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

Neo-liberalism will not save us

This may come as a surprise to many, but the economic upheavals we’re experiencing today were destined to happen long ago. They’ve just been made more profound and extreme by the pandemic.

But we came so close to getting it. So close. The inherent weaknesses in capitalism’s true form, neoliberalism, were laid bare for all to see.

Civic planners and emergency protocols forced the hand of governments to place mobility restrictions and interrupted the economy at the outset of the pandemic. Government responded with some short term assistance, but has largely pulled back everything.

What has happened is that the biggest corporations and wealthiest among us made off with the trillions of assistance dollars made available while housing is pushed even further out of reach for most people.

Workers are just awakening to their actual power just at a time that the inflationary bubble is about to be popped by Wall street and impoverish millions of us.

Mark my words, in the coming weeks and months, neoliberals in their pet parties (federal Liberal and Conservatives) will push the talking point that “we’re living beyond our means” and shift to austerity mode.

Again.

We didn’t cause this financial mess. They did.

This was the opportunity to correct some historic wrongs. We could have created a basic income – at the very least for folks living with disabilities. We could have imposed significant wealth taxes. We could have expanded the social safety net to include dental care. We could have made billions of dollars in investments to public transportation, shifting away from fossil fuels. We could have done so much.

Instead, we’re having arguments whether women should have the right to make independent medical decisions for themselves. (of course they should, this shouldn’t even be a thing).

We’re back to a culture war that divides folks along emotional/religious boundaries while the bandits run off with our national wealth and power.

To be clear, there is no ‘both sides’ of human rights. You are either for the protection of human rights or you’re in favour of taking them away from folks. This isn’t a ‘difference of opinion’ matter. Expanding and protecting human rights is right, taking them away is simply wrong.

The disgusting part of this social culture war is that conservatives have seen fit to include pandemic politics into this madhouse. Once upon a time, conservatives were rational leaders too, while many had different social views than the rest of us – they didn’t question vaccine science.

By crass opportunism or calculation, they’ve moved their big tent posts to grab some of those vaccine skeptical voters along with conspiracy theorists to push narratives that defy logic. Narratives that paint their opposition as fascist, etc.

To any educated mind, this is absolutely bonkers. Conservatives for a long time have positioned themselves as a party of ‘law and order’; only to now embrace defiance of (since repealed) health and safety measures. They do this as part of their recasting of ‘freedom’ vs ‘fascist’ (read: Liberal/NDP arrangement).

It doesn’t matter that every law, regulation, rule that has been imposed on a temporary measure has met a constitutional test and validated by every court where its been challenged. To the Conservatives, its a culture war that draws in votes for their side. To most rational people, it a party headed for the same crazy-ville that the GOP finds itself stuck in thanks to Trump.

It doesn’t matter that the science behind the various Covid19 vaccines is sound and verified. Its true that they’re not perfect, but the overwhelming use of said vaccines, upholding safe practices is how we navigate our way out of this pandemic. But it doesn’t matter to Conservatives.

They’ve latched on to an explosive, emotionally charged, traumatizing issue for which they’re pretending to be on the side of the ‘little guy’ on.

They’re not. They’ve capitalized on this issue because its so explosive and divisive; pandemic fatigue is real. They do this because it blinds voters to all else that moves…including the machinations of the actual corporate elite who just want to get even wealthier at our expense.

Conservatives are ok with this.

Also, so are the Liberals.

The Liberals are complicit in this culture war, not because some might agree with conservative held views, but that it serves them just as well to distract voters from all else that moves.

Liberals agenda is to permanently paint themselves as the only salvation from conservative social dinosaurs, and its largely been successful. The Federal Liberal Party has governed Canada far more often than the PC or CPC party have; and for longer stretches of time too.

But there is a hunger for substantial change; one that re-formats the system. A redistribution of power (not just wealth). That’s not something that neither the Liberals nor Conservatives are prepared to give up on.

This is because they are both supporters of the neoliberal economic philosophy. A philosophy that has driven a wedge between rich and poor like no other. Their wealthy benefactors in corporate Canada fund parties that maintain the status quo.

If team red and blue can keep folks angry about social issues, then there’s no need to worry about changing the system.

Got it now?

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

Conservatives are determined to re-elect Trudeau – this time with a majority. This is awful.

There was a series of social media posts circulated by various prominent conservative political leaders and thinkers in Canada which elevated the angry rants of some white-nationalist, covid-truther EU politicians as evidence that the world hates Trudeau and is harming Canada’s reputation around the world.

Bunk.

I am no Trudeau fan whatsoever, but I don’t hate him. My opposition is policy based and there are substantial gaps between him and I on environment, poverty, disability assistance and others. The gaps are significant enough that I will never vote Liberal; not under their current policy direction at least.

But Conservatives hate him.

No. Completely false. But from this 2016 tweet from Conservative insider Steven Taylor – which goes without any explanation or context – you are MEANT to make that connection.

They do so with a visceral hatred usually reserved for Nazi’s or Stalin’s regime. In fact; some of his conservative opponents in the deeper interwebs share memes and conspiracy theories that compare Trudeau TO Hitler…and Stalin. One of the more famous ones is connecting Justin to Fidel Casto; which has repeatedly been debunked.

