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Bruce Dowbiggin

If Vaxx, Masks and Lockdowns Resume Will Sports Go Along?

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Quietly, stealthily, the same people who brought you Lockdowns & Vaccines from 2020 till early this year are back for more as summer ends and fall arrives. They’re whipping up the familiar stark warnings of viral death and depredation that subdued civilization and caused millions of deaths unrelated to the virus itself..

Just this week Rutgers university said it will admit no undergrads without mandatory vaccination. The CPC pep squad at the WHO is said to fear the spread of BA.2.86. “Yes, wearing masks during travel is advised, especially in crowded and enclosed settings, to minimize the spread of respiratory viruses,” advises some suit from the American Association for Respiratory Care.

Hospitals are again mandating mask wearing. Ludicrous, when even the American CDC has admitted the abject failure of the needles and masks to “stop the spread”. More of the same is set to roll out as media hustles stories of new viral strains that will consume our lives again (and restore their absolute power).  There’s been no apology for the outright lies about 15 days to flatten the curve, PCR tests that showed 70 percent false positives, the hotel lockdowns, suspension of civil rights, anti-vaxx hysteria.

Just a brazen shrug of the shoulders and the determination to try again this winter to keep certain people in line. Key to intimidating the population into abandoning civil rights and freedoms were the pro sports leagues whose “bubbles” and enforced lockdowns cowed the public. They served as an example of abject compliance. Would they submit again?

As the curtain finally began to lift last May we counted the costs. “These are the first NHL playoffs since 2019 not completely blighted by the miseries of Covid-19 protocols. For the past two postseason sessions, the NHL— like its sister leagues— has been obsessed with the test-and-trace strategy recommended by the WHO, CDC, Health Canada and other regulatory bodies. (And by people like Jeffery Epstein’s pal Bill Gates.)

This resulted in “bubble cities”, draconian quarantine practices and the dreaded testing regimen imposed by PCR testing. By testing healthy young athletes at elevated cycles this produced a flood of minute samples of a virus that were, pace Bill Gates, a “kind of flu” that few could pass on to the general public. 

The insane panic surrounding this process was exacerbated by the scribblers of the media who, currying favour with liberal authorities, rejected any alternatives. As a result, healthy players were locked up in hotels with nothing better to do than play games before empty arenas and then scuttle back to the hotel like mice retreating to their burrows. Or remain bunkered at home.

Even by 2021, when, test-and-trace was shown to be useless stopping a pandemic, the NHL and the rest of sports continued to play whack-a-mole with anyone who had a speck of the virus. Players were quarantined, teams played with depleted lineups, fans were not allowed to see games live. 

 None of which did anything to curb the death rate among those who were, as Gates allows, most vulnerable. So athletes, children and healthy adults were treated like a scurvy crew. To distract people, media ginned up stories about the exceptions to this pattern to keep their pals in the fear business happy. 

Adding to the misery was the new autocracy of vaccines. First one shot, then two, then boosters, then more boosters. All pushed by government advertising that branded objectors as some form of vermin (see Justin Trudeau’s libel of the truckers convoy as he hid). The Maoist conformity this produced was backed up with travel bans and ostracization. 

Anyone daring  to present contrary evidence—or mention healthy athletes dying post-vaccine— was instantly made a non-person by the Theresa Tam health bureaucracy who’d taken their marching orders from the Chinese. Social media cancelled critics like Alex Berenson, the Barrington Declaration, Ivor Cummins and Dr. Robert Malone for injecting some doubt about the forced lockdowns and mandatory vaccine regime. 

For much of 2020 and early 2021, when someone tried to point out that Sweden had taken a different course at far less social disruption they were labelled as killers and subversives by the Hollywood elite. 

Eventually the absurd testing mechanisms and arbitrary suspensions to the “Covid List” grew too absurd for some. As we wrote last December, Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman finally said, enough is enough:  

“At the end of the day, I think — and now I’m getting political — but at the end of the day our players are testing positive with very little symptoms, if any symptoms at all. I don’t see it as a threat to their health at this point. I think you might take it a step further and question why are we even testing, for guys that have no symptoms.”

This skepticism extended past hockey to, “…the NFL where games are being delayed because hundreds of players and staff— many of them asymptomatic— have tested positive using the NFL’s mandatory PCR testing. Tampa Bay Bucs coach Bruce Arians told reporters, “If you’re asymptomatic, you should be allowed to play.”

Slowly, the leagues pulled back, even as radicals in healthcare and media still shrieked about the deaths that stadiums and arenas full of maskless people would produce. The leagues made the call that the virus and its variants were epidemic and— as the data showed— highly unlikely to affect a demographic like trained athletes. 

