longer vote strategically and so when you vote you better make sure you know what you are doing. That is the essence of democratic vote. You vote on you believe can represent you well.
        If Canadians think that the PPM should be in Parliament, who are we to not allow them there. In many countries in Europe the extreme right or the extreme left are in parliament and sometimes in government because some countries like Denmark for example they have to also be proportionally represented in government which is not easy but causes them to try to work together and even there that is not an easy process although they are more used to coalitions than us.
        By the way in most European countries they have to have a minimum of 5% to be represented in parliament.

      • Carlos says:

        If you have never seen ‘Borden’ a series on Netflix, it is worth a try. It shows how they struggle like us but with a different system that to me is way more democratically representative and fair. It is also a nice story.

      • mikegklein says:

        Carlos, Dwayne et al, I believe Borgen displays preferential ballot, but perhaps not. Superb series, by the way. And yes, even in that example coalitions or partnerships among parties and MP’s does not happen until post election, after the people have spoken. I prefer preferential ballot because you then don’t have to deal with the nightmares of dropping “elected” candidates in an area they did not come from and have not traditionally been a part of and you will probably avoid the other nightmare of having Bernier et al have a form of bully pulpit. For instance, Bernier’s PPC did not earn support in any riding but could be “elected” to represent some riding, region or whatever. That’s at least messy, but maybe a nightmare.

  21. Carlos says:

    I am sorry I had the wrong name – it is Borgen – I thought Denmark is Proportional Representation and I might be wrong again. I apologize if that is the case, it was not intentional.
    I agree it is a very good series and it gives an idea of how different two democratic systems can be. I personally prefer the system in New Zealand and I believe Germany where they have a mixture of Proportional Representation and constituencies. In other words they accept those that have the more votes at constituency level but then adjust the number of seats depending on vote percentage which I think it is a fair system.

  22. jerrymacgp says:

    Mill’s position has been famously summarized as, “your right to wave your fist around ends where the other fellow’s. Ose begins”, or something like that. We can update it to, “your right to spew pestilence into the air around you, ends where the other person’s breathing begins”. We need to crack down on masking, by arresting unmasked individuals on sight, and on the unvaccinated where they’re anywhere they’re not supposed to be, which is anywhere indoors. Such enforcement action must be taken proactively & by professional law enforcement personnel — police, special constables, municipal peace officers, or whatever — not by minimum wage retail clerks or elderly greeters at Wally’s World.

    I’d also be comfortable with temporarily giving AHS Public Health Inspectors the power to ticket & even arrest, with police backup if necessary. This pandemic is killing people left, right & centre, and we need to put an end to it ASAP. Your “freehdumbs” don’t trump my & everyone else’s right to live & breathe. Or, put another way, “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few” ;-).

    • Jerrymacgp: did you catch Kenney’s last press conference where he said he wouldn’t implement any more restrictions because the 20% of Albertans who refuse to get vaccinated won’t follow them anyway. In other words, we’re now at the point where Kenney had admitted he’s lost control of the situation and if the 20% want to violate the health and safety of the 80%, they’re free to do so with impunity.
      This is an abdication of leadership.
      He is utterly unworthy of the office of premier.

  23. Carlos says:

    Just for clarification – Denmark is indeed Proportional Representation by Lists meaning the parties decide who is on the list to occupy the seats won and within those lists there are a certain amount of preferential voting.

    The Danish system of proportional representation
    is basically a list system (with provisions for
    effective preferential – that is, personal – voting
    within the parties´ lists). Seat allocation takes
    place at two levels, a multi-member constituency
    (lower) level and a national (higher) level. For this
    reason, it is often described as a two-tier allocation
    system and classified with other electoral systems
    with the same basic properties – such as Sweden,

  24. mikegklein says:

    Are there any criminal defence lawyers, crown prosecutors, retired justices in the audience?
    At what point, if any, can government action or inaction seen to be cause of deaths be considered criminal? Thank you.

  25. Valerie Anne Kunn says:

    As usual Susan you are right on point – one voice of reason in all this madness that Jason Kenney has created! The man literally only cares about his political future. He is a selfish, egotistical megalomaniac!

    • Valerie: I agree with your that the only thing Kenney cares about is his political future. One can only hope that he’s blotted his copybook so badly here in Alberta that his future will be short and sad.

  26. Brenda Hogg says:

    Thank you Susan for your well-informed whistle blowing.

    Does everyone realize the damage that is being done to our Public Healthcare System?

    When hospitals cannot accommodate necessary surgeries, more patients will seek Private healthcare services. The rising demand for Private Healthcare will break the back of Public Healthcare. Fine for those who can afford it.

    This is a crisis created by politicians who refuse to act, refuse to accept the warnings of the medical community and who ultimately will take no responsibility for their failure to lead to safety. The greatest loss will be to Canadian social policy and our collective identity.

    • Brenda, I was talking to someone earlier today about Kenney using the covid disaster to further his privatization agenda. My friend pointed out that Kenney is likely being advised by a number of American experts on the topic, but that they don’t fully realize that Canadians consider publicly funded and delivered healthcare to be a fundamental right, not a commodity you buy like car insurance. As such Kenney will have a much harder time implementing his privatization agenda. I hope my friend is right.

      • GoinFawr says:

        Your friend is correct that Canadians cherish their public healthcare, but since Kenney and Shandro’s (naturally determined wholly ethical and above board by the UCP appointed ethics commissioner) life-partner’s post political livelihood depend on that privatization, I would tell your friend not to hold their breath.

        The UCP M.O. is to enter Albertans into contracts with the private health sector that will be so odiously expensive to nullify that the population will simply be FORCED to accept the wholesale destruction of decades of public works as ‘inevitable’.
        When it comes to ‘reprehensible’, the UCP wrote the book

  27. Carlos says:

    Gosh if we do not change the water in Edmonton who knows what is going to happen to all these UCP MLAs – now they want independence!
    Imagine Alberta as a country run by the UCP – WOW it would be just the place to be
    Jason Kenney is paying back what he did to many people when he cheated and bullied people around to become premier. Now we have an implosion of incompetence and he is still showing up on TV as if nothing has happened.

  28. mikegklein says:

    “No shirt, no shoes, no service”.
    Yeah, so?
    “Must mask and distance.”
    You’re denying my rights!!!

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