Censored By Mandate

The Edmonton Journal censored my comment yesterday. I don’t know which rule I broke, but what I said was apparently bad enough to cast my words into the depths of local journalistic purgatory.

I was responding to an article about the convoy of trucks that paraded through Canada to Ottawa. The truck drivers began their parade a few days ago and arrived in the country’s centre of political power on Saturday when there were no politicians present. I think that’s the political protest equivalent of achieving arousal by leaning against the washer during the spin cycle.

Image from Justin Tang, Canadian Press via Globe and Mail

Truck drivers must now be vaccinated in order to cross the border between the USA and Canada. About 85% of truck drivers are already vaccinated, so this was a protest on behalf of the 15% of them who are not. I don’t know what proportion of the Canadian population 15% of truckers represents, but it’s probably a smidgeon.

According to some of the signs and spokespeople, they aren’t protesting against vaccinations. They are protesting against being mandated to be vaccinated. I suspect that our overworked health care workers would say that is a distinction without a difference, but there it is.

It reminds me of the early years of parenthood when a child resists doing something by saying to their parent, “Why should I?” or “You can’t make me” or “You are not the boss of me.” When I was such a parent, my response was often something like “Because I said so,” but politicians aren’t allowed to say that to truckers. They have tried logic and that hasn’t worked, though, so maybe “Just because” will have to do.

The article I was reading suggested that this convoy was our Woodstock; a celebratory coming together in peace and love. My comment in the response to the article was as follows:

If this convoy was a celebration of the value we place on truckers, then I would agree. As it is, though, I cannot celebrate the refusal of some to get the vaccine. It isn’t for the good of the community, it is against it.

In response, someone said:

What don’t you understand about the “fact” that vaccinated individuals are still getting and giving Covid. Wasn’t this all about stopping the spread. Stopping hospitals being over run. Have you read the statistics. And do you see the number of people ALL over the world in support of YOUR RIGHTS. Even while you oppose them. This is more than about a vaccine.

My response, which was “deactivated” was:

“Yes, we can all pass on the virus. The difference is that the unvaccinated are 68 times more likely to die from it than fully vaccinated people. https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#rates-by-vaccine-status) Considering a hierarchy of values, I place the right to live over the right to choose.

After I posted that, I regretted the last sentence. It raises all kinds of other issues, and maybe that was why it was censored. Or perhaps it was censored because I included a link to another website. I have no idea. What I should have said was something like “The freedom to refuse vaccination does not free anyone of the consequences.” But, unfortunately, that’s not what I said.

Today, when I went to Whyte Ave with my eldest son, we were bombarded by the honking of horns from the Alberta contingent of this national protest. They were headed for the provincial Legislative Assembly building. As with the Ottawa protest, there were no politicians around today in Edmonton, either.

Image via the Globe and Mail

The locals who saw the vehicles pass by were more interested in shopping or going to the farmers’ market than in watching the convoy. A few people, myself included, gave them a “thumbs down” gesture, but otherwise the response was mostly ambivalence. One woman said to me “Don’t give them the thumbs down. It will only encourage them.” Otherwise, I saw very little response from the crowded sidewalks. I did see one bystander waving a sign that made reference to Nuremberg, which I found extremely offensive, but my son steered me across the street, away from the sign holder. I can’t think why, but perhaps he knew that censorship was on my mind.

Two hours after we had arrived at Whyte Avenue and were leaving, there were yet more protest vehicles heading downtown, holding up traffic, and honking horns. They delayed our journey home for about twenty minutes, so they didn’t make any friends in our car. However, if the local and national media are anything to go by, they have achieved their goal by being on the front pages. Clearly, they were not really hoping to have any persuasive effect on local citizens, and certainly not with any politicians. They were probably focussed on spin cycles.

45 Comments

  1. “Truck drivers must now be vaccinated in order to cross the border between the USA and Canada.”

    This actually isn’t true but few seem to be aware this itself is misinformation. Truckers who are not vaccinated are mandated to undergo “a two-week quarantine and pre-arrival molecular test for COVID-19 before crossing into Canada.”

    Yes, this amounts to a ‘mandate’ to get vaccinated, which is the whole point. And every government and public health agency has used exactly the same approach across the board: rather than mandate vaccination, they have erected a series of rules that inhibit the movement and congregation of those adults who are not vaccinated. The freedom of choice, therefore, remains intact: EITHER choose to get vaccinated and avoid these restrictions OR choose not to get vaccinated and be subject to these restrictions.

    But what we’re seeing is the unreasonableness and self centeredness of adults who presume they alone have the right to have it both ways: choose NOT to get vaccinated and AVOID the responsibility of what that choice entails by putting everyone else at higher risk for their irresponsible antisocial choice.

    That’s why they’re throwing a temper tantrum.