Yes, people in risk groups would still get sick. Some would die. But test-and-trace was ineffectual in halting any of it. So were masks on airplanes.  As a result, the public’s unwavering trust in the white lab coats and the politicians who slavishly followed them was shaken. What if all the sacrifices meant nothing? What if, as Gates now allows, the official diagnosis of the Covid-19 panic was a massive over-reaction? Treating every demographic the same was madness? 

What if vaccines sold as a panacea by governments across much of the Western world, were also a fraud imposed on citizens? After much effort to hide the truth for 75 years, Pfizer was forced to show that it knew their vaccine— one Trudeau is using to impose three-year travel bans on dissenters— only had about 12 percent efficacy in the short term. This when the CDC, Tam, Fauci, and all the Twitter doctors swore it was 95 percent effective. And that pregnant mothers were at risk of miscarriage, despite protestations from officials. 

Likewise, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been withdrawn; the FDA cited Johnson & Johnson’s #COVID-19 vaccine due to risk of blood clots. Data from the VAERS (Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System) shows vaccine injuries occurring regularly not only from Pfizer Vaccines, but from all the “benign” mMRV-2 vaccines sold by governments in advertising and directives. 

This is just the tip of the iceberg. In the coming years we will learn— despite the strenuous efforts of the guilty— that elected officials and drug manufacturers hid far worse outcomes about their prescriptions. That they suppressed alternative treatments. They’ll reluctantly do this because all vaccine users signed off on their products as experimental. They can’t be sued— government saw to that. 

Leaving only elected officials like Trudeau, whose government still labels its draconian measures as “life saving”. By then he’ll be in a cozy sinecure created for him by the World Economic Fund. Good luck extraditing him. And society will swear not to do this again. Till the Climate Hustle cranks up again”.

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Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy is the editor of Not The Public Broadcaster  A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, he’s a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. Inexact Science: The Six Most Compelling Draft Years In NHL History, his new book with his son Evan, was voted the seventh-best professional hockey book of all time by bookauthority.org . His 2004 book Money Players was voted sixth best on the same list, and is available via http://brucedowbigginbooks.ca/book-personalaccount.aspx

BRUCE DOWBIGGIN Award-winning Author and Broadcaster Bruce Dowbiggin's career is unmatched in Canada for its diversity and breadth of experience . He is currently the editor and publisher of Not The Public Broadcaster website and is also a contributor to SiriusXM Canada Talks. His new book Cap In Hand was released in the fall of 2018. Bruce's career has included successful stints in television, radio and print. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada's top television sports broadcaster for his work with CBC-TV, Mr. Dowbiggin is also the best-selling author of "Money Players" (finalist for the 2004 National Business Book Award) and two new books-- Ice Storm: The Rise and Fall of the Greatest Vancouver Canucks Team Ever for Greystone Press and Grant Fuhr: Portrait of a Champion for Random House. His ground-breaking investigations into the life and times of Alan Eagleson led to his selection as the winner of the Gemini for Canada's top sportscaster in 1993 and again in 1996. This work earned him the reputation as one of Canada's top investigative journalists in any field. He was a featured columnist for the Calgary Herald (1998-2009) and the Globe & Mail (2009-2013) where his incisive style and wit on sports media and business won him many readers.

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Bruce Dowbiggin

Coyotes Ugly: The Sad Obsession Of Gary Bettman

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It came to this. Playing in the 6,000 seat Mullet Arena on the campus of Arizona State. Owned by a luckless guy who eschewed the public spotlight. Out of the playoffs, their bags packed for who knows where, the Arizona (née Phoenix) Coyotes gave an appreciative wave to the tiny crowd gathered to say  Thanks For The Memories.

With that they were history. Although NHL commissioner-for-life Gary Bettman has promised the last in a set of hapless owners that he can revive the franchise for a cool billion should he build the rink that no one was willing to build for the Yotes the past 20 years.

The Arizona Republic said good riddance. “Metro Phoenix lost the Coyotes because we are an oversaturated professional and college sports market with an endless supply of sunshine and recreational choices. Arizona may have dodged a slapshot:

We have the NFL Cardinals, the MLB Diamondbacks, the NBA Suns, MLB spring training, the WM Phoenix Open, the Phoenix Rising, the WNBA Mercury, the Indoor Football League Rattlers and the Arizona State Sun Devils. There hasn’t been a household name on the Coyotes since Shane Doan, and half of Phoenix probably doesn’t know who he was”.

Likely they’ll be a financial success in Salt Lake City where there’s a viable owner, lots of money and a will to make it work. They’ll need a will because— stop me if you’ve heard this before about the Coyotes—  the rink they’ll play in this fall has only 12,500 unobstructed views for hockey.

