Tue, April 07, 2020 | Author: Rod Taylor | Volume 27 Number 14 | Share: Facebook | Twitter
Canadians have a right to know if our federal government has been proactive in protecting its citizens and providing the advice and services we need to minimize the damage. A review of government responses to changing statistics reveals an alarming self-inflicted vulnerability, which is now evident as the number of Canadians infected increases. China’s misleading press releases since the early days of the crisis have so far contributed to the confusion, masking both the magnitude of the threat and its failing response. Looking back, what could Canada have done better?
We could have – and should have – closed our borders earlier, especially to travelers from China. The United States issued an order on January 31 prohibiting all foreign nationals who have set foot in China in the past 14 days from entering the country. He also imposed a mandatory 14-day self-isolation period on all American citizens returning from Hubei province. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister of Canada continued to reject the idea of closing the border to travelers from China, calling the idea “racist”. Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, continued to defend the opinion of the World Health Organization (WHO) against “. . . all types of travel and trade restrictions. . . As recently as February 20, Canadian Minister of Health Patty Hajdu said: “. . . the risk to Canadians remains low. . . And continued to entrust individuals with the responsibility of identifying and isolating themselves. On February 26, Dr. Howard Njoo, Deputy Chief Public Health Officer of Canada, said, “We have contained the virus.” The Prime Minister and his senior health officials continued to rely on foreign travelers to self-diagnose and provide them with “information” at airports.
On March 13, Justin Trudeau defended his decision not to restrict entry to travelers from China (as the United States had done): “We did not do it. We were able to manage it so that the virus could be controlled and not spread. . . our public health officials are making the right recommendations for Canada. Three days later, Canada began restricting the entry of foreign travelers.
We should have closed our borders to illegal border crossers a long time ago, even before COVID-19 started. On March 17, Minister of Public Safety Bill Blair confirmed that Canada would continue to welcome people entering Canada from the United States at “irregular” border crossings like the infamous Roxham Highway at Quebec, where pedestrians with suitcases and backpacks simply enter Canada. “We are currently making separate arrangements for these people to be placed in appropriate shelters. . . Long-standing frustration for law-abiding Canadians, the treatment of illegal gloves by children now raises new concerns about the possibility of cross-border transmission of the virus. Three days later, PM Trudeau announced that irregular migrants will be turned back at the border. Questions regarding Roxham Road and related refugee issues remain.
We should never have trusted the CCP, the Chinese Communist Party, to tell the truth. Much of the global pandemic and the accompanying economic devastation could have been avoided or minimized if the CCP had been more transparent. The CCP appears to have convinced WHO officials that the virus is under control in China, but few others in the world believe in their number. Why should we? When Dr. Li Wenliang first warned his medical colleagues of the recently discovered virus that had already killed several people, he and seven other whistleblowers were arrested “for spreading rumors”. Dr. Li wrote his letter exposing the virus on December 30. The CCP did not announce the medical emergency until January 20. Dr. Li died in February of COVID-19. At the time of his death, Wuhan City was in detention. Against all the evidence, the CCP denied human-to-human transmission for weeks. Since then, China claims to have control, but the number of deaths it claims is far less than the number of cremation urns delivered to funeral homes …
We must demand that China publish all coronavirus research files from the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Wuhan Center for Disease Control. There are dozens of possible angles to the initial COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan. Some focus on the “wet meat markets” where wild animals are bought for food. There is speculation about the transmission of the horseshoe bat virus from pangolins to humans in these markets. It’s possible. However, it is also known that the Wuhan bio-laboratory was studying a range of coronaviruses collected from horseshoe bats. It does not take much imagination to postulate that one of these coronaviruses, whether natural or artificial, could have escaped from the laboratory. Research records would tell us a lot. Far from transparently sharing the information it has, China has in fact expelled Western journalists from Wuhan, including those from left-wing supporters like the New york times. What is China hiding? Is it the source of the virus or the number of spiraling deaths they deny?
We must not let the COVID-19 crisis cloud our judgment. Emergency measures are taken by countries around the world, including the United States and Canada. Politicians who are normally concerned about the level of debt approve incredibly large bailouts. Closing businesses and losing tax revenues will have devastating effects in the future. Citizens suddenly accept restrictions on their movements and habits that would have been unimaginable just a month ago. Although we are all ready to do our part to contain the virus, we cannot allow a spirit of fear to invade our hearts. Joe Boot presents a very wise perspective in this article at the Ezra Institute.
We respectfully request the resignation of Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada“Chief Public Health Officer. We don’t often call for the resignation of government officials. The Prime Minister and others certainly share the responsibility for Canada’s slow response. It is true that few people saw the dire nature of the COVID-19 epidemic in early January, largely due to the cover-up of China. But by early February, the United States had closed its borders to travelers from China, and Dr. Tam still insisted that the distribution of brochures at the airport was sufficient. This naivety continued throughout February and mid-March. His complete confidence in the now discredited WHO advice and his erroneous praise of China’s response allowed the virus to hit Canada very hard. The main bottlenecks after the outbreak of the pandemic cannot compensate for the opportunities lost at the start.
As we move forward together, the CHC will continue to press for transparency and responsible government action to defend the health and safety of all Canadians.