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Reminder to the Mayor and City Council; 97,216 residents do not live downtown.


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This situation about relocating the homeless shelter has become revealing of the inner workings at city council. Like most political arenas appeasing the corporate sector takes precedent over assisting the least fortunate.

Sure 3,628 residents call downtown home, but 97,216 residents don’t.

After months of discussions, rash decisions, even reprioritizing the matrix in seeking to legitimize a bad motion, all the city council had to do was satisfy a handful of outside bureaucrats and provincial politicians. They could not. But 100,844 Red Deer residents are expected to just accept it.

My first thought was our city council needed to look beyond their small circle of influence, think bigger but they did not.

Rather than working so hard to justify a plan that was acceptable to but a few business owners, in a designated sector, why not work at a plan acceptable to the many, in all sectors?

My sense for the delay is because the city wanted to build the homeless shelter in an undeveloped plot north of the river, which would appease the downtown people but, would be unacceptable to the many. There are over 30,000 residents living north of the river more than 8 times the number calling downtown home.

When will city council realize that they are beating a dead horse, and every decision will be unacceptable to some, every decision will have unintended and intended consequences. They need to look beyond their personal ambitions and their comfort zone and look at the destination then plan the route. Destination being what is the best solution for everyone.

What do the experts say? Provincial experts are giving a pass to our council’s shenanigans.

Council needs to expand their inner circle before this happens again.

Just saying.

Garfield Marks

Political editor/writer and retired oilfield supervisor

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Brownstone Institute

Sweden Did Exceptionally Well During the COVID-19 Pandemic

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From the Brownstone Institute


No wonder the news media are totally silent about the data that show that Sweden’s open society policy was what the rest of the world should have done, too. Numerous studies have shown Sweden’s excess death rate to be among the lowest in Europe during the pandemic and in several analyses, Sweden was at the bottom.

This is remarkable considering that Sweden has admitted that it did too little to protect people living in nursing homes.

Unlike the rest of the world, Sweden largely avoided implementing mandatory lockdowns, instead relying on voluntary curbs on social gatherings, and keeping most schools, restaurants, bars and businesses open. Face masks were not mandated and it was very rare to see any Swede dressed as a bank robber.

The Swedish Public Health Agency “gave more advice than threatened punishment” while the rest of the world installed fear in people. “We forbade families to visit their grandmother in the nursing home, we denied men attendance at their children’s births, we limited the number who were allowed to attend church at funerals. Maybe people are willing to accept very strong restrictions if the fear is great enough.”

If we turn to other issues than mortality, it is clear that the harms done by the draconian lockdowns in the rest of the world have been immense in all sorts of ways.

For any intervention in healthcare, we require proof that the benefits exceed the harms. This principle was one of the first and most important victims of the pandemic. Politicians all over the world panicked and lost their heads, and the randomised trials we so badly needed to guide us were never carried out.

We should abbreviate the great pandemic to the great panic.

In my book, “The Chinese virus: Killed millions and scientific freedom,” from March 2022, I have a section about lockdowns.

Lockdown, a questionable intervention

The reborn intolerance toward alternative ideas has been particularly acrimonious in the debate about lockdowns.

There are two main ways to respond to viral pandemics, described in two publications that both came out in October 2020.

The Great Barrington Declaration is only 514 words, with no references. It emphasizes the devastating effects of lockdowns on short- and long-term public health, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed. Arguing that for children, COVID-19 is less dangerous than influenza, it suggests that those at minimal risk of death should live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection and to establish herd immunity in the society.

It recommends focused protection of the vulnerable. Nursing homes should use staff with acquired immunity and perform frequent PCR testing for COVID-19 of other staff and all visitors. Retired people living at home should have groceries and other essentials delivered to their home and should meet family members outside when possible.

Staying home when sick should be practiced by everyone. Schools, universities, sports facilities, restaurants, cultural activities, and other businesses should be open. Young low-risk adults should work normally, rather than from home.

I have not found anything in the Declaration to be factually wrong.

The other publication is the John Snow Memorandum, which came out two weeks later.  Its 945 words are seriously manipulative. There are factual inaccuracies, and several of its 8 references are to highly unreliable science. The authors claim that SARS-CoV-2 has high infectivity, and that the infection fatality rate of COVID-19 is several times higher than that of seasonal influenza.

