Trudeau Holds On and Other Election Notes

Just an update on yesterday's election in Canada, where the vote count is still ongoing, but the result is more or less determined -- it looks like it will be a Liberal minority government... just like last time. It is, in fact, hard to overstate how like last time it is:

Two quick notes to follow-up on my election article this past weekend.

First, it's nice to see the enviro-activist Tory insiders I mentioned --  Ken Boessenkool, Mark Cameron, and Howard Anglin -- wind up with egg on their faces. Their solution to the outcome of the 2019 election, when the CPC picked up the vast majority of seats west of Ontario, winning the national popular vote but losing overall, was to encourage the party to "Go Green," with the intention of flipping seats in the Greater Toronto Area. Well, the Conservatives went all in on their advice, and even so it looks like the Liberals have once again swept the GTA. Nice work, fellas.

Second, as Holly Doan points out, current estimates peg turnout at less than 59 percent of eligible voters, lowest in Canadian history and about 8 percent lower than the 2019 election. Some of this is Covid anxiety of course, but even so, this suggests a dispirited electorate, unhappy with the options available to them. Not that we should be surprised by this -- The Toronto Star reported a few days ago that Conservative campaigns were seeing a notable lack of enthusiasm, especially in Ontario, where some ridings were unable to attract more than a handful of volunteers. For all of the belly-aching about the populist People's Party of Canada splitting the vote and tipping right-of-center seats to the Liberals, had the CPC given voters a reason to go to the polls for them, they could probably have sent Trudeau packing.

In my piece I suggested an approach or two that might have been successful -- namely really representing the views of their base rather than running from them and pushing back on the Liberals' environmental policies for the pain they cause the average Canadian. This approach might still work in the future, especially as Trudeau's policies continue to damage the economy and slow recovery, post-Covid. But I don't think Erin O'Toole is capable of making that case.

My advice to the Tories would be: give old Erin the boot, tear the party down to the studs (a different kind of Great Reset, if you will), and start over by playing to your strengths. It isn't like you've got much to lose.

The Coming Viral Dictatorship

A pivotal feature of dictatorial regimes is the institutional lie, expressed as an unfounded message of millennial hope, an ever-changing set of legislated policies, and the tendency of authoritarian leaders to violate their own axioms and edicts. We see this happening before our eyes as a Covid-19 tyranny takes root on our own soil.

The manifold inconsistencies and deceptions that circulate regarding the draconian mandates and coercive measures imposed by Big Government to combat the Covid pandemic should by now have alerted the public to their suspicious nature. We have observed the extent to which these ordinances are regularly flouted by the authorities, who have been seen without their masks, disregarding social distancing rules, and travelling during lockdowns. Such exemptions are obviously a privilege reserved only to the elites, who do not scruple to lecture us on the current proprieties.

One popular slogan that we meet everywhere, on radio and TV, on the Internet, and emblazoned on ubiquitous signage, is particularly irritating: “We’re All In This Together.” Clearly, we are not. While small business owners and entrepreneurs struggle with bankruptcy as their establishments are closed down, Big Box stores operate at full capacity, teachers retain handsome salaries while refusing to enter their classrooms, government personnel continue to be paid in absentia, and politicians suffer no loss of ample remuneration.

This means you.

Weddings, church services, funerals, social gatherings, holiday celebrations and anti-lockdown protests are either curtailed or banned to prevent proximity transmission of the virus; BLM demonstrations involving thousands of people cheek-by-jowl agitating for “social justice” are permitted and encouraged. Doctors are here to serve their patients; now many have embraced telemedicine, which does not impact their fees as it does their effectiveness. Diagnosis at a distance is not reliable medicine, though it is lucrative medicine. The overall hypocrisy that confronts us at every level of political, corporate and professional society is so blatant as to be unbelievable—except it is entirely believable. We are manifestly not in this all together, not by a long shot.

Another sedative to which we are constantly exposed is the official platitude that the mandates under which we malinger are intended “to protect public health and safety.” The collateral effects of this faux campaign have, in fact, endangered public health and safety. The category of “excess deaths” owing to delayed medical procedures for cancer, Alzheimer's, heart ailments and diabetes, among other conditions, including critical stress, depressive suicides, and adverse reactions and deaths linked to the Covid vaccines now arguably surpass Covid morbidity numbers—which themselves appear to have been grossly inflated. Indeed, in a crowning irony, the virus may itself be “boosted” by iatrogenic interventions. One need only consult virologist and immunologist Robert Malone, the actual inventor of the mRNA vaccines, who warns against them as Covid-19 suppressants. 

We were assured that vaccine passports were the route to “public health and safety” and that life would soon be back to normal. Now triple vaxxing, masks and renewed lockdowns have become mandatory in many jurisdictions and nations. The temptation to blame and penalize the unvaccinated for any upsurge of “cases” is spreading and may easily translate into second-class status for the unvaccinated and a policy of forced internment. 

But who are the “unvaccinated”?  Israel’s Director of the Ziv Medical Center Dr. Salman Zarka admits that the definition is changing: “We are updating what it means to be vaccinated.” In the absence of a third jab (and counting), even the double-vaxxed fall into the category of “unvaccinated.” As Kit Knightly writes in off-guardian, “Israel is the petri dish”; if it works there, the rest of the world will follow suit. Of course, in another sense of the phrase, it doesn’t really “work there.” A multi-sourced chart published in the Financial Times, comparing over-vaxxed Israel to under-vaxxed Egypt, provides a sobering metric. Egypt is doing at least an order of magnitude better than Israel. Equally distressing, on August 22 West Virginia governor Jim Justice reported a 26 percent surge among the fully vaccinated and a 25 percent increase in vaccinated deaths. This surely is not a one-off.

Where do you think you're going?

It should be obvious by this time that we are dealing with a vast shell game. In an open letter to the Canadian Minister of Health, McGill University theology professor Douglas Farrow argues, correctly, that vaccine mandates are incoherent. That is surely the right word. Masks were supposed to keep us safe. They didn’t do very well, so the first jab was introduced, which should have offered immunity. Then came a second jab, followed by a third and counting. Then came the vaccine passports. Meanwhile, as noted, double-and-triple-jabbed Israelis are still fighting infection and transmission and have now even been refused entry to Portugal and to open, prosperous Sweden.

