The “NDP leadership/membership fiasco” is a right wing trap and many are falling for it.

I’ll put down this marker right now, and I’m guessing that I can speak for many others too. Anjali Appadurai is likely to be an approved leadership candidate, very few memberships are likely to be terminated as a result of the internal investigation raised as a result of some publicly available information hinting at the potential of bad actors trying to influence the membership vote.

Anjali Appadurai was an approved federal candidate in the last election for the NDP and almost won a long time Liberal seat on the power of her candidacy. If she’s good enough to pass the federal NDP vetting process, she’s good enough for the BC NDP too.

Nobody has a problem with this. Any member in good standing can apply to seek the nomination of a federal or provincial riding association, seek an internally elected position or stand for leader of either party. This isn’t the issue.

Anyone can join the party too. Remember, however, that a political party has the right to set rules and conditions for obtaining and maintaining membership in a party. Most parties – as they’re in competition with each other for the same electoral contests – forbid memberships of people who retain a membership in another party.

Obtaining membership in an organization by means of deceit or fraud is illegal. I’m not sure which laws are broken, but I’m certain that its unlawful. The memberships gained in such a way would rightly be terminated, plus any and all evidence of said fraud should be forwarded to the appropriate authorities for possible legal sanctions where they may apply.

When we heard of the general fuckery regarding a possibility of some activists “paying” for others’ membership – a practice flatly banned by law, many of us were alarmed. Immediate links to the BC Liberals own leadership/membership fiasco were made – we don’t want to follow those foot steps.

The current flap is nothing more than a narrative trap. It should not be controversial that a party seek to assure its membership base is legitimate and that its leadership election process is without issues. Yet addressing the concerns and complaints made, any attempts to dig into the matter and the party is accused by some of being under the influence of the ‘good old boys’ network.

Attacking those who defend the party and its REQUIREMENT to audit and examine memberships in light of the allegations made is turning into an exercise in gaslighting.

Just. Fucking. Stop.

Defending the party’s attempt to identify fraudulent memberships is not somehow undemocratic; its protecting the integrity of the vote itself. For folks on the right to attack the NDP for this; well that’s what they do best…attack. But for folks on the left to adopt some of that ‘anti-elitist’ language you often hear in Qanon circles, well that’s an extra level of absurd.

We pay membership dues and make donations not just to fund the various campaign needs we have, but to maintain a party infrastructure – equipped to deal with a mess like this. We want the leadership election process to be untainted. To fail to do so, means that we’ll have equally embarrassing and potentially worse outcomes.

The BC NDP are not the only political party where potential fuckery happens in the lead up to a leadership contest. Most of the federal parties, even the federal green party has had issues. This year, they booted Quebec Green Party leader Alex Tyrrell as they seek to renew their leadership from the last time they had a tainted leadership contest.

I don’t care that Anjali Appadurai is seeking the leadership of the BC NDP, and if I’m disappointed by anything its that only two names came forward for leadership. But this is where we are.

Members will have to decide which leader works best for party unity, setting government policy for the remainder of the term, and who is best to lead the NDP to a winning result in 2024.

One choice.

my2bits

The role of elected leaders in collective bargaining is to let the parties negotiate without interference.

Generally speaking, voters outside the anti-union right wing tend to support pro-labour parties.

That said, we don’t expect or demand that a government ‘from our side’ to deal out the best terms and big cash settlements (in public sector bargaining) or unduly pressure corporations in the private sector, but that the bargaining teams finally sit across from each other as equals to hammer out terms of a new contract.

In fact, I offer praise and respect when political leaders and elected officials get FAR away from the stage in these contract talks – despite the lure of getting involved.

Its too easy to meddle and put ones finger on the scale when you’re in a position of power. When the BC Liberals were in office, they ran advertising (as taxpayer supported gov’t ads) demonizing the BCTF as demanding items outside of the “affordability zone” as then Education Minister Peter Fassbender often said.

