While the decimation of the hospitality sector due to COVID-19 lockdowns has been well reported, gyms which have been locked down have been forgotten.
Among the many things the state has not been doing as they arbitrarily restrict the freedoms of citizens in the name of pandemic control, doing a cost-benefit analysis of restrictions has been one of the most egregious. Closing gyms to citizens at a time like this has done far more harm than good.
The reality is that infections have dropped around the world. Our health systems are far from being overwhelmed and they won’t be. Despite this the government keeps desperately moving the goalposts for reopening and it is harming citizens and business owners alike.
Look at the modelling they used in order to justify lockdowns. It is utter crap and it is an embarrassment. The “experts” who are guiding our government decisions are clearly inept and this governing by magic 8-ball has to end.
Getting back to that cost-benefit thing. It is well established that gyms provide immeasurable benefits to citizens, particularly in winter nations. The cost? It hasn’t been established that well-managed gyms are super-spreaders of the virus and as the government’s own projections have shown, society is hardly at rik right now.
Exercise is good for both the mind and body. No competent health professional can claim that regular visits to a gym are a bad thing. A workout reduces stress and has clear physical benefits. People are still dying of heart attacks, overdoses and suicides during the pandemic even if we aren’t hearing about it and regular exercise is something that gives an outlet to people to avoid all of those potential killers.
Not everybody has a home gym where they can work out. They need somewhere to go.
Gyms also provide guidance for beginning members. Exercising properly is essential and YouTube videos don’t quite cut it for somebody who is perhaps just beginning at a gym or has special requirements due to medical procedures. When full physiotherapy ends for people, gym time begins and working out in the living room doesn’t cut it.
As with so many other restricted activities, gyms also provide a social outlet. Depression is a killer and keeping people locked away from their social activities can make that condition far more acute and quickly.
As we pressure our government to back off on their restrictions upon businesses and citizens, let’s not forget to include gyms in that pressure. Thousands of business owners and millions of Albertans rely on them.
I have said it before and I will say it again, I want anti-lockdown protests to grow. I do feel that the government has grossly overstepped its authority and is stepping on individual rights. I do think that people taking to the streets can help convince the state of the error of its ways.
That will not happen however if anti-lockdown supporters continue to let nuts and extremists lead their parade.
Last weekend in Edmonton, a number of anti-lockdown organizers decided for some inexplicable reason that marching with a number of people including their leader, holding tiki torches would be a good idea. The rally was of course reported as being a white nationalist event, the messaging about lockdowns was utterly lost and these rallies have lost a pile of credibility.
The likelihood of anti-lockdown rallies gaining support and participation from average folks dropped dramatically last weekend and there is no good excuse for it.
I am tired of arguing with people on Twitter over why this was an idiotic and damaging move so have put it into a video to cover ground rather than trying to respond to the apologists on Twitter trying to make excuses for this.
Learn from this and change the behavior or the anti-lockdown movement will remain in the ineffective fringe.
One of the most frustrating spectacles to watch in the Westminster Parliamentary system is a whipped vote on a divisive issue.
What is the point in having representatives from different regions if they will raise their hands and vote like trained seals under the guidance of party leadership? We may as well just have a list of party leaders on the ballot. It would save money on having all those offices and seats in legislatures.
Democracy is a difficult and often messy process. Its not hard to understand why the leadership within parties wants to crush individual thought and keep everybody walking on the same line. It just makes life easier all around for the party brass and leaders.
Well too damn bad!
Constituents will only put up with so much. They formed associations, they chose nominees and they voted for their representatives. They want their local voices heard in the halls of power and that means free votes in the open on legislature floors. Not sad assurances that they are being represented behind closed doors at caucus meetings.
O’Toole may think he has made life easier for himself by drumming Sloan out of the CPC and Kenney may think he has stemmed his party’s bleeding by issuing a gag order for caucus but they both couldn’t be more wrong.
Loud, minority voices in caucus may be irritants but they need to be allowed to speak. They represent dedicated core supporters and if these voices are gagged within one party, they will seek another party. It’s as simple as that.
Federally the PPC and the Maverick Party are eating some of the CPCs lunch on the right. They will never form government but they can certainly become spoilers in enough key ridings to ensure that the CPC never forms government either.