It is no surprise, at least among the concerned, that distrust is growing of our health authorities, the political class and the collusive “misleadia,” assiduously promoting a medical dogma that is plainly muddled, deceptive and hypocritical. It is also, to put it bluntly, totalitarian.

The next step is the construction of quarantine or internment camps, as currently planned in Australia. Similarly, in the U.S. the CDC has proposed a “shielding approach” that would establish “a group of shelters such as schools, community buildings within a camp/sector…where high-risk individuals (the unvaccinated) are physically isolated together.” As if this weren’t plain enough, the proposal states that “High-risk individuals would be temporarily relocated to safe or ‘green zones’ established at the household, neighborhood, camp/sector or community level… They would have minimal contact with family members and other low-risk residents.” 

Meanwhile, the National Guard is in process of hiring “internment resettlement specialists” to supervise detention operations and “provide guidance to individual prisoners.” It is not clear from the explanatory description what this program precisely entails, but it doesn’t augur well. On August 6, 2021, governor Bill Lee of Tennessee signed an executive order authorizing involuntary internment of targeted citizens, under the convenient designation of “regulatory flexibilities.”

Not to be outdone, the Department of Homeland Security claims that those resisting the vaccines pose a “potential terror threat.” If you oppose the vaccines, you are an “extremist.” The document is very clear: “These extremists may seek to exploit the emergence of COVID-19 variants by viewing the potential re-establishment of public health restrictions across the United States as a rationale to conduct attacks.” Bill HR 4980 currently before Congress would place unvaccinated persons on a No-Fly list and lead inexorably to a No-Buy gun control law. A No-Buy gun list would prevent people from arming themselves. As they say, you have been warned.

Welcome to Australia.

My own country of Canada marches in lockstep with the heavily mandated nations of Israel, the U.K. and, of course, Australia and parts of the U.S. According to NaturalNews, the Canadian government has ordered enough vaccines to inoculate every man, woman and child many times over for the next three years, having stockpiled 293 million doses for a population of 38 million. The report continues: Just months ago, the Covid-19 vaccines were hailed as a ‘miracle of science’ that were putting an ‘end to the pandemic’… But now the narrative has changed” and we can expect more censorship, travel restriction, contact tracing, deprivation of human rights, dodgy testing, and mask and vaccine mandates. The fear is that even supermarkets may eventually be placed off limits for the unvaccinated, forcing one to rely on doorstep deliveries. 

As we’ve seen, this despotic program is being implemented in the name of “protecting public health and safety.” It appears, rather, as if it is being put in practice to create a system of “vaccine enslavement” and authoritarian control. Our Prime Minister, after all, is on record as admiring the “basic dictatorship” of Communist China.

What next? One shudders to think. Where next? Who's next?

But Is O'Toole Any Better?

The Canadian Federal election is taking place on September 20th, and it seems harder than usual to follow what is going on up there. Recent polling suggests that the Conservatives and Liberals are more or less neck-and-neck, with the NDP pulling in third as expected, but with a surprisingly strong 20 percent share of the projected vote. Why so close? Well, it's partly because of the nature of the contemporary Canadian electorate -- the 2019 election, at least by popular vote, was a nail-biter as well. But it is also likely because the basic positioning of the major parties are so similar that you'd need to be a scholastic philosopher to determine the difference between them.

This should come as no surprise as far as two of those parties are concerned. The brains behind current prime minister Justin Trudeau, knowing well that the resurgence of the NDP was key to Stephen Harper's electoral victories in the early aughts, have continued moving leftward to prevent Jagmeet Singh's iteration of the party from bringing about a similar result. And, anyway, two leftwing parties jockeying for position as the true party of the left is so commonplace as to be almost not worth commenting upon.

But a notionally right-of-center party doing so? That's the puzzler.

O'Toole: Maybe inject some principles while you're at it.

Erin O'Toole won last summer's race for Conservative leader running as "True Blue O'Toole," a patriotic military man who was going to take the fight to Justin Trudeau. But ever since, he's gone out of his way to remake the CPC in his own Red Tory image. According to Gary Mason, in a column entitled 'Erin O'Toole is changing Canadian conservatism as we know it,'

[B]ehind the scenes, there was always a plan to change the direction the party would head in during an election if [O'Toole] became leader – the direction many believed offered the only path to victory.

Mason continually praises O'Toole's sagacity in eschewing the positions of his base on issues like abortion, guns, conscience protections for healthcare workers, and environmentalism; and his overall willingness to adopt stances more acceptable in polite society. Says Mason, a "Conservative Party headed by Erin O’Toole would be in step with the times. Full stop." But it's striking that the supposedly up-to-date positions he describes, purportedly to appeal to the same type of alienated, working-class voters who made Brexit a reality, are in fact the characteristic views of the Laurentian Elite.

Peter MacKay famously blamed the party's loss in 2019 on the "stinking albatross" of social conservatism hanging about its neck, but for Erin O'Toole the albatross seems to be conservatism itself.

Environmentalism is our focus here at The Pipeline, and on that score O'Toole's drift has been particularly egregious. One of the Tory insiders that Mason quotes praising the party's lurch leftward is Ken Boessenkool, who has been arguing for years that the only way conservatives will ever again take power is if they sell out Canada's oil and gas producing provinces by embracing carbon taxation and other extreme (and pointless) regulations in order to win over voters in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). O'Toole has taken this advice, and the advice of other Tory insiders, like Mark Cameron, former head of the environmentalist pressure group Canadians for Clean Prosperity, now a deputy minister in the government of Alberta.

During his leadership campaign O'Toole signed a pledge saying,

I, Erin O’Toole, promise that, if elected Prime Minister of Canada, I will: Immediately repeal the Trudeau carbon tax; and, reject any future national carbon tax or cap-and-trade scheme.

But after he'd won, O'Toole released a document entitled 'Secure the Environment: The Conservative Plan to Combat Climate Change,' which begins "Canada must not ignore the reality of climate change. It is already affecting our ecosystems, hurting our communities, and damaging our infrastructure."

