Good News for a Change by Shirley Dolan

Shirley Dolan
Shirley Dolan

Here are three news stories that I find very encouraging. Certainly, after three years of lock downs and mandates, we need a bit of good news. So here goes: the first is the news coming out of a rural county in Alberta where residents quickly organized and shut down an invasive Land Use Bylaw. Second, Dr. Jordan Peterson has announced a new consortium to challenge the World Economic Forum (WEF). The new consortium, called the Unfettered Minds Consortium, aims to provide a platform for global conversations on the most pressing issues of our time. And thirdly, the Public Order Emergency Commission (POEC) has tabled its report. Yes, Judge Rouleau did rule that the Emergencies Act was warranted but he also wrote about the failure of government and police forces at all levels.

Thorhild County (Alberta) Residents Mobilize to Defeat Land Use Bylaw

On February 2, 2023, at a Special Council meeting, Thorhild County Council defeated Second Reading for Land Use Bylaw 14-2022. This is a story about how one person mobilized residents in a matter of two weeks to get a bad bylaw cancelled. The municipality hired a private consultant called Green Space Alliance (GSA) to develop their Land Use Bylaw (LUB).   GSA has a small office in Edmonton with a head office in Mumbai, India. What would they know about land use in rural Alberta? Turns out that their bylaw was more aligned with globalist agendas than what might be good for a rural community. The LUB was all about putting restrictions on fencing, chickens, water, and landscaping and introducing permitting to increase the County coffers.

The “Thorhild County Friends Fighting Against the Proposed Land Use Bylaw” Facebook page was established on January 23, 2023. It was a very effective call to action because a Special Council meeting was called and the LUB was defeated. Not only that, but this group alerted other counties in Alberta where residents have become municipal watchdogs attuned to bad bylaws and policies. The Facebook page has been renamed Voice of Thorhild County. They continue to monitor their municipal government and provide support to other county groups who are doing the same.

Dr. Jordan Peterson and the Unfettered Minds Consortium

Many of you will recognize the name: Dr. Jordan Peterson, professor emeritus at Toronto University who got into hot water for refusing to use non-gender pronouns. His refusal catapulted him into the world of public speaking. Peterson recently came to the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa to speak to a crowd of over 5,000 people as part of his Beyond Order tour. Typically, a coalition of community groups called for the event to be cancelled. The result was that more seats were made available for the event to meet the increased demand. Notably, none of the groups showed up at the event to protest!

Shortly after the event at the Canadian Tire Centre, Peterson announced on the Joe Rogan Show that he was planning an alternative to the World Economic Forum (WEF). Details of the Unfettered Minds Consortium are starting to come out.  According to the Daily Wire, some of the ideas — which are aimed at providing an “alternative vision of the future … an alternative to that kind of apocalyptic narrative that’s being put forward, at least implicitly, by organizations like the WEF” — are as follows:

  • How to get “energy and resources at the lowest possible cost, as rapidly as possible, to the largest number of people around the world.”
  • Engaging in a “pro-human view” of earth stewardship.
  • Putting forward a “vision on the family policy front to facilitate the encouragement of and the maintenance of longterm, monogamous couples who are child-centered.”
  • And discovering our “story,” specifically as it relates to “voluntary play” rather than “the spirit of power” ruling.

While this first conference will be invite-only, it will be public, and Peterson noted that if successful, he would like to expand yearly. The World Tribune reports that Peterson said around 2,000 business, cultural, and political figures will be invited to take part in the consortium with an initial goal of being held in October/November 2023 in London (England).

Public Order Emergency Commission (POEC) Report

The POEC report is out and perhaps some of us did not get the result that we wanted in that Commissioner Rouleau gave the Trudeau government a pass on invoking the Emergencies Act. But there is so much more to the report and the inquiry leading up to it.

Maybe we should read the report before shooting the messenger.  Remember: “True impartiality does not require that the judge have no sympathies or opinions; it requires that the judge nevertheless be free to entertain and act upon different points of view with an open mind”. I believe that Rouleau met this requirement.

In his report, Rouleau stated that the hearings “provided a level of insight and transparency into government decision making that is unusual”.

The hearings were open to the public and if you could not attend in person, you could watch online. The interviews are available for anyone who cares to watch them. The days were long, and the atmosphere was sometimes tense, but Rouleau managed to keep the interviews civil, respectful, and moving forward. One of the best interviews that I watched was the one with Chris Barber, a trucker from Saskatchewan, who is awaiting his court date for his part in the Freedom Convoy. All proceedings are still available here: Click on November 1 to see the Chris Barber interview. You can see from the video that there is mutual respect being displayed as well as a fair bit of humour in what must have been a difficult interview.

As I mentioned above, there is so much more to this report than just the sanctioning of the invocation of the Emergencies Act, which Rouleau did “reluctantly”.

The report is 2,000 pages and contained in five volumes. You can find it online on the POEC website. Volume 1 is an Overview of the findings along with the 56 recommendations and at 272 pages, is a manageable read.

Although Cabinet got a pass on invoking the Emergencies Act, they did not get a pass on many other aspects. The way I read it, the report describes a major breakdown at all levels of government and within the police forces. To many of us, this was obvious from Day 1 when the Convoy was invited into the downtown.

Our Prime Minister was also chastised for this characterization of the non-vaccinated, which further fanned the flames of discontent amongst the protesters and hardened their resolve.

In the report, Rouleau says “I have concluded that in this case, the very high threshold for invocation was met. I have done so with reluctance, “and “The state should generally be able to respond to circumstances of urgency without the use of emergency powers.”

In other words, the emergency was of the governments’ own making – lack of leadership, lack of communication, lack of judgement, and more. That’s the way I see it!

Why is this good news? Because the fact that Canada is not prepared to manage an emergency has been exposed. And the real test on whether the Emergencies Act invocation was justified is yet to come.

In the Executive Summary, Rouleau declared “I acknowledge that the Commission’s role is distinct from that of a court. The Commission does not have the legal authority to adjudicate the “lawfulness” of the declaration as such. I do not intend or consider my findings on this topic to be in any sense binding on the courts. The effect or significance of the Commission’s findings and conclusions in the judicial review proceedings will be a matter for the Federal Court to determine.”

And indeed, the courts shall. The province of Alberta and several civil liberties groups are challenging the invocation of Emergencies Act.