Some of the vehicles involved in the anti-vaccine-mandate truck protest (Photo: Screenshot of news clip).

The Medicine Hat woman who is the public face of the GoFundMe campaign that has now theoretically raised more than $5 million to support the “Freedom Convoy 2022” motorcade protest against COVID-19 vaccine mandates remains a senior officer of the separatist-leaning Maverick Party.

The Maverick Party website identifies Tamara Lich as secretary of the party’s “Western Canadian Governing Council,” and even quoted her in a news release Monday defending her fund-raising efforts.

Truck protest fund-raiser and Maverick Party Secretary Tamara Lich (Photo: Maverick Party).

“When asked to comment on the intent of the Convoy, Tamara Lich, one of the organizers said, ‘This (convoy) is not about vax or anti-vax or covid,’” said the press release from the party previously known as Wexit Canada. “‘It is about restoring Canada’s rights and freedoms.’”

The news release didn’t mention she’s also a party official. 

However, it does state that the “Maverick Party is not directly involved in the ‘Freedom Convoy,’ although some Maverick members and supporters have chosen to support the convoy.”

“People with close ties to the Liberal Party have attacked the Maverick Party as being, ‘white supremist, separatists,’” the Maverick press release charged defensively. “We condemn all level of racism and extremism. Maverick Party is proud of our open and inclusive platform.”

The news release also claimed the party takes no position on COVID-19 vaccines, “but does support freedom-of-choice and a citizen’s right to decide what they do with their own bodies.”

Leah Murray, listed on the news release as the party’s public affairs contact, said in an email that “Maverick Party has absolutely no association with the convoy.” She noted that the party also has no connection with the convoy protest’s GoFundMe appeal or any funds it raises.

In a comment on this blog in response to last Saturday’s post on the “Freedom Convoy” protest, Maverick Party Interim Leader Jay Hill complained that stories and commentary about the fund-raiser were “not only … an inaccurate and unjustified smear against Ms. Lich, but an attempt to frighten people away from consideration of the Maverick Party.”

Maverick Party Interim Leader and former Conservative MP Jay Hill (Photo: Jake Wright, Creative Commons).

Mr. Hill, former Conservative Party of Canada MP for Prince George-Peace River, accused this blog and a trade publication news story it quoted of suggesting Ms. Lich holds extremist views “simply because she donates some of her time to raising public awareness through a peaceful protest.”

Notwithstanding the party news release’s claim Liberals have unfairly labelled it a separatist organization, Mr. Hill said in his comment on this blog that “Maverick is the only party willing to take strong positions to truly represent what’s best for the West. Yes, even daring to talk about western independence!”

Despite the party’s portrayal of the convoy protests as moderate and compatible with its policies, past social media statements by supporters are coming to light that suggest the protest harbours people with troubling associations with extreme identity politics. 

For example, the Canadian Anti-Hate Network tweeted yesterday that the B.J. Ditcher whose name now appears as an organizer on the truck protest GoFundMe page alongside Ms. Lich is the same person identified in an August 2019 Toronto Star story about a People’s Party of Canada activist who claimed in offensive language at that party’s first national convention that “political Islam” had infiltrated both the federal Liberal and Conservative parties.

Global News yesterday reported that some right-wing activists hope to use the truck protest to duplicate the deadly Jan. 6 insurrection in Washington D.C. 

Maverick Party public affairs contact Leah Murray (Photo: Twitter/Leah Murray).

Others involved in the convoy appear to think they can overthrow the government of Canada by talking to the Governor General – a notion that will sound familiar to Albertans who experienced some of the opposition to premier Rachel Notley’s NDP government in 2016. 

Mr. Hill did not respond directly to queries arising from his comments on this blog. Instead, Ms. Murray emailed a copy of the new release. 

So Mr. Hill presumably chose not to indicate if he shared the view of the protest organizers, as stated on their crowd-funding page, that Canadians “are being mistreated and denied fundamental necessities to survive” by vaccine mandates.

Nor did he respond to a request to comment on the statement by the president of the Canadian Trucking Alliance that “disrupting the motoring public on highways and commerce at the border” is “not acceptable.”

Meanwhile, organizers who hope to get access to the large amount of cash they’ve been raising through the GoFundMe crowd-funding platform may have to wait.

The Canadian Press reported yesterday that while GoFundMe continues to allow donations to be made to Ms. Lich’s fund-raiser, it has frozen access to the funds. 

“We require that fundraisers be transparent about the flow of funds and have a clear plan for how those funds will be spent,” a spokeswoman for the crowd-funding platform told CP’s reporter. “In this case, we are in touch with the organizer to verify that information.”

“Funds will be safely held until the organizer is able to provide the documentation to our team about how funds will be properly distributed,” Rachel Hollis said.