To combat climate change, O'Toole promised that, should he form a government, he would 1) implement his own Carbon Tax, one that's less onerous than the Liberal version, but which could be increased if market conditions make doing so feasible. 2) "Finalize and improve" the Trudeau government's Clean Fuel Standard (also known as the second carbon tax), 3) enact an electric vehicle mandate and invest billions of tax-payer dollars in EV manufacture and infrastructure, which includes, 4) update the national building code such that all buildings will have "mandatory charging stations or wiring required for chargers", 5) reduce emissions in line with the Paris Climate Accords by 2030 and achieving Net-Zero emissions by 2050. And on and on.

That's not just a flip-flop, that's an atomic belly flop.

Coming your way, Canada.

But are these moves necessary to win? Mason quotes Howard Anglin, former Chief of Staff to both Harper and Jason Kenney, as saying "[t]he first challenge that any Canadian conservative party must confront is that Canada is not a conservative country." Maybe. But I can't help hearing in that sentiment the predictions of impending "permanent Democratic majorities" we've been hearing about in the U.S. for the last 40 years. My own theory is that Canadians are rarely presented with a serious conservative alternative to the Trudeaupianism they've been force-fed since the '60s.

Here's just one example of how the Tories might have approached this election differently -- Dan McTeague of Canadians for Affordable Energy recently pointed out that the exploding price of housing has been a major issue in this election, but there has been little mention of the other factors making life in Canada increasingly expensive.

Once someone has a place to live, they are going to need to cool it in the summer and heat it in the winter. They will need electricity to cook and store their food... All of this, of course, takes energy... Every major Canadian political party is committed to at least Net Zero emissions by the year 2050. I have written extensively about how this leads to skyrocketing energy prices. Yet, amid all the talk about housing affordability no one in Canada seems to be saying much about energy affordability.

Policies like carbon taxation are always sold by the Liberals as affecting "Big Polluter" mega-corporations, but in fact they do real harm to ordinary people, both when they 're hit with the tax directly at the pump or paying their heating bill, or indirectly when the price for everything else goes up. Canadians are very sensitive to those pocketbook issues, probably even more so than Americans. Energy affordability could have been a winning issue for the CPC, with the winter months approaching and more than a year of accumulated pandemic-related economic anxiety weighing on people's minds. Instead they chose to go Liberal-lite, a move which rarely, if ever, works.

Still, I do appreciate arguments like those of former Conservative MP and minister Joe Oliver, whose recent endorsement of O'Toole for PM said:

[Trudeau] has exploited the pandemic to set the country on a path of unsustainable spending and intrusive government. Four more years galloping toward a dystopian Great Reset would make it exceptionally challenging for a new government to arrest, let alone reverse, that dire fate.

But I can't help but notice that Oliver's argument -- that Trudeau is awful and Canada just needs him gone -- is only for O'Toole by default.  Maybe that will be enough, and Trudeau fatigue will carry O'Toole over the finish line. But such a strategy just failed spectacularly in the California recall election, leaving Gov. Gavin Newsom in an even stronger position to torture the Golden State than he was before. Canada is likely to experience the same fate.

It Ain't Over 'til the Greens Win

Lawyers specializing in migration from both sides of the barricades have a wry capsule explanation of how the law works: It Ain’t Over 'til the Migrant wins. In this explanation “wins” means “stays.”

There are American laws galore that allow the government to deport people present in the United States illegally. Why don’t they work? Well, there are also laws that enable a competent lawyer to string out his client’s deportation indefinitely until he has a wife, children, a job, a home, and a lawyer here—which almost amounts to a squatter’s right to stay.

It seems downright unreasonable to send him back to where his home used to be—at least that’s the view of the immigration bar, NGOs specializing in migration and refugee policy, media that are overwhelmingly sympathetic to migrants of every kind, all Democrats and some Republicans in Washington, academic “experts” on immigration, and so eventually of the courts trying such cases.

As the late Judge Robert Bork pointed out in his short, brilliant book, Coercing Virtue: The Worldwide Rule of Judges (AEI, 2003), modern judges implement not the law as such but a blend of the law itself and of the opinion of the law held by legal members of the highly educated upper-middle class.

That’s why the opinions of judges matter and why legal verdicts in immigration cases increasingly follow the maxim of “It ain’t over 'til the migrant wins.” And, therefore, stays.

Case closed!

Is that maxim now being transferred to law determining court cases on the environment and climate change?  That question is raised by the proliferation of court challenges to projects to extract and transport fuels, especially fossil fuels, when those projects have survived regulatory challenges from the federal bureaucracy, and even when their cancelations are likely to provoke disputes between the U.S. and other countries.

The most recent case of such judicial intervention took place in Alaska—usually a state hospitable to the oil and natural gas industry (as well it might be)—when a federal judge canceled Willow, a massive energy investment by Conoco-Phillips on Alaska’s North Slope.

Judge Sharon Gleason of the District of Alaska ruled that the environmental impact statement for Willow should have included a ”quantitative estimate of emissions resulting from oil consumption” (or explained why the estimate could not be produced) and provided better protection for wildlife including caribou.

These are interesting proposals, but they are not exactly legal judgments. They are  decisions for the political and regulatory authorities which had considered then and taken a different view to Judge Gleason. Willow had been approved by the Bureau of Land Management, supported by the Biden administration, and backed enthusiastically Alaska’s Governor, Mike Dunleavy, who is responsible to the voters for Alaska’s economic development. He responded sharply to Gleason:

We are giving America over to our enemies piece by piece. The Willow project would power America with 160,000 b/d, provide thousands of family-supporting jobs, and greatly benefit the people of Alaska.

Judge Gleason has no accountability for the economic consequences of her arbitrary judgments. She was exercising irresponsible power—or as the saying goes, legislating from the bench. Alaska voters damaged by her intervention have no way of sanctioning her for it.

Judge Gleason has spoken.

Of course, we should acknowledge that such judicial interventions sometimes favor the corporation against the regulatory bureaucracy or the decisions of lower courts. A recent example of that took place in Louisiana where a court forced the Biden administration to resume selling oil and gas leases to energy company which it had halted “temporarily” while the Interior Department reviewed them.