What incentive do employer-negotiators have to move off an entrenched position when their political master underwrites their argument in public like that.

Bad faith.

That is why I appreciate this current government and its effective radio silence in the various public sector negotiations now underway. This respectful tone has allowed the potential of an HEU tentative agreement (with 60k healthcare sector employees).

It doesn’t mean that either side won’t trot out some talking points to pressure the other side by means of public opinion, but there’s well documented risks of negotiating in public – especially if both sides pledge not to do that.

I will say that activists on one side or another can complicate matters for their respective bargaining teams. They don’t act as official spokespersons for the union or employer group, and most often are not even members of said organizations. Free expression is a funny thing, ain’t it?

Having political leaders butt out of negotiations and leaving the parties to settle their own terms isn’t a guarantee of a perfect deal. There’s a 100% guarantee that even if the HEU deal goes through, some folks in the union will argue that they could have got more. Likewise, anti-unionists and rightwingers alike will argue that the deal goes to far.

Pay no attention to those voices.

What matters most is that both sides were free to settle matters free from government interference or coercion and that the members get to decide how this plays out.

my2bits

Gas tax reform should be on the table

But not for the reasons you might think.

As the growing EV sector cuts into fuel demand and consumption goes, so drops the fuel tax levies assessed by almost every level of government. That’s part of the bragging rights of EV owners – “we don’t have to pay that tax, or buy that fuel”.

Which is substantially true. No gasoline or diesel purchases, no fuel taxes paid. This doesn’t mean that driving an EV is cost free. It isn’t. Purchasing electricity through retail charging stations often draw a sales tax, charging at home increases your hydro bill – even though its far less than the cash output by internal combustion vehicle owners.

But what doesn’t change is the need to maintain critical transportation infrastructure. Roads and highways, traffic management, etc..these are all costly items used by EV and non EV users alike.

If you were to fly a drone over top of a massive traffic jam in any North American city, I doubt you could tell the difference between the vehicles of the two varieties of energy consumption.

This is the problem. EV’s occupy a space on the road no different than your previous gas guzzling SUV and apply wear and tear like all other cars and trucks. With rising uptake of EV’s over ICEV’s – the revenue drop from gas taxes will be irreversible. Even if the need to maintain the upkeep of our roads will not.

EV users aren’t looking for a free ride, even if there may have been some significant tax incentives to make the switch.

Full disclosure, my name is on a list to purchase a new EV when it’s available.

We’re making the switch because we’re doing our part to stem the use of fossil fuels, and in my jurisdiction, BC, the highest uptake for EV’s in Canada is right here. Sure, I’d like to save some money on gasoline purchases, but I need the roads maintained like everyone else.

So its time to reform how we look at this.

Gas taxes were easy. Everyone drove a car that requires gas or diesel, just charge a premium at the pump. Government makes a quick buck and is able to fund roads, etc. With the advent of higher efficiency engines and now EV’s, the revenue stream is under threat.

Instead of charging 14.5 cents a litre for gas taxes, perhaps we should apply a per-vehicle fee because you have a vehicle that is driven on public roads.

EDIT: I might leave 2.5 cents/litre of this tax in place in recognition of high fuel consuming vehicles and out of jurisdiction drivers who wouldn’t be subject to a per-vehicle levy as outlined in this article.

Look at it this way, there are approximately 3.7 million licensed vehicles in BC. The provincial gas tax revenue brings in almost $500 million. A straight across the board replacement would see the gas tax removed and a per-vehicle annual charge of $135 imposed (at the time of re-insuring your car).

EDIT: The $135 annual per-vehicle levy could be scaled up or down depending on the road safety record of the driver whose insurance policy covers the vehicle in question. (safe driver discounts).

I would support a continuation of the carbon tax as its a specific application and it could be further utilized to fund the electrification of our roads and highways.