This is not correct (see Chapter 5), and the two references the authors use are to studies using modelling, which are highly bias-prone.

They also claim that transmission of the virus can be mitigated through the use of face masks, with no reference, even though this was, and still is, a highly doubtful claim.

“The proportion of vulnerable people constitute as much as 30% of the population in some regions.” This was cherry-picking from yet another modelling study whose authors defined increased risk of severe disease as one of the conditions listed in some guidelines. With such a broad definition, it is easy to scare people. However, they did not tell their readers that the modelling study also estimated that only 4% of the global population would require hospital admission if infected,36 which is similar to influenza.

The two declarations did not elicit enlightened debates, but strongly emotional exchanges of views on social media devoid of facts. The vitriolic attacks were almost exclusively directed against those supporting the Great Barrington Declaration, and many people, including its authors, experienced censorship from Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

The Great Barrington Declaration has three authors; the John Snow Memorandum has 31. The former was published on a website, which is kept alive, the latter in Lancet, which gives its many authors prestige.

In 2021, over 900,000 people had signed the Great Barrington Declaration, including me, as I have always found that the drastic lockdowns we have had, with all its devastating consequences for our societies, were neither scientifically nor ethically justified. I did Google searches to get an idea how much attention the two declarations have had. For the Great Barrington Declaration, there were 147,000 results; for the John Snow Memorandum only 5,500.

The Great Barrington Declaration has not had much political impact. It is much easier for politicians to be restrictive than keeping the societies open. Once a country has taken drastic measures, such as lockdowns and border closings, other countries are accused of being irresponsible if they don’t do the same – even though their effect is unproven. Politicians will not get in trouble for measures that are too draconian, only if it can be argued that they did too little.

In March 2021, Martin Kulldorff and Jay Bhattacharya, two of the three authors of the Great Barrington Declaration, drew attention to some of the consequences of the current climate of intolerance.  In many cases, eminent scientific voices have been effectively silenced, often with gutter tactics. People who oppose lockdowns have been accused of having blood on their hands and their university positions threatened.

Many have chosen to stay quiet rather than face the mob, for example Jonas Ludvigsson, after he had published a ground-breaking Swedish study making it clear that it is safe to keep schools open during the pandemic, for children and teachers alike. This was taboo.

Kulldorff and Bhattacharya argued that with so many COVID-19 deaths,  most of which have been in old people, it should be obvious that lockdown strategies have failed to protect the old.

The attacks on the Great Barrington Declaration appear to have been orchestrated from the top. On 8 October 2020, Francis Collins, the director of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), sent a denigrating email to Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and advisor for several US Presidents, where he wrote:

“This proposal from the three fringe epidemiologists who met with the Secretary seems to be getting a lot of attention – and even a co-signature from Nobel Prize winner Mike Leavitt at Stanford. There needs to be a quick and devastating published take down of its premises. I don’t see anything like that online yet – is it underway?”

Stefan Baral, an epidemiologist from Johns Hopkins, reported that a letter he wrote about the potential harms of population-wide lockdowns in April 2020 was rejected by more than 10 scientific journals and 6 newspapers, sometimes with the pretence that there was nothing useful in it.  It was the first time in his career that he could not get a piece placed anywhere.

In September 2021, BMJ allowed Gavin Yamey and David Gorski to publish an attack on the Great Barrington Declaration called, Covid-19 and the new merchants of doubt.  A commentator hit the nail when he wrote:

“This is a shoddy smear that is not for publication. The authors have not shown where their targets are scientifically incorrect, they just attack them for receiving funding from sources they dislike or having their videos and comments removed by social media corporations as if that was some indication of guilt.”

Kulldorff has explained what is wrong with the article. They claimed the Declaration provides support to the anti-vaccine movement and that its authors are peddling a “well-funded sophisticated science denialist campaign based on ideological and corporate interests.” But nobody paid the authors any money for their work or for advocating focused protection, and they would not have undertaken it for a professional gain, as it is far easier to stay silent than put your head above the parapet.