The convoy – variously described as having a few dozen to more than 100,000 trucks – is somewhere out there in the winter murk motoring toward Ottawa, where it is expected to arrive on the weekend. Police in Regina, which the convoy passed yesterday, said there were about 1,200 vehicles of various sizes in the group. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: I decided with the last story on this topic to post almost all comments without editing as a sort of teaching moment for my regular readers on the quality of discourse I experience regularly from certain portions of the political spectrum in Alberta. Commenters should take note that normal rules are back in effect and comments containing profanity will be edited or deleted depending on their degree of offensiveness and contribution to the conversation. DJC

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83 Comments

  1. So if I understand all this correctly the Mavericks are not racists or extremists, but just seem comfortable hanging out with them a lot in their spare time. How reassuring.

    Also, they say they have no position on vaccines, but isn’t opposing mandatory vaccinations, which I believe is the crux of the protesting truckers position, taking a position?

    At least the protesting truckers are clearer in their positions. The Mavericks seem to be talking like politicians here, somehow trying to straddle both sides of things, but not convincingly.

    They may not be mainstream, but they sure seem to have figured out duplicitous communication already.

    1. The tired old stereotypes about Albertans being largely recheck & racists. Odd that Calgary three times elected a Muslim POC, as mayor, something the “progressive, liberal, open-minded” cities of Vancouver, Toromto, Montreal, have never done. I don’t remember any of them electing other than a white male..

        1. However, Naheed Nenshi, is Muslim. When he was elected in 2010 he became the first Muslim mayor in all of North America.

          He was subsequently re-elected in both 2013 and 2017.

          So, yes. Calgary has three times voted to elect a Muslim POC for their mayor.

          Just to ice the cake, the people of Calgary elected Jyoti Gondek in 2020, a Sikh POC.

          I just checked Vancouver, a stream of white-haired white guys going all the way back to the 19th century.

  2. So what do the CONs do with this convoy?

    The last one, the so-called “Yellow Vests” protests, inspired by similar protests in France at that time, proved to be more than a problem for the support CON leader, Andrew Scheer. That protest was loaded with calls for violence against PMJT, as well as the usual conspiracy nonsense. But Scheer got to blow a truck’s horn, so maybe it was worth it.

    Erin O’Toole, originally, sought to keep his distance from this crazy, but it looks like some of his MPs have pushed him into supporting it, mock lynchings of Trudeau in effigy and all. Much of the claims about this convoy, including the wild estimates of anywhere from 50K to 100K participants are turning this into an especially interesting circus. That and the posted claims that the last useless federal election was stolen by the Liberals (according to Qanon) have left O’Toole with little choice but to join in and save his foundering leadership.

    The sideshow of the near-bursting GoFundme to support this protest is pushing deeper into the multi-million dollar range as left the crowdfunding service asking questions about what is really going on. Tamara Lich’s involvement in the Maverick, PPC, and Wexit parties has proven herself to be quite the organizer, which concerns GoFundme, as they have made clear that their service is not to be used for political fundraising. So, they locked the funds pending more information from Lich. Seems she has presented the convenient situation of not having a plan for this treasure chest of donations, which caused a stern rebuke from GoFundme. Seems now the monies are SUPPOSED to be distributed to a bulk fuel supplier and a veterans’ charity. At least now there’s the hope that the funds will not disappear like with the Yellow Vests, but the convoy organizers are asking for e-transfers now, in the event that GoFundme decides this is too dangerous of a fundraiser to have on their platform.

    It was with great amusement that I watched Melissa Lantsman squirm on her Twitter feed. After the posting of her ill-thought-out, ill-timed, and just plain ill tweet about non-existent empty shelves in Canadian supermarkets, the head offices of Walmart, Safeway, Loblaw’s, and others shot back that the empty shelves (in any) were the result of staffing shortages because of the Omicron variant. I guess Lantsman was hoping that the CON Twitter mob would save her, but to no avail, as her feed was swarmed by those who noticed she was caught in a pile of stupid. At least Candice Bergen’s support for the convoy didn’t get attacked … oh, wait. There’s that pic of her wearing a #MAGA trucker’s hat again. The Internets really do suck, huh?

  3. So there’s some right wing nuts involved. Must mean the whole convoy is evil. Kinda like how LEFT WING EXTREMISTS have infiltrated the pro vax message (by saying the vaccines are 100% safe and pushing to JAIL the unvaxxed). Lets not judge something by the position of its fringier members. Because lunatics will ALWAYS hijack great things. On a side note, the left seems to LOVE peaceful protest when its their own cause, but cant help themselves from smearing someones elses cause, JUST LIKE CONSERVATIVES. … [THIS COMMENT HAS BEEN EDITED TO MEET COMMUNITY STANDARDS. MY COMMUNITY STANDARDS. DJC]

    1. B: I think you are seeking attention, but it’s not turning out good for you. Nor do you grasp the magnitude of Covid-19. If this was my blog, I would have blocked you, long ago. Thankfully, it’s not my blog, and the author of this blog can make that choice. There are progressives, such as I, who love to see common sense in use.

  4. Hey Dave if your opinions are triggering and dividing people so much, maybe that makes you ne better than the guy who called my unvaxxed-for-medical-reasons-wife a racist. Good job making sure half this province hates the other half. Youre really doing a bang up job. Do you even TALK to regular people, or ask them questions? Because it seems to me you like your echo chamber. For the record, im fully vaxxed … [THIS COMMENT HAS BEEN EDITED – DJC]

    1. Just curious. Have you talked to your unvaxxed-for- medical-reasons-wife about the most severe medical condition of all commonly known as death?