Alternatively, one could have a mileage tax or per-km levy (which could be difficult to enforce or liberal usage of tolls (all bridges and access points); but that smacks of a discriminatory philosophy against those who live well outside the city, rural areas, or cannot avoid vehicular use for work reasons. Not everyone lives in a condo tower in the west end, Metro-Town with quick access to a sky-train.

I should add that I am not at all married to this idea. If there is some better plan to fund our highways, byways and transit, by all means speak up. But as we shift away from fuel consumption, alternative ways to source this revenue are needed.

My2bits

Opposition attacks on Royal BC Museum rebuild are some of the most repugnant in BC political history.

See update

Opposition attacks against against the proposed rebuild of the Royal BC Museum coming from the BC Liberals and Greens are sad, but predictable. It’s opportunist too. They both attempt to create a wedge issue (for which they are attempting to be on the right side of) by arguing that it’s a binary choice. They cast it as ‘Museum or healthcare’; or, ‘Museum or education’; ‘Museum or climate change’. You get the picture.

The reality is, and the BC Liberals know it – as they have served in government before (Greens too, in a supporting role in the 2017-20 confidence and supply arrangement with the NDP) – that government can do more than one thing at a time. In fact, we expect it; its literally their job.

Government doesn’t run its books like a household – it cannot do that…and it rightly shouldn’t.

As we continue to climb out from the effects of the pandemic, we go from high unemployment to not-enough-workers. Wages are finally moving up. Net effect? More tax revenue from more people working and at higher wages. BC’s economic performance is the best in Canada; better than most jurisdictions in North America.

This allows us to do things. Such as rebuilding a museum that has been asking for help since 2006 – and put on a shelf in favour of other vanity projects like the new Trade and Convention Centre, BC Place roof replacement, Port Mann bridge (and more, and all were grossly over budget).

What burns me is that in this era of recognizing the collective impact of European settlers harm to the First Nations of BC, this museum project allows a more accurate re-telling of what really went on.

This previous year (and more recent headlines) have showcased the thousands of unmarked graves of children who died while in care at the various religious/church operated, government sanctioned residential schools.

Were these children murdered? Neglected? Sick and died from natural causes? I don’t know. Their cause of death is important, but these children deserve to be known by name, their extended families deserve answers, and we must be accountable to this. All of it.

The lost children (the tens of thousands of them), the many complicated matters which need addressing in our delicate walk to full reconciliation, are journeys that need telling in a renewed museum.

Imagine a new museum that finally tells the (living) story of our collective failure in our relations with our first nations – not only to ourselves in BC, but to the world? That would be a good start.

The cost? Government says it will cost $768 million. But, like other large projects, expect it to go over budget. That’s just the reality of things. Especially in todays world where products needed for rebuilding and the highly skilled labour needed are in short supply.

The cost to refurbish? More. Asbestos removal, remediation of the current structure would clearly be a different cost structure than removal of the old, building new.

Over-spending on large projects is nothing new, and hardly controversial anymore. Taxpayers are used to this by now.

The opposition casts this as a thing that should be cancelled; possibly delayed into the future. But given the facts, this will inevitably be required, and there is no delay possible that makes the costs go down any.

I mean, I expect this from the BC Liberals. They cast the museum rebuild as a vanity project. Unfair, especially when the project moves forward in partnership with first nations. And who are the BC Liberals to lecture anyone on vanity projects? Have we forgotten already about ‘quickwins’, ‘om-the-bridge’, Port Mann fiasco, TransLink tinkering?

Oh I know; calls from those saying “that’s in the past, your guys need to worry about now and into the future”. They’re right! Voters are well aware of BC Liberal duplicity and hypocrisy here, but there is little to gain by rehashing it – they lost the election…electoral mileage made from their dismal failings is a credit well cashed in.

But this is about today and the future too. The proposal would only be finished its construction process in 2030 – two whole electoral terms away from now.

Every sign is pointing to a looming recession; a general hangover from the insanity over the pandemic crash – then its rocket-speed ‘recovery’.