Gorski is behaving like a terrorist on social media, and he is perhaps a troll. Without having any idea what I had decided to talk about, or what my motives and background were, he tweeted about me in 2019 that I had “gone full on antivax.”  My talk was about why I am against mandatory vaccination for an organisation called Physicians for Informed Consent. Who could be against informed consent? But when I found out who the other speakers were, I cancelled my talk.

In January 2022, Cochrane published a so-called rapid review of the safety of reopening schools or keeping them open. The 38 included studies comprised 33 modelling studies, three observational studies, one quasi‐experimental and one experimental study with modelling components. Clearly, nothing reliable can come out of this, which the authors admitted: “There were very little data on the actual implementation of interventions.”

Using modelling, you can get any result you want, depending on the assumptions you put into the model. But the authors’ conclusion was plain nonsense: “Our review suggests that a broad range of measures implemented in the school setting can have positive impacts on the transmission of SARS‐CoV‐2, and on healthcare utilisation outcomes related to COVID‐19.”

They should have said that since there were no randomised trials, we don’t know if school closures do more good than harm. What they did is what Tom Jefferson has called “garbage in and garbage out … with a nice little Cochrane logo on it.”

About the failing scientific integrity of Cochrane reviews, the funder of the UK Cochrane groups noted in April 2021 that, “This is a point raised by people in the Collaboration to ensure that garbage does not go into the reviews; otherwise, your reviews will be garbage.”

Even though there was nothing to conclude from it, the authors filled 174 pages – about the length of the book you are currently reading – about the garbage they included in their review, which was funded by the Ministry of Education and Research in Germany.

A 2020 rapid systematic review in a medical journal found that school closures did not contribute to the control of the SARS epidemic in China, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

Lockdowns could even make matters worse. If children are sent home to be looked after by their grandparents because their parents are at work, it could bode disaster for the grandparents. Before the COVID-19 vaccines became available, the median age of those who died was 83.

The whole world missed a fantastic opportunity to find out what the truth was by randomising some schools to be closed while keeping others open, but such trials were never done. Atle Fretheim, research director at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, tried to do a trial but failed. In March 2020, Norwegian government officials were unwilling to keep schools open. Two months later, as the virus waned, they refused to keep schools closed. Norwegian TV shot the messenger: “Crazy researcher wants to experiment with children.” What was crazy was not to do the study. Craziness was also the norm in USA. In many large American cities, bars were open while schools were closed.

When people argue for or against lockdowns and how long they should last and for whom, they are on uncertain ground. Sweden tried to go on with life as usual, without major lockdowns. Furthermore, Sweden has not mandated the use of face masks and very few people have used them.


  • Peter C. Gøtzsche

    Dr. Peter Gøtzsche co-founded the Cochrane Collaboration, once considered the world’s preeminent independent medical research organization. In 2010 Gøtzsche was named Professor of Clinical Research Design and Analysis at the University of Copenhagen. Gøtzsche has published more than 97 papers in the “big five” medical journals (JAMA, Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine, British Medical Journal, and Annals of Internal Medicine). Gøtzsche has also authored books on medical issues including Deadly Medicines and Organized Crime. Following many years of being an outspoken critic of the corruption of science by pharmaceutical companies, Gøtzsche’s membership on the governing board of Cochrane was terminated by its Board of Trustees in September, 2018. Four board resigned in protest.

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Bruce Dowbiggin

Transitory Madness: Woke Goes For Broke

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In the final days of World War I, exhausted Canadian soldiers made a curious discovery when viewing German soldiers captured or killed in a late-1918 confrontation. They noticed the regimental badges of many units of the German army mixed into the unit they’d just confronted.

This told them that the Germans were at the end of their resources, throwing together soldiers from whatever units that still had left. They were desperate to hold back the inevitable defeat. Indeed, the Canadian soldiers were correct. Within weeks the Germans sued for an Armistice, ending the slaughter.

When some future historian gets around to writing the current version of Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire will they observe the obsession over trans-rights as being peak hysteria for early 21st century society? Will they ask, “Is that all there was?”

Having gone through victim status for women’s rights, gay rights, indigenous rights, Asian rights, immigrant rights and climate rights the past two decades, radical social engineers now seemingly only have trans-rights left in their chamber with which to create moral panics. While earlier manufactured victim crises could claim 51 percent of the population (women) down to five percent (LGBTQ), trans people represent an estimated 1.6 million people in the U.S. (0.04 percent).