Watching this farce we recalled getting a call from Blackberry co-founder Jim Balsillie in 2008, shortly after our book Money Players was a finalist for the Canadian Business Book of The Year. We’d written a fair bit about the Coyotes in our work and someone had told Balsillie we might be the ones to talk to about a plan he was concocting to buy the bankrupt Coyotes and eventually move them to Hamilton.

Balsillie was salty over the way he’d been used as a stalking horse in the financial troubles of the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1990s. Flush with money from the huge success of RIM, Balsillie offered to buy the Pens, with an eye to moving them to southern Ontario if Pittsburgh didn’t help build a new arena for the team.

In time, Balsillie saw that Bettman was only trying to protect the investment Mario Lemieux and others had in the Pens. Balsillie was the black hat who eventually spooked Pittsburgh into giving the current owners what they wanted. At the end of the day, Mario got his money and Balsillie was given a “thanks for trying”: parting gift of nebulous promises.

Still smarting, Balsille vowed not to be used again. in his desire to bring the NHL to southern Ontario. So when the Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes threw the keys to the team on Bettman’s desk, he saw an opening in the bankruptcy that followed. Seeing Bettman as the impediment, Balsillie decided to buy the team out of bankruptcy, a process the NHL could not legally prevent.

What Balsillie wanted to know was “What then? How would Bettman fight back?” We told him that no one flouts Bettman’s authority within the NHL. (All the current owners since 1993 have come aboard on his watch.)  And that he’d have to get the Board of Governors to approve his purchase. Odds: Nil.

That’s what happened. Rather than admit that the Valley of the Sun was poisoned for hockey, Bettman found another series of undercapitalized marks to front the franchise while the league quietly propped up the operation. No longer was the Coyotes’  failure about the fans of Arizona. It was about Gary Bettman’s pride.

Protestors stand outside a press conference in Tempe featuring Arizona Coyotes executives discussing propositions related to a new arena and entertainment district. (Photo by Brooklyn Hall/ Cronkite News)

Where he had meekly let Atlanta move to Winnipeg he fought like hell to save Arizona. And his power. (His obstinacy on U.S. network TV is another story.)

Fast forward to last week and the abject failure of that process. The Arizona Republic naively fawned on Bettman for his many attempts to save the team. In fact, they were just attempts to buttress his grip on the league. While the Coyotes may have been a mess, Bettman has succeeded in preserving the investments of most of the business people who bought his NHL business prospectus.

Sometimes it meant riding into Calgary to chastise the locals for their parsimony in not giving the Flames a new rink. Ditto for Edmonton. Ditto for Winnipeg  and other cities. Other times it was to shore up weak partners to protect the equity of other prosperous cities.  Sometimes it was to tell Quebec City, “Not gonna’ happen.”

For his loyalty to the owners and through some luck— Gretzky to the Kings— Bettman has made the NHL work in places no one might’ve imagined. Nashville. Raleigh. Tampa. Las Vegas. Dallas. Not at the level of the NFL, NBA or MLB, but at a comfortable equity-affirming status. Nothing happens without his say-so in the NHL. Or without him getting credit. Secondary NHL execs who wanted credit for their innovations were quietly punted.

When Houston finally gets a franchise from Gary they’ll part with $1.5 billion for the honour. While the commissioner has played down new franchises and expanded playoffs, you can bet your last dollar that he’s told owners they’re in line for more expansion cash— cash they don’t have to split with players in collective bargaining.

One more certainty. As long as Bettman rules the NHL you won’t see an NHL team back in Arizona.

Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy is the editor of Not The Public Broadcaster  A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, he’s a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. Inexact Science: The Six Most Compelling Draft Years In NHL History, his new book with his son Evan, was voted the seventh-best professional hockey book of all time by bookauthority.org . His 2004 book Money Players was voted sixth best on the same list, and is available via brucedowbigginbooks.ca.

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Bruce Dowbiggin

Why Are Canadian Mayors So Far Left And Out Of Touch?

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‘The City of Edmonton pays for a 22-person climate team but doesn’t know who on that team is responsible for what, or what that team has accomplished. Meanwhile, Council takes a pay raise and bumps our property taxes by 8.6%”  @michaelistuart

We just returned from a long trip to discover that the City of Calgary wants to potentially re-zone our neighbourhood. Bridle Estates is a collection of 175 bungalow villas for people aged 55-plus. While some people still work most of the inhabitants are retirees. The city’s earnest idea is to create low-cost housing for the tens of thousands arriving here in the city from away.