      I personally wouldn’t jump out of an airplane without a parachute because of medical reasons, but hey it’s her choice I guess.

    2. “Unvaxxed for medical reasons”. Hmmm. In fact, there are no legitimate, scientifically validated medical reasons not to be immunized against COVID-19. Even a documented anaphylactic allergic reaction to the vaccine is not an absolute contraindication to being immunized, according to the Canadian Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology — the organization for physicians who specialize in the immune system — https://www.csaci.ca/covid-19-vaccines-faq/.

      I will say, though, that a history of just such a reaction to this vaccine should be a valid reason to grant an exemption to mandatory immunization, for two reasons: (1) an individual who had a life-threatening reaction to the vaccine should feel free to assess for themselves, in consultation with a suitably qualified health care professional, & free of any coercion or pressure, the risks & benefits of getting immunized, with the attendant reflection time to ensure they are making a decision they are comfortable with, which may mean they need to take some time before getting that second or third dose, time during which they should still be allowed to move among us; and (2) qualified allergists are few & far between in parts of the province distant from the two major cities, and as a matter of simple justice, we ought not to mandate vaccination for allergic individuals who live far enough away that getting to an allergist is a hardship.

      So, while there are no medically valid reasons not to be immunized, there is one medically valid, ethically defensible reason not to be mandated to be immunized. But true anaphylactic reactions are exceedingly rare — on the order of one per 100,000 people immunized — and so that tiny proportion of the population is insufficient to adversely affect our striving for population-level immunity. However, so-called “medical exemptions” are being sought, and at times issued, at a rate far higher than one per 100,000.

  5. Thanks for the filter David.
    I’m sorry that you are exposed to it and I salute you for your courage and forbearance.

    I am not willing to tolerate too much of that nonsense in my morning read. I know it exists, and I believe it’s much more prevalent in Alberta than elsewhere in Canada. I deal with it daily in my work and just out and about in public. It feels very much like rowing a small boat through an endless sea of icebergs; you know there is a lot more out there than what is seen and at any moment what appears as a small piece of floating ice might very well adjust buoyancy and roll, rising the mountain underneath and come down on you.

    These people are the worst among us. They are a pox and a stain on society. I don’t know what to do about them but I for one, am not willing to consider any aspect of their continued existence.

    1. Political Ranger I could not agree more and I have so far been able to ignore this kind of circus that is very obvious in the UCP as well. My concern is that these people have been empowered by the 4 years of Trump in the US and now they really are stretching their power and trying to asphyxiate the rest of us. These people understand democracy but only when they are in power. Unfortunately they are also starting to intimidate people as if the rule of law does not really affect them. These are clear signs of what created the January 6th in the US and that they seem to want to recreate here. At least one of the truckers had the courage to say it out loud to the public – lets do a January 6 here in Canada!
      How far we will allow this to continue is what concerns me. These are serious signs our democracy is weak and I see no one at the government level concerned with this reality. Are we going to allow our democracy to fall in the hands of people like Jason Kenney here in Alberta? The only protection we have right now from clear abuse of power by Jason Kenney is that our judicial system is still robust but that does not last if we do not make sure those services will continue robust. It is just one more step for people like him. We already have the Justice Minister Madu calling the chief of Police because of his ticket. What is next – intimidation? firings? They already fired the person who was investigating our holy father Jason Kenney!

  6. It is sad to see the state of affairs of our democracy that seems to deteriorate daily.
    All these fringe groups want is to be able to get hold on power and implement their versions of democratic governments which include freedom for the party and their leaders and total lack of respect and freedom for the serfs which of course include most of us. This idea of repeating the January 6th event in Canada is just a clear example of what they actually have in mind under the excuse of their freedom of choice.

  7. I guess the Maverick Party doesn’t want us to believe they have anything to do with this truck convoy, despite all appearances to the contrary. Are they are aware that fundraising for a federal political party from unnamed entities and individuals outside the country will land them in trouble with Elections Canada? Elections Canada does not take kindly to dark money. The millions of dollars in the GoFun**Me account are the sole property of Ms. Lich, the instant millionaire, in theory anyways. GoFu**Me might have some explaining of its own to do if they decide to release this money. Ms. Lich’s Canadian bank will surely flag multiple transfers of $10,000 and up as suspicious to federal authorities, just as they would a single transfer of millions.

    As for the truck convoy, I’ve seen a lot of pickup trucks and fewer tractor trailer units. Since food is not delivered from warehouses in pickup trucks, I wonder if these “truckers” realize their hollow threats to cut off Canada’s food supply are meaningless.

