March 3rd, 2024

Noteworthy: Listen to the good doctor

By Bruce Penton on January 24, 2024.

It seems foolhardy for people to refuse to be vaccinated for influenza and COVID when Paul Parks, president of the Alberta Medical Association, assures the public that vaccines protect people from certain illnesses and also eases pressure on the province’s entire health system.

A recent Globe and Mail story reported that Parks said Alberta hospitals are “overflowing with patients sick with respiratory illnesses, largely influenza, and the cases are severe.”

I’d prefer to take advice from a health professional like Parks as opposed to our premier, whose government ordered health officials to remove the words ‘influenza’ and ‘COVID’ from government advertising pertaining to the immunization campaign.

I realize vaccines/vaccinations is a hot topic and prime candidate for conspiracy theories, but when someone with the medial acumen of Paul Parks offers advice, my ears perk up. But it’s apparent that information coming from the government is having an impact, because Alberta’s influenza vaccine rate this year, according to the Globe story, is 22 per cent, the lowest in more than 10 years.

– The political career of Rachel Notley, who made history by becoming the first NDP premier in the history of Alberta, is ending. Daughter of the late Grant Notley, who led the Alberta NDP in the 1970s when it could have used the back seat of a Volkswagen to hold party conventions, Notley announced her intentions last week to leave her position and set the stage for a leadership contest.

Premier Danielle Smith was gracious in her reaction to Notley’s announcement, saying on X that “serving as premier is an extremely demanding job, and she served in that office with an honour and dignity reminiscent of her late father, another honourable and loyal Albertan and public servant.”

– OK Hatters, here’s a question you can think about all day: If you died tomorrow, what would be your biggest regret?

– One of the biggest mysteries to me is the continued strength of Donald Trump in the run-up to the 2024 U.S. presidential election. How someone with myriad black marks on his character – a long list of criminal indictments, sexual abuse liabilities, habitual lying and inciting a mob to storm the capital on Jan. 6, 2021, an event from which more than 400 people have been jailed – is still the runaway favourite to win the Republican nomination, to me, is mind-boggling.

Most political expectations make sense – the unpopular Justin Trudeau likely to be sent packing; Pierre Poilievre becoming the next PM – but the Trump deal is crazy.

Lawrence Martin, writing in the Globe and Mail, says Trump’s “appeal is pretty much limited to his paleo-conservative base, which includes the least educated segment of the American population, a tranche that his demagoguery and lies prey upon.” Another commentator offered a more simplistic reason for the Trump support: “He hates who they hate.”

– Vancouver received a good dump of snow last week, and, as usual, citizens had no idea how to react. Which led The Beaverton, Canada’s best parody website, to write a story headlined: “Vancouver considers buying a second snowplow.”

– Cayden Lindstrom of the Medicine Hat Tigers won’t be in the lineup in Moncton tonight when the Canadian Hockey League’s Top Prospects game is played, even though the 17-year-old centre is definitely a top prospect. Lindstrom, who has 27 goals and 19 assists in 32 games with the Tigers, had surgery recently for an upper-body injury and will be on the shelf for about another month.

The Chetwynd, B.C. product’s top prospect status will be confirmed in June when he’s chosen in the National Hockey League draft. Central Scouting has Lindstrom ranked as the third-best North American player, which definitely translates to a first-round selection.

– A couple of years ago, most NHL teams didn’t want to consider touching Evander Kane, even with a 10-foot hockey stick, but the 2021 signing by the Edmonton Oilers has worked out well. Kane has apparently matured and his foolish actions which led to being ostracized around the NHL are a thing of the past. So, while it’s worked out with Kane, the Oilers have now taken on troubled Corey Perry, a 38-year-old antagonist who was dumped by Chicago Blackhawks earlier this year for “conduct that is unacceptable and in violation of both the terms of his standard player’s contract and the Blackhawks’ internal policies.”

Specifics were never made public, but it’s been rumoured to have involved alcohol at a team function. Will Perry’s arrival lead to the departure of Connor Brown, whose signing was hyped in preseason as a coup? In 35 games, Brown had zero goals and three assists for the red-hot Oilers.

Bruce Penton is a retired News editor who may be reached at

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