Housing prices and general inflation has caused economic problems of their own. By pricing out working people from participating in a housing market (or rental market for that matter), there will be a huge underclass of folks unable to support the small and medium businesses who need free flowing, disposable income from paycheques from workers in order to survive. Folks are just trying to survive.

Government can sit back and do nothing, letting the chips fall where they may…or they can be proactive about it. BC needs a new museum as the old one can’t do it anymore.

The build, the narrative change and the location all serve an economic-health sensitive industry in Victoria well and would bolster the private sector; at a time when they could use it the most. Of course, Victoria isn’t the only place that matters in BC – but as I’ve mentioned, government is capable of handling more than one thing at a time. That’s what they’re supposed to do.

Opposing the museum rebuild is a knee-jerk conservative reaction that I expected from the BC Liberals, I did not expect it from BC’s Green Party. They seemingly have taken on the right wing talking point that funding a new museum is a binary choice ‘at the expense of..’ when it clearly is not.

I’m not going to pretend to be able to sway the opinions of those who hate the NDP and just found a new reason to bolster their hate.

No.

To the overwhelming of rational people in BC however, do not be swayed by the negative nellies on the opposition side. This is a government as you know that isn’t engaging in one-off populist things. Building a new museum – regardless of rhetorical nonsense – is a bold and justified program that will benefit our province in the near term and well into the future.

This is what coherent leadership is supposed to do.

my2bits

Edit: To anyone suggesting that the Royal BC Museum rebuild is a surprise that nobody wanted or talked about, this is incorrect. The earliest I have discovered that the RBCM board had discussed in public the notion of renovations or major structural concerns was in 2005 as part of their 2005/06 annual report.

Here’s the 2008/09 – 2010/11 service report with even more explicit references to the project idea now so controversial.

And this Tom Hawthorne, on twitter, reminding folks of this.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Update:

Well it looks like the museum project is shelved for now. Blowback in the public space was overwhelming as many folks argue that now is not the time for such an endeavor.

That’s too bad. I was in favour, and I believe that the museum rebuild would have been a net positive for the capitol region and BC in general.

But I am no expert and certainly not in control of policy here.

John Horgan, as leader and Premier having to back down from a major initiative like this – is a setback to be sure. Instead of blaming others – he owned it personally.

If I understand one thing about BC voters, they’ll respect and support a political leader who comes across as human as we all are; including accepting mistakes as they come along.

So, with that, I note that from the folks who demonized the NDP and John Horgan for proposing the museum rebuild – now demonize him for cancelling it.

Folks are watching.

Go Left. To save us. All of us.

In uncertain times, folks can reach for more bold solutions when the same-old no longer works.

These are some of those times. The Neoliberal economic philosophy hasn’t worked for large swathes of society, and those for whom it works are already the wealthiest and most powerful among us.

Through no fault of our own, the economic pillars have been knocked out from the ‘if you work hard and save your money, you can get ahead’. Unless you are part of a 1% elite out there, you’re not going to get ahead. Staying afloat is hard enough.

The powerful and elite know this and will do their best to retain the system that keeps them powerful and rich. There is a war by the 1% against everyone else. Both left and right however, present potential solutions to get us out from under that control paradigm.

But they are not the same.

The left demands wealth taxes, programs to supplement the poorest among us, assistance to those living with disabilities, tax fairness among working peoples and housing for the masses seemingly out-priced for even the very basics of shelter needs.

The right points to groups that require blame and that if only they were outlawed or restricted, the great prosperity would return. The right campaigns for harsher controls over immigration, crackdowns on unions, and engage in social culture wars to divide people among religious and ethnic lines as a source to gain power.

The problem is, the powerful elite tolerate one of these idealisms more than the other. Neoliberal elite do not necessarily care about religious conflicts or divisions, nor do they participate in culture war debates, their interest is in maintaining social status, wealth and power. The rules for you and I do not apply to those at the very top.

The elite however, will bitterly oppose wealth taxes; they’ll oppose low cost housing for folks barely hanging on, and they most certainly oppose any measures to share decision making power. You know this to be true.

