Hello, and welcome to the twelfth issue of Bright Morning! Thank you to everyone who listened to and shared our podcast last week. For those who have not yet had a chance to listen, the link to our conversation can be found here. We had a lot of fun with last week’s episode and we received some excellent feedback as well. We will be sure to record more long-form discussions in the very near future.
In the meantime, we have a lot to cover this week, and so we will not waste any more of your time. Let’s do this.
Skin in the Game: The Roman Baber Story
The Nitty Gritty:
Canadian politician, Roman Baber, displayed testicular fortitude by introducing a bill that wold reduce the salaries of parliamentarians to the stimulus level that fellow Canadians receive after their businesses are shuttered by government lockdowns
Last month, we wrote about Roman Baber, the Ontario MPP who was ousted from the Progressive Conservative Party for his heretical criticism of Premier Doug Ford’s Church of Lockdown. Normally, when political controversies occur, those who are at the center will fold like a cheap carpet, walk back on everything that they said, and humiliate themselves as they post endless faux-apologetic Tweets. Such was the case with Ontario’s former Finance Minister, Rod Phillips, when he was busted for sipping pina coladas in St. Bart’s while the rest of the province was told to “stay home, stay safe, and save lives.”
Fortunately, Roman Baber is not that cheap carpet. In fact, he is a leader who says what he means and means what he says. It really is a refreshing breath of fresh air in Canadian politics. Last week, Baber introduced a bill to slash the pay of parliamentarians to CERB levels so long as lockdown orders remained in place. The bill, called the “We Are All In This Together Act,” (well done) would have reduced the wages of all MPPs from approximately $2,240 per week to $500 per week.
Prior to introducing the bill, Baber explained that “it’s easy to pass laws that destroy people’s livelihoods when you’re on government salary. My PMB will encourage MPPs to fully appreciate the consequences of their actions, when many Ontarians can’t afford to put food on the table.” Even if one is in favour of lockdowns, it is hard to disagree with Baber’s argument. If we truly are all in this together, then should it not be the case that our leaders receive the same level of pay as those who are forcibly prevented from working? Perhaps Ontario’s “top doctors,” David Williams and Eileen de Villa, have scientific explanations against this argument.
Now, if there was ever a testament to the character of our elected officials, the following reaction from parliamentarians would be it. After his bill was introduced, government house leader Paul Calandra countered with a motion to have only Baber’s salary reduced to $500 per week. Then, Calandra’s counter-motion was passed with unanimous support. That’s right. Everyone in the PCs, the NDP, and whatever is left of the Liberal Party voted in favour of Calandra’s motion. Instead of debating the clear asymmetry where elected officials earn upper class wages while an overwhelming number of Ontarians are out of a job, all of the MPPs turned the debate into a joke. But why did the NDP vote in favour of this? Aren’t socialist parties supposed to be advocating for worker’s rights? Perhaps Baber wasn’t intersectional enough. Nonetheless, proving that he was literally prepared to put his money where his mouth is, Baber also voted in favour of Calandra’s motion. Of course, the motion was not passed because salaries are determined by legislative statute and cannot be amended by motion. But the message is clear: elected officials are not interested in considering the ramifications of their support for lockdowns.
A wise, bald, loud-mouthed statistician by the name of Nassim Nicholas Taleb once wrote a book called Skin in the Game. In the book, Taleb explores hidden asymmetries in everyday life and argues that “bureaucracy is a construction by which a person is conveniently separated from the consequences of his or her actions.” It is hard to imagine a sentence that captures the current state of Canadian governments better than this. As we approach the one-year anniversary of “two weeks to flatten the curve,” we see, each day, how our elected officials willingly separate themselves from the consequences of their actions. Therefore, when someone like Roman Baber, who demonstrates “skin in the game,” comes along and exposes this asymmetry, it is not surprising to see our parliamentarians rush to cover it up, only then to go on lecturing the public about how “we are all in this together.”
Genocide? What Genocide?
Ahhh China. The land of the unfree and the home of dictatorial communist rule, forced abortions, comepelled speech, concentration camps, and other daily human rights violations. Sounds pretty awful, right? Well, not according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Joe Biden. According to these two wonderful, progressive, and empathetic leaders, human rights violations in China can just be chalked up to “cultural differences.” In other words, who are we to judge?
Last week, Erin O’Toole, leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, wrote an op-ed for the Toronto Star arguing that Canada should call upon the International Olympic Committee to relocate the 2022 Olympics out of Beijing. O’Toole argued that it is imperative for Canada to take a stand against China because “there is genocide going on in Xinjiang. The Chinese embassy in Washington bragged on social media about forced sterilization measures being undertaken, going so far as to refer to Uighur women as ‘baby-making machines.’” O’Toole cited other human rights violations, such as the police state in Hong Kong and the kidnapping of two Canadians who have been held hostage for two years (which Trudeau has done nothing about). It was an admirable stance by O’Toole, because until very recently, the only world leader to take aggressive stances towards China has been the former United States President, Donald Trump.