In Alberta, Drew Barnes, Angela Pitt, Jason Stephan, and Miranda Rosin have been breaking ranks and speaking up on behalf of a large segment of Albertans who feel that pandemic restrictions have gone too far. Attempts to gag this constituency will only inflame it.
The Wildrose Independence Party of Alberta has been gaining support at a startling rate and authoritarianism from the UPC is only feeding them. Rebellious UCP MLAs may not cross to the WIP but voters sure will. That could cause some catastrophic problems for the UCP who can’t seem to gain a solid support base on any part of the political spectrum these days.
Shouting down alternative parties as being reckless vote splitters who will usher in another terrible term of the NDP in government is not an effective way to deal with this. It is not the fault of the up and comers that people are abandoning the party in power. Those votes are the UCP’s to lose and they are determined to lose them it seems.
Premier Kenney and the UCP have some serious issues to deal with in governance and within their own party. They are now halfway through their term and their support is swirling the toilet while party stalwarts drift off to support new parties. The answer to this problem won’t be a simple one but one can rest assured that gagging MLAs only serves the interests of alternative parties.
Leadership means managing and respecting a number of disparate voices within one organization while still being able to get things done. The UCP hasn’t mastered this yet and time is running out.
This issue has been sliding under the radar of many Calgarians because most Calgarians just don’t go downtown anymore.
Those of us who still have to go downtown now and then, particularly by transit have been watching the swift and steady decline in downtown conditions for months now.
City hall has been looking at studies and talking about ways to convert the ghost-town of office buildings into family residential buildings. To be blunt, they are wasting time.
The city needs to do two things in order to populate the core again:
They need to bring enterprise and business back to the core. Unless there is somewhere to work, there is little reason to live down there.
They will not be able to draw residents or businesses downtown until they find a way to deal with the growing population of addicts downtown. The homeless population who are often plagued with addiction and mental health issues has exploded and they have essentially taken over the LRT system to use as a means to warm up and consume drugs. They are becoming increasingly aggressive and almost territorial downtown now as they have settled in.
The fellow below is smoking heroin on a Calgary LRT
The addict in the video below was smoking meth on the train downtown.
Things are bad and they are only going to get worse.
It is a delicate issue and a tough one to deal with. That of course is why City Hall won’t touch it.
We need a massive new addiction treatment program and it will take an effort on the part of every level of government. These people won’t simply quit on their own and chasing them around or jailing them is pointless.
Until that reality is faced though, Calgary’s downtown will continue it’s decline.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in a quandary. An election is approaching and he is still facing fallout from his disastrous choice in appointing Julie Payette as the nation’s Governor-General only to have the world discover that she is something of a psychopath.
How can he find the right person for such a prominent job on such short notice?
We don’t need another dried up old journalist or harridan from outer space. Its time for a fresh approach to choosing the Queen’s representative to Canada.
Ontario social media icon Ricky Berwick is perfect for the job!
Ricky has established himself as something of an international ambassador to Canada already with his appearance on the respected and authoritative American show, Tosh.0 which establishes him as a fine representative of the nation during important and widely viewed broadcasts.
Berwick’s productions on Youtube has garnered him a dedicated following of over 2.2 million subscribers.
People just love watching him and what else is really important for a Governor-General anyway?
Berwick has embraced adversity and turned it into a career. His outgoing and lovable nature will make a great contrast to the last occupant of the Governor-General role. Ricky sure won’t be abusing and berating staff and he has a proven strong work ethic.
The prime role of the GG is to deliver the dreaded Speech from the Throne to parliament periodically. It is often referred to as the “Drone from the Throne” due to it’s boring nature.
Rest assured, no Speech from the Throne delivered by Ricky Berwick will ever be considered boring.
Just think of how memorable Ricky’s first audience with the Queen will be.
Let’s get on it folks.
Let’s put that fantastic Canadian entertainer and tongue aficionado into Rideau Hall!
While the world has been occupied with the COVID-19 pandemic and other affairs such as the American election, an event has been developing under the radar in India for months.