You can see why a city hall obsessed with white privilege wants to democratize our neck of the south-west corner of the city. Enforced justice has a great tradition. 1970s American cities decided that bussing was the antidote to segregation. After a SCOTUS decision allowing the practice in 1971 (back when liberals owned the court) progressives pushed through an aggressive plan to bus kids from the inner city to the leafy suburbs. And vice versa.

It worked like a charm. For conservatives, that is. It radicalized a generation of voters who soon installed Ronald Reagan as president, and empty buses went back to the depot. The Democrats went from the party of the people to the party people in Hollywood. With time dulling memories, contemporary Woke folk are reviving the integration dream. This time the mostly white suburbs will bear the brunt of the government’s immigration fixation (400K-plus in the third quarter).

There are meetings planned where citizens will be able to address their elected officials— no doubt in a respectful voice. But anyone who’s dealt with Climate Crisis Barbie— Mayor Jyoti Gondek— has much optimism. This is a mayor who exploited a three-way split in centre-right voting here to declare a Climate Emergency on her first day in office.

Then she rolled out hate-speech laws to protect her from being razzed in public. For this and other fabulist blunders— her messing with the new arena project drove a worse deal and a two-year delay in a home for the Calgary Flames— she faced a recall project (which failed to collect over 400K voters’ signatures).

With a housing bubble expanding everyday, Her Tone Deafness has decided that owning a home is so passé. ”We are starting to see a segment of the population reject this idea of owning a home and they are moving towards rental, because it gives them more freedom.” She added that people have become “much more liberated around what housing looks like and what the tenure of housing looks like.”

As the Calgary’s schmozzles and Edmonton’s dabble in climate extravagance illustrate the municipal level of government in Canada is a few lobsters shy of a clambake. Across the country major cities are in the hands of radical NDP soldiers or virtue warriors who would rather have symbols than sewers to talk about.

In Toronto, Jack Layton’s widow Olivia Chow is leveraging her 37 percent mandate to make Toronto a kinder, Wok-er city. In Vancouver and Victoria, B.C., the open-air drug agendas of new mayors and city councils have sent capital fleeing elsewhere. Despite crime and construction chaos, Montreal mayor Valerie Plante won a second term, by emphasizing her gender.

In times when the coffers were full, this ESG theatre might have been a simple inconvenience. But since the federal and provincial governments began shoving responsibilities and costs downward to municipalities there is no wiggle room for grandstanding politicians at the city level. Or for hapless amateurs.

With the public incensed over residential property tax increases on one side and the blandishments of aggressive developers on the other, competent governance has never been more needed in the urban areas. While feds can (and have) printed money to escape their headaches and the provinces can offload costs onto the cities, the municipalities have no room for risk.

The time bomb in this equation is the debt load that the three levels can sustain. After this week’s budget, federal spending is up $238B, or 80 percent since 2015.  Coming off this free-spending budget the feds have pushed the federal debt to more than $1.2 trillion this year (in 2015, the debt was $616 billion.) None of the provinces has shown any appetite for the 1990s-style cuts to reduce their indebtedness. Leaving cities to crank the property-tax handle again.

So far, Canada’s cities have been able to use friendly municipal bonds to ease their fiscal problems. But if the Canadian economy continues its tepid performance with no reduction in debt, financial experts tell us that there could be a flight from Canadian municipal bonds— with a consequent spike in interest rates elsewhere.

The backlash on free-spending governments will be severe— and restricted municipalities will be hardest hit. None of this is resonating with Canadians still flush with cash from Covid. The stock markets are still buoyant and those living in cashbox houses are counting their dividends. Willful denial is the Trudeau legacy.

Which is why so many Canadian were shocked last week when American AntiTrump media star Bill Maher did an intervention on Canadian conceits. Using the True North as his warning to America, Maher ripped apart the gauzy leftist dream of Canada as the perfect society, the Sweden north of Estevan. By the time he was done, the single-payer myth was bleeding on the ground.

Maher knows that the bill is coming due for free-spending Canada and its climate charlatans. (The IMF is already warning of a global crisis over debt loads.) The question is: will Canadians come to the same conclusion before it’s too late to save the cities?

Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy is the editor of Not The Public Broadcaster  A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada’s top television sports broadcaster, he’s a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. His new book Deal With It: The Trades That Stunned The NHL And Changed hockey is now available on Amazon. Inexact Science: The Six Most Compelling Draft Years In NHL History, his previous book with his son Evan, was voted the seventh-best professional hockey book of all time by bookauthority.org . His 2004 book Money Players was voted sixth best on the same list, and is available via brucedowbigginbooks.ca.

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