While the far right pretend to have a populist message that is to get us out of the rut, in the end, they share philosophical common ground with the neoliberals who sit at the helm of power and wealth.

They are natural allies.


The answers, as they always have been, are on the left.

My2bits

Partisan attacks against the NDP/ICBC policyholder rebates is manna from heaven for the NDP.

It was announced the other day that from the ballooning ICBC surplus, that the crown owned insurance company would send to policy holders a rebate of $110 for regular policy holders and $165 for commercial policy holders in response to record high gasoline prices.

The attack from the BC Liberals and their affiliated partisans was that the sum wasn’t enough. Others took an opportunity to politically eviscerate ICBC and the NDP’s reforms therein.

The NDP couldn’t be happier with this clumsy self-own from their political adversaries; and in doing so, the opposition made themselves out to be the elitist, corporate owned entity that they are. So much so that I predict they will be nostalgic for Andrew Wilkinson soon.

But first, some background on ICBC.

The Insurance Corporation of BC was established in the 1970’s BC NDP government under Premier Dave Barrett. The idea was that vehicle insurance should be a publicly held and controlled entity and that it should be provided at or near cost to the public.

It’s roll out was clunky to be sure and it we met with immediate hostility to a patchwork of private insurers at the time. Despite the chaos it was born from, its largely met its purpose, despite every effort by opponents of the NDP (Social Credit, BC Liberal) to hobble and dismantle it.

That is until the latter half of the last BC Liberal regime.

In the past, if there was a surplus in the operations of ICBC, it was utilized mostly to keep insurance rates low – or cap any potential rate increases. ICBC, like BC Hydro (for much the same reason) were the crown jewels in the BC advantage for residents and drivers.

The BC Liberals saw an opening though. They would direct both crown corporations to divert billions of dollars of their budgets to the provincial government as a backdoor tax increase – to increase revenue as other (‘trickle down’) ideas failed us.

They did this despite hobbling the operations of both crowns. In the case of BC Hydro, they were compelled to borrow the money for which the province claimed as income – creating a better bottom line budget number than what would have been revealed. For ICBC, this ‘dividend’ was taken regardless of the the plight of the insurance carrier and drained its reserve funds.

In both circumstances, world events and market conditions demanded that both crown corporations see some internal reforms so that they would remain solvent and viable operations into the future. The BC Liberal government went as far as commissioning a report to examine the operations of ICBC and what reforms were needed.

They had the information, they knew what to do. They failed to act. Not only did they fail to act, they attempted to conceal the truth from the public.

The ICBC dumpster fire is a narrative well told in BC’s political world, it partially led to the landslide re-election of the NDP in 2020 after a fluky minority NDP government that only took office with one seat parliamentary majority with the assistance of the BC Green Party.

Why is this relative now?

As a result of the ICBC reforms instituted by the NDP after 2017, the crown corporation now operates largely on a no-fault system. This cuts out much of the litigation costs; and more importantly, cuts out billions paid to trial lawyers who you can imagine are not impressed in the slightest. I mean, I can understand this to a point; especially if you’ve set up your entire legal practice based on the former ICBC adversarial litigation model.

For the rest of us, we saw this as a cash cow for lawyers that inflated premiums as ICBC had to pay awards – to clients and law firms…on top of everything else going on that shouldn’t be.

The reforms instituted by the NDP to ICBC has freed up billions; much has been returned to policy holders already. At least $1.4 billion has been returned and pledged (as of this last weeks announcement) plus a rate reduction last year of 20%.

Shouldn’t rate reductions and insurance rebates be celebrated? Of course. That this has been at all possible is quite a miracle compared to the direction ICBC was headed in 2017. Five years later, a large surplus – with billions going back to drivers.

Politically speaking, if I was a BC Liberal, I would avoid talking about ICBC at all – as the public will have a good memory their intentional, malicious ineptitude while handling this file.

So this was the time their MLA’s go on the attack?