      1. It shows that ‘choice’ has not been removed by governments and so getting vaccinated has not been imposed by mandate. Rules and regulations for all kinds of participation in all kinds of social interactions are absolutely normal and necessary for maximizing ‘freedom’ for all. Vaccination policies fall directly into this same framework. Pretending vaccine mandates are being imposed on everyone and undermining freedom is like saying speed limits and driving on the right side of the road is a governmental ‘attack’ on the freedom of all of us to drive the way we wish on PUBLIC thoroughfares. It’s a really misleading way to frame the rules and regulations imposed on everyone. If we’re not going to follow the rules of the road and put everyone else at higher risk for our decision, then we are free to have those regulations imposed on us and accept the public policy penalties and restrictions such irresponsible actions incur. If we’re not going to follow the rules of being vaccinated to cross borders during a pandemic and put everyone else at higher risk for our decision, then we are free to undergo the quarantine rules to cross the border and accept the public policy penalties and restrictions such actions incur to maximize freedom for all to cross borders unimpeded.

        I suspect most people who are supporting this temper tantrum are just angry at the virus for causing so much harm and disruption, and are frustrated at the long term burden responsible public policy places on all of us to mitigate it. But defacing the Terry Fox statue? Dancing on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier? This is what the rally has accomplished. Supporters should be ashamed of themselves.

        1. I wondered why so many people were caught up in enthusiastically supporting the convoys, and your thoughts about a generalized frustration make sense. Even so, they were very annoying.

      2. I agree with whatever your comment was! We were inadvertently caught up in a “freedom convoy” between Invermere and Radium, BC as we were returning to our condo yesterday. The inconvenience of having the length of our normal trip doubled wasn’t nearly as bad as the embarrassment I felt! If I see one more “my body, my choice” sign I think my head will explode. My husband thinks we should invite Putin over for a couple of months of leadership so people could really understand the concept of freedom.

  2. Love the washing machine analogy! If you had included it in your letter, though, it might have been censored!

    I have read that what is really driving this protest (no pun intended) is a burgeoning anti-governmental, Trumpism-fueld movement in Canada that has simply latched on to the issue of vaccination mandates (and quarantine requirements for non-vaccinated truckers).

    What might have been a small group of legitimate protesters has attracted a much larger web of undesirable, extremely right-wing, Q-Anon-fueled, agitators. To use another laundry analogy, there’s a whole bunch of fuzz on those static-y socks.

    Here is an opinion piece that resonates with me: https://www.nationalobserver.com/2022/01/27/opinion/anti-vaxxer-truck-convoy-signals-insidious-spread-trumpism-canada

    I almost hesitate to post this, for fear I will be considered paranoid and labeled a conspiracy theorist. And this is exactly where the gas-lighting of the past five or so years has landed us, I’m afraid.

    1. Love the static-y socks analogy! 🙂 I agree that the driving force is the extreme right wing online, deriving in large part from the US. I wonder how much of that online divisiveness comes from foreign trolls.

      That is a good opinion piece. I think it is probably right on target.

  3. I agree entirely with your point about foreign trolls, Anne. It’s very unclear what the sources of disinformation are. And very disheartening that so many people are influenced by it.

    1. One thing I know for sure: if you are being persuaded to believe things that separate you from your family and friends, the ideas probably come from either a cult or a con artist.

  4. What you hear does not matter, especially coming from the MSM.
    Thanks for the “lead”- The Edmonton Journal
    I have a few good sources(Laura Lynn) but I was looking for more immediate news.
    I am down SWPA, USA
    Best Wishes

    1. I get information from a wide variety of sources from four different countries. Overall, I find that I can trust journalists and editors who acknowledge when they have made a mistake and correct it. I also steer clear of sources that don’t acknowledge their own biases.

      We have an abundance of choices for sources of information, so it behoves us all to compare and contrast.

  5. You said you were censored. I had my Facebook disabled over 2yrs ago. Then YouTube disabled 1.5 year ago. And just yesterday MSN blocked me from any further posts.
    Facts and truth and evidence is not allowed in this upside down world that we are now in.

  6. Did you know that the MSM has still not apologized for their shameful reporting prior to WW2?
    And many corrections are made a month or two after the damage is done and most never see the correction.

  7. I”m not. Yes, only a small fringe minority – like Churchill and those rebels that wrote that declaration – had the vision to see. I can’t help but think that these are also ” times that try men’s souls.”

  8. Pretty amazing, the few places I have gone and actually attempted to communicate with other humans on the internet, and every other post disappears by magic but here I can’t find a way to eliminate a post. LOL

    1. I can do that for you. Now that you mention it, I will see if I can find out how to allow commenters to edit their own comments.

