Plus Alberta referenda, bungling the border reopening, and "sustainable" banking
Congratulations to the city of Saskatoon, Sask., which has evidently managed to rid itself of murder, drugs, burglary and car break-ins.
Wait, that can’t be right. Only in July Saskatoon was in the top 10 for crime in Canada (and fourth for crime severity). Perhaps that’s just because the police are bogged down trying to figure out who wasn’t wearing a mask at a political rally a month ago.
The Saskatoon Police Service has put out a call for help identifying 15 Saskatonians (yeah, I had to look that up) who supposedly violated Saskatchewan’s public health rules at the People’s Party of Canada’s election night shindig.
As an aside, the PPC was planning to have its election party in Calgary, but moved it when Alberta introduced its vaccine passport. Saskatchewan apparently didn’t like getting a reputation for being reasonable.
The Saskatoon police media release says public health enforcement “is not always visible and largely occurs after the incident,” so perhaps they’ll get around to the serious crimes once they’ve worked through the 18-month long backlog of screen-shotting partygoers for identification. Police say this event alone has taken up “more than 160 hours of investigative time.”
Whether that’s 160 Saskatoon investigators putting in an hour of labour each or one poor sap working ‘round the clock, I have no idea. One Saskatoon police officer reached out to tell me he and his colleagues are “disgusted” with their administration. I’ve heard similar things from officers in other heavy-handed jurisdictions too.
As I remarked last week on my show, Saskatchewan is one of a few provinces that have decided to make COVID snitching as easy as filling out an online form. The snitch portal lets you report people for infractions as minor as not wearing a mask. Not sure if there’s a Crime Stoppers bounty yet.
Thanks to all of you who have subscribed to my newsletter in its first few days. I’m humbled by your support, especially those who have taken out paid subscriptions, which I hope you won’t live to regret.
When I launched this last week, I was clear that it will remain free and accessible. Nevertheless, paid subscriptions ensure I am able to continue to do this.
This being my first newsletter, I hope you’ll forgive the trial and error. My plan is to do a weekly column (last week, I took on a topic I fear will need revisiting soon – vaccine passports) as well as a second edition (that’s this one) that will bounce around a few different topics and share the odd personal update. Do let me know what works and what doesn’t. I can’t guarantee I’ll do it your way, but I will try to be democratic about things, if only to avoid the indignity of mass unsubscriptions.
Alberta election show and upcoming healthcare conference
Tonight, I’ll be co-anchoring True North’s live Alberta election night show to break down the results of Alberta’s municipal elections, senate nominee elections, and referenda. Can’t promise I’ll get to all the council horse races from Okotoks right down to Municipal District of Willow Creek No. 26, but we’ll try to stay on top of the stories emerging across Alberta, including the long-awaited equalization referendum. The show kicks off at 7:30pm Mountain Time – you can watch it on True North’s homepage.
Speaking of Alberta, I’ll be in Calgary on the weekend addressing the Economic Education Association’s conference on “Meeting the Healthcare Challenge.” It’s a hybrid event with in-person and online registration available. I’ll be delving into what I call the Canadian healthcare system’s crisis of choice in a talk titled “Care and Control.” If that’s not your cup of tea, perhaps Victor Davis Hanson’s presentation on liberty and healthcare will be. Other speakers include Danielle Smith, Dr. Brian Day, John Carpay, and Lt. Col. David Redman, so it will be well worth your time.
One last self-indulgent note, I had the great pleasure of catching up with Danielle Smith a few weeks back, during which a rather exciting philanthropic project was born. The genesis of it was a desire to support the conservative and libertarian causes we’ve seen are so necessary, while also uniting the communities of people who value them. Danielle is a staple in her local 100 Women Who Care chapter – 100 people who, every three months, give $100 each to a single cause that they vote on. The result is a $10,000 gift to a worthwhile initiative each and every quarter.
What if the 100 people were united by a desire to advance liberty and support others doing the same? Well, that’s the spirit behind Libertarians Who Care and Conservatives Who Care. These two groups (which may find themselves in friendly competition with each other) will do just that. There’s no overhead – just a network of people who agree to work together and put $400 per year each towards what they decide as a group. We’re assembling the infrastructure to make this happen, but if you want to get involved, please let us know here. Danielle and I will be hosting an introductory Zoom event next weekend, so it would be great to see you on the call.
The Great Border Reopening. Sort of.
Like most Canadians who live close to the border, I was excited to see the Biden administration has finally decided to open its land border to Canadians. Well, fully vaccinated Canadians, anyway. In fairness to the United States, it was never as closed to Canadians as Canada was to Americans. We could always fly down there, though that was a costlier affair than my wife’s and my pre-COVID jaunts to Chicago or Port Huron, Mich.
But never underestimate the Canadian government’s ability to screw up a good thing. Even with the US border partially reopening, Canada is still demanding a negative PCR test before letting you back in the country. These tests can cost upwards of $200 each, and there’s no guarantee you’ll get results back in time to meet Canada’s 72-hour window. A family of four wanting to buy cheap milk from an American Costco like in the Before Times could be on the hook for $800 in testing alone.
The government says vaccines are the only way out of the pandemic, but doesn’t express sufficient confidence in them to strip away things like mask mandates and testing requirements, even where they’ve barred unvaccinated people.
A press release from BMO last week announced that Canada’s six largest banks (BMO plus CIBC, National Bank of Canada, RBC, Scotiabank, and TD) have banded together to join the “net-zero banking alliance” ahead of the UN’s Glasgow climate change conference. Not sure why my bank needs to have a net-zero strategy, but it comes from a “commitment to play a significant role in financing the climate transition,” the release says.
UN special envoy Mark Carney lauded the banks for their support of a “just transition,” which is the poll-tested language for the federal government’s assault on Canada’s energy sector.
It’s not clear whether the banks are engaging in political posturing or planning to actually shift their efforts to only “sustainable” enterprise, but it’s no shock oil and gas companies continue to leave the country. If the financial system is ganging up in support of an initiative that wants to kill off your industry, what benefit is there to sticking around and giving them access to your capital?
That’s it for today. I’ll be back later this week with my next column. Don’t forget to hit “Subscribe now” if you haven’t already to get these dispatches directly.