    Both the mission and the message have devolved considerably since the weekend. It’s not January 6, but this is a bunch of friendly sausage makers heading to the capital for a brouhaha. There’s talk of circling the wagons and cutting off Ottawa. I am the only one who thinks Ottawa has other plans in store for them? There was talk of breaking down walls (of Jericho?) by the “freedom truckers” on the news today. They’re on a mission from God, if we are to believe an illustration posted yesterday by Drew Barnes on Twitter. Trucks parting the Red Sea? We’ll see how that goes. At the end of the day, this piece of art could end up on a truck stop wall, down the hallway to the showers, with the headlights illuminated.

  8. Meanwhile, Tamara Lich seems to be learning the same lesson that Andrew Scheer, Erin O’Toole and Jason Kenney had to learn the hard way – namely the folly of courting the nut job demographic, then being associated with their actions when they become embarrassing.

    Could a court order the $5 million be used to start mitigating any damage done by the extremists the convoy inspires?

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/organizer-extremists-convoy-no-violence-1.6327650

  9. Well, isn’t this the very playbook that extremist groups use to indoctrinate and bring people on to their side? First, they find a divisive issue that is initially not political in nature (such as vaccines) and then leverage that discontent to radicalize the people who share the same views, such as vaccine hesitancy, and capture the agenda.

    There has been much discussion of this phenomenon in many places. Here is one Canadian example that attempts to provide some clarity and explanation around it: https://theconversation.com/the-anti-vax-movement-is-being-radicalized-by-far-right-political-extremism-166396.

    In any event, Jay Hill and Tamara Lich can deny all they like that their motives are not political and that the protests are “moderate”. The fact remains that something more sinister is going on under the surface, propelled by the cynical and manipulative exploitation of the socially irresponsible and dangerous algorithms used by social media platforms to take people down into the sulphureous rabbit holes of hate and division.

    1. Our democracy has been crumbling since this clown “won” another election. He is not interested in democracy. He is interested in power, money and control.

      More sinister than the leader of our country? The man who has indoctrinated our nation, played on people’s fears and costs of years of loss from our economy. Leaving massive debt for our children? He has been accused of being a racist and he certainly is not shy about his dislike for Albertans and his love for Quebecers. Our PM isn’t even unbiased, he has an agenda. Thank goodness there are people willing to stick their necks out.

      There is no way the majority identifies with this fringe group. Have you considered that is exactly the plight that all of these news sources would like you to believe? Because all of the main stream media is bought and paid for by our government. “They” are even turning off traffic cams so that this footage is not being seen. And there were stories claiming that it was a protest about highway conditions.

      Come on, they are liars, the leader of our country wants you in his pocket.

      1. Do you just make this stuff up, or do you actually find it somewhere. I assume you define democracy as crumbling when anyone but your own lunatic Q-enthusiasts is in power. Leaving massive debt for our children? Cons have been whinging about this for generations. The minute they’re in power, they incerase the debt, as per Harper and Trump. His dislike of Albertans? This is just a lie. A leader with an agenda? Good God! What next? No way the majority identifies, yadda-yadda? You sure? They keep winning well run and honest elections. Mainstream meadia bought and paid for? By Republican U.S. vulture capitalists maybe. Traffic cams cut off? Have you considered taking your meds?

        1. Just well read.

          I’m not discussing federal debt. I’m talking about the financial position in which the majority of Canadians find themselves in due to pandemic response. And that debt that will follow future generations.

          I guess whatever you think is a lie, is a lie. There is no discussion with someone who is dismissive without looking at all the info. Good day.

      2. For naught I tried extremely hard to keep my post neutral so as not to attract the usual ranting fulminators, who appear to be using Draino as a condiment in their coffee to turn them into mini volcanos. Please note that I made no reference to left or right wing. I merely point out the very disturbing trend that many have observed, to wit: that many decent folks with moderate beliefs and views are being pulled to extremist positions because they are being manipulated by social media platforms and those who exploit those platforms. It could happen on the left or the right — there is little daylight between a fascist or a Stalinist/Maoist.

        B, if you are getting your news from FB, Twitter, and other social media platforms, or discovered the sources of your information from those sources, you need to be extra critical and vigilant that you have not been a victim of misinformation and manipulation.

        Does Trudeau dislike AB? He has done more for AB than Jason Kenney; that’s for sure. Trudeau bought us a pipeline to transport our dilbit (very nasty stuff, btw) to the west coast. This is more than Kenney has done. So, who has a bigger hate on for AB, Trudeau or Kenney? I would say it is Jason Kenney, if measured by the good they have actually, really accomplished for the province.

      3. You are aware that there was a convoy in BC to protest unsafe road conditions right? It was so considerate of Ms. Lich to overlap her planned protest over theirs that nobody even paid attention to the initial convoy that had a legitimate concern they were addressing. I guess whether or not 10% of truckers are vaccinated is more important than the deaths of truckers doing their jobs in unsafe conditions. Or at least that is what she’d have you believe.