      Follow up: As far as I can tell, it is not possible for commenters to remove or edit their own comments. I found this statement: “Blog owners are in full control of the comments on their blogs, so you can try contacting the blog owner and ask them to edit or delete a comment for you. If the blog owner has not posted any contact information, you can try leaving a short comment asking how to contact them directly.”

  9. Put Churchill back, 😁 I was just trying to correct a too late spelling error / distraction error.
    Ottawa authorities restrict air traffic over truckers’ Freedom Convoy
    One of my news sources – there, in Ottawa – Rumble — LifeSiteNews is in Ottawa covering the truckers’ Freedom Convoy and their protest against COVID jab mandates. With the Convoy attracting worldwide attention, the authorities have blocked off a large part of the air-space in Downtown Ottawa.

  10. I wanted to find more “live” coverage and I can’t believe how lucky I was. Never heard of “DLIVE” before but went there by SaltyCracker mentioning it on rumble. On TheNPCShow they have 6-8 live feeds on one screen (Ottawa and Coutts border ) I got to see on a replay of the Coutts border blockade by police — the farmers going through 😁 Time to end these mandates. Hopefully DC will be next.

    1. The Coutts border blockade was formed by truckers and their allies, not the police. Your glee in this is misplaced. It is causing harm to legitimate truckers and their loads on both sides of the border and inhibiting the passage of emergency vehicles and regular passenger vehicles.

      Please do not promote this blockade on my website. Thank you.

  11. You lack the information because you only see what they want you to see. I just told you what I saw with working eyes. Of course there was the truck blockade I prefer this over civil war. Perhaps you have a different view?

    1. Do not presume to know what information I have or assume I am blind to alternative views.

      Legitimate and legal political protest is one of the advantages of a democracy. This blockade has developed into something that is neither legitimate nor legal. It has also become dangerous.

  12. I cannot imagine why your comment would have been censored anywhere. I totally agree with your comments and your views. I find it ridiculous that courteous and innocuous comments can be censored but bullies can drive around this country, horns honking, displaying Nazi signs and Confederate flags (not to mention crude and offensive signs about our Prime Minister) and that is ‘Freedom of Speech’ and cannot be censored or stifled.

    1. That protest has gone on far too long. I hope the powers-that-be can get them moved out of all the cities and border crossings very soon. I don’t think they realize how few of us actually support them.

      1. I read the best comment in an article today. The subject of the article, native leader, AMC Grand Chief Arlen Dumas was discussing how disrespectful these protesters are to others and he said “Moreover, how can people disrespect themselves to such a degree?”. I think a lot Canadian are asking the same question. It certainly goes through my mind everytime I see the news lately.

          1. I read it and personally I felt that the author was trivalizing what he was seeing because he could so easily relate to those involved – they could be his neighbours, relatives, or friends – so relatively harmless. Eg. He talked about people setting up stands to sell souvenirs, hotdogs, and the like as if it was some street party. If a bunch of people decided to move in and throw a party on our street, causing local businesses to close, keeping residents from living their day to day lives, I would not be so charitable in my view of these lowlifes. All of them. Hard, soft, or in between.

            1. That’s a good point. I was interested in how he portrayed a different image from the one we see in the news, but you are right in that even the less hostile folks are still anti-social.

            2. Many who support or are involved with the truckers honestly believe they are acting on behalf of all Canadians for shared rights and freedoms to be respected and defended by our elected representatives… even if many well intentioned Canadians think poorly of them for doing so. And they have a point; mandates – and remember there are all kinds – really are becoming less and less tethered to the reason they were brought into being. Some mandates are fully supported by compelling evidence from reality at their efficacy. Some are clearly not. Yet many local health policies remain exactly the same and still enforced in spite of this changing pandemic reality. So not everyone involved with supporting the truckers are in fact ‘low lifes’ or ‘hostile’ or ‘anti-social’.

              I still think the way forward is in unity and not partisan condemnation. And I think that could be achieved with political leadership. The way forward would be to establish clear metrics on what numbers would be required for mandates to be eliminated because the RISK from this virus needs to be front and center and not some other political or moral concern. What needs to be clearly established and widely understood is the arbitrary risk point selected that justifies a mandate of some specific requirement or behaviour when over and eliminates the mandate if under. It creates a unambiguous social goal to be achieved and offers a clear end point for ‘government’ dictates.

              Why Canadians are left dangling from a lack of clear leadership about achievable objectives but fed a constant diet about fearing those who dare to disagree with the current slate of some justified for, but other idiotic rules and regulations divorced from, any real world risk consideration is a deplorable mystery that causes exactly this kind of pent-up frustration and anger against ‘official’ ineptness the truckers represent.

              It really is high time for responsible non partisan leadership here. That’s where our outrage and anger should be aimed and not at other citizens doing what they think is right.

            3. I agree that would be ideal. Unfortunately, many of our leaders seem to have started out with clear objectives but too often they get swept aside for political expediency.

