My endless date with self-isolation has led to some sobering realizations.
For my friends and family who haven’t seen me all week, you can watch me on CTV Two’s Alberta Primetime. Here is a link to a segment we taped Friday, March 13th. My interview appears at about the 8 minute mark. I’d like to thank the station for having me on to talk about my experience.
It’s now day 10 of my self-isolation. What have I learned? Well, a few things, some about myself.
I didn’t wash my hands often enough or with enough rigor. I do now. And I will continue to be more diligent. It’s an essential habit for the overall good of the community at large. And I’ve learned that good old soap and warm water are your best bet. There are small bits of fat that hold this virus together and soap breaks down fat.
Oh, and clean your phone. Just think about how disgusting that device really is. You leave it on the counter at your local bar. You hand it to your drunken friend at the club to co-obsess over your newsest Tinder crush. And guys, admit it, you’ve left it on the top of the urinal while doing your business. Don’t tell me you haven’t. A cursory search on google tells me that disinfectant wipes are safe to use. So wash your device. And your phone… (that’s humour – I’m killin’ myself – you have to entertain yourself in isolation).
I’ve learned that monkeys in Thailand depend on food from tourists for survival and am reminded of Hurricane Katrina and thinking at the time that we’re all savages after a few days without food, water, and bananas. Like that old Joke “… Katrina was a shitshow … don’t be a Katrina…” Hmmm … best not to think about that.
Then I got this text from a friend who was picking up Advil and Alcohol at Costco.
Being early in the curve of self-isolators in our region, I’ve been able to sit back and watch things develop. In my original artice (below), I mentioned I had destroyed 2 rims on my car when I crashed in to a massive pothole on Hwy 43 west of Edmonton on March 2nd (self-isolation day minus 1). One March 3rd, I took my car to a shop for repairs and rented a car for a few days. Later that day I was asked to self-isolate. Yesterday, having not driven the car since Monday, I decided to return it. I called the rental agency, told them my story, and knew that this would create a problem. The polite man on the other end told me about the new directions they had just received from head office and that he would call back.
His superior called within the hour. Went through my scenario with her. I was informed that their new policy dictates that I would need to be tested and if negative, then I could return the car. Otherwise, I would have to keep it and pay the commensurate costs until March 19th, the day after my self-isolation is finished. When I told her that I would NOT be going for a test and taxing the health care system having been told explicity by AHS that I did not need a test unless displaying symptoms such as fever and cough. I’ve displayed no symptoms. I said that would leave me no choice but to return the car to them and simply bring the keys into the office.
This led supervisor #1 to place a call to supervisor #2. A better plan emerged. I keep the car. They don’t charge me any further. I send a photo of the odometer taken with my freshly disinfected phone, and then I can prove that I didn’t drive the car in the ensuing days.
Being early in the curve, it’s easy to see the challenges for all business trying to cope with what is rapidly becoming a socio-economic crisis of a proportion we have never experienced.
He should take some lessons from PGA Commissioner Tim Monahan about how to communicate.
I’ve had an opportunity to watch alot of TV. Like alot! Like Wednesday evening when I watched President Trump sniffle his way through the worst presidential address ever made, and that’s saying alot considering some of his earlier attempts. It was complete with inaccurate information (read from a teleprompter, meaning someone actually wrote that script with misinformation in it). The misinformation was so bad that it had to be corrected immediately because it completely mis-stated important elements about the European travel ban – I mean seriously, WTF. Who’s wrote the script for the President? I understand how mistakes happen, but NOT on the most important piece of presidential script of our life time.
Our world is changing in front of our eyes. We have not seen a wholesale shutdown like this before.
Now this morning (Friday), the President has declared a national emergency. It was just last week that he said the US was testing bigly and that there were only 15 cases and that they were strongly working with some really bright people and should have it pretty much eliminated really soon. So what’s up there … lying? Or misleading people? Maybe same thing? Or worse yet, he didn’t know what’s to come? Surely that can’t be possible. It’s the United States we are talking about. The resources at his disposal are immense, notwithstanding the budget slashing at the CDC and the elimination of science in the daily American diet.
But what if he didn’t know? Well, then we’re all gonna die sooner than we’d like.
Keep in mind it was March 4th that he said he had a “hunch” that the WHO’s death rate of 3.4% was a “a false number”. He just said today that “no nation in the world is more prepared…”. So which is it? If they’re well prepared, then why would Bigly be talking about a “hunch” just a week ago. As someone living the the attic of the USA, I’m not comforted by his ability to capture the trust of his country. And now he’s blaming people for the laws that are in place that delayed the testing process that just last week he didn’t seem to have any idea would be needed. This has me riled up more than the other 11,000 recorded lies attributed to this man.
He should take some lessons from PGA Commissioner Tim Monahan about how to communicate. I learned when he held a news conference yesterday that perhaps the best and smartest work for the PGA. #timmonahanforpresident.