    2. Extremist groups have been the cat’s paw of entrenched power in modern society for 150 years. Minimum. You will not find an extremist group that is not penetrated at the highest level by agents provocateurs working for intelligence or police agencies. This fact has been dismissed as “conspiracy theory”, like every single other manifestation of the National Security State created in the wake of the Second World War, but fact it is.
      “Exclusive: Proud Boys leader was ‘prolific’ informer for law enforcement”
      https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-proudboys-leader-exclusive-idUSKBN29W1PE
      “A man who authorities say is a leader of the far-right Oath Keepers militia group and helped organize a ring of other extremists and led them in the attack last month at the U.S. Capitol has held a top-secret security clearance for decades and previously worked for the FBI, his attorney said Monday.”
      https://www.cbsnews.com/news/thomas-caldwell-oath-keepers-capitol-attack-worked-fbi-lawyer/

      We live in a society completely dominated by privately held corporations, who are more powerful than our democratic institutions.

      The reification of this “anti-vaxx” concept is a manifestation of this dominance. Pfizer is a criminal entity and operates in the same manner as tobacco companies, banks, the opioid manufacturers, etc. Moderna is the same. You have accepted a narrative generated by the nexus of these private corporate entities and the military/intelligence actors who built the national security state.

      The vaccines are not safe, and they are entirely experimental. The Emergency Use Authorization status that they hold in the US came directly out of the military industrial complex. This isn’t disinformation cooked up by nerfarious algorithims, it’s the truth.

      The divisive issue wasn’t vaccines, it was the claim that a categorically more virulent and lethal infectious respiratory virus appeared in 2019, and this unprecedented event required the restriction of virtually all socio-economic life, and the inculcation of people with a notion that this ailment was untreatable and we could only be freed by the imposition of universal vaccination.
      The first part proved without question to be false, meaning that anything following was entirely rooted in a fallacy. And you want to blame a handful of imbeciles who would be over their heads selling photcopiers for the mass alienation and fracturing of social cohesion?

      We are on the cusp of a complete transformation of life due to the private control of the emerging digitized economy and you’re talking about extremists among a bunch of multi-level marketing aspirational rubes?

      No wonder these mouth-breathing cretins who think Trudeau, essentially a talking head, is some kind of communist who stole their freedom. We are doomed.

      1. I am not sure who gets the prize for being the perfect example of the synergistic effect of the combination of the Dunning-Kruger Effect and Cognitive Dissonance, but you are a contender. You certainly are a good example that misinformation can come for either side of the political spectrum and is not confined to the right wing.

        Nowhere have I seen any posts or comments in this blog that defended big pharma. In fact, big pharma is a villain in this piece because of their greed and the patent laws that enabled that greed to reach unimaginable heights during this pandemic: https://cepr.net/patents-and-the-pandemic-can-we-learn-anything/. It could be argued that the price gouging by big pharma, which at one point was charging Uganda over $30.00 a dose for something that cost only 5.00 to manufacture for example, combined with limited supply plays a significant role in the rise of Covid variants. It is a Darwinian race among the variants — we are seeing evolution play out in real time. Variants are partly the consequence of insufficient vaccine manufacture and distribution.

        Your comment that “[v]accines are not safe, and they are entirely experimental” is not supported by any authoritative sources that I know of. You need to back up this irresponsible and misleading assertion with evidence from widely respected sources, such as, the UN, medical journals (JAMA, etc), scientific journals and publications, etc.

        You don’t think the virus is serious. Really? Many have died and many are suffering long-term Covid symptoms. More would have died and more would be suffering were it not for the vaccines, which the US and other governments played a significant role in developing: https://khn.org/news/vaccine-pioneers-basic-research-scientists-laid-groundwork-for-billion-dollar-pharma-products/. Governments, problematic as they are, deserve some credit for getting us to a better (not good or great) place than we would be otherwise during this pandemic.

        You don’t think that vaccines are a primary divisive issue. Have you not heard of Andrew Wakefield and the incalculable damage he did to the trust that many used to place in the safety and efficacy of vaccines? Granted, Wakefield’s disgraceful and evil conduct occurred well before Covid, but he more than anyone is responsible for the rash of vaccine hesitancy that preceded Covid, which was exploited by others to cause doubt about the safety and efficacy of the Covid vaccines. Anyway, where is your data that shows that Covid vaccines are not safe, or they are not efficacious? If you can’t produce any reliable evidence, then please stop spreading this misinformation.

        While I agree with you about the power of corporations in our society and that this power represents a dire threat to us, I think you go way too far with your assertion that “[t]he Emergency Use Authorization status that they hold in the US came directly out of the military industrial complex.” I actually think you were brought to that belief a nefarious algorithm.

        In other threads, you like to present statistics from the AB government web site to make your case that vaccines are not effective. But you misinterpret and shade statistics that clearly show that the unvaccinated occupy a disproportionately large share of hospital and ICU beds. Most of the folks here who read your posts on this blog know that you either do not understand how to interpret data correctly or you are just lying.

        1. in addition to Phlogistin’s comment, if you go the Reuters website, what you will learn is that Tarrio, after being charged for fraud, decided to get a better deal and help the government prosecute criminals. As the Reuter’s article makes clear, he has migrated from being a fraudster to being a domestic terrorist, and is keen to deny he ever “worked” for the federal government, as that would kill his credibility. Oh, I guess it shows he is a “survivalist”, which is apparently a big thing among those who think the end of the world is coming.