Higher courts may reverse that judgment on appeal—but that comes with a cost too. As the formidable columnist Mark Steyn has pointed out in the different context of libel law, “the process is the punishment.”

All these infrastructure projects are hugely expensive and take years to complete. If their approval is a constantly changing shuttlecock batted back and forth between the courts, the regulatory bureaucracy, the political world, and the industry, that will raise their costs massively, sometimes cause their cancelation, and hike the price of the final product in energy bills to the electricity consumer—who now include owners of electric cars and other electrical products. They buy such such products in order to switch from dirty fuels to greener power sources at a considerable increase in cost. That cost increase will get larger if infrastructure projects become as risky as roulette. And if you make the cost of switching heavier, fewer people will do it.

All those consequences—and more—were exemplified by President Biden’s cancelation of the nine-billion dollar Keystone Pipeline from Canada to Texas. He did this by executive order immediately upon coming into office after it had survived more than a decade of regulatory and legal challenges from the usual suspects—environmentalists, protesters claiming to represent indigenous interests, progressive billionaires: the Democratic party’s post-industrial urban base.

Par for the course, you may think. But this particular decision was unusual in two respects. In the first placed, it reversed the more common practice by which the courts override the national executive in Washington. On Keystone, Biden overrode the courts—which is usually seen by Democrats as a constitutional mortal sin. "Climate  change," however, is the excuse that sweeps all rational argument aside. Second, it provoked a serious foreign policy crisis with—of all energy-producing countries—Canada! Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau is Biden’s ideological soulmate on energy, the environment, and much else, but he still had to take his constituents into account.

That international crisis shows no sign of abating—quite the contrary—because Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer canceled a much more important and more established pipeline between the U.S. and Canada, apparently without really grasping the extraordinary damage she was inflicting on our friendly neighbor to the north. Here's one local report:

While the Keystone project was halted in early construction, Line 5 has transported Canadian oil since 1953. More than half of Ontario’s supply passes through it, according to [the pipeline company] Enbridge. It exits Michigan at the border city of Sarnia, Ontario, and connects with another line that provides two-thirds of crude used in Quebec for gasoline, home heating oil and other products.

I would once have thought that a war with Canada was in the realm of the impossible. But Governor Whitmer may be proving me wrong. She is threatening to confiscate Enbridge’s profits and do many other terrible things if the company continues to defy her. The federal regulator seems not to agree with the governor’s arguments that the pipeline is a hazard to the environment. Enbridge points out that all the alternatives to the pipeline would be more hazardous. The Canadians seem to be united around the defense of their own oil and gas industry since it keeps Ontario and Quebec warm in winter (and Michigan's airports operating). Local Michigan businesses are largely on Enbridge's side too. The Biden administration, which is currently digging down into a lot of holes, must be wondering how on earth it got into this hole and how to get out of it.

Game over, man.

The answer is that, as in Biden’s cancelation of the Keystone pipeline, there are far too many “authorities”—executive, regulatory, state, federal, legal—which believe that their virtuous Green ideologies give them a right to intervene arbitrarily in environmental and energy issues to reach the right outcome. Which one of them prevails is now an almost random matter. For companies contemplating multi-billion dollar projects, both negotiating with regulatory authorities and going to law in these circumstances are a little like shaking a kaleidoscope or consulting an astrological chart.

The main villain in all this is the authority that should and normally would determine fairly which of all the other authorities has the right and obligation to make which decisions on what and on what legal basis. That authority is the courts. Law should offer a reasonable certainty to companies and individuals contemplating major expenses from mortgages to investment in renewables. But it can only play this role well if it reduces to the minimum its own opinionatedness on green issues.

Unfortunately, the courts are no longer impartial umpires interpreting laws passed by Congress and state legislatures. They are moving in the direction of becoming more “green” rather than more judicial as the examples quoted above demonstrate. They have their fingers on the scales of Lady Justice. It threatens both America's prosperity and its democracy if it ain't over till the Greens win. But that's the trend.

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day (or Dominion Day, if you prefer), to our Canadian readers from all of us here at The Pipeline!

God keep your land glorious and free!

Deus lo Vult -- but Whose God?

Fighting on multiple fronts often ends badly. Not always. Israel fought on three fronts in the Six-Day War and won but then there was no survivable fallback option. Maybe that was the pivotal factor. In any event, this isn’t about warfare in the usual sense. However, it is about survival. Survival of our way of life and the forces which threaten it.

There are many foundational features of our Western way of life. The centrality of the traditional family. National cohesiveness. Trust as a default. Free market forces. Numbers of individual freedoms. A lot to undo. Time and chance cometh even to Marxists and their ilk.

Take over schools and colleges and teach children that their sex is matter of choice; that family settings are equivalent however structured; that the contrary opinions of others are hateful; and, if white, that they suffer from racial animus consciously or not and, if of colour, that they’re victims. Promote equity, diversity and inclusion at the workplace. In other words, ennoble the old prejudice of valuing appearance over competence. And the job is half done.

1099: where is Godfrey of Bouillon when we need him?

Enter climate change alarmism. Little in common you might think with wokeism. True at one level. At another, both strike at our way of life. Cheap, reliable and abundant energy is key to progress and prosperity. Costly, unreliable and intermittent energy will make us poorer. If only that were the end of it. Impoverishing changes can’t be foisted onto societies without accompanying coercion. Such is the scale of the changes envisaged that only overwhelming force will do it. We ain’t seen nothing yet.

The inroads of renewable energy and electric cars is miniscule as of now. But imagine: everyone is made to drive electric cars; to rid their homes of all heating besides electric; to insulate their homes; and, inevitably, to economise on, and regularly shut down, their power usage. Little or no meat, more nut burgers, complemented with insect pie, if you want to get really green (around the gills). Those in charge will need to devise ways of making people and businesses obey. Free market forces on both the supply and demand side will be so compromised as to be unrecognisable.

Then comes chance, delivering the coup de grâce. To wit, Covid-19 and, its disciple, Covid-fearmongering. It could not have been better timed if it had been planned. Klaus Schwab and his billionaire fellow travellers filled a straight flush. The Great Reset (unveiled in May 2020) was off and running. Australia, The Lucky Country, is a case study into a possible dismal, unlucky, future.