Its not that conservatives actually believe that Trudeau is a family relative of Castro (they likely know that he isn’t), the point is to make you hate Trudeau as well.

Its the same tactic republicans used against President Barack Obama. He was falsely accused of being born in Kenya (which would have made him ineligible to run for president at all), then that he was Muslim. Of course there is no rule that excludes a Muslim from seeking the nomination of a party to run for President, in fact – there’s a rule that outlaws a religious test for holding public office).

Why? Because you cannot use certain language (or words that start with “N”) to identify black folks. That would be nakedly racist; but if you mask it around some (false) ineligibility narratives (Kenya) and paint Obama with being Islamic; the racist voter gets to vote against the black guy without saying that as the reason. Keeping in mind that the post-2001 world was pretty hostile to Muslims; especially in America.

Hitler? C’mon.

The same campaign baggage is being attached to Justin Trudeau, but in a country who would have elected Obama by an 80% margin if we could, this hate-standard is risky at best.

There are many reasons to oppose Trudeau (and Obama) – on based policy and performance. Both are objectively centrist who borrow more from the conservative economic theories than an actual liberal or left – where bolder, more decisive solutions lay.

But the conservatives are making it easy for Justin.

The deeply personal, character attacks launched towards Justin by several conservatives, and their proxies are quickly swept aside with “we might not be perfect, but we’re not crazy like them”.

In the context of the outcast EU politico’s that went after Trudeau with lines not much different than the worst rhetoric of the #KarenConvoy bunch, Conservatives should have dismissed them on the spot. Imagine if any one of the current crop of CPC leadership candidates, sitting MP’s, fanbase online had remarked, “while we have little in common with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, we will not share any moral ground or political space with unabashedly racist, xenophobic political figures who even the EU assembly keeps at a distance.”

They did not. Nobody did. But the internet is forever, and those who gave space to the crazy right wing in the EU here will also feature in Liberal Party campaign ads.

Justin Trudeau probably cannot believe his luck; and if he gets re-elected – its your fault.

My2bits

Federal NDP/Liberal CASA deal being cast as a coup d’état by incoherent conservative man-babies

To listen to some of the white hot rage thrown about by conservatives, their allies in the punditry and several folks in the #karenconvoy toddler tantrum party, the NDP and Liberals performed a successful January 6th-type overthrow of the government; or at least that’s the narrative they would like you to believe.

These clowns have no currency to trade except the political value of hate. To be honest, hate itself can motivate people into actions – for better or worse.

In selling their hate, they wrap it in a bunch of lies – because there is no factual basis for their counter-attacks.

There is no ‘coalition’, and any educated person will tell you that. What has been agreed to is a formal ‘confidence and supply agreement’ that assures that the minority government will have the necessary legislative votes for confidence reasons in exchange for concessions made to an opposition party. There is nothing unusual, immoral, illegal or unconstitutional about it. Its a tool available to Parliament by government to maintain office and its literally how Canada’s healthcare system and old age pension changes were enacted.

Parties reaching across the isle when there is no majority government is the expectation of voters who expect their leaders to get substantial things done. In this case, its an expansion of the national healthcare package to include dental care and pharmacare for the first time. If done right, this will be a life-changing enhancement for millions – including thousands of self employed and small business operators who function without a substantial extended healthcare package normally available from large companies or government employers.

Nobody expected conservatives to like anything about this development, but they are taking their hate – misogyny and other intolerances to new depths to instill revulsion towards Justin Trudeau and Jagmeet Singh.

I’m not suggesting that there’s no appeal for this tactic, but in a country famous for its ability to compromise and strike deals internally to accomplish big things, they’re coming off as violently hostile to compromise and deal making. This is a general philosophy only reserved for the most radical groups; some political, some religious…and it looks awful. They are appealing to the most hateful and bigoted subgroups in our society…don’t think we haven’t noticed.

Noteworthy however is the atomic-bomb thrown at the idea from Warren Kinsella. He’s a former Chretien-Liberal insider who now runs “Daisy Group”, a consulting firm in Ontario who served a variety of clients – and pens opinion pieces in local nespapers.

I think I expected better of him than this. With a legal background that he has, calling this ‘sneaky and undemocratic’ is about as false as you can get. But maybe his client base includes more and more conservative types and this is the worldview they’re all sharing now.

My own personal perspective is that while I appreciate our MP’s and opposing caucuses working together for measurable results, I don’t think ‘means testing’ dental care is consistent with the universality of medicare. I think that more substantive goals could have been agreed upon in electoral reform, and there’s some taxation/benefit areas missing from this deal. Like, where is any mention of a wealth tax? How about something profound for our fellow Canadian’s living with disabilities? Sure, we’ll see what happens in the next budget – and I am hopeful, but I remember the Liberals betrayal on electoral reform from 2015.

Still. Watching the Conservatives lose their minds of what’s largely a housekeeping matter so that we don’t land in another premature election makes me support this (admittedly imperfect) deal even more.

You clowns aren’t ready for power. Unhinged rhetoric is never helpful – regardless of which side foists it upon the public.

For now, I’ll go with this…and I suspect a super-majority of Canadians agree with me.

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