Tag Archives: ted falk

A Puzzling Speech in Parliament

I listened to the speech Provencher Member of Parliament Ted Falk gave last week in the House of Commons. He called on the federal government to end pandemic restrictions.  Mr Falk talked about the negative effect of lockdowns on businesses and families.  He demanded the Liberal government provide timelines on vaccines, the lifting of restrictions, and the recovery of the economy.  He said we need to protect the vulnerable, provide vaccines to those who want them, and let everyone else live their lives. 

I suspect Mr Falk was voicing the frustration of many of his constituents when he talked about closed businesses, lost jobs and the inability to visit elderly loved ones.  And while there may be value in airing such frustration, I found everything else about Mr Falk’s speech truly puzzling.  

The federal government has implemented travel restrictions. They are supported by 90% of Canadians according to a recent poll published in the National Post. All other restrictions, like business and church closures, and a ceiling on the number of people who can gather in a home, have been imposed by the provinces.  Interestingly the majority of provinces have Conservative governments. They belong to Mr Falk’s political party.  Wouldn’t it be more productive for him to discuss restrictions with his provincial Conservative colleagues instead of the members of Parliament? Most restrictions fall under provincial jurisdiction.  Surely Mr Falk knows this. 

Secondly, Mr Falk is not speaking for most Canadians.  That poll published by the National Post showed 65% of Canadians support restricting people to their homes except to avail themselves of essential services or to provide them to others. 71% agree we should have to carry a health card proving we have been vaccinated. Mr Falk’s suggestion that we open everything up, let people choose without accountability whether to have vaccines and simply allow everyone to live their lives, does not resonate with the majority of Canadians at all. Surely Mr Falk knows this. 

Everything about this pandemic is new so it is impossible to produce definitive timelines for when it will end

Mr. Falk’s demands for timelines regarding the lifting of restrictions, vaccine roll out and economic recovery just aren’t realistic. We are in the middle of a pandemic of a kind never experienced before. The vaccines that have been developed are brand new and so problems with production and distribution are bound to happen. It will be some time before we fully understand just how effective vaccines can be in the long term. Scientists can make educated predictions about when the pandemic may be under control, thus allowing for the lifting of restrictions and the beginning of economic recovery, but there is no way to produce a definitive timeline like the one Mr. Falk is requesting. Surely, he knows that.  

Mr Falk’s final statement is truly puzzling.  He wants us to protect the vulnerable but let everyone else live exactly as they like.  Yet we know that if everyone lives exactly as they like we will not be able to protect the vulnerable. That has been clearly demonstrated throughout the pandemic and in quite a dramatic way in Mr Falk’s own riding which was the only one in the province that had to shut down schools before Christmas because of the high infection and death rate amongst the vulnerable.  Surely Mr Falk knows this.

Mr Falk probably had a limited time for his Parliamentary speech, but it would have been much more effective if he could have backed up his entreaties for a quick end to restrictions and his lack of a hearty endorsement for vaccines, with some sort of scientific research, expert opinion or facts that supported his views.  Surely Mr Falk knows this. Or does he? 

Other posts……….

Life Liberty and Family

Human Rights and February Holidays

Candice and That Hat

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Filed under COVID-19 Diary, Politics

There are People in Provencher Who Aren’t Hateful, Unsavory and Ignorant

The people in the political riding of Provencher  are “hateful, unsavory and ignorant!”  That’s what you might think if you read the second page feature in Tuesday’s Metro newspaper.  I had a copy of the Metro handed to me as I boarded the bus early Tuesday morning. I opened it up and read the piece during my transit ride.  I found the article unsettling. It describes a video posted by Provencher member of Parliament Ted Falk on his Facebook page.  In the video Mr. Falk suggests refugees who cross the border into Canada at Emerson are taking advantage of kind-hearted Canadians. Falk calls on the Liberal government to make their stance on the issue clear.

I had watched Mr. Falk’s video prior to reading the Metro story. I thought there would have been better ways to address the concerns of his Provencher constituents in Emerson.   I wished Mr. Falk had adopted a more welcoming and open-minded tone. While expressing his opinion that additional information and a clear policy from the federal government was required in the Emerson situation, he could have also talked about the many concrete ways we can all provide practical assistance to people from war-torn countries. Mr. Falk could have reminded his constituents  that at one time most of their families had been refugees too.

The Metro writer says hundreds of people have written accolades about Mr. Falk’s video on his Facebook page and that is true. I scrolled through the nearly four hundred responses and many are written in a fairly reasonable tone. There are some that remind Mr. Falk he needs to be more compassionate. They speculate as to how Jesus might have acted towards ‘the least among us’  who are crossing the border at Emerson. There are also some comments that say very disrespectful and unkind things about Muslims, the prime minster and refugees in general. I agree with the Metro writer that having provided a platform for these kinds of comments Mr. Falk might respond to them in some way. He could  delete or moderate inappropriate comments and remind his Facebook followers that informed, rational dialogue is the path to understanding.

One line in the Metro piece stood out for me. “Sadly, Falk’s views are in tune with those held by many of his constituents.”  That line makes it seem like the people in Provencher don’t care about refugees or their plight. I know that isn’t true. To balance their reporting on the Falk video the Metro might also have published a photo of the huge sign outside Grace Mennonite Church in Steinbach that  welcomes all people as neighbours in both Arabic and English.  They might have reported on the refugee families that are currently being sponsored by groups in southeastern Manitoba or have been sponsored in the past.  I personally know of many such stories.

Last summer in the coverage leading up to the Pride Parade in Steinbach the media largely ignored the efforts of the people in southeastern Manitoba who have welcomed their LGBTQ neighbours for years and worked hard to make their communities more accepting. Instead they chose to focus on the less supportive comments and actions of local political leaders. Now they are doing the same thing with the refugee situation. 

I lived in Mr. Falk’s riding for some four decades. I know it is home to many people who are open-minded, welcoming, well-informed, thoughtful and compassionate. They need to be featured in media reports about Provencher as well in order to provide more  balanced coverage.

Other posts…….

Pride in Steinbach isn’t Something  New

Thoughts on Refugees

My Former Church and the Pope

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Filed under Media, Politics