From Bastard to Conqueror in 1066: never underestimate the enemy.

As I write in early June, the entire Australian state of Victoria is in its fourth lockdown after just a handful of positive tests. People hundreds of miles from the scene have been ordered to stay close to their abodes and mask up. Yet only three people are in hospital; only nineteen in the whole of Australia. None in ICUs. No-one has died of the virus this year.

In Australia, eradication is the name of the game. What this means is that the virus, unlike any virus heretofore known to man, must behave. For, if it keeps misbehaving and escaping from one of those quarantine hotels, which leak like sieves, lockdowns will be never-ending. Remember, along with North Korea, Australia shares the distinction of preventing its citizens from leaving; lest they want to return.

Greg Sheridan is a sensible and sober foreign affairs journalist. Sadly, he is one of many who’ve been struck with Covid derangement syndrome. This is a taste of his writing; this time in the Australian newspaper on June 3: “But this cunning, adaptive and supremely successful virus is by no means beaten yet... And if we ever do get to that possibly mythical land beyond Covid…”

Putting Covid behind us, you see, is akin to reaching Camelot. Pause here. There is a threatening truth in that. A $200 million 500-bed quarantine centre is to be built close to a Melbourne airport. It’s Australia; it will take a longish time to build. Most everyone will have been vaccinated. Those flying in will most definitely have been vaccinated. Those in the know obviously know something that we don’t.

Having had more infections, most countries don’t suffer from delusions of eradication. Nevertheless, it would be extremely hopeful to expect a return to reason any time soon. I suspect that the world will be tangling gormlessly with Covid or son-of-Covid for some time to come. Vaccine-resistant strains will keep on popping up. Sheridan notes that of the people infected in Victoria several of them had been vaccinated. He says that the strain called Kappa is more probably more vaccine-resistant than Delta. Can anyone keep up with this increasing menu of virulent strains?

If it were only a morbidity with less outreach; like heart disease or malaria, as examples, which kill many more people. But alas, no, Covid is striking out at some of our foundational freedoms. Freedom of movement. Freedom of assembly. Freedom from enforced medical treatment. Freedom to worship. Freedom of speech – promote Ivermectin if you dare. Freedom from discrimination.

Alesia, 46 BC: are we Vercingetorix, or Caesar?

A fellow at my gym said to me, OK don’t have the jab but don’t take up a hospital bed if you get sick. This wouldn’t be said of someone with the flu or someone whose lifestyle contributes to their sickness or makes them prone to accidents. Here’s another Australian newspaper journalist, Peter van Onselen (June 5): “Most [getting seriously ill or dying] will be anti-vaxxers who arguably get what they deserve.”

Fascism creeps down from governments to apparatchiks to journalists to woke corporations to the police to scolds on the street. And once it takes hold, will it ever really go away? Might I  be more optimistic if I lived, say, in Florida or South Carolina? I’m not sure. Can any jurisdiction hold out indefinitely against vax passports? Their citizens won’t be able to travel and move freely. “Papers please” will likely become part of the new world-wide normal.

Add it together. What do you see? I see the Great Reset or one of its possible manifestations. Big government, loss of freedoms, loss of family values, loss of social cohesion, loss of trust. Bear in mind, this anti-Enlightenment prospective leaves out the cultural dislocation which is arising from mass controlled (and uncontrolled) immigration, particularly from the Islamic world. I didn’t want to get too depressive. It’s bleak.

But not time to give up. Backs against the wall nowhere to go. Truth on our side. An empire of lies on the other.

Gretchen Whitmer in the Enbridge Pipeline Wonderland

The drama surrounding Enbridge Inc.'s Line 5 is getting tense. Michigan's governor, Gretchen Whitmer, has ordered the Calgary-based energy company to cease operating the pipeline by May 12th. Enbridge has vowed to defy that order, which it insists Whitmer has no authority to issue, and await a legal judgement. Whitmer's office has declared that "Enbridge’s continued operation of the Line 5 pipelines in the Straits of Mackinac [after May 12th] would be unlawful." Enbridge executive vice-president Vern Yu shot back, “We will not stop operating the pipeline unless we are ordered by a court or our regulator, which we view as highly unlikely."

Tempers are clearly running hot, and they have been for months. Back in November, Whitmer fulfilled a campaign promise by revoking the easement -- first granted in 1953 -- which has allowed Enbridge to operate a pipeline along the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac en route to refineries in Sarnia, Ont., arguing that any rupture in the line could devastate the ecosystems of two Great Lakes -- Lakes Michigan and Huron.

Line 5 has never had a significant leak in its nearly seventy-year history, but even so Enbridge had already proposed a solution to this potential problem -- a replacement pipeline to be laid beneath the riverbed and encased in concrete, with the object of safeguarding the straits. This was too little, too late for Whitmer and her fellow environmentalists, who pointed out that the proposed project would take years to complete.

Take that, Canada!

Some of that time, of course, is due to agencies in Whitmer's own administration dragging its feet about issuing permits and cheerfully adding extra regulatory hurdles. Most recently, the Michigan Public Service Commission, all of whose members are Whitmer appointees, decided that it was legitimate for them to take into account the environmental impact of the petroleum products the pipeline is transporting when deciding on the environmental impact of a new pipeline.

I'll say that again -- the commission is going to factor the future CO2 emissions of the oil and gas which pass through Line 5 into their decision about whether the pipeline itself poses a threat to the Great Lakes. Utterly insane, bringing to mind a certain tea party from the pen of Lewis Carroll:

Mad Hatter: Would you like a little more tea?
Alice: Well, I haven't had any yet, so I can't very well take more.
March Hare: Ah, you mean you can't very well take less.
Mad Hatter: Yes. You can always take more than nothing.”