  10. “Commenters should take note that normal rules are back in effect…”
    Who can blame the blogger? If it’s any consolation, a pundit once said, “Someday there will be licences for mentally retarded orangutangs.”

  11. I always thought that unions supported the idea that there was a right to work.

    But I guess its only a right to work for union members. Is this the line that the NDP, lets call their core group the Provincial Socialists, really wants to take?

      1. Unions used to be made up of blue collar workers who needed their legitimate needs supported by entities who werent in the pocket of the political masters. Now they are made up of highly educated government workers who can vote themselves the governments they want.

        This is a big issue for people cannot do that, but still want to work. And in the case of the trucker rally are trying to retain their right to decide on medical treatments they accept and continual doing the job they want to support their families with.

    1. Do you really mean the “right to work”?

      What are called right-to-work laws would more accurately be termed “right-to-work-for-less,” for their aim is to deprive unions of dues and money essential to their ability to represent workers and enforce contracts. A signal achievement of the New Deal was the Wagner Act of 1935, guaranteeing labor’s rights to organize and bargain collectively.

      Unions are about fair wages and benefits.

      1. Wagner Act, eh. Meanwhile, here in Canada, we have the Rand formula, named after some Supreme Court justice back in 1946, which requires every employee covered by a Collective Bargaining Init to pay dues to the union, while allowing actual membership in the union to remain voluntary. In turn, the union has a legal duty to fairly represent every employee in the bargaining unit, members or not, in any disputes with the employer. The mandatory dues payments provide the union with the revenue it needs to do the job. It’s a bit like citizenship versus permanent residency: both permanent residents & citizens pay taxes, but only citizens get to vote.

        The Rand formula has been a feature of collective bargaining Canada ever since.

        And, by the way, citizens also get to direct the government — through the democratic process — in terms of how it uses their taxes. Non-citizen taxpayers don’t have that same voice, but neither group gets to withhold a portion of their taxes that pay for things the government does they don’t agree with. For example, pacifists can’t withhold the part of their federal income taxes that go to the armed forces.

        Similarly, unions use democratic means to make decisions on how their members’ dues are spent, including on such matters as advocacy and political action. Not all members will agree with everything the union does, and non-members might not agree either, but that doesn’t — or shouldn’t — give them the right to withhold part of their dues.

        https://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/rand-formula

        1. Yes! I’m very fond of the Rand formula. I think Bret has distracted me with a red herring though. When I hear “right to work” I am upset for the misguided souls that fall for that baloney.

          Speaking of misguided souls, I can’t shake the similarity of the anti vaccine mandate trucker to-do with the sovereign citizens.

          I sometimes met with them in court. They were usually trying a strategy that was obviously not how court works, and very occasionally they could snap out of it and accept help.

          I hope that the truckers will get over this bad idea.

          1. Getting hung up on the US blue state red state fight over right to work? Think about it this way.

            On the one side, you have people working providing services and paid by people who want those services and can afford the ask.

            On the other side, you have a bunch of other entities involved that between this process. How do those other entities get paid is the question?

    2. Without unions, what benefits would you have in an employment situation, even if it wasn’t a union? It isn’t the early 1900s anymore, or earlier. Times have changed. Unions would protect employees from harm. The UCP doesn’t care about the safety of workers. See the Cargill saga for evidence of that.

    3. The “Provincial Socialists”? Did you notice Notley and Co. kicking the private energy companies out of the province and taking over the entirety of the oil and gas industry? How about free post-secondary education on the watch of the NDP? Significant reversal of the privatization of basically everything? Can you point to a single policy of the NDP that did, or would in the future, reverse the unprecedented share of the provincial GDP that evaporates into corporate profits, to be ploughed into the speculative finance casino?
      Universal denistry under the NDP? Single-payer child care for working parents under the NDP?

      Nope. Playing games with minimum wage and handing private companies wads of welfare for railcars is all I can remember.

      Unions are as necessary now as at any time in the history of industrial capitalism, but they have been to a high degree rendered impotent by relentless assault from neoliberalism to the point of relenquishing nearly all control to corporate management.

      Great non sequitur, by the way. Congrats!

      1. I noticed Notley putting up barriers to companies doing business and reevaluating the profit motive for their existence by renegotiating the terms of their contracts. This was enough for very many of them to leave.

        I also noticed Notley trying to spread union jobs throughout the economy with their farm acts and labs purchases.

        To begin with such politicians are a little more subtle, but they are going to the same spot as their friends in Europe.

  12. As comedian George Carlin once said “ Don’t ever underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups”. Germany saw it in the 1930s, Alberta saw it in the 1990s and the U.S. saw it with Trump. George was right.

    1. Hi Allan: I would not call them stupid, just ill-informed, desperate, and dangerous. In my observation many of those involved are the same out-of- work and never-going-to-work-again oil service company people who did the last “bring back drilling 12,000 oil and gas wells a year” convoy and blamed the Notley administration for collapsing world oil prices.