Get used to working from home. I sent this earlier to my brother, an Air Canada pilot who just flew to New Delhi. With each flight I’m sure he wonders if it’s a one way or if he’ll get back in the country. Hopefully it’s more organized than that, but in a situation as fluid as this, it’s hard to say with certainty.
Our world is changing in front of our eyes. We have not seen a wholesale shutdown like this before. Manitoba has announced they will close all of their schools effective March 23rd. I bet that gets moved up given that schools in Ohio are closing this coming Monday. And Washington State is closing schools until April 24th.
With all of this going on, you’d be forgiven to have missed the fact that the United States on Thursday evening launched a series of airstrikes in Iraq against an Iranian-backed militia group suspected of firing an earlier rocket attack that killed and wounded American and British troops.
And the Canadian Military is preparing for potential aggression from one of the world’s bad actors. Speaking of viruses, what has the Rocket Man been up to lately? Probably wondering how to take advantage of a weakened world order.
A friend just called me. I picked up my clean phone and put it to my ear. “One of my bosses is not feeling well. They have a fever and are coughing”. Out my window, a school bus just went by. I wonder if it’s the last one I’ll see for a few months? I said in my first article that I’m lucky to be able to easily self-isolate given my work. Now I can honestly say that I’m happy to be self-isolating. Thanks to my friends and family who have kept me in good food and great humour over the past week.
Be nice to one another. We’re all in this together. And it sounds like it’s going to go on for a long time. Estimates are suggesting that it could be months or even a year or more that we live with this virus.
Below is my first article on this subject, written Monday, March 9th.
Suspect in stolen vehicle kills one and seriously injures another in wild chase
News release from Beaumont RCMP
Beaumont RCMP seeking public assistance in locating suspect in fatal collision
On Feb. 24, 2024, at approximately 9:00 p.m., Beaumont RCMP located a person suspected of theft, in a parked 15-foot cube moving truck, at a business on 50 Street in Beaumont. When members approached the truck and attempted an arrest, one male driver and one female passenger rammed into a police vehicle and fled the scene at a high rate of speed. Patrols were initiated to find the truck and, a short time later, it was observed on 50 Street and Highway 814 in Beaumont at a high rate of speed.
Meanwhile, Edmonton Police Service’s (EPS) Air One Helicopter was notified and provided its location to RCMP members. Multiple surrounding RCMP detachments, including Leduc and Strathcona, responded to assist. As the truck was driving into Edmonton, a tire deflation device was deployed by RCMP, disabling multiple civilian vehicles. Consequently, an adult female exited one of the civilian vehicles and was fatally struck by the suspect truck. The truck failed to stop and continued driving into Edmonton.
The suspect vehicle then collided with another civilian vehicle, leaving an adult male in serious non-life-threatening condition. The truck was located at 50 Street and 22 Avenue in Southwest Edmonton.
Further investigation revealed that the driver of the truck, an adult male, then proceeded to steal a parked 2020 Honda Civic at a nearby convenience store. This vehicle contained a child who was safely recovered and reunited with his family a short time later. The male suspect has yet to be located.
No other members of the public or officers were injured during this incident.
“On behalf of the RCMP, I would like to send our heartfelt condolences to the family members of the victim,” said Superintendent Leanne MacMillian, Assistant Central Alberta District Officer. “This is a devastating incident that will leave a mark on family and friends for years to come. Please understand that you will be in our thoughts as we progress through this investigation.”
In compliance with legislative requirements, the Director of Law Enforcement was immediately notified causing the deployment of ASIRT to conduct an independent investigation. The RCMP believes in accountability and transparency and in so doing will provide full support to the ASIRT investigators and also conduct its own internal review. Events like this are difficult for the communities in which they occur, as well as the general public and RCMP officers involved. RCMP officers recognize the trust placed in them to use force that is necessary, proportional and reasonable and in so doing remain fully accountable.
The RCMP are actively investigating this occurrence and are seeking the public’s assistance in locating a stolen, dark grey 4-door Honda Civic with Alberta license place E98-099. The vehicle was stolen by a male suspect described as being approximately 5’11’’ and was last seen wearing a black hoodie with white text on the front, brown shorts and black shoes.
If you have any information about this crime or those responsible, you are asked to contact the Beaumont RCMP at 780-929-7400. If you wish to remain anonymous you can contact Crime Stoppers by phone at 1‐800‐222‐8477 (TIPS), by Internet at www.tipsubmit.com or by SMS (check your local Crime Stoppers www.crimestoppers.ab.ca for instructions).
Canadians owe a debt to Premier Danielle Smith
From the Frontier Centre for Public Policy
In recent days, Premier Smith has endured criticism from many people about her recent announcements relating to treatments for what is often described as gender transition.
Instead, she deserves praise for decisions that are as important for how they were made as for the gender transition issues that concern her and her colleagues. Her actions on this matter demonstrate how public policy should be developed and explained.