              I think it is safe to say there is room for criticism of both our leaders and the excesses of the demonstrators.

  13. Your post is bang on with how I feel. I am glad to hear your thoughts on this very divisive subject matter. Interesting that most comments support it. I also read the On Line article and felt that his background about the “hard men” are the ones that are the extreme right characters that we need to be very concerned about. Bernie

            1. Why? Because people have the right to assembly, which includes protesting without violence. (By all means there is a legitimate argument to be made about what constitutes protesting, blockading, and occupying, which is what the courts and not a sitting minister decides.

              What should be even more baffling is why citizens would assume the government has the right to use intelligence services and presumably force and bring these powers to bear on peaceful protestors without legal permission ie a court order given due process. If the assumption is that no court order is needed because we already know the evil intentions behind the protests/blockades/ and occupation doesn’t raise a red flag in your minds about the level of freedom set out in the Charter being intentionally undermined and unrecognized by both government and citizens alike, then that is much bigger problem than what the capital now faces but a key insight into why this protest under the banner of ‘freedom’ has developed as it has. This term is at the core of the movement to challenge the government’s tone deaf approach to imposing mandates whenever and wherever they choose without any regard to reality if it conflicts with the current narrative.

            2. Really? This isn’t about freedom, no matter how much they blare their horns. This is extreme politicization of a national health crisis, and I don’t buy the complaint that the government is over-reaching. On the whole, given the enormity of the problem and the ever-changing understanding of the disease, I think the government has done a pretty good job. In fact, more mandates sooner might have served us better.

            3. I wrote to my MP in December pleading that the government get ahead of this groundswell of discontent about never-ending mandates and establish national guidelines based on achieving certain numbers directly related to the changing pandemic that they could then recommend to the Provinces and Territories. By doing so, mandates could be imposed or lifted regionally based on reality, based on real life circumstances, so that the populace as a whole could see mandates coming, plan accordingly, and reasonably know when they would end. That is entirely missing today.

              What we have today are mandates to fit a political agenda that really are divorced from reality. What is the purpose of vaccines? Are they doing this job? How do vaccine mandates affect achieving certain goals? Let’s talk about that because with omicron being spread by vaccinated people I think raises legitimate questions about demanding ‘full’ vaccination to do all kinds of things, not least of which is travel. And what is a ‘full’ vaccination? One shot? Two? Three? Four? And where do 3.25 million Canadians who have had and overcome SARS-CoV-2 fit into this one-size-fits-all vaccination policy? Where does this show up on the QR code? (Answer: it doesn’t, at all, in any way.)

              I don’t think public health policy based on what some politician or bureaucrat thinks is the ‘right’ optics and advanced as if justified policy is a good idea for public health. Nor do I think legitimate concerns and criticisms painted as if contrary to ‘The Only Correct’ ideological narrative tethered only to vaccination status is a very good way to operate that policy, especially when opposition and anger and frustration is growing nationwide leading to something that I think was entirely avoidable with a modicum of leadership.

              So when you have to ‘show your papers’ to engage in the public domain, you bet this has everything to do with Charter rights and – yes – freedom. What is growing these days is intolerance to diversity of opinions… like the role of open-ended restrictive mandates in the name of health but unrelated to reality that really does cause real harm to real people in real life. Ignoring all that as if pointing out what’s true represents some character flaw or immorality against the ‘common good’ is where we are today and I think that’s not good and accepting such mandates in the name of some social virtue is not a Canadian value. It’s an authoritarian value.

            4. Of course, don’t take my word for it. The issues I raise about the truckers’ movement is not about me; it’s about understanding what’s really going on here and why the criticism about mandates is troublingly absent. From a recent comprehensive study:

              “While COVID-19 vaccines have had a profound impact on decreasing global morbidity and mortality burdens, we argue that current population-wide mandatory vaccine policies are scientifically questionable, ethically problematic, and misguided. Such policies may lead to detrimental long-term impacts on uptake of future public health measures, including COVID-19 vaccines themselves as well as routine immunizations. Restricting people’s access to work, education, public transport, and social life based on COVID-19 vaccination status impinges on human rights, promotes stigma and social polarization, and adversely affects health and wellbeing. Mandating vaccination is one of the most powerful interventions in public health and should be used sparingly and carefully to uphold ethical norms and trust in scientific institutions. We argue that current COVID-19 vaccine policies should be reevaluated in light of negative consequences that may outweigh benefits. Leveraging empowering strategies based on trust and public consultation represent a more sustainable approach for protecting those at highest risk of COVID-19 morbidity and mortality and the health and wellbeing of the public.”

              And there’s this interview by ex-CBC journalist Tara Henley with the study’s author here and contains a link to the paper itself (that I think is well worth reading).

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