Quite a lot is at stake in this dispute. Some 540,000 barrels of Canadian oil and natural gas pass through Line 5 every day, between 40 and 50 percent of Ontario and Quebec's total supply, including all of the jet fuel used at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. It has been referred to as the “spinal cord of Ontario’s infrastructure,” and through Ontario, to Quebec and points further east as well. A shutdown would have devastating consequences for consumers in eastern Canada, leading to fuel shortages and price spikes. And then there's the effect on employment -- the government of Ontario estimates that killing Line 5 would cost that province 5,000 jobs directly and indirectly almost 25,000.

Whitmer's own constituents would be effected as well -- half of the propane used to heat homes in Michigan passes through Line 5, and a great deal of oil bound for Ohio and Pennsylvania besides. But that's nothing like the effect a shutdown would have on Canada's two largest provinces.

And that makes this a tricky situation for Canada's famed green prime minister, Justin Trudeau. As Rex Murphy has pointed out, for the Canadian left, environmentalism was always supposed to be an anti-Alberta project. Though cloaked in high-flung rhetoric about saving the planet, in Canada the Green Movement has often been a cat's paw of the left-of-center parties for preventing the conservatively inclined western provinces from capitalizing on their natural resources and enhancing their economic might. But, notes Murphy:

Line 5, is not a pipeline OUT of export-blockaded Alberta, heading to the U.S. and hoping for a better market. Line 5 is a pipeline INTO Ontario, and — as Robert Frost was good enough to supply the phrase — that “has made all the difference.”

The 2019 election definitively demonstrated that the Trudeau Liberals can remain in power with essentially zero support out west, but only if they pull big numbers in Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes. If, however, voters in those provinces, whose fuel bills have already swelled thanks to Trudeau's carbon taxes, suddenly see their gas prices jump by, say, 30 percent, coupled with related job losses in the tens of thousands, enough of them are going to flip to one of the other parties to boot Justin from power, no matter how hard the CPC appear to be trying to lose.

2019 election by province (Wikicommons)

Consequently, the Trudeau government is desperate for the Line 5 dispute to be resolved in their favor. According to Reuters:

Ottawa’s strategy... is to repeatedly raise the issue of Enbridge Inc.’s Line 5 with numerous U.S. counterparts — including Biden — to get them to pressure Michigan’s Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer to keep the pipeline open.

Trudeau has apparently spoken to Biden directly about Line 5 more than once, but with no public response from the president as of yet. And Whitmer's side seem disinclined to back down -- Whitmer ally Liz Kirkwood recently remarked that “[t]he Canadians are awfully silent about our shared responsibility to protect the Great Lakes." Consequently, the Canadian government has begun flirting with more drastic measures, including invoking the (never-before-used) 1977 Transit Pipelines Treaty, which states:

No public authority in the territory of either party shall institute any measures… which are intended to, or which would have the effect of, impeding, diverting, redirecting or interfering with in any way the transmission of hydrocarbon in transit.

Suffice it to say, this is far more than they ever did for Keystone XL. And, of course, that makes this a mess of their own making, at least in part. As I wrote at the time, there was "no obvious limiting principle" to the rationale for killing Keystone, and now the same vacuous arguments are being deployed against Line 5. Had Trudeau been willing to actually defend Canadian interests then, it's unlikely that he would have this problem now. Instead, he played politics while accepting a pat on the head from the global environmentalist crowd.

Well now he's on the receiving end while Gretchen Whitmer does the same thing. Trudeau deserves everything he gets. And it's tempting to say the same for the people of Ontario and Quebec. After all, they voted for him.

After Masks and Lockdowns, Here Come the 'Vaccines'

We have been wearing masks for over a year. We have been quarantined in government facilities and in our homes. We have been rigorously locked-down in a futile attempt to control a virus that is clearly unimpressed by our efforts. The latest installment in the Covid frenzy is the love affair with the various vaccines, a mammoth suite of pharmaceutical interventions, that have flooded the market, promising eventual salvation from the ravages of the pandemic. Yet the negative side of these disparate vaccines has gone largely unreported.

While assuring us that pharmaceutical tests have been professionally run on the whole, New York Times reporter Alex Berenson writes in Unreported Truths about COVID-19 that “the companies failed to test the vaccine on the ‘right’ people—the people at high risk of dying from Covid. They failed to prove that it actually reduced deaths, leaving a tragic hole in our medical and scientific knowledge.” Berenson mentions “realistic theories about possible long-run harms from the vaccines, such as the risk that they can lead to a dangerous rebound effect on people who later become infected with COVID.” 

In Berenson’s judgment, “regulators failed at every point in the development of these vaccines—the preclinical work, the major clinical trials, and the approval process”—though he gives them the benefit of the doubt, owing to the pressures they were under and still recommends that people be vaccinated. Nonetheless, all the vaccines accomplished was to “reduce moderate illnesses in people who were at low risk from COVID anyway.”

A little jab'll do ya.

The ramifications of the vaccines are far worse than that. Symptomatic reactogenicity is not uncommon. In just a few months, a spectrum of concerning side-effects have appeared, ranging from blood clots, erythema, cardiovascular ailments and Bell’s Palsy to anaphylactic reactions, swollen lymph nodes, chronic pain and untimely deaths. It should be no surprise that the general population will be constantly assured by a complicit network of authorities and pseudo-authorities that adverse reactions are statistically insignificant and should not be heeded. The incurious will be easily persuaded, especially as countervailing reports will be duly censored.

A typical example of what is really happening comes from British Columbia doctor Charles Hoffe who, in a letter to the Ministry of Health, reports “numerous concerning allergic reactions and neurological side effects from the vaccine,” and observes that “In stark contrast to the deleterious effects of this vaccine in our community, we have not had to give any medical care what-so-ever, to anyone with COVID-19.” He concludes that “this vaccine is quite clearly more dangerous than COVID-19.” 

Equally worrying, mysterious problems of contagion from vaccinated to unvaccinated women have also arisen, causing serious and perhaps lifelong menstrual irregularities and reproductive dysfunctions following Covid vaccines. Dr Christiane Northrup, a leading authority in women’s health, argues that the vaccines do not entail a normal immunization program but create harmful synthetic proteins within the body, whose effects are transmissible. Naturally, she has been accused by the mainstream media of spreading disinformation, but the evidence for this newest pathology is compelling.