The NDP could not have asked for a better opportunity to remind how badly the BC Liberals failed BC on ICBC.

In trying to score a drive-by smear that the NDP hasn’t done enough to help drivers, the BC Liberals inadvertently revealed their incompetence and why they should not govern..at all.

The BC Liberal approach is typical – lower gas taxes. This is modelled after what Alberta is attempting by suspending their own gas tax (cutting 13 cents per litre) to “lower gas prices” and provide relief.

good idea, huh?

The thing about this move is that it opened the door immediately for big oil to step up with price increases of their own.

WHOOPSIES

If you’re keeping track of this; cutting the tax as such, was a lateral transfer of money from government to big oil – that consumers still pay for…and may more for. There was no benefit to drivers at all; but exposed the BC Liberals as lackies to both big oil and irrelevant.

Even the notion they have floated about cutting the carbon tax (which they created) would suspend a one penny per litre increase slated for April 1. Same math applies, cut the tax, industry picks up the slack.

Gas taxes in BC are expressed in terms of cents per litre, so the BC gov’t makes no extra money if the retail price goes up. Only the GST (which is charged as a percentage) would increase its cash intake with a retail price increase.

Cutting BC’s various gas taxes would merely cut into provincial revenue; potentially harming the funding for programs which depend on said funds. We’ve already shown how industry would scoop up what the taxes would drop, so no benefit goes to the driver. This flawed ideology exposes the BC Liberals and almost every conservative politician pushing this narrative; a narrative that is a warm breath away from the proven failure of ‘trickle down economic theory’.

But, as General Napoleon Bonaparte once remarked – ‘never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake’.

My2bits

The epic failure of the #TruckersForFreedom will be a sight to behold

Oh, they’re loud, and they’ll muster a gathering of supporters at the nations’ capitol as promised, but not likely in the numbers they’ve been promoting. Numbers – like half a million people, 50,000 trucks from across the country. Now I could be wrong with the numbers too, but it doesn’t invalidate the next point I’m about to make.

They’re about to step into the stupid-trap…and we’ve been warning them all this time that its going to suck.

They’re protesting a federal Transport Canada vaccine mandate rule for truck drivers entering Canada from the USA that they must prove their vaccine status or face up to 14 days quarantine.

Read it again.

The federal mandate speaks to drivers entering Canada. It does not regulate the vaccine status of a truck driver heading to the United States. They have their own mandate.

If the Transport Canada (“Justin Trudeau”) mandate disappears tomorrow, unvaccinated truckers from Canada will still be denied entry to the USA because of their right to set border rules.

So every truck with banners saying all sorts of profanity towards the federal liberals and Trudeau are again missing the mark.

This hasn’t gone unnoticed by the political people in high places too. There is a reason why the federal liberals are slow walking any sort of pushback – the clowns who have organized and fundraised off this effort are making themselves look like total idiots at a scale unseen in Canada before.

It will be worse than antivaxxers spitting at nurses, throwing rocks at the Prime Minister. Imagine driving your rig 3000km to Ottawa to protest the actions of the wrong government.

Of course, this all links back to the garbage arguments made by a tiny handful of folks that the vaccine(s) aren’t safe, or that covid is fake. Well shut the fuck up about that. Unless you’re sporting the qualifications of a medical doctor or virologist, this ain’t your ballpark to render ‘professional’ opinions on the matter.

The fact that its brought out the kooks on the far right is political gravy for Justin. As a result of this convoy-of-stupid, Justin will score a majority government if we had an election any time soon.

Well done. Idiots.

my2bits

The things I wanted to say.

What I could have said – and was surely going to, were not helpful.

I am upset as the year rolls around to its end, that we’re still battling with covid19…but we’re also contending with a significant mindset who have rejected modern medicine and coherent medical advice in favour of misinformation and conspiracy theories.

Words have power. Words spoken by people of influence have power. The more outrageous things you say it seems, draw more and more people. It doesn’t have to be true (and clearly, in many cases it is not at all true). But spoken with passion and conviction, some will be convinced of the words and ideas over medical advice.

