Surely there’s a special corner of Hell for the leaders of political parties who try to get unemployed people kicked off federal pandemic emergency supports at the same time they demand federal emergency supports for their private army of trolls!

Or am I the only one who finds it ironic to discover Conservative politicians who have been making screechy allegations of fraud by many of the Canadians who are surviving thanks to the Canada Emergency Response Benefit were working quietly to get a handout from the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy for their multitude of meme makers?

Conservative Party of Canada Communications Director Cory Hann (Photo: Twitter).

Certainly the Conservatives’ Greek chorus of sympathetic reporters and lobby groups, always Johnny-on-the-Spot with a new yarn about how someone’s horse is committing equine identity theft to greedily line its oats bag, fail to see the irony now that COVID-19 unemployment has had its inevitable impact on political donations.

The Globe and Mail reported from behind its paywall yesterday without a hint of a smirk or giggle that the Conservative Party of Canada had applied for CEWS subsidies to keep its vast army of trolls and political fart-catchers gainfully employed.

“With staff across Canada that have young and extended families that all rely on our organization, we want to do everything we can to maintain regular operations and continue to avoid layoffs,” said the party’s director of communications, Cory Hann, breaking hearts at the pathos of it all in every corner of the Dominion.

The Conservatives would have us believe none of their good staffers saved by the CEWS are remotely like the gilded geldings and humanoid hucksters allegedly improperly dipping into the CERB as the Liberal Government that is the real target of this codswallop tries to keep working Canadians’ heads above water while we’re locked down to reduce COVID-19 infection rates.

Liberals, New Democrats and Greens have all applied for the program as well, the Globe reported, and some of them have already received cash. But since none of those parties have tried to smear every CERB recipient in the country, it’s harder to find fault with them.

According to the CBC, the parties will each collect about $600,000 a month to keep their operatives operating.

Meanwhile, the Bloc Québécois alone has apparently resisted the temptation to apply for help from the CEWS, a move that would probably be popular in Alberta if only they could be persuaded to run candidates here.

They should think about it. Since they are obviously not certifiable loons, they might actually get more votes than our unsavoury local separatists would.

A note about Google advertising

Several readers have noted, some not very approvingly, that I have recently allowed Google advertising on this site.

The kind of ads that show up when I look at my blog (Photo: David J. Climenhaga).

Unlike some sites, I do not wish to hound readers for donations, so I don’t and won’t ask you to sign “petitions” to harvest contact data so I can send annoying emails constantly soliciting your money. Some of you are extremely generous anyway, and you have my profound gratitude for that assistance.

But for a blog by a single author with a fairly high readership like this website, Google ads offer a painless way to generate a steady if limited revenue stream.

It’s important to note a couple of things. First, while I do have veto power over individual ads that offend readers, I do not have control over the ad flow. Second, while ads will show up for every reader not using an ad blocker, not everybody sees the same ads because ad content is somehow driven by Google’s mysterious algorithm.

So to those who have been complaining about getting ads offering to introduce them to fetching humans, mine mostly seem to advertise men’s shoes and offer advice on earwax removal. Maybe it’s an age thing.

On Friday nights, I usually run the Alberta independent bookstores’ weekly fiction and non-fiction bestseller lists. I do this because I love and value reading and want to encourage it (same reason I served six years on the St. Alberta Public Library Board) and also to keep Alberta publishers and independent bookstores in business.

If you’re getting too many of the kind of ads you don’t like, perhaps you can fool the algorithm by clicking on the links to Alberta’s independent bookshops.

Join the Conversation


  1. Nice juxtaposition of Shandro’s name and a shoe. Is that the Google algorithm’s way of telling us that Shandro should get the boot?

  2. Thanks, as always, for your analysis and reporting and a big thank you to your generous patrons. I don’t have much to offer money-wise but greatly appreciate those who can doing so.

  3. I’ve enjoyed your blog for years and appreciate all the free insightful content you provide. Ads are everywhere on the internet, and I mostly don’t even pay attention to them anymore.