The most important quality of the recent policy announcements by the Alberta government is that they are evidence based.
There is an emerging consensus outside Canada that the evidence supporting pharmacological and surgical procedures to change genders in minors is either very weak or nonexistent.
Sweden, Finland, the UK and Norway have restricted or forbidden the use of these treatments on minors, as have twenty-three American states. Ms. Smith referred to these in her press conference announcing the changes her government is making.
Leaders in other countries have done this after conducting detailed studies including one by the UK High Court of Justice and another by Dr. Hilary Cass, a former President of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health in the United Kingdom
Dr. Cass is an independent expert commissioned to provide advice to the National Health Service on gender treatments. She concluded that “evidence on the appropriate management of children with gender incongruence is inconclusive both nationally and internationally’’.
The second reason the decisions taken by Alberta are important is that they were taken despite ideology advocated by the Government of Canada and the unwillingness of federal officials including the Prime Minster to support their opposition to the Alberta policies with any evidence.
In his initial comments, the Prime Minister made no reference to any of the many studies that have been done describing the dangers of pharmacological and surgical procedures to change the gender of minor children.
He also displayed no understanding of the experiences of other countries on this matter. He did not refer to the Cass report and its seminal conclusions.
The comments by Federal Health Minister Mark Holland lacked any evidence the public could use. He also used offensive rhetoric.
Mr. Holland described the Alberta decisions as being behaviour that is “extremely dangerous to engage in …. which is, I think, playing politics about children’s lives.” He also referred to the “devastation that its going to bring”, referring to the Alberta changes.
Federal communications marked by a factual vacuum and excessive language are not going to help resolve serious differences of opinion on serious issues. They are also not condusive to good relations between the federal government and an important province.
The third and particularly significant reason the recent changes announced by the Alberta government are so important is that they will protect children.
Adolescence, a phase of child development that has been with us for thousands of years, is an important part of everyone’s life.
It is a vital part of what it means to be human. Delaying or blocking it is dangerous, something that many observers have noted but that the Prime Minister and the Minister of Health do not recognize.
Federal leaders need to inform themselves, particularly about the negative impact of puberty blockers on bone and brain development and the lifelong medical attention many transitioners will need because of the pharmacological and surgical procedures used on them to change genders.
The Prime Minister and the Minister of Health should also learn about the increasingly large number of transitioners who regret their transition and later seek to reverse it. Their situation is particularly tragic because many of the negative consequences of changing genders in children cannot be reversed.
Federal leaders also support hiding from parents the decisions children make in schools about the pronouns they use to describe their genders. This is another practice that many feel is harmful and divisive.
The federal perspective on this is unreasonable.
Our species survived over the centuries because the first priority for most parents is their children and most take good care of them.
There is no basis for a lack of trust in them and in the relatively few cases where parents do not provide appropriate care, the child protection laws come into play.
It is particularly important that federal leaders recognize the grave problems that puberty blockers and related surgeries often pose for children who are gays or lesbians.
These children sometimes display some of the attributes of the opposite sex as they grow, and these are often misinterpreted as gender dysphoria. They then get treated for a problem they don’t have, with serious lifelong consequences.
Unfortunately, this happens in many Canadian pediatric hospitals.
There is nothing wrong with these children. They should be allowed to develop and grow in their own way and be who they are. That means no puberty blockers or surgeries to change them.
The fourth reason to respect the new directions on gender issues Ms. Smith and her colleagues have decided upon is the moderation displayed by the Alberta government in putting them forward and communicating with the public about them.
The language used has been understated. The changes are lawful in every respect including in relation to the Charter of Rights and Freedom and other legislation.
The evidence has been clearly presented in a way most citizens can readily understand and great care has been taken to deal with those who may have concerns thoughtfully, including allowing time for debate and discussion before the changes are made.
This is a good example of how governments should behave. Federal leaders should show some respect for the approaches taken by Ms. Smith and her colleagues as they dealt with a very complex issue.
The final reason for the importance of the Alberta approach is that it has avoided many of the problems associated with medical practice standards and regulation that are so evident in Canada and which have been a major cause of the difficulties our country faces on gender issues.
Provincial Colleges of Physicians and Surgeons and many regulators elsewhere regulate doctors based largely on prevailing practices by physicians rather than clinical outcomes.
This means that there have been many cases over the years, in Canada and elsewhere, where evidence to support medical procedures has been lacking. Current practices toward gender dysphoria in Canada and some US states are examples.
In these cases, if something is done often enough by enough doctors, that procedure becomes the standard and not clinical outcomes. This often leads to perverse outcomes that everyone ultimately regrets.
In the years to come, unless we change course soon and unless others follow the Alberta path, people will be wondering how the problems summarized in this article developed and why we damaged so many children by an approach defined more by ideology than factual reality.
David MacKinnon is a Senior Fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy