By Tim McCauley |

$11.53 billon dollars. That’s the total of wagers Ontarians placed through iGaming services in the financial quarter from October 1st to December 31st. $457 million is the amount of revenue received by the Ontario government. Easy money for the government, it would seem. But at a great cost to many people who become regular gamblers and lose hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

The Ontario government legalized on-line gambling and sports betting on April 4, 2022. The government explained the reasoning behind legalization in a report by the Attorney General in July 2021. “Ontarians spend close to $1 billion a year on online gambling with an estimated 70 per cent taking place on unregulated, grey market websites, with limited, if any, consumer protection and responsible gaming measures . . . That is why the government is creating a competitive market for regulated online gaming in Ontario . . . ensuring a safe online environment that minimizes the risks for players.”

The government argues that legalized iGaming is meant to protect consumers. No mention is made of the potential revenue accrued by the Ontario government, which could amount to $2 billion a year. Nor does the government specify how legalization protects consumers. One can argue that legalization actually makes consumers more vulnerable. The government currently allows 78 different independent gambling websites to operate in Ontario. Advertisements for iGaming are ubiquitous and overwhelming. An Ipsos poll in January found that nearly half of Canadians (47%) agree that “the amount and volume of advertising is excessive and needs to be cut back.”

The flood of advertisements has accomplished its purpose, to lure thousands of more people into the fantasy world of gambling. It is a world of deceit, where promises of making money actually produce the opposite result. Casino-based gambling is the worst form of iGaming. Playing on-line slot machines, for example, guarantees you will lose money in the long run. Rationally, every person and every gambler know these facts. But that is the whole lie behind gambling. A person thinks that he or she is the exception. Some magic is on their side. Other people may lose, but they have the lucky charm that will help them win.

The tactics of on-line betting companies are seductive. For example, if you sign up with Fanduel, they immediately give you $50 worth of free credit to begin your betting. Then, approximately once a month, they offer a freebie, a bet that you are almost sure to win. They regularly send their customers a bet proposal. For instance, in a recent game between Pittsburgh and Colorado, you could bet that Crosby would get 2 points and MacKinnon one goal. Bet $20 and win $120. What is the harm of betting $20? It’s just one easy click on your phone. But if you start betting $20 regularly, you could be out of pocket hundreds of dollars at the end of the month. Of course you win a few, which keeps you betting even though logically you know you are losing more money than you are making.

The government of Ontario is mired in contradictions. In one sense, they have shown concern for the financial difficulties of Ontarians who have less disposable income due to inflation, increased gas prices and the higher cost of food. For this reason, they reduced the provincial tax on gas, and also eliminated the fee for license plate renewals.

But some of same people they have tried to assist are also those who will encounter more financial difficulties by losing money through iGaming. This is not an appropriate or productive means of increasing provincial revenue. It amounts to an exploitation of the vulnerable. It is too late to turn back the clock, but the government can and should impose some restrictions. As mentioned, the innumerable advertisements for iGaming companies are impossible to ignore . The government could ban such advertising, just as the Canadian government generally prohibits advertisements for marijuana. One could also hope that an independent think tank would do a study on the dangers of iGaming, and that this information would be widely disseminated to the public.

Beyond that, it is the responsibility of individuals, families and social networks to inform themselves and others of the dangers of on-line gambling, and for people to find other sources of entertainment and excitement that will not empty their pockets, leading to more monetary woes, and in some cases, financial ruin.

photo attribution: kalhh, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
By Paul Malvern |

If the leader is good, so too is the journey
---- Ktož jsú boží bojovníci - a 15th Century Czech Hussite War Hymn

Bad Leaders – Bad Journey

One of the most stirring examples of great leadership comes from the 15th century, where the tiny Czech nation rose up against the powerful Hapsburg empire and drove back bigger, better equipped Crusader armies composed of knights from all over Europe. While partly due to the character of the Czech people, a key factor in their success was the leadership provided by their brilliant military commander, Jan Žižka. Going into battle, his warriors sang the hymn, Ye Who are Warriors of God, which continues to be sung by Czechs even today. It contains the lines: 
“Since ages past Czechs have said and had proverbs which state, That if the leader is good, so too is the journey."
Sadly, we in the modern West are not so fortunate. For, sad to say, the leadership in almost all of our institutions is increasingly deficient – with the result that the journey through life for many ordinary citizens is far from a happy one.

A good example of such poor leadership is U.S. President Joe Biden, of whom Barak Obama once warned, “Never underestimate Joe’s ability to (expletive) things up.” For anyone not totally asleep over the last two years, Biden and his Administration seems like a waking nightmare that not even the most hardened cynic could dream up. For having promised during the 2020 election to calm the political waters and restore America to normality, Biden has instead pursued ill-advised and highly partisan policies which have weakened and divided his nation even more. And his administration’s irresponsible fiscal policies have played a major role in stoking the runaway inflation seen around the world. Then there are his many foreign policy fiascos such as the truly appalling way in which the U.S. withdrew from Afghanistan, leaving its people to the tender mercies of the Taliban. And last but not least is his determination to leave his country’s borders open to vast numbers of illegal aliens – a situation which places border states in the unenviable task of addressing a serious humanitarian crisis with very limited resources.

Sadly, it is not just the U.S. which suffers from bad leadership. For who can forget Germany’s recent leadership failures – most notably those of former Chancellor Angela Merkel? Merkel, if you will recall, is one of those incredibly intelligent people (She has a doctorate in quantum chemistry!) who, once in office, makes bad decisions that take your breath away. A good example is her decision in 2015 to open up her country’s borders to a million unvetted third world refugees in just one year, many of them young single men of military age. Initially, this went well. And then it didn’t. For on New Years Eve of that year a wave of sexual and other assaults swept across many major cities in Germany. The worst happened in Cologne where a total of 1210 criminal complaints were made, including 511 for sexual assaults and 28 for rape or attempted rape. Equally wrong-headed was her decision in 2011 to close Germany’s nuclear power stations and replace this previously dependable and cost-effective source of energy with Russian natural gas and alternate sources such as solar and wind power. A decision which is now causing Germans to scramble for new sources of power – however dirty and environmentally unfriendly – to keep the lights burning and the heat on throughout the winter.

Unfortunately, it is not just Merkel. For throughout all of this period, she had widespread support from across the political spectrum. Which has caused some to believe that such woolly-headed thinking is par for the course for German elites, whom one UK newspaper called “arrogant, incompetent and corrupt”.

Then there is Vladimir Putin, whose planned three-day blitzkrieg aimed at toppling the Ukrainian Government has been going on for over a year with no end in sight.

Nor can we forget the shambles which is the UK Conservative Government. Initially, its woes began with the resignation of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson due to his many misdeeds and blunders. But then it got really interesting when he was replaced by Liz Truss, who lasted only 45 days as Prime Minister, eventually being forced to resign due to her failed budget which tanked the British stock, bond and currency markets. Her replacement, Rishi Sunak, is holding on to power better than Truss. (Not hard to do!) But his future seems anything but bright, given a growing loss of confidence among the general public in the Conservatives’ ability to govern well and wisely.

And last but not least is that ‘kindly authoritarian’, Jacinda Ardern, who recently resigned as New Zealand Prime Minister, saying that she “no longer has enough in the tank”. Ardern, who is seen as something of a superstar among international elites has recently seen a sharp decline in her popularity back home due to her country’s serious economic problems, an increase in crime, and lingering bitterness over her harsh pandemic policies that were anything but ‘kindly’. Which with an election looming in the very near future suggests that her resignation may not just involve a desire to spend more time with her family.

Trudeau’s Master Class in Poor Leadership

But for my money, the title of worst leader in the industrial West must surely go to Canada’s Justin Trudeau, who is well on his way to transforming a prosperous, tolerant and law-abiding nation blessed with cheap food and an abundance of natural resources into a woke nightmare where justice is anything but blind and shortages of food and energy appear to be major goals of public policy. Such a thought has clearly occurred to many Canadians as seen in a recent poll which showed that “most Canadians agree ‘Canada is broken’ – and they’re angry about it”. Of special interest was the poll’s finding that this sentiment was strongest among women and those in the youngest age bracket.

For those not familiar with Trudeau, suffice it to say that for a writer he is the gift that keeps on giving. For example, in January of 2022, I wrote an article on Trudeau for a UK publication, which I assumed pretty much covered the topic. And then just weeks later, his mishandling of the Truckers’ Convoy showed that he possesses reservoirs of foolishness and incompetence that go far beyond anything I had previously suspected. For this crisis more than anything else has revealed (as crises always do) just what sort of man and leader he is.

From the beginning of this crisis, he showed himself to be inflexible, petulant, and unwilling (or unable) to understand or even consider the point of view of those with a different perspective. This was made clear by his refusal to meet with the truckers, labelling them and their supporters as a “small fringe minority” holding “unacceptable views”. Given the magnitude of support for the truckers at the time from across the country, such a statement was ludicrous – a fact noted at the time by Elon Musk who tweeted that “the small minority is the government”.

Like so many things in Trudeau’s Canada, the Truckers’ Convoy never had to be the mess it became. Initially just a minor dispute about the mandatory vaccination of truckers, it could have been handled in the tried-and-true Canadian fashion – by compromise and dialogue. But being the willful child he is, Trudeau refused to talk to the truckers, condemning them in the harshest terms. With the result that the truckers and their supporters shut down the heart of Ottawa as well as a number of border crossings, this time demanding freedom and an end to all vaccine mandates. Throwing gasoline on a raging fire, Trudeau then invoked the never-before-used Emergencies Act to freeze bank accounts and give authorities special powers to suppress dissent. On February 23, 2022, the Act was revoked after being in force for only a few weeks because police were able to remove the demonstrators without using the Act’s extraordinary powers and because the Senate appeared unlikely to ratify use of the Act. Even so, the damage was done and the consequences of invoking the Act will be with us for years to come.

One obvious consequence is that Canadians now realize how fragile their civil liberties are and how little protection the Charter of Rights and Freedoms affords them.

And Trudeau’s freezing of bank accounts has damaged Canada’s reputation as a safe place in which to do business. For who in their right mind would put their money in a Canadian bank if their assets can be seized at the whim of the government? This was clearly a question on the minds of many Canadians at the time who, once the freezing of assets began, withdrew their funds in such large numbers that some feared it would precipitate a run on Canada’s banks.

As well, Trudeau’s trampling of civil rights during the convoy and the obsessive persecution of convoy members (which stands in stark contrast to the treatment received by other dissenters) has tarnished the image of our judicial system, causing some to believe that it dispenses unequal justice, where those favoured by the government can do whatever they like, while those out of favour suffer harsh treatment.

A good example is the abuse meted out to convoy organizer, Tamara Lich, whom the highly respected Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) calls “Canada’s Political Prisoner”. Barely five feet tall, this 49-year-old grandmother of Métis heritage is no fire-breathing revolutionary. And she is certainly no danger to public safety, given that she has no criminal record or history of violence. Nor on the face of it are the offenses she is charged with particularly serious ones, as seen by the fact that one of more serious ones is just ‘mischief’.

In spite of this, judicial officials twice denied her bail and she spent a cumulative 48 days in jail – harsh treatment that stands in sharp contrast to the usual practice in Canada where people facing much more serious charges regularly get bail.

So outrageous has her treatment been that the senior justices who reviewed her case twice overturned previous lower court rulings denying her bail, sharply criticizing those who made the rulings – in one case remarking that, “the courts are not thought police.”

Sadly, this is part of a larger problem in which virtually all of Canada’s institutions are in serious trouble with no hope of renewal as long as Trudeau remains in power. This national deterioration under Trudeau was underlined by psychologist, Jordan Peterson, who wrote, “This is not good, Canadians. We not only look like fools … we are actually being fools, led by the king of fools, and we’re going to pay for it. And so are our children and grandchildren.”

The Ultra-Rich Take the Helm

Faced with the many leadership failures seen throughout the West at the national level and recognizing the growing globalization of economic and financial activity, many large transnational corporations – and the billionaires who own or manage them – have decided that it is time for them to lend a hand at directing the affairs of the world. Which is exactly what global elites are starting to do – either intervening directly (as in the case of George Soros and Bill Gates) or indirectly through their participation in international organizations such as the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the many climate change forums to which they travel in their private, fuel-guzzling jets.

These powerful movers and shakers, aided by their allies in the media, transnational bureaucracies, and a variety of NGOs, are nothing if not ambitious. As seen by the goals they have set – such as altering the world’s climate and restructuring the way human beings around the globe live, work, eat and are governed.

And their successes to date in setting the world’s agenda have been truly impressive – if at times somewhat frightening. One obvious example of their impact must surely be the global coordination of the Covid pandemic response through bodies such as the World Health Organization (WHO), whose impacts are still being felt around the world. Another example involves the “open borders” policies seen in many Western countries. And last but not least are the never-ending warnings of global catastrophe, should we continue to enjoy reliable and inexpensive energy supplies and the delights of a perfectly cooked steak.

None of which should be surprising. For through their ownership and control of the legacy media and big social media companies upon which vast numbers of people now rely for their information, their narrative has become the dominant one in the industrial West. And using their influence over national governments, they are increasingly able to marginalize and even censor dissenting points of view, branding them as “misinformation” or “disinformation”.

While this top-down leadership style used by global elites has been spectacularly successful so far, it does lack one important element that ultimately may be their undoing - namely, their refusal to lead by example. For these elite players clearly have no intention of living as they wish us to do. Take, for example, the most recent Davos meeting where the world’s richest and most powerful leaders flew to it in their private jets – totally unconcerned by their huge carbon foot print and the environmental damage caused by their actions. Nor was there even one meal worm or grasshopper on the menu during this get-together – those tasty treats we have been told to start consuming in order to save the planet. The message here is, “do as I say, not as I do”.

This glaring hypocrisy has not gone unnoticed, with even some liberal critics being appalled by it – one good example being New York Times Global Economics Correspondent, Peter Goodman. In his recently book, Davos Man: How the Billionaires Devoured the World, he pillories many of the world’s billionaires whose egalitarian and socially responsible rhetoric stands in sharp contrast to their actual policies, which are anything but compassionate, egalitarian or socially responsible.

Living in Denial

Of course, one of the difficulties we face in addressing this growing leadership deficit is the widespread denial that exists – particularly among the leaders themselves and those who support them. For according to them, if there is a problem, it is not their fault. Rather, it is the fault of those misguided (in their view) individuals who fail to see what a great job they are doing. And so the answer is not to change direction or seek the wishes of the people, but rather for people to keep quiet and do what they are told, as Covid-advisor, Anthony Fauci, suggested. The idea being that, if critics would just stop opposing elite-driven policies, everything would be fine. The seas would stop rising. The earth would cool. Inclusion and equity would be universally accepted and perfectly implemented. The COVID vaccines would work as advertised. And “you’ll own nothing and you’ll be happy”.

So, the trick from their point of view is to find ways to silence critics and nudge or force people into doing what they are told. Which is exactly what we are seeing in many countries.

Such reasoning – if you can call it that – is the logic of a spoiled three-year-old child who wants ice cream right now and is prepared to set fire to the drapes if he or she doesn’t get their way. Unfortunately, that is the scenario we are seeing play out in many Western nations as public officials trample on some of our most hallowed freedoms. Such as the freedom of speech, conscience and association – all of which suffered greatly as a result of the draconian restrictions placed on us during the recent pandemic.

The Inability to Think

While it is easy to see how unequal to the task many of our leaders are, coming up with an explanation as to why this might be and why so many citizens appear happy to be led by them is a more difficult matter.

One possible explanation may be what the great social observer, Hannah Arendt, called the inability to think – an idea she developed in her masterful book, Eichmann in Jerusalem. In this book and her articles for The New Yorker, she struggled with the question of how a seemingly bland and unremarkable man like Eichmann could have facilitated the death of millions of innocent people by overseeing their transportation to death camps. Her conclusion was that much of the evil in the world flows from the inability to think – by which she meant the inability to think things through and consider the consequences of their actions.

While our current leaders are obviously not anywhere close to Eichmann in turns of wickedness, they nevertheless do have much to answer for – such as the social, economic and medical harms caused by their ham-fisted response to COVID, their irresponsible fiscal policies which have led to our current raging inflation, and their unhealthy obsession with climate change which promises to replace COVID as the next “boogeyman du jour”. For all of these harms are the result of our leaders’ inability (and in some cases unwillingness) to think critically and consider the consequences of their policies on the lives of the millions of ordinary human beings for whom they are responsible.

For example, did they not consider how locking down nations for months at a time might affect these societies and their economies? Did they not consider how closing schools might affect the education or future life prospects of a generation of children? Or how massive government spending of borrowed money during the pandemic might cause runaway inflation? Or how demonizing the unvaccinated might damage social cohesion and ruin lives?

Apparently not! And if it did occur to them, it must have seemed a small price to pay for short-term political advantage – a charge levelled by former Liberal Finance Minister Bill Morneau against his former boss, Justin Trudeau.

Running on Empty – Western Cultural and Spiritual Decline

But as helpful as Arendt’s insights are, they fail to take into account an even more important factor – namely, the cultural and spiritual decline currently seen in virtually all Western countries.

Over the millennia, many great thinkers have noted the remarkable similarity between the human life cycle and that of nations, empires and civilizations. Both are born, mature, grow old, become senile, and die. And while some civilizations are subsequently reborn or transformed –others disappear forever.

An especially helpful thinker in this area is the 14th century Islamic historian, sociologist, jurist, and statesman, Ibn Khaldun, whose work, The Muqaddimah: An Introduction to History, has much to teach us about human society even today.

For Ibn Khaldun, the rise and fall of nations is all about group solidarity – or lack thereof. Those who found new dynasties or nations frequently live on the fringes of an already existing settled society which has grown soft due to affluence and easy living. (They are what historian Arnold Toynbee would later call ‘the external proletariat’). Being poor and disenfranchised, these people – and their leaders - develop a strong sense of group consciousness because they must depend on each other to survive. With few physical comforts and little to lose, they are tough, brave and have each other’s back – qualities that allow them to overthrow and replace rulers who have grown weak due to soft living and moral laxity.

Over the generations, these new rulers and the people they govern are themselves corrupted by wealth and easy living. And each successive generation becomes more individualistic, self-centered and pleasure oriented – which erodes morality and social cohesion even more. Eventually, such nations grow senile and are replaced by those not corrupted by affluence.

Sadly, such a phenomenon is already under way in the West – as can be seen in a number of areas. One good example is the economic sphere where many corporations and individuals seem willing to do whatever it takes, however immoral or unethical, to amass wealth – thus echoing Ibn Khaldun’s observation that. “People are now devoted to lying, gambling, cheating, fraud, theft, perjury, and usury.” (Those familiar with the many recent financial scandals will see echoes of this in our own age!)  

Sadly, this decline in morality and spiritual values can be seen in many other areas – including politics and government, education, media, the law and even religion. All too often this process begins with elites who, out of pridefulness, greed, ambition, or contempt for those they view as beneath them, reject the lessons of the past and the deep wisdom and common sense of ordinary people – instead seeking to recreate the world in their own flawed image.

The problem here is that, while this process of decline initially involves a relatively small number of people at the top, this moral rot quickly spreads to the population as a whole who in Ibn Khaldun’s words, “adopt the qualities of their environment and company.”

Which, sadly, is where we are today, giving proof to the old adage that “a fish rots from the head down”.

Fixing the Mess

Of course, none of this makes for happy reading. For no one wants to believe that they are part of a civilization that is in decline. But as John Adams, the second President of the United States, noted, “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence …”. Moreover, we are duty bound to look carefully at the historical record and what it tells us about our current world. For as philosopher, George Santayana, reminds us, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

For it is only when we fully understand the situation facing us that we can make the changes (including changes in our leaders and how we are governed) needed to avoid the fate that otherwise awaits us.

Happily, there is still time. And there is reason to hope. For in spite of the working together of governments, the corporate media, and transnational organizations to restrict debate on the issues of the day, alternate points of view are being heard – if somewhat slowly. And the decline of trust in institutions, decried by some, is actually good in many ways since it means that those in power can no longer count on everyone blindly accepting whatever they are told. Even more encouraging are the many grassroots and anti-establishment movements that are springing up to resist the growing authoritarianism of our rulers – good examples being the Truckers Convoy in Canada and the many anti-establishment political parties and movements in Europe.

Will this make a difference? Who knows? But it is a start. And it is a sign that not everyone is prepared to sacrifice their freedom and mindlessly do what they are told in hopes of being left alone or at the very least not being ‘cancelled’.

And even if this growing public resistance does not succeed - which is a possibility given the power and wealth of our national and transnational elites who seem determined to impose some form of technocratic tyranny on us - all is not lost. For much can be done at the micro level to help us and those we love thrive in bad times.

One important first step involves making sure our families are strong and happy. For this is vitally important if we are to lead good and rewarding lives while our public institutions continue to deteriorate – which seems a real possibility. Another important step involves citizens putting serious effort into discovering what is really happening, rather than uncritically accepting the official narrative touted by governments, mega corporations and the legacy media.

And depending on just how bad things get, another approach might involve finding alternative ways of getting the goods and services we and our families require – as happened in the former Communist countries of Eastern and Central Europe, where the State-managed systems were hopelessly incompetent and inefficient. One way of doing this might require the creation of alternate institutions as happened following the collapse of Rome where the Christian Church (and in particular the monasteries) provided many of the social, educational and health care services which disappeared due to the collapse of the Roman State.

Finally - and perhaps most importantly - we need to rediscover the spiritual foundation upon which the West was founded. For without such a foundation anything we do will be like building on shifting sand.

In short, we can fix this. But doing so will require all the determination and wisdom we can muster. And we will have to start immediately since the window of opportunity is a narrow one. Initially this will seem hard to accomplish. But taken in small incremental steps, it is doable. For as the Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu, wrote long ago, “"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step".

Photo credit: Statue of Jan Žižka at National Memorial on Vítkov Hill in Prague, Czech Republic
Asurnipal, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

What on earth does salt have to do with marriage? I may be out to lunch on this, but after listening to the Gospel reading at Mass today, Matthew 5:13-16, and listening to Deacon Kevin O'Shea's homily (18:57), it reminded me about the chemical nature of salt itself, and the marriage bond.

I propose that the bond between one sodium atom and one chlorine atom is similar to the bond between husband and wife.

If you recall chemistry class back in high school, you will know that the atoms of sodium (Na) and  the atoms of chlorine (Cl) combine together to form a new crystal lattice structure, known as sodium chloride (NaCl), also known as salt. 

Separately, as individual atoms, sodium and chlorine have radically different properties. Sodium is a soft, bright, silvery metal, and needs to be stored in oil because it is highly reactive and "excitable", exploding spontaneously when placed in water. Chlorine on the other hand is a greenish yellow gas that acts as an irritant, and a few breaths of it can be fatal. In liquid form, it will burn the skin.

However, when the sodium and chlorine atoms are in near proximity, the sodium atom has an "urge" to give away its single valence electron to chlorine. In fact, it fits perfectly inside the chlorine atom, which only has room for one electron to become stable. At rest, chlorine has seven valence electrons, and it can only receive one electron to become stable. The donation of sodium's electron results in an electrostatic force of attraction between the two, and bingo, a strong ionic bond is formed between them resulting in sodium chloride, i.e. salt.
sodium and chlorine form an ionic bond to create table salt (NaCl)
image taken from Wikimedia Commons

By Paul Malvern |

After a lifetime spent studying, observing and occasionally participating in politics and government, one of my main takeaways is that, no matter what the stated ideologies or lofty goals of our political and governmental masters, much of what drives these people flows from their own personal needs, motivations and brokenness.

And one of the most malignant of those drivers is pride.

While pride has figured prominently in human affairs throughout history, its damage to individuals and society has been noted by the great ethical and moral thinkers in every age. For example, the ancient Greeks considered hubris (as they called it) a major character flaw. As such it played a central role in many of their tragedies, demonstrating how the great and powerful are often destroyed by their inability to control their behaviour and emotions due to overweening pride. Christianity holds an equally gloomy view of pride, seeing it as the worst of all sins, since it is the great sin of Satan, who claims to be the equal of God. And both Jesus and the Old Testament prophets continually warned against succumbing to this sin, which if not resisted, destroys not only individuals but also nations and empires. Indeed, so spiritually deadly does Christianity consider pride to be that both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches offer Confession as a mechanism for whittling down adherents’ inflated egos, identifying problematic behaviour and attitudes, and providing sage advice as to how they can mend their ways. (It has been said that there are no ‘tough guys’ in the Confessional.) Recognizing the value of such an institution, some Evangelicals now offer “accountability partners or groups” that provide believers with people they can talk to honestly (that is, “confess”) about their sins and get help in correcting their behaviour.

In spite of such wise counsel, we humans continue to embrace pride, no doubt hoping that an exception to its dire consequences will be made in our own case – a tragic self-deception, given the damage it inflicts on every aspect of life and every institution, including religion, cultural and intellectual life, the media and even the family.

Donald Trump’s Greek Tragedy

But to fully appreciate just how negative pridefulness can be, we need look no further than the realm of politics and government – one excellent example being the recent churlish behaviour of former President Donald Trump who went out of his way to personally insult Florida Governor Ron DeSantis – whom he called “Ron Desanctimonious” - and Virginia Governor, Glenn Youngkin – whom he ridiculed for having a last name that sounded Chinese. Such gratuitous insults represent classic examples of Trump-speak which may in part explain why he failed to get re-elected. For while such jibes may sound clever in Trump’s head, they actually make him look petty and damage his image without providing any obvious gain.

So why would he do such a thing? The answer, I believe, can be summed up in two words, “hurt pride”.

To begin with, Trump is clearly smarting because a number of the candidates he promoted during the midterms did poorly and because the Republican Party, over which he currently has considerable influence, did not enjoy the “red tsunami” many had predicted. Which has caused some to blame Trump for the Party’s underperformance.

Perhaps more importantly, Youngkin and DeSantis are rising stars within the Republican Party – with DeSantis being touted as a possible presidential candidate in the 2024 election. Given Trump’s fragile ego, sharing the limelight with these two men is not an option. So, Trump does what he always does in such situations. He goes on the attack – and a vicious one at that.

This temptation to attack is strengthened by the seeming refusal of these two men to kowtow to him as he thinks they should. For he firmly believes that they owe their positions to him and the support he gave them. In short, they are ungrateful for his help and they deserve any abuse he hurls at them.

What he can’t see (possibly blinded by his wounded inner child) is that none of this acting out is going to get him what he wants. For it won’t improve his chances of being elected in 2024. Nor will his verbal abuse hurled at DeSantis and Youngkin hurt them, but may rather help them since they will be seen as the innocent victims of a totally unfair unprovoked attack.

America’s Greek Tragedy

For those suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome, Trump’s current distress must seem like a gift from heaven. For in their eyes Trump is a stupid and evil man who threatens everything they hold dear. So, he deserves everything he gets. And more.

But for those not afflicted by this terrible Syndrome, Trump’s woes seem more like a Greek tragedy unfolding before their eyes – a tragedy made more poignant by its terrible inevitability.

Worse yet, it is increasingly clear that this tragedy is not really about Trump who is just a bit player in a larger drama in which America itself is the lead actor. For only a fool could fail to see that the United States is in a sharp decline – in part because of its moral failings and a widespread belief among its leaders and many of its citizens that its great wealth and military power allow them to do anything they want with absolutely no consequences. The error of this delusional thinking has become painfully obvious over the last two years as the Biden Administration has given new meaning to the word “incompetence”. Which has caused some to yearn for the “good old days” of the Trump era when the economy was booming, minority hiring was at record levels and you didn’t have to choose between filling up your car’s gas tank and paying your utility bills. And while it is true that we don’t have to put up with Trump’s mean Tweets anymore, the sad reality is that he has been replaced by a man who is clearly dementing and whose policies are damaging and dividing his country like never before. Which is evident from polls conducted in June 2022 which revealed that 85% of Americans believe their country is going in the wrong direction.

Pride Knows No Borders

Of course, Trump isn’t the first public figure to be blinded by pride and he won’t be the last. For pride does not recognize national boundaries. Nor does it afflict only some ideologies and groups while leaving others “simon-pure”. So, if Trump and America are in trouble because of their pride-driven foolishness, they clearly are in good company. Take, for example, social democratic Sweden which for many years has billed itself as a “humanitarian super power”. Acting on this rather flattering self-delusion, successive governments have crafted policies whose unintended consequences have resulted in the creation of “no-go zones” (aka “vulnerable areas”) in a number of Swedish cities characterised by drugs, violence and high levels of crime. Not surprisingly, the existence of no-go zones played a significant role in the recent political earthquake in that country – namely, the election of a conservative coalition government which includes the Swedish Democrats, a right-wing Party previously viewed by the political Establishment as being beyond the pale.

Equally prideful have been successive German governments – most notably that of recently retired Angela Merkel who opened her country’s borders in 2015 to a million unvetted third world refugees (many of them young single men) - with predictable results - and ordered the closing of Germany’s nuclear power stations in 2011 and their replacement by Russian natural gas and solar and wind power – also with predictable results.

Then there is the deadly pride of Russian Premier Vladimir Putin whose desire to establish himself in textbooks as the man who restored Russia to its imperial greatness has led to massive death and destruction in Ukraine as evidenced by an estimated 100,000 Russian military casualties, a similar number on the Ukrainian side, 40,000 civilian casualties, and as many as 30 million people having been forced to flee their homes. With no sign of this war ending any time soon, the carnage promises to rise even more.

And not to be ignored is Canada’s Justin Trudeau whose decisions over the last seven years clearly demonstrate what a pride-driven government looks like.

Take for instance his stubborn refusal to talk to members of the Truckers Convoy whom he saw as beneath him - they supposedly being homophobic, trans-phobic, misogynists and racists. Or his “holier-than-thou” scapegoating of the unvaccinated during the COVID-19 pandemic whom he claimed “don’t believe in science/progress and are very often misogynistic and racist”. And what of his attacks on the oil and gas industry and his ever-increasing carbon taxes which raise the price to consumers of gasoline and heating oil? Or his call for 30% cuts to fertilizer emissions by 2030 which farmers say could threaten Canada’s food supply? All because he knows better than us.

And finally, what of the overwhelming pridefulness of global elites who think there are too many of us on Planet Earth and who seek ways of solving that problem by reducing the number of babies who are conceived and make it alive through the birth canal? And who seem determined to make life miserable for us by some “Great Reset” which will radically alter how we are governed, how we live and work, and, more disturbingly, what we eat – as seen by suggestions that it might be a good idea to replace meat in our diet by insects. Perhaps most ominous was the prediction contained in a 2018 WEF video which stated that “you will own nothing and be happy”.

All Is Not Lost

Even so, all is not lost. For the Universe does have a mechanism in place to deal with pride – as seen by Greek Tragedies and the human history that has followed them by way of confirmation. For time and again many great and powerful individuals, institutions, nations and empires have come crashing down due to their overweening pride. Thus, proving that there is indeed justice in the universe.

The problem is that there is often enormous collateral damage along the way. So, the trick is to survive the mess that powerful people create through their wilfulness while at the same time ensuring that our lives and the lives of those close to us are not damaged by our own pridefulness. One way to do this is by seeking the truth – for example, by refusing to accept unquestioningly what others say (especially those in positions of authority who have their own agendas), by resisting the pressure to blindly conform, and by refusing to lie to ourselves about who we are and why we are doing things. For as Jesus of Nazareth so rightly notes, “you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”.

But doing this will be hard since the forces that seek to keep us from the truth are strong, and their control over information via the mainstream media and education system is so powerful that barring some unusual event our only hope for enlightenment and change at the national level is some sort of spiritual revival. For as Gordon Lightfoot says in his song, The Pride of Man:
"And only God can lead his people
Back into the Earth again
Thy holy mountain be restored
Have mercy on thy people Lord."
In the meantime, we struggle on, not worrying about the pridefulness of people like Donald Trump, Joe Biden and Justin Trudeau. But rather doing our best to address our own problem with pride – knowing that, as hard as this is, it is well worth the effort. For it is vital if our relationships with those around us – including our families – are to be happy, fulfilling, and peaceful.

Image Credit: Nikiforos Lytras, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons, Nikiforos Lytras’ depiction of Antigone and Polynices, 1854. National Gallery, Athens. | Ancient Greek Story of Antigone Warns Against Sin of Pride
By Paul Malvern

If there were a list of those country’s least likely to revolt, Canada would surely top the list. For it is in our very DNA to defer to authorities, shut up and do what we are told.

Part of this is due to our climate where winters are harsh and can last for up to 5 months. No one wants to riot in minus 30-degree weather.

Nor does our history encourage revolt since both English and French Canada were founded on explicitly anti-revolutionary principles. For example, having missed the French revolution, Quebec’s culture remained for a long time similar to that of France’s ancien rếgime. And English Canada, having been settled by refugees from the American Revolution, remained doggedly opposed to radical change until the 1960s. These habits of mind were confirmed by the British North America Act which emphasized “peace, order and good government” in contrast to America’s principles of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.

This tradition of strong governments and limited citizen input was given a decidedly left-wing flavour in English Canada by the current Prime Minister’s father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, and in Quebec by the Quiet Revolution of the 1960s which transformed the province from an authoritarian state dominated by the Catholic Church into an authoritarian state dominated by an all-powerful provincial government.

So, it should come as no surprise that Canada has had some of the harshest Covid mandates in the world with next to no resistance from the population.

Even so, there is a point where the population of any nation decides that enough is enough – which is exactly what has happened in Canada.

Like most historic events, it is hard to identify the exact cause – particularly since there are so many outrages to choose from. One was the Quebec Government’s announcement that it would impose a special tax on the unvaccinated. Another was Prime Minister Trudeau’s attacks on the unvaccinated which were seen by many as an attempt to scapegoat people whose only crime was wanting to decide what medical treatment they would undergo. Then there were the calls to make vaccination compulsory – which appeared to violate the Nuremberg Code. And the clincher was Trudeau’s banning unvaccinated truckers entering Canada at a time when real worries existed as to the resilience of our supply chains.

The truckers’ response, Freedom Convoy 2022, has quickly morphed from a protest involving an industry-specific irritant into a national protest which seeks the elimination of all Covid mandates and the restoration of the freedoms lost during the pandemic.

To fully grasp the significance of this event it is important to recognize the difficulties faced by its organizers.

One is the sheer size of the event – which has made it the largest truck convoy in history. Organizers originally estimated that as many as 50,000 trucks might eventually join the convoy. While such a huge number of trucks did not materialize, the convoy nevertheless was enormous. For example, three days away from Ottawa, the convoy stretched 70 kms (43.5 miles) – with more trucks joining later on as it got closer to its final destination.

Then there are the vast distances to consider – as seen by the fact that trucks driving from Canada’s West Coast to Ottawa would have travelled over 4000 kms.

And then there is the fierce opposition to this grassroots movement by governments at all levels and the mainstream media which existed long before the convoy reached the Nation’s Capital.

The extent of this opposition is best illustrated by Prime Minister Trudeau’s comments to the media. Always keen to throw gasoline on a raging fire, he declared the truckers to be a small fringe minority who hold views that are unacceptable to Canadians. Not surprisingly, Trudeau’s remarks drew a number of angry responses – most notably that from renowned psychologist, Jordan Peterson, who declared that , “Every word he says is a lie. A nose as long as the trucker’s convoy”. Even so, Trudeau’s speaking points have been dutifully echoed by Canada’s media outlets which have condemned the convoy, smeared its organizers, and stirred up fears concerning the convoy, its aims and its participants. My favorite was the suggestion by the host on a CBC News program that Russia might somehow have had a hand in the protest. None of which is unexpected given the uncomfortably warm relationship between the PM and the media – a relationship that has grown even warmer following the Trudeau Government’s massive handouts to the media.

But while the powers-that-be may not approve of the convoy, the same cannot be said of many ordinary Canadians who have warmly greeted the protesters across the country, often standing for hours in sub-zero weather to cheer them on or offering them food and refreshments to speed them on their way. And yet others have flooded social media and newspaper comment sections with messages of support.

Nor has the impact of the convoy been limited to Canada. For there has been strong take up of the story by the U.S. media - with a spokesperson from the convoy being interviewed by Tucker Carlson. Even more striking was the warm endorsement of the convoy by billionaire Elon Musk. As well, truckers in Europe and Australia have taken note of the success of the event and have signalled their interest in mounting a similar effort. A similar convoy is being planned in the United States. And even truckers in Bolivia and Brazil have joined the movement.

So, is this the start of a Canadian revolution as some have suggested? Well, hardly, given the natural reserve of Canadians and the fact that the powers-that-be possess the full power of the state to enforce their will. But even so they are worried – as seen by Trudeau’s claim that he would be in isolation while the demonstrators were in the Nation’s Capital. His initial claim was that this was necessitated by his having been recently exposed to Covid. (A strange claim given that he is double-vaxxed and has received a booster!) In response to the scorn heaped upon this explanation, his story then changed – with his next fairy tale du jour being that his security people had demanded that he move to a more secure location to ensure his safety. Yes, democracy can be a scary thing!

As it turns out Trudeau and those around him do have a great deal to worry about. Not from rioting by the imaginary legions of hate-filled bigots he constantly tries to conjure up. But rather from a peaceful protest movement that has caught the imagination of a growing number of those Canadians who live outside the bubble Trudeau and his political and media allies inhabit – namely, those ordinary Canadians who have suffered horribly during the last two years of draconian restrictions. Worse yet from Trudeau’s perspective is the fact that this movement is no longer confined to just Ottawa as seen by similar demonstrations that have taken place in provincial capitals and the blockades that have shut down cross-border traffic in Southern Alberta and the Ontario border cities of Windsor and Sarnia.

But even more significant is the change which has occurred in the minds of many Canadians – particularly those who either oppose mandates or have doubts about the wisdom of giving away freedom for the illusion of safety. For they now know that they are not alone and have a power they never imagined existed.

Canadians are fighting back. And it looks good on them.

By Paul Malvern |

Politics is a funny business. It can improve people’s lives by appealing to humanity’s noblest aspirations. Or it can make life a living hell by drawing on people’s basest instincts. 

One of the most dangerous instincts is fear. For fear is easy to generate. It suppresses people’s ability to think critically. And it causes decent people to do things they never would do otherwise – which is why it has been used so successfully over the ages to get power and control others.

Creating a Culture of Fear

Of course, fear is not inherently bad. Nor is it something that should be avoided at all cost. For it can be beneficial – such as when our “flight or fight” response kicks in during times of danger. However, there are situations where it is quite harmful – for example, when it is irrational, when it is out of proportion to the threat, and when it is used to trick people into doing things that are not in their best interest. All of which have occurred during our current pandemic.

For those who have seen how governments really work, the idea that public officials might use fear to manipulate citizens is hardly news – as was recently demonstrated by a number of leaked documents which reveal how governments around the world have done just that during the pandemic.

Take for example the March 22, 2020 document from the UKs Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Behaviour (SPI-B) which shows that the UK Government sought to increase fear and insecurity among citizens from the very beginning. In it the authors state that the, “perceived level of personal threat needs to be increased among those who are complacent, using hard-hitting emotional messaging”.1 To achieve this goal, many believe the Government is using techniques developed by the Project Fear campaign, which bombarded the public in the lead up to the Brexit referendum with articles threatening economic disaster, should the country leave the EU.

Documents from Ireland’s Independent Scientist Advisor Group (ISAG) tell a similar story. For example, one email encouraged members to “look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety, and uncertainty”, adding ominously that they should “go after people and not institutions” because “people hurt faster than institutions”.2

And leaked German Government emails show that in March 2020 the Federal Ministry of the Interior hired outside experts to create a model to support "measures of a preventive and repressive nature".3 The result was a horrific worst-case scenario which predicted the death of a million Germans. This supposedly secret document was leaked to the media which dutifully published its frightening projections.

Up until recently Canada has not seen similar blockbuster revelations – due in no small measure to the fear among insiders that leaking documents could end their careers. Less understandable is the behaviour of many Canadian journalists who seem content to echo statements by government and public health officials rather than do the digging required to discover what is really going on behind the scenes. Because of their reluctance to commit acts of journalism, the task of giving Canadians a balanced picture has fallen to the alternate media, a few Sun Media journalists, and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms which advocates for those whose rights have been violated. The problem here is that these alternate sources have a very limited reach – which is why most citizens are only aware of the government-approved narrative.

That being said, there is a limit to this lack of curiosity among even the most docile journalists – as shown by recent media revelations concerning a project conceived by the Canadian military’s Joint Operations Command (CJOC) to target Canadians using propaganda techniques similar to those employed in Afghanistan. This campaign called for “shaping” and “exploiting” information in order to “head off civil disobedience by Canadians during the coronavirus pandemic and to bolster government messages about the pandemic”.4

While this project was eventually closed down, it seems likely that this is far from the only manipulation of public opinion that has taken place during this period.

Turning up the Heat

Given this monopoly over the information available to citizens, it is not surprising that governments and public health officials have had a free hand during the pandemic. That being the case, you would think they would be content with their wide-ranging powers and happy to bask in their success to date. For the curve has been bent – as we were told was critical if our hospitals were not to be overwhelmed. New cases and deaths are down. And as of November 13, 2021, 88.99% of those 12 and older had received at least one dose of the vaccine and 85.49% were fully vaccinated.5 In short, Canadians have done everything demanded of them as a condition of their returning to normal.

And yet, things have not returned to normal. For many restrictions still apply. Authorities warn that new variants may require new mandates in the future. And the vaccines which were supposed to save us have proved somewhat disappointing in light of their side effects and inability to totally prevent people from getting the disease and transmitting it to others.

Faced with this sobering reality, authorities have turned up the heat and instituted even more draconic measures, such as limiting travel by the unvaccinated and demanding that all federal government employees be vaccinated or submit to frequent testing - with proof of vaccination now being required for many other jobs and activities.

And to really tighten their grip, governments and public health officials are now blaming the unvaccinated in order to direct public anger away from themselves.

Of course, scapegoating is a not a new phenomenon – as seen in the Old Testament where a goat was sprinkled with sacrificial blood and released it into the wilderness, taking the sins of the community with it. Since then, nation after nation has created its own scapegoats – such as the Jews in Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s destruction of the Kulaks. While clearly not in the same league, the unvaccinated nevertheless are being turned into objects of fear and contempt. And Prime Minister Trudeau’s efforts during the electoral campaign to use the unvaccinated as a wedge issue has only heightened bad feeling toward this group.

Given this backdrop, many are now calling for even sterner measures – and if this means discrimination against the unvaccinated, well, so be it.

Politicizing Medicine

Of course, politics is not something that just involves governments, political parties, and parliamentary debates. For it also takes place outside what is normally thought of as the ‘political realm’ as individuals and groups strive to have their way on issues they feel strongly about – the medical system being no exception.

This temptation to play ‘hard ball’ when times are tough flows from the simple fact that we are human beings – not angels. And under stress people do things they might not do otherwise – a phenomenon seen from the very beginning of the pandemic. One good example was the debate as to whether we should close our airports to hot spots such as China – an idea that was poo-pooed at the time by those who felt it smacked of xenophobia and even racism. And while this measure was eventually taken, by the time this happened it was too late, thanks to the time wasted in political wrangling.

The politicization of medicine was also given a boost by events in the United States where opponents of former President Trump used the pandemic as a weapon to sink his re-election hopes. While this hurling of rhetorical hand grenades did damage his re-election chances, it also left the impression that the pandemic was totally out of control and countless millions were going to die. Given the strong connection between our two countries, this melee only served to heighten the sense of panic in this country.

As if it were not bad enough, this extreme partisanship also damaged the integrity of science as political ideology began to take precedence over scientific objectivity. A good illustration being those scientists and medical personnel who claimed that massive Black Lives Matters demonstrations would not act as ‘super spreaders’ while Trump rallies would – as if the virus were somehow able to distinguish ‘good Democrats’ from ‘bad Republicans’.

Some researchers also began to delay the release of information they felt might help Trump’s re-election efforts. This was revealed by researcher, Alina Chan, in an interview with NBC News. In it she confessed that she and some of her research colleagues held back a call for an investigation into the Wuhan Institute of Virology until after the election since “at the time, it was scarier to be associated with Trump and to become a tool for racists, so people didn’t want to call for an investigation into lab origins”.6

Another bad habit that developed in the United States was the tendency to make public health decisions based on public opinion polls. The classic example of this was the admission by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the Chief Medical Advisor to the U.S. President, that he relied on polls to decide what level of vaccinations would constitute herd immunity. As he put it, "When polls said only about half of all Americans would take a vaccine, I was saying herd immunity would take 70 to 75 percent …Then, when newer surveys said 60 percent or more would take it, I thought, ‘I can nudge this up a bit,’ so I went to 80,85." 7

Of course, it doesn’t take a genius to suspect that a similar politicization has also happened in Canada. Take for instance Prime Minister Trudeau’s position on vaccine passports. In a January 2021 interview with Reuters, he dismissed the idea since it was “fraught with challenges” and might have “knock-on, undesirable effects” in some communities.8 But as polls began to show growing support for tougher measures, he became (as if by magic) keen on the idea. And this same Prime Minister who believes in “my body, my choice” when it comes to abortion now is determined to make life difficult for the unvaccinated by requiring that all federal public servants and those working in federally regulated industries be vaccinated, unless they can come up with a good excuse and agree to frequent testing.

As well, some suspect that some public health decisions may not be not totally free from political interference – a suspicion that was heightened when Dr. Barbara Yaffe, Associate Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario, remarked at a press conference, “I don’t know why I bring all these papers. I never look at them. I just say whatever they write down for me.” 9 While she was likely talking about her own communications people, the damage was done – as seen by NDP leader Andrea Horwath’s remark that it “leaves more and more questions in people’s minds as to who is calling the shots”.10

More recently, Blacklock’s Reporter, published an email in which a PMO official complained that “it was ‘totally unacceptable’ for the Public Health Agency to offer medical advice without first checking with political aides”.11

Of course, such a possibility is far from surprising since many in government love being in control – an attitude which many suspect has now begun to infect some medical and public health authorities as well. This suspicion was acknowledged by Dr. Anthony Fauci who remarked that, “scientists have been perceived throughout this pandemic as ‘authoritarian’ by members of the public, because of the steps taken to combat the virus.” And then, as if to prove the skeptics right, he added that, while he respects Americans’ independent spirit, “now is the time to do what you’re told”.12

Of course, Fauci might have a point if you believe vast numbers of lives are at stake as the early pandemic models had forecast. The problem is that these early models have since been discredited due to the fact that this virus has proved to be less lethal than had been predicted.

Nor is it a good idea to tell people to shut up and do what they are told since this turns people into robots without the ability to think for themselves. And shutting down discussion among health care professionals and researchers is particularly ill-advised since it denies the health care system all of the information needed to battle this virus. Unfortunately, that is exactly what has happened in the case of those researchers and doctors whose views differ from the current narrative. For rather than carefully considering the ideas of such individuals, many in the medical establishment dismiss them out of hand, at times responding quite harshly. Just how harshly was revealed at a press conference hosted on Parliament Hill by former MP Derek Sloan which dealt with the censorship of doctors. In it a panel of doctors and researchers provided numerous examples of physicians being silenced and even fired from their positions.13

As if to underline the reality of this ‘my way or the highway’ approach toward dissenters, the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons cautioned doctors on April 30, 2021 that they “have a professional responsibility to not communicate anti-vaccine, anti-masking, anti-distancing and anti-lockdown statements and/or promoting[sic] unsupported, unproven treatments for COVID-19.” It further warned that, “physicians who put the public at risk may face an investigation by the CPSO and disciplinary action …14

In effect, the College was laying down the law and warning doctors against criticizing elements in the current approach – which stands in sharp contrast to its claim that this statement was, “not intended to stifle a healthy public debate about how to best address aspects of the pandemic”.15 Of course, part of the problem involves how you interpret some of the terms used in the statement. For example, what constitutes ‘healthy public debate’? And what do the authors mean by “misinformation”? Does it refer to statements that are patently false or purposely deceptive? Or does it involve something broader which could include ideas that are simply at variance with the current narrative? Whatever the case, it seems likely that this warning has discouraged some from sharing their insights and experience - which is never a good thing in science.

In spite of this pushback, some doctors and researchers have spoken out – either as individuals or as part of a group. One such group is the Canadian Covid Care Alliance which brings together doctors, scientists and health care practitioners to provide “top-quality and balanced evidence-based information to the Canadian public about COVID-19”.16 This includes information on vaccines, employer and educational institution policies relating to vaccination, and possible new treatments.

What’s interesting about many of those expressing doubts about current procedures is their desire to remain anonymous – no doubt fearing that going public might damage their careers. Not an unreasonable fear based on recent history!

Looking at this conflict within our medical system, it seems clear that both sides want the best for Canadians. But the question is how to achieve this. For on one side is the medical establishment which fears that airing conflicting claims by doctors and researchers at this time could cause chaos, which they hope to avoid by imposing message discipline. While on the other side are those researchers and physicians who see problems in the current approach and are frustrated by their inability to get their concerns taken seriously. How this will play out is anybody’s guess. But what we do know is that telling dissenting doctors and researchers to be quiet will not make the problem go away. For while some ideas from dissenters may be of little value, others may be quite helpful. That being the case, those ideas which are plausible need to be given a fair hearing rather than simply sweeping them under the carpet. For it is only by looking at all of the data – not just that which fits your narrative - that the health of Canadians can be ensured.

So, What’s the Problem?

For many the use of fear to manipulate citizens is not problematic. After all, they would contend, this is a global pandemic we are facing. And given the threats we face, using fear to force compliance and sacrificing a few freedoms along the way are a small price to pay.

Sadly, such individuals are mistaken since this approach is fraught with difficulties.

One problem is that fear doesn’t encourage thoughtful consideration. Rather it causes people to do things they would never do otherwise. Such as sending large quantities of personal protective equipment to China early on in the pandemic when there was a shortage here in Canada. Or forcing people into COVID hotels and charging exorbitant prices for bad food and poor accommodations. Or hesitating to close our airports to planes from hotspots because it might be seen as racist or xenophobic. Or making people so afraid they willingly surrender their freedom believing that this will ensure their safety. Or compelling churches to close because they are seen as non-essential services that are “super spreaders”.

Nor are governments likely to relinquish all the emergency powers they currently possess. This was discussed in a Financial Times interview with the Estonian Prime Minister. In it she said, “What we have seen in this Covid crisis, this urge for a strong hand or an authoritarian way of governing is deep in our societies, even in some countries you would never believe … Even if you don’t have the epidemiological reasons now, we are not giving people the freedoms back because it’s more convenient this way.” 17 Sadly, her words may also apply to Canada.

Yet another problem is that using ‘fear porn’ to force compliance is unethical since it denies people the ability to make rational decisions about what is in their best interest. This is particularly true of the ham-fisted inoculation campaigns currently under way that are pressuring Canadians to get vaccinated without informed consent. For while many of the short terms side effects are known - which can include blood clots, myocarditis/pericarditis, Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), anaphylaxis, and even death - no one knows what the long-term effects are. That is because the Phase III clinical trials of the vaccines are ongoing and the results are not yet available.18 Which suggests that pushing people to get vaccinated through enticements or threatening their ability to work or travel is at best unethical and at worst a violation of their human rights.

We also need to consider the long-term cultural damage flowing from the unremitting propaganda we are subjected to daily which uses powerful fear-inducing messaging and images to gain public compliance. The problem here is that you cannot turn fear on and off like a light switch. And having taught people to fear and distrust each other, this fear is now a part of the culture and as such will be difficult to reverse.

As well, we need to consider the long-term damage to our economy and the physical, mental and emotional health of Canadians which is evident from our many bankruptcies and job losses as well as the flood of people showing up at hospital emergency facilities due to suicide attempts, drug overdoses and mental health crises.

Sadly, this is just the beginning. For while the full extent of this damage is yet to be seen, the initial evidence is not encouraging. A good example is the work by Simon Fraser economist, Douglas Allen, who criticizes current decision-makers for having “greatly overestimated the benefits of lockdowns and underestimated the harm the restrictions would cause”.19 In his study, Covid Lockdowns: A Critical Assessment of the Literature, he concludes that “Lockdowns have had, at best, a marginal effect on the number of Covid-19 deaths”. 20 Unfortunately, the negative impacts from lockdowns have been anything but marginal. For in his research, he found that lockdowns have actually caused more death and suffering than they have prevented. And they have resulted in many unseen harms such as: lost civil liberties, reduced social contact, cancelled medical procedures, damage to education, and increased family violence, mental illness, substance abuse and suicide. 21

Summing Up

While the “politics of fear” has successfully forced widespread compliance with public health decrees, many of its longer-term consequences are likely to be far from positive. And some of them are already being seen – such as, the harm to our economy, sky-rocketing public sector debt, and the damage to the physical and mental health of millions of Canadians. This is particularly true of the negative impact which lockdowns, school closings and the constant ramping up of fear by governments and the media are having on Canada’s 8 million children. This was highlighted by the national children’s advocacy group, Children First Canada, which warned that, “Children’s hospitals have reported unprecedented admissions for suicide attempts, eating disorders, substance-use disorders, as well as other physical symptoms related to distress, known as a somatic symptom disorder.”.22

In addition, there a number of other harms, which, while less visible, nevertheless are also quite serious. One of them is what one might call the damage to the Canadian soul. This includes such things as the diminished value Canadians now place on freedom, their willingness to suspend human rights in order to feel safe, and the growing hatred directed at those who choose not to be vaccinated. This scapegoating of the unvaccinated is a particularly interesting phenomenon since many tend to think of human rights in terms of racial and sexual minorities. But as we are now seeing, hatred can be directed against any group – including the unvaccinated.

Observing the vilification of these people and the growing list of restrictions being placed on them, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that something troubling is happening in this country, which up to now has prided itself on its tolerance and commitment to preserving the rights of minorities.