      The easy money is over and most of them are angry at the technological and financial changes making their services less in demand. Given current crude oil prices it looks like Alberta gets one more fossil cash infusion but this time it is a jobless recovery. Even the new natural gas peak is only 30% of what the boom-time price was. No wonder they are angry. Since the Leduc blowout in 1947 it has not worked this way. To paraphrase Gollum, of Lord of the Rings fame: “Nasty energy and climate transition, they hates it precious.”

    2. ALAN K. SPILLER: These people are being self centered, and they don’t care who their actions affect, just like these pretend conservatives and Reformers in the UCP. We saw similar nonsense with the Liberal turned Reformer, Ralph Klein.

  13. Dear Dave. I ventured over to your last piece and read everyone of the comments, some educated, some humorous, some vicious and some downright deplorable. What has happened to debating positions with decency and decorum. As an individual who is triple vaxxed I do not despise the other side, I just wonder what has happened.

    1. Guess the distress has to do with whether you are needing treatment that gets bumped by covid patients in the ICU. Depending on the day , the 15% 0f unvaccinated are occupying more than 1/2 the beds or 5 or more times the strain on healthcare as the vaccinated,
      If that means you miss your cancer surgery again and again as people express their self-centred antisocial behavior ….oh sorry i meant freedom …. I personally have enough empathy to feel their anger.

      1. Your claim is not rooted in any observable reality. The unvaccinated in Alberta make up just over 19% of the population. 72% of Covid “cases” in hospital are vaccinated, but that portion has been increasing at roughly the rate as vaccination. Half of those are in hospital for reasons unrelated to Covid. The hospital system was in crisis long before Covid, and now the protocols that reflect the inaccurate characterization of the dangers of Covid, combined with the relentless stress that the socio-econonomic restrictions have put on the entire society, are exacerbating the pre-existing crisis.
        If Covid was as dangerous as they claimed, why wasn’t the priority placed on making sure that the population would be as well and resilient as they could be, instead of rendered ecnomically insecure, isolated and terrified for a year before the Emergency Use Vaccines were unleashed? This thing is supposed to be an epochal threat. Where are the thousands of crash-course nurses and health practioners recruited to work in the temporary hospital structures so that the health system could be preserved?
        Nope. Cower in front of your television and get fat while you wait on relief from the pharmaceutical industry. Also, get stoned and loaded so you don’t notice how completely absurd this whole thing is.
        How in the name of Jupiter can you people accept this reality?
        Billions for CERB stay-at-home welfare, not one cent to actually conduct a public health campaign. Weird, no?

        1. Are you really blaming people who have comorbidities, such as Metabolic Syndrome, for this crisis? Or, that if you were healthy and did not have any comorbidities, you were relatively safe from infection? That is the disturbing implication of your rhetorical question “why wasn’t the priority placed on making sure that the population was as well and resilient as possible”?

          In general, that is a great question, and one that could send us down a rabbit hole about the outsized influence of the sugar and processed food industries; the inadequate and dangerous dietary guidance that results from this influence for the metabolically healthy and unhealthy alike; the inappropriate influence of the Pharmaceutical industry that, for example, pushes the view that diabetes type 2 is a progressive illness that requires more and more medication to control, rather than controlling it with diet; and so on. However, in this context, the question is disturbing and belies a selfish and uncaring mind set in that you appear to be blaming the metabolically unhealthy for the restrictive measures that were imposed to help control the spread and limit the damage of the virus.

          I am not sure what you are advocating here. Yes, it makes a lot of sense that we should have been better prepared with more hospital capacity to begin with, that we should be focused on prevention, rather than treatment, and so on. But, this sense is mixed with sheer nonsense and balderdash.

          Also, stop lying with statistics! The unvaccinated take up disproportionately more hospital resources than the vaccinated per capita.

  14. I forget: is the Maverick Party the one that wants to carve out Alberta from Canada and declare themselves a land-locked republic, or the one that wants to annex Saskatchewan and Manitoba to turn BC into “East Prussia”, or the one that creates an Alberta stretching from Vancouver Island to Hudson Bay with Calgary as the designated capital, or the one that quits Canada to join the United States, decreasing our influence from 34 of 338 seats in the HoC to 4 of 435 members in the US House of Representatives? Sometimes, you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting someone with these brilliant plans.

    b_nichol
    Edmonton

    1. I think they are the ones that want less government, want a fair deal from Ottawa and generally want their rights, enshrined in the Canadian Bill of Rights, to be not infringed on by police state mechanisms in eastern canada.

      1. A fair deal? Sounds like entitled infants not getting their sucker and someone else’s sucker too. I remember folks who talked like you decrying our Canadian Bill of Rights because it allowed the tyranny of the minority when the rightest wing folks didn’t get their way in maintaining racism, bigotry and ignorance. Face it, a few hundred thousand crazies like the folks in this ‘convoy’ attempting to abrogate the will of the majority isn’t going to cut it. Funny you didn’t drape yourself in the flag, but I guess if you want to separate from Canada that doesn’t work does it?

  15. Editing will mean we’ll likely read no more examples of British Isles style dialect such as t–t and w—–s as contributed to the blog by ‘K’ on January 23rd. More tea vicar?