This is beyond frustrating…but predictable.

The rhetorical power of a demagogue was learned well in America in the lead up to 2016 and beyond, and we’re not immune here in Canada to the sway either.

The things I wanted to say to these folks who have seemingly drank this potion was equally as venomous as what their side spews outwards.

I have since decided that I am not spending any more energy on this. While I am still upset at antivaxxers (whom I consider a menace to society), its to those on the fence that I want to reach.

I see you and I hear you. Your apprehension and anxiety are real and shared by a lot of people…myself included.

The world’s best and brightest minds in science and virology have been working on covid19 since the start; the vaccines are safe – even if they’re not perfect. This is true of every single medicine created in science.

The best way out of this pandemic is widespread vaccine coverage to all corners of our globe so that covid19 has no where left to bloom; and its effects can be mitigated into oblivion.

To those seeking room to be critical of governments’ perceived shortcomings (in the eyes of the beholder, of course); save your energy too – encourage those reachable to obtain their vaccines and maintain social distancing/mask wearing where needed. If you’re going to take a swipe at policy makers for what you feel is inadequate regarding the govt responses so far, I sure hope you have the professional qualifications to back it up.

There will be plenty of time to consider shortcomings of the various governments and adjust policies so that we don’t have to re-invent the wheel again.

We’re on the right side of this. The science backs up vaccines without a doubt; the measures (masking, etc) have proven to lower risks of transmission; nearly every policy and/or mandate is legal and constitutional – and should not be controversial.

The last hurdle is hesitation. This is a personal choice I know, but its one with profound consequences.

Choosing to turn your back on science and medicine will prolong the pandemic (with newer, deadlier variants).

Choosing to join the overwhelming majority of us who play by the rules (which are temporary), obtaining vaccines when available are the steps needed to return to the normal life we all say we want.

So that we can be us again.

my2bits

Antivaxxer’s trying to appropriate NB labour board decision as evidence that mandates are illegal. Promptly get embarrassed.

An antivaxxer group known as “BrightEyesOnBrant” with a social media presence on FB, Instagram and Telegram is pushing a video that seemingly tells a story that CUPE local 2745 won a federal labour board decision halting CN rail’s vaccine mandate for its employees.

Except that none of this is true.

What is true is this:

  • CUPE won a labour tribunal decision against the New Brunswick for being an asshole.
  • A group of CN workers, independent of their union hired a legal team to fight the mandate and has filed its own ‘cease and desist’ order against their employer.
  • The federal labour board has not made any decision in this regard.

This is making some traction online in the antivax community as evidence that vaccine mandates ‘are illegal’, when no such ruling has taken place. While its true that *some* jurisdictions south of us in America have had state level courts block some mandates, far more are being validated as legal and justifiable. I have yet to find any such ruling in Canada.

This is such a misfire that even Rebel Media had to fact check itself as they initially attempted to run with this false narrative. Here, I include screenshots of the before/after.

While I will be careful here not to throw my own opinions in as ‘legal advice’ which would cause problems for me, I will suggest that government has an obligation to protect society from unhealthy choices of some of its citizens. This is why smoking laws exist and you cannot bark out ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre; freedom itself isn’t unlimited, and some choices have consequences.

As for any legal adjudication of vaccine mandates, I’ll respect our judiciary’s jurisdiction to decide this.

my2bits

The coming vaccination mandates are a good thing. Finally.

To be clear, that in the free nations of the world, no government can force you to take a medication against your will. But they can inversely make life hard if you ‘choose’ not to.

This might sound heavy handed or unfair, but a government – who derives its authority to govern by the people who elect it – are required to keep safe those under its care and protection to the best of its ability.

This means that although they cannot force a pill down your gullet or a needle in your arm, they can require that in order to travel or participate in certain optional, economic based activities – you need to choose to be vaccinated. This isn’t to punish those unvaccinated, its to protect those who are – and those who cannot be vaccinated by means of medical exemption.