Leave it to Canada’s snowboard instructor-in-chief, Trudeau, to entirely miss the point. Ignoring the arguments that O’Toole put forward, Trudeau instead questioned whether or not we should be describing what is occurring in Xinjiang as “genocide.” Amidst all the “uh’s” and “um’s” that are so characteristic of Trudeau’s speeches, he said that the word “genocide” is “extremely loaded” and should only be used when it is “justified and demonstrated.” This is true, but it is also true that there is genocide occuring in China, as there are currently over one million Uighurs in concentration camps in Xinjiang.
Moreover, Trudeau is not actually concerned with misusing the word “genocide,” because he has called himself the leader of a “genocide state” (referring to Canada). In other words, he is happy to take up the mantle of woke virtue-signalling and self-flagellating, but when it comes out to advancing western values - such as condemning literal genocide states - Trudeau is noticably silent.
South of the border, President Biden gave a similar response when asked about the Uighur concentration camps during a CNN Town Hall. The response is nearly incoherent, but there was one utterance glaring at us. Biden said that “[Xi Jinping] gets it. Culturally, there are different norms that their leaders are expected to follow.” That’s right, folks, forced sterilization and slavery are just “different norms.”
We wish we were surprised by these statements, but we’re not. Utterances like these are commonplace for those who are sympathetic to woke ideology. This cultural relativist nonsense, where morally repugnant actions are explained away as “cultural differences,” is a tenet of postcolonialism - an Applied Postmodernist Theory suggesting that westerners who are critical of anything in non-western countries are continuing the legacy of colonialism, and henceforth acting as oppressors. This is why people like Justin Trudeau are also quick to suggest that “free speech has limits” when it comes to cartoon depictions of Muhammad, but have nothing to say about female genital mutiliation or homosexuals being publicly hanged in Islamic nations. Cultural relativism, when imbibed as an approach towards foreign intervention, leaves us impotent as a nation. Sadly, the slavery and genocide will continue as our leaders fumble around the issues, like an awkward teenager who cannot muster up the courage to move in for a kiss.
*Update: As of Monday, February 22, 2021 (past the date that this episode was recorded), Canada’s Parliament voted to recognize Uighur concentration camps in China as genocide. However, Trudeau did not vote on the issue. Now why might that be?
Legal gun owners are the problem, criminals are not
The Nitty Gritty
Leaders north and south of the border are getting lax on gun-related crimes and looking to reduce sentences for those offenders.
The same leaders that also want to take away your guns. Because that’s the problem..
As if there weren’t enough asymmetries last week, Trudeau decided to introduce another one, just for the fun of it. Two days after Trudeau complained that growing gun violence in Canada is “unacceptable,” his government introduced legislation to reduce sentences for gun-related crimes including, but not limited to, weapons trafficking, use of firearms in commission of an offence, armed robbery, armed extortion, and illegal discharge of a firearm with intent. The full list can be found in this Toronto Sun article.
Why would the Trudeau government possibly do such a thing? According to the Justice Minister David Lametti, “these are people with health problems. These are single mothers. These are young people who have perhaps made a couple of mistakes.” This is laughable nonsense. Robbing someone at gunpoint is not a mistake. Trafficking illegal guns is not a mistake. Illegally discharging a firearm with intent is not a mistake. Each of these criminal offences are conscious decisions. When this was rightly pointed out, Lametti blamed the former Conservative government of Stephen Harper - just as the Liberals always do. However, the mandatory minimums that Lametti had been complaining about were actually put in place by Justin Trudeau’s father, Pierre Trudeau. It is amusing how such an important detail was overlooked.
Trudeau has a habit of lecturing the public about gun violence in lieu of discussing actual policy. He has already moved forward on his plan to ban 1,500 “military-style assault rifles,” even though there is no such thing as a “military-style assault rifle.” This is not an insignificant detail either - “military-style” or “assault-style” are not real classifications for firearms. Instead, they are scare words that Trudeau uses to drum up support for his policy.
While Trudeau is banning guns based on their appearance, legal gun owners are paying the price (literally). Trudeau released his “plan” for the firearm buyback program, which will likely see Canadians receiving pennies on the dollar in return for their firearms. At the same time, criminals who do not have firearms licenses will continue purchasing illegal guns, using them for illicit purposes, and then be blessed with reduced sentences - all at the good graces of our Prime Minister.
Further Listening 🎞️
This week, we encourage the audience to watch Jordan Peterson as he interviews Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Hirsi Ali has a new book out, Prey, which carefully analyzes immigration, Islam, and the erosion of women’s rights in Europe. Of course, legacy media outlets such as The New York Times have attempted to defame her, but Hirsi Ali - who is a survivor of female genital mutilation - has fought harder battles than those brought to her from activists posing as journalists.
Until next week, thank you all for your time. Take care.