The effect on pregnant women is also very much in question. Children’s Health Defense (CHC) refers to Dr. Sherry Tenpenny, “a triple-board certified osteopathic medical doctor and an expert on the potential adverse impact of vaccines on health, who… brings up a most critical point, that we simply have no idea what the potential effects of these warp-speed developed, Emergency Use Authorized, experimental mRNA vaccines might have on a developing fetus.”

What potential effects these injections might have on the population at large is no less moot. The CHC editorial concludes with the rider:

This article contains a growing list of deaths that occurred after the experimental COVID vaccine was administered. The death reports are culled from the media and from social media, as well as from the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) and reporting systems outside the US.

A Freudian slip by a newscaster reporting on a growing trend of vaccine refusal may have some truth to it. People are unwilling to be “euthanized,” he said, before correcting to “immunized.” The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) considers the vaccines “safe and effective,” yet reports 2,794 dead, 56,869 injured following experimental Covid injections through April 5, 2021. Even CNN uncharacteristically reports that “5,800 fully vaccinated people have caught Covid anyway in US.”

The results from the U.K. are distressing, as they are from Norway and India. The news from Israel is no less disturbing. The mortality rates recorded in many sites are truly alarming. Other sites and fact-checkers downplay or scoff at these numbers as inflated, remarking instead on an infinitesimal percentage of adverse consequences. Sometimes the statistical accounts are so complex as to be difficult to assess. Obviously, the warnings will be contentious and the numbers disputed.

No thanks, I'll take my chances.

The truth is that reliable vaccines require ten or more years to develop and test, moving from the (1) exploratory to the (2) pre-clinical to the (3) trial and (4) post-licensure stages before they can be approved as safe for public distribution. Otherwise, not only their immediate efficacy but their future impact remains uncharted.

This fact is so glaringly obvious, it boggles the mind that it is rarely mentioned and commented on, or that it remains inadmissible in debate and discussion. A vaccine that arrives in just a few months when a decade or more is needed to create a reliable product cannot be trustworthy. They may, quite plausibly, be hazardous. What is known as “Operation Warp Speed” may pertain to the Starship Enterprise but is contraindicated in vaccine production. Slow and careful are the watchwords.

One can see the problems. We know the vaccines are clinically precarious for an undetermined number of recipients, but we do not know, regardless of what we are told, whether the vaccines are, on the whole and for a majority, actually effective, or merely placebos. Plainly, there are no means for ascertaining their effectiveness in the present moment—one takes it on faith.

Because someone may not or does not contract the disease following receipt of the vaccine is no proof of its potency; one may be already immune or resistant, or may suffer from the virus weeks or months later. And in the absence of longitudinal studies several years in duration, future side effects linger in a region of empty speculation and deferred research. People could find themselves suffering from any number of unexpected maladies—anemia, cognitive decline, clinical depression, or physical disorders as yet unspecified. Vaccines released years too early will likely have unpredictable pathogenic effects. Given their all-too-rapid and kluge-like development, the current rush to COVID-preventive jabs and boosters is a fools’ errand.

This fact has not prevented Big Pharma from scaling up its profit margin. Former Pfizer Vice President and Chief Scientist Dr. Michael Yeadon claims that new, top-off dosages designed to fight viral variants will be released without “clinical safety studies” and that these variants are in any case incapable of “immune escape,” that is, they are so similar to the original virus—“samients,” Yeadon calls them—that they are easily recognizable and controllable by a healthy immune system. Moreover, current “vaccines” consist of “superfluous genetic sequence for which there is absolutely no need or justification” while the ultimate purpose of these superfluous top-offs, Yeadon believes, is to surreptitiously give every person “a unique digital ID” in concert with the plans behind the Great Reset for global hegemony.

You'll take it and you'll like it.

Even Merriam-Webster has joined the quasi-medical cult, newly defining the word “vaccine” as “a preparation of genetic material (such as a strand of synthesized messenger RNA) that is used by the cells of the body to produce an antigenic substance (such as a fragment of virus spike protein).” In reality, this is not a vaccine, which introduces antigens into the system to activate antibodies, but an invasion of one’s genomic substance in order to generate an alien protein.  Adding a layer of vexatiousness to the issue is the question involving the Nuremburg Laws. The informed consent principle was defined as a human right and was intended to prevent forced medical interventions in any form, including vaccines. The first principle in the Nuremberg Code reads in part:

The voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential. This means that the person involved should…be able to exercise free power of choice, without…any element of force, fraud, deceit, duress, over-reaching, or other ulterior form of constraint or coercion, and should have sufficient knowledge and comprehension of the elements of the subject matter involved, as to enable him to make an understanding and enlightened decision.

The code’s application in the current circumstances is debated by many “fact-checking” venues, unconvincingly in my opinion. The fact-checkers need to be checked for their facts; when one considers that accounts critical of the vaccines are regularly suppressed by Big Tech and generally unreported or massaged in “the Marxist Mainstream Media” (the phrase is Dr. Steve Turley’s), one must be skeptical of unrestrained vaccine advocacy. The central fact remains that the efficacy of these drugs comes without proof, as should be obvious considering the conditions under which they have been fabricated: as noted, neither immediate nor long-term confirmation of their outcomes is realistically possible. Ignorance may be bliss, but only temporarily. 

A historic court judgment in Weimar, Germany illuminates the overall dilemma. The vast majority of studies rely on “a purely mathematical estimation or modeling study based on theoretical assumptions without real contact follow-up.” We are proceeding without valid epidemiological knowledge. We do not know the precise extent to which our governments and their salaried health officials and media collaborators are lying to us or are simply incompetent and cowardly. We have no idea what may be coming down the pike. We do not even know if the vaccines work as they are advertised. One does not need statistics, only common sense, to be doubtful and even suspicious of their viability. 

Caveat vaccinator.

Erin O'Toole's Carbon Tax Flip-Flop

As I mentioned the other day Erin O'Toole has foolishly decided to flip-flop on the topic of Canada's carbon tax. And that's is the only way to describe this. While running for leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, O'Toole signed a pledge which read as follows:

I, Erin O’Toole, promise that, if elected Prime Minister of Canada, I will: Immediately repeal the Trudeau carbon tax; and, reject any future national carbon tax or cap-and-trade scheme.