Another area of harm involves the damage being done to our democratic institutions – such as Parliament and our provincial legislatures - which have taken a back seat to fiats issued by the Prime Minister, provincial Premiers and public health officials. This abdication of responsibility by our elected officials in favour of rule by a tiny clique of people at the top is best illustrated by the passage in the Ontario Legislature of Bill 195 whose provisions allow the government of Premier Ford to extend or amend emergency orders relating to the pandemic a month at a time for up to two years without consulting the Legislature. Given how sweeping these new powers are, it is remarkable that only one elected official, MPP Belinda Karahalios, voted against it, declaring that it “silences every single Ontario MPP on the most important issue facing our legislature today”.23 Rather than being applauded for her commitment to our democratic system of government, she was instead punished by the Government by being turfed from the Conservative caucus.

And then there is the matter of our judiciary, the Canadian Constitution and Charter of Rights, and provincial human rights legislation and codes – all of which have proved woefully ineffective in protecting Canadians from the growing power of the State and a mob mentality driven by fear. Speaking of the impact of mandatory vaccination policies on our rights and freedoms, Marty Moore, staff lawyer at the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, notes that: “Requiring COVID vaccination as a condition for participating in basic aspects of society is a profound violation of Canadians’ human dignity and personal autonomy protected by our Charter.” 24 And so it is.

Taking all of this together, it is clear that Canada and Canadians have not done well during this pandemic and we are in some sense less than we used to be. Whether we can return to that which we were prior to this virus is anyone’s guess. Still, what we do know is that Canadians have gone through other dark times in the past and have come out the other side – sometimes even stronger and better. We can only hope that we will see a repeat of this in the future.

1. Laura Dodsworth. A State of Fear. London: Pinter and Martin Ltd., 2021.

2. Gary Kavanagh. “’Look for ways to increase, anxiety and uncertainty’ – Zero Covid document”. Gript. February 23, 2021. Retrieved from:

3. Anette Dowideit and Alexander Nabert. “Interior Ministry Engaged Scientists to Justify Corona Measures”. Die Welt. July 2, 2021. Retrieved from:

4. David Pugliese. “Military leaders saw pandemic as unique opportunity to test propaganda techniques on Canadians, Forces report says”. Ottawa Citizen. September 27, 2021. Retrieved from:

5. Government of Canada. COVID-19 vaccination in Canada. Retrieved from:

6. Denise Chow. “The science around the lab leak theory hasn't changed. But here's why some scientists have”. NBC News. June 16, 2021. Retrieve from:

7. Mike Allen. “NYT: Fauci acknowledges moving goalposts on herd immunity from COVID-19”. Axios. December 25, 2021. Retrieved from:

8. Andy Blatchford. “Trudeau injects vaccine hesitancy into spotlight of Canadian election”. Politico. August 15, 2021. Retrieved from:

9. Chris Fox. “Ontario health official responds after being caught on hot mic before COVID-19 briefing”. CTV News December 16, 2020. Retrieve from:

10. Ibid.

11. “Try to take it down: PMO”. Blacklock’s Reporter. August 23, 2021. Retrieved from:

12. Christina Farr. “Fauci says U.S. has ‘independent spirit,’ but now is the time to ‘do what you’re told’”. CNBC. November 12, 2020. Retrieved from: Fauci says U.S. has 'independent spirit,' but now is the time to ‘do what you’re told’ (

13. “Derek Sloan raises concerns over censorship of doctors, scientists at Parliament Hill press conference.” Rebel News. July 20, 2021. Retrieved from:

14. College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario. “Statement on Public Misinformation”. April 30, 2021. Retrieved from:

15. Ibid.

16. Canadian Covid Care Alliance. “Independent, science-based evidence to empower Canadians”. Retrieved from:

17. Richard Milne. “Estonian PM warns West of damage from Covid-induced authoritarianism”. Financial Times. June 23, 2021. Retrieved from:

18. Canadian Covid Care Alliance. “What is Informed Consent and How Does It Apply to COVID-19 Vaccinations?” Retrieved from:

19. Thade Andy. “Decision to lockdown caused 282 times the loss of years of life says Economics professor” Gript. May 20, 2021. Retrieved from:

20. Douglas W. Allen. Covid Lockdown Cost/Benefits: A Critical Assessment of the Literature. Burnaby BC: Department of Economics, Simon Fraser University, April 2021. Abstract, p. 1. Retrieved from:

21. Ibid. “D. The Costs of Lockdown”. pp. 37-41.

22. Children First Canada. “The Clock is Ticking: The Child Mental Health Crisis Rages on While Parliament Breaks for the Summer and an Election Looms.” June 29, 2021. Retrieved from:

23. Jackie Sharkey. “Cambridge MPP Belinda Karahalios booted from PC caucus after voting against COVID-19 emergency bill”. CBC News. Jul 21, 2020. Retrieved from:

24. Marty Moore. “Mandatory Vaccination Policies Disregard Canadians’ Constitutional Rights.” The Epoch Times. September 6, 2021.

By Elishama |

Let’s admit it. We hear this parable about the labourers in the vineyard at Sunday Mass once every three years (because it only appears in the Gospel of Matthew, and Matthew is the focus of our Sunday readings once every three years). And every time we hear it, we think the same thing: How unfair it seems! The landowner paying the labourers who worked hard all day the same wage as those who hardly worked at all! Why even bother showing up early! We are stuck on this point.

But this is not a parable about industrial relations and a just wage. It's a parable about the Kingdom of Heaven. And if we look at it from that perspective, I think there are at least three important lessons that we can learn from it.

The first lesson is that God gives us many opportunities to come to Him. It is a terrible experience to look back on one’s life and realize I missed a great opportunity and that it is now too late. It will never come my way again. Whether it be a missed job opportunity, career choice, friendship, or whatever.

But God never ceases offering us opportunities to give our lives to Him. In the parable, the landowner went out no less than five times looking for labourers; from early morning till late afternoon. He spent virtually the entire day searching for them!Why is this? Because God has granted us our time on earth to come to Him and to serve Him. If we fail to take advantage of the offer when it is first given, God does not give up on us. He will try again.

Imagine if God acted like normal landowners and only went out once in the day in search of labourers: if He only gave us one chance in our lifetime to come to Him. How many of us would have missed that opportunity and been lost?

Thankfully God is not like that. And it gives us hope: not only hope for ourselves, but for our families, our friends, for everyone. God does not give up on anyone. He will continue to search them out, while there is still time, and offer more chances to come to Him. On our part, we should “seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near” (Isaiah 55:6). Be ready, like the labourers, to answer His invitation.

The second lesson is that God gives us much more than we deserve. The Kingdom of Heaven is not something God owes us because of anything we have done; rather God offers it to us despite the things we have done. It is a free gift of Divine Mercy.

As one author put it: “All God gives is of grace. We cannot earn what God gives us; we cannot deserve it; what God gives us is given out of the goodness of His heart; what God gives is not pay, but a gift; not a reward, but a grace” (William Barclay, The Daily Study Bible Series: Gospel of Matthew).

If we want to talk solely in terms of justice, God owes us nothing. He has made this whole universe out of nothing. And everything we have comes from something God has given. So, we can make no claim on Him. He does not owe us anything; least of all eternal life with Him and a share in His divine nature.

But God offers both to us, even though we are sinners. It is what He has freely chosen to do with what belongs to Him. God owes us nothing yet He gives us everything in Jesus Christ.

Finally, the third lesson is that God is generous because God is Love. Yes, from an employer-employee viewpoint, what the landlord does in the parable seems unfair. Whoever works more should receive more than those who work less.

But the landowner is responding to the need of the workers to support themselves and their families. In those days the “usual daily wage” for a day-labourer was barely enough to get by. So, while some may have worked longer than others, all needed enough to survive. And so, out of compassion, the landlord paid them not according to what they deserved but according to their need. His generosity was a manifestation of his love. And in this He reflects God’s love for us.

God offers us a new life in Him because He loves us. And He does not begin to love us when we begin to love Him. He loves us from the beginning. That is why He is equally generous to those who come to Him early in life and those who come to Him late in life. That is why Heis willing to forgive our sins, though they may be many. Because it is not about who we are but about Who He is.

It is too easy to think of God as like us, and judge Him accordingly, forgetting that He is God. Forgetting that “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9). Amen.