  4. The decision to “lock down” was surely perceived as necessary here in Alberta to “flatten the curve”, but there’s little doubt now that the claims that it was actually important to “flatten the curve” have been disproven. The refusal to “lockdown” in Sweden has produced an observed infection rate of 7-odd percent in Stockholm. So the bug is not only not the killer we were told it was, it is also not infectious the way we were told. Despite the corporate media shrieking about the mountain of corpses in Sweden, they have only twice as many dead as we do in Canada, and the mortality is, like in Canada, essentially restricted to the very elderly and very sick, mostly in care homes. So all sides can cluck and moan about not enough government cheese, or too much government cheese, or the wrong people or species getting government cheese, but the real issue is the implementation of the kookiest set of religious rituals, adopted willingly by the Branch Covidian sect, which is now the state religion in most of the advanced countries, that I have ever witnessed first-hand. So long, reason, we hardly knew ye. Wear your germ-slingers and gloves while you drive to deliver take-out and we’ll all be okay!

    1. Sweden has experienced about 392 deaths per million population so far, and while not in lockdown, they practise some social distancing. What do you think the rate is in Norway and Finland, Murphy? You know those countries next door who look at Sweden askance?


      Sweden 392
      Norway 44
      Finland 55

      If we take out the ridiculous situation in Quebec (460 deaths per million), almost as bad as Italy, Spain and UK, what about the rest of Canada, itself running at 170?

      Ontario 150
      Nova Scotia 60
      BC 30
      Alberta 30
      The rest of the provinces, less than 10, down to NB and PEI with a big fat ZERO

      I don’t know about you Murph — I’d say you’re full of it. Be glad you’re not subject to living in Quebec, particularly Montreal, where their LTC facilities for oldsters were obviously badly run in an almost a criminal way, and nobody checked them even on a good day last year.

      BTW, I find all the provincial websites graphics and reporting stats next to useless. The public health people all seem to have been trained at the same epidemiological university where mathematics and clarity did not really feature. My brother, a retired doc, just shakes his head metaphorically to me on phone calls. He fails to see much cogency in any of it. The random testing he praises in Alberta this week on Wednesday showed 3.6% positives on unsymptomatic people. There’s your breeding ground for Wave 2. One thing kenney gets right is doing the random testing. And the super-duper Dr Bonnie Henry in BC declaims random testing for reasons unknown to my brother or me. My brother says in his 40 year career, he never put down flu as cause of death; it was the last straw exacerbating other problems. So he wonders where the WHO comes up with worldwide flu deaths each year. The answer is there are no standards for reporting, so anyone at an institution like WHO can guess their brains out and fudge things, and nobody can gainsay them. One thing for sure, NYC doesn’t have dead bodies stacked like cordwood in an average flu year, so I’d take WHO figures with a grain of salt. If Sweden went the way it did based on the WHO flu figures, for example, they fooled themselves.

      What matters in the present here and now is not how many contracted the plague and who recovered and the number of negative tests but the Rate of Death per capita.

      Oh, and the USA run by a pill-popping idiotic germophobe is currently at 302/million and rising.
      UK 562
      Spain 614
      Italy 542

      Gotta tell you Murph, glad I live in Canada. The lockdown measures work if you get on it soon enough and or sort of prepare, unlike PQ . But hey, why bother with facts if you have an opinion to replace them with?

      Certainly, based on what we’ve learned so far, I’d be in favour of less severe measures in the fall. Nobody is travelling overseas and bringing the plague home, nor are many crossing provincial boundaries. We shall have to see whether the power accorded provincial public health officials has gone to their heads. Or if provincial premiers like the PCs in NB and PEI which are essentially virus-free, stop being so shall we say, “cautious” in letting people get out and about. The contact-tracing app Trudeau wants us all to download run by foreigners in a foreign country sitting on a mound of private data — me, I do not trust it one bit. There’s quite enough surveillance as it is, thanks all the same.