That pledge, of course, was a big part of the reason that O'Toole beat out Peter MacKay for leadership. O'Toole appealed to the western provinces by calling MacKay a squish on resource issues. MacKay hit back, accusing O'Toole of secretly supporting the Trudeau climate agenda in one particularly heated debate. Here's Ezra Levant reluctantly commending MacKay for having O'Toole's number, and offering this conclusion on the current leader:

O’Toole supporting the carbon tax is disqualifying because he promised he wouldn’t, and he received support in return for that promise. So he’s untrustworthy. He’s a liar. It’s disqualifying because a carbon tax is a terrible idea, bad scientifically, bad economically.

He might have added that it specifically disqualifies him as a leader, since -- if reports from the Toronto Star and National Post are true -- his own caucus wasn't briefed on the change. “We all first heard about this from the CBC article,” one Tory M.P. told the Post. How can he ever have the confidence of parliament if he does things like this to his own members?

Of course, not everyone was upset by this development. Some were delighted. True North highlights this tweet from Trudeau crony Gerald Butts:

True North also points out a few notable and underdiscussed green goodies contained in the O'Toole proposal:

Other measures... include a study on “new taxes on frequent flyers, non-electric luxury vehicles and second homes to deter activities that hurt the environment.” A Conservative government would also spend $1 billion on domestic electric vehicle manufacturing and an additional $1 billion to deploy hydrogen technology.

Which is to say, he's all in.

Of course, O'Toole's counter to all of this is, first, that it is necessary for winning Ontario, and second, that at least his carbon tax is better than Trudeau's. I previously mentioned Dan McTeague's refutation of the first point. To the second, I would point to Derek Fildebrandt's argument in the Western Standard that the Tory plan is actually the worse of the two:

Under Trudeau’s plan, the federal government taxes consumers in provinces that do not have their own federally-approved carbon tax, and rebates a portion of it back to those consumers to spend as they see fit. Under O’Toole’s carbon tax, the federal government will impose a similar carbon tax, but instead of rebating it, will put into ‘green cards.' These green cards will be managed by a group of bankers appointed by O’Toole, and allow carbon taxpayers to spend the money collected on government-approved green purchases.... The real difference between the Trudeau carbon tax and the O’Toole carbon tax boils down to how taxpayers are allowed to spend the money collected from them. And on this front, Justin Trudeau’s plan is somehow, unambiguously better than O’Toole’s.

Several commentators think that this gamble will hurt the CPC's electoral prospects and O'Toole's career (Brian Platt mentions Patrick Brown as the nearest analogue, who outraged the conservative grassroots when he endorsed the carbon tax, so he had no one to back him up when other scandals arose, forcing him, finally, to resign). But the ever-cheerful sage Rex Murphy is concerned about its effects on the future of Canada itself:

The Conservatives are, if the rumours are true, about to enter an election, as a pale and timid version of the Liberal party, as near-partners to the NDP and the Greens. Out West voters will throw up their hands, sigh very deeply, stay at home, and really start thinking separation is the only way to go. Really, this policy is acid to Conservative support in the West and will, for some, force a rethink of their place in Confederation.

Back when O'Toole won the leadership race, I called on him to follow the advice of his fellow Ontarian, Shania Twain, to "dance with the one[s] that brought" him, meaning the Albertans and Saskatchewaners whose support gave him the 'W'. Instead, he's listened to the political consultant class who have long held that the path to Conservative victory is to copy the Liberals in every particular and to ignore the voters that they find embarrassing.

Well that choice seems to already be paying off... for Justin Trudeau. The latest polls suggest that, going into the rumored snap election to which Murphy alluded, Liberal support sits at 39 percent, six points above what they received in the 2019 General Election, which saw them barely hold on to power with a minority government. The Conservatives, meanwhile, are down seven points from the same election, at about 27 percent.

We tried to warn him.

Canadian 'Conservatives' Offer Carbon Tax

The CBC has gotten their hands on a copy of the Conservative Party of Canada's all new Climate Change plan, and boy are they excited:

After years of criticizing the Liberal carbon tax, the Conservative party is proposing a climate plan that also puts a price on carbon for consumers.... Under [Erin] O'Toole's plan... Canadians would pay a carbon levy, initially amounting to $20 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions, every time they buy hydro-carbon based fuels, such as gas.... The Conservative party's carbon price... would increase over time to reach a maximum of $50 per tonne.

For comparison, Trudeau's carbon tax structure (not counting the Clean Fuel Standard, a second carbon tax in all but name) has the tax increasing $10 each year until it reaches $170 per ton in 2030.

The other notable provision of the plan is, frankly, bizarre. In the Liberal scheme, Canadians can have their carbon tax expenditures (the direct ones, not the indirect, cost of living ones) rebated back to them at tax time (more or less -- what would be the point if some of that money wasn't skimmed off the top?). In O'Toole's plan, tax revenue would be diverted directly into a "personal low carbon savings account" established for every Canadian, which could be accessed for expenditures "that help them live a greener life."

This reminds me of the old joke that a camel is a horse designed by a committee. "Personal low carbon savings accounts" are a camel if ever I saw one, and they'd be a nightmare to administer.

But that aside, is the 'Carbon Tax, but cheaper' play a wise one for O'Toole's Conservatives? Some smart politicos think so. Here, for instance, is Matt Gurney arguing that Canadians want to feel like their government is addressing climate change, but don't really want it to affect their lives in any way. In that case, a cheaper carbon tax might do the trick -- assuaging the consciences of enough voters in the eastern half of the country to make Erin O'Toole prime minister.

But I find Dan McTeague more convincing. By McTeague's reckoning, the O'Toole plan wouldn't merely cost the CPC a few  points of support out west, it would decrease their support in Ontario -- the big fish -- by as much as 10 percent! After all, Ontario made Doug Ford premier just three years ago on the strength of his opposition to the carbon tax. For every voter in the Greater Toronto Area who might give the CPC a second thought based on this plan, two or three more in the rest of the province might just stay home, disgusted.

That's just another way of saying 'Trudeau Majority."