The Indian government has been becoming increasingly authoritarian and they rammed some bills through their parliament with little debate which will very directly impact the farming community in India. This has sparked protests which have led to over 100,000 protesters being on the border of Delhi while the government has been becoming increasingly violent in efforts to quell this uprising. It could end very tragically if this continues.
It is a complicated issue with roots going back to government agricultural policies from the 1960s. I spoke with Dr. Anmol Kapoor to get a better understanding of what is happening over there and what may be done about it. Dr. Kappor is a Calgary cardiologist who has been outspoken on social media in trying to bring attention to this issue.
Calgary has a large Indian population and many people are concerned for the well being of family members back in India as these protests escalate. Dr. Kapoor offers some much-needed insight into what led to this standoff and what it may take to bring it to a peaceful end.
Watch on Youtube below or download the podcast audio from the link below that.
The anti-auto left loves to dismiss claims that there is a war being conducted on personal automobiles. It is rather undeniable that this war on cars does indeed exist when we look at things such as the report linked below which was created by Edmonton city administration at the behest of the City council.
The insane, anti-car ideology is unvarnished and there for all to see in this document. The goals are utterly unrealistic and the measures that they would like to see in the pursuit of these ridiculous goals are disturbing. The amount of economic and social damage that will be caused by implementing these recommendations can’t be overstated.
The report begins with the current ride-share breakdown as of 2015. It is quite a reflection of the efficiency of city bureaucracies that they couldn’t get more contemporary data. The numbers look much the same as those in Calgary and other similar cities.
Despite decades of efforts by city administrations and ideologically driven city planners, people are refusing to abandon their personal automobiles, Citizens do not want to ride bicycles to work, walk to work or cram themselves onto public transit for their daily tasks. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people using public transit is even lower and likely won’t grow for a long time as people just won’t feel eager to sit in close quarters with strangers for awhile.
Nearly 8o percent of people use personal automobiles for their daily tasks. This includes getting groceries for families, getting kids to school etc. This has to be noted at the main anti-auto proponents tend to be urban-dwelling hipsters who don’t know or care about the real transportation needs of families and older people. They just assume that we will all ride bicycles for all that we do in all weather.
Look at the outrageous suggestions they have to drive us out of our cars.
They want to double the cost of having a car. They intend to do so by increasing parking costs by 400 percent, adding toll roads, adding taxes to our fuels and adding taxes to our registration costs. Thankfully much of this is outside of their powers as municipalities for now but you sure can see why Naheed Nenshi salivates at the thought of having a municipal charter that would give him those powers.
They also want to make more automobile free corridors. Head on downtown in Calgary to see how well those sorts of spots are doing. Count the “for lease” signs along Stephen Avenue mall or have a look at the echoing and empty Eau Claire Mall which is in the heart of pedestrian paradise.
They also want to further subsidize transit use. Transit already only charges half of what it costs to move a person. We can’t reasonably go lower.
Expensive parking was already a huge factor in why people won’t go downtown and patronize businesses. Quadrupling the cost to park will put the final nail in the coffin for the few remaining downtown retail and food service businesses. Calgary has a 30 percent vacancy rate in the core already. Do they really think that new companies will want to come in and set up shop only to have their staff stuck paying $50 per day to park? Again, they just aren’t going to get on the bus no matter how dearly our ideologically driven municipal gangs want them to.
The goal of these anti-auto ideologues is to hound and harass people to the point where they will throw up their hands and get rid of their cars. This will not work. All these efforts manage to do is to move further from the city core and into satellite communities.
There is no reasoning with the cult of anti-automobile zealots. These people have taken on the religion of urban density at all costs and they feel that any move is justified no matter how likely it is to fail. They live by a bizarre (if it could take just one car off the road) mentality.
The only way to keep these fanatics from compounding the economic devastation we are already facing will be to vote their representatives out of office this fall. Nenshi and Iveson have built councils around themselves who are obsessed with this anti-automobile theology and senior city administration reflects that. It would seem like a crazy conspiracy theory if their own documents didn’t actually lay it out so clearly. If you really want to take a walk down crazy street, look up Imagine Calgary. Nenshi was a part of creating that insane plan and it really shows in his governance,
If folks don’t flush their municipal governments this fall, economic recovery is going to be terribly stunted. We can’t afford to put these nuts back in office this year. This will be one of the most important municipal elections in a generation. Let’s hope that voters realize it.
It has been about five years since there was a trendy push throughout North America for restaurants to abandon tipping models for service. Every “progressive” case was made against tipping from pointing out the compensation disparity between different restaurant roles to even claiming that tipping encourages racism (what doesn’t these days).
Experiments with non-tipping had previously been the domain of small, trendy establishments but in 2016 some large chains in the United States dove in on the no-tipping model and it looked like this trend may take off. Even up here we saw a local Earl’s restaurant give it a crack. Was the shift coming?
No. The no-tipping model failed abysmally. Pretty much every restaurant that tried it failed and had to go back to the old model if they could afford to stay open.
Now that we are facing a loss of over 50 percent of our small, independent restaurants, the anti-tipping forces are seeing opportunity. It is like a micro-version of the great reset. They want to take advantage of a crisis in order to have the state legislate socialist policies. The democratic method failed so they want to do it by force. The pattern is always the same. If those damn consumers and businesses won’t willingly accept their model, they want the state to force them to.
Why does the left hate tipping so much?
It isn’t because it causes racism or any of that baloney.
The bottom line is that tipping is pure, merit-based pay. Harder working and ambitious front end staff make much more money than the less motivated ones. The bartender who makes good drinks with a friendly attitude makes more money than the surly one who goes through the motions. The server who hustles and picks up the extra tables will make more money than the one who hides in the break room. Giving the customer a good dining experience is paramount as it directly impacts the tip at the end of the meal. All of this is odious to a person who feels that rigid pay scales and union-style seniority models should be more important than actual employee performance.
I owned a pub for five years. I sold just before the pandemic nightmare began. With the world becoming increasingly cashless, it is much easier to track the numbers and see which individuals are making more in tips. The differences are striking. Some of our best servers would average 15 percent in tips while the grumpy or lazy ones could drop as low as a 6 percent average. Front end work is an artform and a skill. Some people are far better at it than others and it shows in the tips. If you take away the ability to tip, rest assured service will not rise to the level of the best of them. It will drop towards the level of the worst. There are many folks who put in a good day of work without needing a tip or bonus system and there still will be some good servers and bartenders even if they don’t get tipped. Don’t kid yourself thinking that those people will continue to put in the exemplary effort that they used to though. Once they are paid the same as the laziest of servers, they won’t feel the need to go above and beyond and the consumer will lose.
I traveled Australia and got to enjoy the tip free environment. Yes, it works but it is not pleasant. If you like high prices and self-service, then it is for you. I don’t care for cafeteria style service where you have to wait in line to order and then fetch your food when your number is called while getting up to fetch your drinks one by one. This is how businesses have adapted to the tip free model. High prices and limited service. You only get good table service at the most high priced of establishments.
Dining out is an experience. The experience is not simply ordering and eating. It is interacting with the servers and being able to have a social experience with others who you are dining with while not having to deal with cooking, serving, table clearing etc. A tip system keeps this kind of experience enjoyable and affordable.
There is an imbalance of pay between the front end and back end of a restaurant. We try to balance it with a tip-out system where the servers pay a portion of their tips into a pool which is split by kitchen staff. Even after that though, kitchen staff tend to make much less than front end staff despite their working their asses off. It is a damn tough job in the kitchen and the quality of food is as important as the quality of service. Restaurant owners are constantly working to keep that situation balanced and it is tough when you work in an industry with a 5 percent average profit margin.
So why not just raise prices in order to pay kitchen staff more? Ahh if only it was that easy.
Food service is a fickle and tough industry. When you raise prices even a small amount, there will be an associated drop in sales. That is much of why no-tip models failed. Not only does the service go to crap, but people shy away from the high menu prices. Oh I know, all sorts of hipsters claim they will spend extra in order to give every restaurant worker a “living wage” (whatever that may be). They are lying. As prices go up, diners stay home. Just a hard cold reality in the industry.
Whenever this pandemic nightmare ends, we will see the few surviving food service establishments trying to recover. A tip system greatly reduces the need for heavy cash reserves and cash flow which would come with paying front end staff $25 per hour in a tip free system. The ability to keep menu prices reasonable will help them keep the gears turning as well.
There are many changes that some are hoping to implement on the back of a tragedy. With no-tip models having been universally rejected by workers, business owners and consumers, it leaves only government intervention to make it possible. There are advocates pushing for just such legislation right now. Be sure to stand up and tell these advocates to go to hell if we want to save what little remains of the North American small restaurant and pub industry.
I spoke with Franco Terrazzano of the Canadian Taxpayer’s Federation on their recently launched campaign to fight equalization. Alberta is committed to holding a referendum on October 18th to ask Albertans if Canada should end the equalization program.
Their site is here: https://fightequalization.ca/? The campaign can’t start soon enough. Terrazzano explains the importance of a strong vote by Albertans against equalization this fall. We need to come out in strong numbers and speak up.
We also covered the futility and huge costs of corporate welfare, the myth of “social license” and the ongoing campaign to shut-in Alberta”s resources.
I close with an inadvertent suggestion that Franco changes his first name to Marco.
Discourse on social media can be pretty ugly and it happens on every platform. People are called every name in the book, they can be shamed, slandered or have private personal information posted by others. Extremists on every end of the political spectrum use social media in order to spread their vile messages and to organize violent and destructive actions. The common denominator on pretty much every social media platform is that they have anonymous accounts and that is the root of the problem.
Most of us play reasonably. Sure we get worked up now and then online and say regrettable things now and then. There is a population out there comprised of anonymous trolls however. They are in a tiny minority but they can dominate and destroy discourse as they obsessively post and spawn accounts faster than the accounts can be banned. They are cowards and the only thing which will stop them is to take away the shroud of anonymity that they hide behind.
In a relatively recent incident within Canada, there was a self-styled twitter ninja out there who vitriolically and tirelessly trolled public figures online. He bragged of the number of elected officials who had blocked him. He felt courageous and bold. He felt he was an online warrior for the left. Then he was exposed. Somebody had figured out who he really was an expose him. The transformation was instant. Suddenly he was an apologetic pussycat. He remains online now but is pretty subdued. Without the craven cloak of anonymity, he really was nothing. He tweets under “Neil before Zod” or something like it if you want to check out the rather pathetic story.
I am not big on doxing folks but the tale of poor Neil did prove a valuable point, loss of anonymity defangs trolls.
People are leaving many social media platforms because they simply can’t handle all the rage and venom any longer. This is sad as social media can make such a fantastic platform for open dialogue between people of different views.
Another problem is that selective culling by some social media platforms of people with conservative views is creating polarized echo chambers. Little will be learned or gained from platforms which only support one political leaning or another.
Governments are using online vitriol as an excuse to implement controls upon dialogue. This is very dangerous territory which puts our free speech under terrible threat. The truly extreme will simply go deeper underground while other people will find themselves under the gun for posts in poor taste or context. We don’t need the state to deal with this. The cure will be far worse than the disease.
The solution to this problem is to have a platform which verifies the users. It is understandable for many people to want to hide their real name when online. Posts may impact their jobs or they may find themselves being stalked. That said, a platform could give accounts to people with verified identities while still masking the name. This still solves the problem of bot and false troll accounts. A person can only make one and they will know that they are very easily identified if they cross the line into criminal abuse, incitement or slander. Rest assured this will calm many of them down.
This is easier said than done. Some sort of identification would need to be used to verify accounts and that means the platform needs to be secure and trustworthy. This is possible though. People don’t think twice before giving their personal information to Amazon and countless other online purchase points. A social media platform should be able to provide that kind of security.
Verification doesn’t assure that a person will be nice. My twitter account is verified and rest assured, I am still an asshole on there. Right now though, verification is only granted to people who the platform considers to be a “person of public interest”. Platforms need to broaden verification abilities so that anybody can verify their identity. Ironically, Parler was doing just that and they had the rug yanked from them.
We don’t need more laws and we don’t need speech police. We just need some voluntary controls on social media platforms which would eliminate the anonymity which cloaks the small but damaging troll army out there.
Unfortunately, we may speech being limited by the state before people realize that it didn’t need to be done.
Rights lost are really hard to regain.
Just look where our mobility and association rights went.