Even allowing that the obsessive spotlight on the issue has boosted numbers in the impressionable 13-17 year old group, we are looking at a rounding-error segment of the population claiming grievance status. But you wouldn’t have any idea of the marginality of this community if you watched the current media cycle. Trans stories dominate the headlines.

The latest cause célèbre being a trans woman murdering children and staff at a Christian Academy in Nashville, Tennessee— all the while the trans lobby claims the shooter as a victim. A tiny community of dysphoric adults has been conflated into apparent martyrs by Woke society.

Which comes as a surprise to most middle-class citizens who haven’t been aware of trans people— or their own hatred for them— until informed by media outlets such as CBC, PBS or the New York Times (which just published an open letter from 1,000 writers, authors, and journalists demanding that The New York Times not report on problems with prescribing gender dysphoric children puberty blockers.)

How hysterical? Here’s career radical poseur Jane Fonda suggesting on The View that Christians who refuse to wear the Trans ribbon should be “murdered”. While her panel pals hasten to suggest she was simply joshing, a glib Fonda shrugs, raises an eyebrow and lets everyone know by her silence exactly what she’s thinking.

Then there’s a Michigan professor who wants murder over mediation. ”I think it is far more admirable to kill a racist, homophobic, or transphobic speaker than it is to shout them down,” said Wayne State endowed chair holder Steve Shepiro. “When right-wing groups invite such speakers to campus, it is precisely because they want to provoke an incident that discredits the left, and gives more publicity and validation to these reprehensible views than they could otherwise attain”.

Look, every movement has its loonies. (Witness TrumpWorld.) But the percentage of progressives who have suddenly gone from “I love RuPaul” to deciding trans rights is a hillside for them to die on is stunning. But such is the nature of modern hysterics. The Salem Witch Trials were generated by Christian fervour, the current fervour is driven by secular liberals casting about for quasi-religious meaning.

Citing new WSJ/ NORC polling showing a cratering of public trust in a number of categories since 2019, author Michael Shellenberger notes, “The evidence is now overwhelming that recent panics around climate, race, and sex — the mass desire to conform to a strict moral (Woke) code — stem from a) the acute need of liberal secular people for purpose, b) rising loneliness, and c) mass anxiety created by social media…

Like many new religions, Wokeism is characterized by intolerance.”  Witness the current disproportionate furore over a tiny number of NHL players refusing to wear Pride jerseys. Or the elite panic that spawned censorship of venerated authors such as Roald Dahl, Ian Fleming, and Agatha Christie whose work is now butchered after their deaths.

While Woke media pounds its drum over right-wing indoctrination and its incipient violence, psychology Professor Sam Vaknin says, “The potential for aggression and even violence in victimhood movements is much larger than in the general public.” Witness the @transdayofvengeance “Kill christcucks. Behead christcucks. Roundhouse kick a christcuck into the pavement…” @TNDtracker

That is worrisome in a society where virtually everyone now thinks they belong to a victim group that needs reparations from the rest of that society.

Finally, the Gibbon of this age will likely come to the conclusion that none of these tempests really have anything to do with their putative grievances. Rather they are the useful mechanisms by which totalitarians are trying to remake every aspect of society. Not unlike the effort attempted by Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. Like today’s radicals they sought to change human nature. If it took a million dead, it was a price they felt worth paying. Don’t underestimate today’s radicals if given the chance to demonize. If only they could seize the guns.

Or perhaps our historians will identify how a quasi-religious coalition of radical Maoists, declining media outlets and The View’s white progressive women saturated-with-class-guilt pulled back before it became The Killing Fields for dissenters. That a Joseph Welch asked them, Have you no shame?” as they frog-marched cultural figures to a gulag of their making, causing them to relent.

Perhaps. Or maybe the whiff of power will be too strong. With just 38 percent polled by WSJ favourable to patriotism, 30 percent positive about parenthood, 39 percent favourable to religion and 27 percent positive about community involvement they have an open field of despair to exploit for their purposes. What then? As Shellenberger concludes these forces are not the defeated German army of 1918. “It’s hard to see how Western civilization survives these trends.”

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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 . His 2004 book Money Players was voted sixth best on the same list, and is available via

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