  16. “… but does support freedom-of-choice and a citizen’s right to decide what they do with their own bodies.”

    I’m sure that women who’ve been campaigning for decades to expand access to abortion will welcome this unexpected influx of new allies!

  17. I’ve been trying to piece together the timeline of events that led to Erin O’Toole suddenly getting all in with the Convoy, and it goes something like this …

    O’Toole was, as of last Sunday, supportive of vaccines, recognized that Canada was following a US mandate, and wasn’t willing to go further on the issue than that.

    Then, on Monday, former CPC leader Andrew Scheer, hoping to get another crack at tooting a truck’s horn, went onto Twitter and gave full-throated support to the Convoy and its mission. That tweet was soon retweeted by “Skippy” Polivere, who replied “He’s right” along with his retweet. Then, Deputy CPC leader Candice Bergen pipped in her support. It was at that point that Melissa Lantsman posted that weird and bizarro tweet that got her into social media trouble.

    At that point, the Western Canadian CPC caucus went vocal in their support. Considering that this is the same wing of the caucus that welcomed Sen. Batters back into the caucus after O’Toole tossed her out, it looks like O’Toole had no choice but to abandon his original position and take up with the CPC’s cool kids/loonies.

    I expect O’Toole to go hard into the Antivaxx camp, pro-Western secession, Pro-Life, and pro-Climate Change denialism before long to keep his hide in the leader’s hot seat.

    Can anything get any easier for PMJT at this point?

    1. Some of these “truckers” interviewed on the radio today said they want to cut off Canada’s food supply. I’d like to hear O’Toole explain why that’s a good idea.

      You know what this means: no more popcorn!

  18. IMHO this is a huge gift to the Trudeau Liberals.

    Lots of divisiveness inside the O’Toole Conservatives at the moment. Cumming report tomorrow at caucus. Poilievre is already on board with the truck rally as are several other sitting Conservative MP’s. It all spells trouble for O’Toole and trouble for more splits within the Party.

    Public opinion is not on the truck rally organizers side. And that opinion is bound to fall even further.

    Once all the neo nazi and racist groups come out under their respective rocks and join in order to take advantage of the publicity public opinion will fall even further against the organizers and the participants.

  19. It is not a trucker mandate…truckers can still truck
    It is a border mandate ….like you can’t come in with a criminal record
    You can’t get into Canada without a bunch of other vaccination either
    Nothing to do with socialists or unions or the ndp
    just simple health care

  20. The City of Ottawa should request that costs of security and enforcement arising from the Freedom Convoy visit be paid from the GoFundMe donations rather than from taxpayer dollars.

  21. Since 2009 (?)Canadians have needed a passport to get into the US — I don’t remember hearing about any truckers driving to Ottawa to complain about their ” rights and freedoms ” then , gee did I miss something ??
    Now I know why there was a “shortage” of cherries last year , all the pickers are busy sifting through details, looking to see how they can manipulate them.
    And I know that myself and people around me are more than a little bit “concerned” about the rhetoric about –occupation,bring Canada to its knees, etc,.
    People weren’t paying attention pre Jan 6 ,and the same rhetoric was being used then, I can only hope that the right people are paying attention now.
    Thank you DJC ,for a hand to hold, all you can do is try .

  22. It looks as though the supporters of unvaccinated truckers organized this convoy to pressure the Canadian government into allowing the truckers to return home from a country that they’re not allowed to enter. Confusing.

  23. I guess I little further into all this CPC palace intrigue is revealing how bad things are for O’Toole…

    https://ipolitics.ca/2022/01/26/otooles-leadership-a-key-question-in-race-for-tory-council-seat/

    At this point, there have been CONs that have been out for O’Toole’s head since he abandoned Climate Change denial and Pro-life as the CPC’s cornerstone issues. Of course, if O’Toole had won the last, most useless election, he would have been somewhat vindicated. But this his loss, the knives came out and have been out for a long time.

    Any effort O’Toole has made to stabilize the CPC caucus has been met with opposition, including successful efforts to turn back his decisions. (RE. Sen. Batters readmission into the caucus.)

    The interesting part here is that Skippy Polivere seems to be, either, the mastermind behind this effort or the *Pick Me! Pick Me!!* guy for this.

    Thus far, only three riding associations are calling for reviews, but the groundswell could be coming if Alberta and Saskatchewan stepped up.

    All this leaves me to wonder if this is Kenney’s exit strategy from the premier’s office? If that is the case, there could be serious action against O’Toole next month and into March. Kenney may just be willing to hand Brian Jean his signed nomination papers after all.

  24. Keeping the extreme elements at bay is always a problem no matter the party or group. The shocking thing is when the extreme ideas are coming from the leadership. This, in my view, is the reason Notley has lost the chance to become premier again. It is one thing to support vaccination it is quite another to demand those with a different view to be forced. When you go after children as she has it will provoke an emotional response, perhaps by design. Kenney has followed a similar pattern which will likely lead to his downfall very shortly. Notley will be running against a very different opponent in the next election and should take steps to not lose the middle.
    It does seem strange, however, to have these so called far right wingers say my body choice.

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