Narratives and Truth
Covid-19 has been studied exhaustively – or so we all assume – and the scientific verdicts on the key aspects are in and unequivocal – or so we are told. In fact, there are glaring scientific gaps concerning some of the basic questions about Covid-19, and shocking failures to order the highest-quality research into answering them. Instead, the “narrative” dominates: wear your mask! In Part II of this special two-part report, Masha V. Krylova follows the science, exploring more of the research surrounding this key issue and discussing the most recent exhaustive scientific evidence of the transpiring health risks of prolonged mask-wearing.
There are those who still love the Canada that is and was. Some are immigrants, and some don’t even live in Canada at all. Like Gourav Jaswal. The Goa, India-based entrepreneur is appalled at our country’s seeming descent into self-loathing. Last month, Jaswal made his case in a major national newspaper. In this follow-up piece he talks about the affecting experience of receiving a torrent of e-mails from patriotic Canadians, and the disturbing fact that virtually all who wrote him feel they are no longer allowed to speak freely in their own country.
Social Media Freedom
Criticism of Bill C-10, the Liberals’ controversial update of federal broadcasting legislation, has so far focused on the threat it may pose to your right to post cat videos on YouTube. As troubling as that may sound, the truth is much, much worse. Former CRTC vice-chair Peter Menzies looks back at the bill’s three-year long gestation and finds a government regulator with an antique worldview determined to enforce its will on a future of infinite possibilities. There’s far more at stake here than your adorable kitten’s latest pratfall.
Pandemic Science and Politics
Unceasingly masked up, we are now marching through the 16th month of the Covid-19 pandemic. With potential new health crises around the corner, it is time to ask whether the public mask mandate is justified. Although media “fact-checkers” would surely say otherwise, as would most political leaders and public health officials, the effectiveness of masking against Covid-19 is not scientifically proven. In Part I of a special two-part report on the science around population-wide mask use, Masha V. Krylova reminds us how it all began in March 2020 and explains that not all “emerging evidence” is of equal scientific quality – nor uniformly conclusive.
Health Care Politics
Health care waiting lists are growing, Canada’s population is gradually aging and the public health system routinely proclaims itself stretched beyond capacity and short of funds. Private health care has been declared legal by the nation’s highest court. So why are some provinces going out of their way to impair the few private-sector alternatives that are providing great care at a bearable price and, thereby, also easing pressure on the public system? Joanna Baron chronicles the B.C. NDP government’s strange legal crusade to crush the respected Cambie Surgery Centre – a case just days away from going before what could be its life-or-death appeal hearing.
Citizenship is a two-way street. Belonging to a nation-state entails certain rights and benefits as well as concomitant responsibilities, including an obligation of loyalty. It is not something to be handed out on a whim. Yet that’s precisely what Canada’s Supreme Court has done with its recent Desautel ruling – granting the advantages of Canadian citizenship to American Indigenous people with no connection or loyalty to this country. Lawyer Peter Best traces the origin of this bizarre judicial fabulation and its potentially disastrous consequences for all Canadians, including the Aboriginal community.
State of Family
It is almost inarguable that the once-rich and strong tapestry of family life has become seriously frayed, worn and patchy. Divorce is rampant – if marriage occurs at all – and dads have fallen into serious disrepute. Most would agree that it is children who suffer the most as a result. But why did all this happen, and where did it begin? Taking a wide view that ranges from Dostoevsky via Nietzsche to Kate Millett, David Solway traces the crisis centuries back to its spiritual roots as a rebellion against fatherhood – and lays the blame squarely at the feet of modern-day ideologues who seem intent on kicking fatherhood into oblivion.
Balancing Human Rights
Activists have persuaded much of B.C.’s court system to force everyone in court proceedings to declare their preferred pronouns and to use the preferred pronouns declared by others – even if this distorts their view of reality or undermines their case. To do otherwise, the woke advocates assert, is to deny transgendered people’s very existence. Applying the clear-eyed view of an escapee from a country whose regime actually does deny people’s right to exist, lawyer Shahdin Farsai warns that B.C.’s courts aren’t just upending pronouns – but may be undermining ancient rights and their own reputation for impartiality.