I understand how we got here. Governments of the world have been playing the nice guy trying to encourage folks to get their vaccines when they’re available; and to a large extent they have been successful. But we’re not yet at a high enough vaccine coverage to see a large scale herd immunity as the hesitancy and rejection of modern science is enough to poke holes in this effort. Through these holes, this disease caused by Covid19 is allowed to thrive and mutate into more sinister versions of itself.

These are as a result of some selfish thinking and I am personally tired of playing nice about it.

I recognize that vaccines aren’t perfect, some in fact have suffered from ‘vaccine injuries’ from the available covid19 vaccines and regrettably some have died – whether the vaccines themselves are to blame is unproven as yet. But the numbers of people who have endured some adverse reactions to covid19 vaccines pale in comparison to those who suffer and die at the hands of covid19 who were never vaccinated.

But a related argument against seat belts can be made here. A seat belt, worn correctly, may cause its own injury in a car accident – even contribute to a fatality. Though the scientific research and engineering that went into seat belts proved that their usage safe infinitely more lives than without. And, as you could have guessed, there was an equivalent blowback in the early 1980’s when seat belt laws made them mandatory – by the same sorts who would now argue that government shouldn’t require vaccines for the same reason.

There are those who hide behind a flawed interpretation of laws and constitutional rights to assert that government is over-reaching badly here. If government is doing anything poorly here, its communicating their intent.

Government has every right to ban smoking in public buildings for example. Smoking rights’ advocates will argue that this infringes on a persons medical condition – addiction. No. One can ingest nicotine without lighting up a smoke – and besides, its the right of the non-smoker who is subject to second hand smoke against their choice (workplace, public area, etc) that government is responding to.

So it must be with vaccines and vaccine mandates. They’re not to punish those who willingly choose to flout globally accepted science – its to protect those who are doing their part to keep safe. Its not about you, its about all of us – and we constitute a majority.

I take particular offense at those who invoke ‘faith’ as a reason to reject medical advice and science. Do you realize how hypocritical this is? If you accept in your faith that humanity was created in the image of our creator, then all knowledge and science has flowed from this creation was made possible by His hands.

God (or whatever your faith deems The Creator to be) gave us the tools and ability to look beyond primal needs. This is how humanity got itself to the moon, built high tech phones, high speed rails, ships, cars, planes, etc. All of it was enabled by that spark of life ‘in the beginning’.

But, you do you. Hide behind your selective interpretation of your faith. So be consistent about it at least. Go home and empty out your medicine cabinet – including your shelves of vitamins and supplements. No pain medications for you; no heart medicine, no insulin or whatever. If you believe that we’re protected by the Blood of our Savior and the natural immunity we’re born with, then throw everything else away.

While you’re at it, no cell phones, no TV, no technology beyond the tools and tech you can personally build with your hands – since all of it came from the various scientific discoveries that you have rejected.

For those arguing that the potential for vaccine mandates is equivalent to the onset of fascism and Nazi-style gas chambers (etc), that is the most absurd spin I have ever seen. Worse, it trivializes into a stupid talking point the real suffering by ethnic and religious groups who have been targeted in the past for state sponsored harassment and murder.

Look, I know there many who are apprehensive and downright scared about covid19 – and the vaccines designed to provide protection against it. You are not alone – and your fears are well heard.

All I can say to you is that the fastest way back to a normal life is to adhere to social distancing and masking rules as they’re needed and to obtain your vaccine when its available to you.

Hesitancy and rejection of vaccines will keep a large pool of unprotected people out there which serve as a fertile ground for covid19 to remain among us – and mutate into more sinister versions of itself…not to mention that we’ll continue to remain in a disruptive cycle of lock-downs and restrictions the longer this drawn out.

The sooner you join us and get your vaccine, the sooner you can help protect yourself, your family and your community – and the sooner you give covid19 no room left to grow.

My2bits