      1. The dead listed as Covid victims in Alberta are essentially all people for whom the Chupacabra was the last straw. Over eighty with multiple preexisting ailments, in care homes. For the school age and working population, negligible mortality, low levels of hospitalization. This is also the case in Sweden. So the lockdowns do work to keep away vampires and ghosts but don’t do much to protect us from a non-lethal, not particularly infectious bug. But peace be unto you who walk in the spirit of Covidia. Don’t stop believing’! My seven-year-old daughter hasn’t played with another kid since St. Patrick’s day, but if we can keep the numbers of diabetic nonagenarians from having Covid on their death certificates, well, that should keep us all safe from Xenu.

    2. Murphy: Generally, we do not listen to medical people much less accord them cult status. If we did a whole whack of things from asbestos to 2-4D would not be produced. No, the real state religion is “Neo-liberalism” and some of the catechism includes the beliefs that competition creates efficiency (efficiency being a sub-deity) and pipelines will bring wealth.

      Like all good religions, Neo-liberalism demands some sacrifices and Sweden is merely channeling its long-standing devotion to the faith by sacrificing its elderly to keep business moving. Since UCP supporters lean heavily towards the older demographic, I salute your Neo-liberal devotion to the faith.

      On the other hand, the Danes (whom many consider to be “Swedes with brains”) have a stringent lock-down policy. Perhaps they have a more sentimental view of their elderly and vulnerable.

      On the other hand, the Swedes are noted for their stoicism.

      Perhaps the closer to the “death zone” you are the more sensitive you become (UCP supporters excepted of course).

      1. The Danes are Swedes with Brains? Any other bigoted, stereotyping adages you care to share? The lockdown is the nuttiest neoliberal policy ever, but it’s also the most effective as it has the self-righteous declaring it to be the most profound expression of progressive “caring”. The irony is too much.

        1. You have missed the point again, but you do express yourself with great zest. I won’t bother going over Nordic history with you or Sweden’s long history of Neo-liberal hypocrisy, but their determination to carry on business more or less as usual while their fragile and elderly die at higher rates than their more prudent neighbors merely reinforces a long-standing stereotype about their culture noted in the one Guardian article. Oh, and you do seem rather sensitive to asides while being a bit obdurate, when it comes to numbers like those in the Guardian articles I linked to or to Mr. Malcom’s wholly reasonable observations.

          On the other, other hand, I would love to agree with your opinions on how lethal, infective, or the long term effects of the seven month old Covid 19 virus. However, they are as yet wholly and completely baseless.

  5. okayyyy… I almost always leave this issue to people of color to comment on b/c it ain’t my place, i.e. don’t usually comment on this issue as an old white old guy… but folks…

    damn! that’s a seriously white euro crowd for the most part, even for 2006, of staff/insiders, is it not?

    I see maybe 8 non-whites, maybe! … out of ~ 85-88 (present and accounted for… Sir!)

    Harper-CPC-barbaric practices snitch-line crowd was real big on old-stock Canadians, eh? … LOL

  6. This is one of the rare occasions I approve of what the CPC did. It was a good idea for them to take the CEWS to keep people working. It is a good program and I suppose even Tory hacks have families to feed. However in this case the CPC is like the proverbial broken clock that is only right twice a day, or perhaps in this case only once.

    Now I am not sure about their previous concern about to subsidies to horses, although they might claim that was the CTF’s hobby horse issue not theirs and if I recall I think the horses were supposedly getting the CERB not the CEWS, but that was not entirely clear to me. All these different Federal emergency programs – hard to keep track of them all. So perhaps the CPC can argue it is not totally guilty of hypocrisy here. However that would still be a weak argument given the number of times the party has argued or campaigned against government support to the needy.

    It is interesting the BQ seems to be positioning itself as the only free enterprise party here. They seem about as consistent as the CPC on this, but I suppose it is a free country and we can’t force them to take money they don’t want. However, I have to wonder if Maxime Bernier has recently cast a spell on them or something.

    At least I think the NDP and Liberals can claim to be consistent on this issue and probably the Greens to.

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