The Trudeau government’s $30 billion plan to transform childcare nationwide is focused on more than just families. It also wanders into an ideological battlefield by declaring the non-profit sector preferable to private operators. Ottawa is thus ignoring the vital role played by childcare owners in expanding supply and meeting the diverse needs of working parents. In a deep dive into Canada’s complex childcare system, Peter Shawn Taylor talks to several remarkable female entrepreneurs and other key figures to reveal the reality and necessity of for-profit childcare.
Going along to get along is an all-too-common human impulse. When the issue involves the world’s largest country wielding its standard foreign policy combination of limitless economic opportunity and menacing physical intimidation, that impulse can become irresistible. Some even attempt to elevate accommodation into a virtue. Not Michael Chong. His parents experienced the horrors of both fascism and communism first-hand. Today, Chong is not about to bow down to a new variant on an old tyranny: China’s Communist regime. Veteran journalist Doug Firby recently interviewed Chong, and below are the best portions of their conversation.
Conflicts on Campus
Students in the humanities and social sciences are frequently pressured to sign “anti-colonial” or “anti-racist” statements demanding measures like increasing “diversity” in campus hiring, intensifying the reporting of “racism” on campus, or “decolonizing” the curriculum. Based on his two decades of field research and teaching of university students, anthropologist Samuel Veissière urges students to resist the often-intense pressure to simply knuckle under, and instead to become independently informed and make up their own minds. While his beloved discipline harbours admitted failures, Veissière mounts a strong case that anthropology is fundamentally premised upon curiosity, respectful engagement and a healthy mix of allyship and non-intervention in the lives of people different from ourselves.
Free Speech Curtailed
Social activists and politicians love to create solutions to problems. And if there are no problems to solve? They can create those too. So it is with Canada’s hate crime and hate speech laws. Statistical evidence simply does not support claims that Canada is a seething cauldron of hate, that the problem is growing rapidly or that new technology is to blame. Nonetheless, as Bradford H.B. reports, the federal Liberals are about to burden the country with a new online hate speech law – something that could have grave consequences for what we can and cannot say.
Nearly all our food comes from privately-owned farms and businesses. The same goes for our clothes, homes and vehicles – all manufactured and sold with the expectation of a profit. So why the animosity shown entrepreneurs who choose to operate nursing homes and other care facilities? Peter Shawn Taylor reviews two recent Ontario government investigations into the performance of the province’s nursing home sector during Covid-19 and finds a surprising vote of confidence for the contribution made by the private sector in caring for the province’s seniors.
Centralism vs. Federalism
Canada’s constitutional deck – or at least the cards our Supreme Court justices keep drawing – seems increasingly loaded towards centralism, with established provincial jurisdiction and clear division of power becoming quaint habits of a bygone era. Last month’s carbon tax ruling threatens to supercharge that trend, cementing federal dominance and relegating provinces to the level of glorified municipalities carrying out Ottawa’s wishes. Constitutional scholar F.L. (Ted) Morton reminds us that previous provincial premiers overcame seemingly crushing legal defeats through imaginative policy ideas and determined inter-provincial cooperation.
Shocking events that plunge a country into chaos or destroy a beloved leader are hard for anyone to process. The evil done is so towering it bends the human psyche to accept that the evildoer is utterly banal, a loner walking in ordinary shoes. The cause simply must befit the outcome; thus can a conspiracy theory be hatched. At other times, the cold hope of political or financial gain or simple mischief might be the source. There certainly is no shortage of conspiracy theories. Mark Milke revisits one of history’s most famous political assassinations and the conspiracy theories it spawned to illuminate the ongoing danger this toxic tendency poses to us all.