By John Carpay
Across Canada, provincial governments are imposing new lockdown restrictions that violate the Charter freedoms of Canadians to move, travel, assemble, associate and worship.
Like other provinces, Manitoba relies on COVID-19 “cases,” which include perfectly healthy people who show no symptoms of any illness, to justify the violation of Charter freedoms.
Winnipeg is merely one victim, with the government having closed movie theatres, concert halls, sports facilities, restaurant dining rooms, casinos, museums, libraries, and galleries as of Nov. 2. Citizens lack the freedom to gather in groups larger than five.
Contrary to World Health Organization recommendations, they must wear masks while exercising at gyms. Children, who face essentially no risk of harm from the virus, are to be kept in a state of fear through two-metre physical distancing at schools. Contrary to what is obviously good for public health, all group sports are prohibited, and non-emergency surgeries and diagnostic procedures have been suspended.
When it comes to shaping laws and policies, context should matter. In Manitoba over 11,000 people die each year; for the year ending June 30, 2020, it was 11,266 to be precise, according to statista.com. In the context of 11,266 deaths, 75 people have died of COVID-19, which is less than 1 percent of deaths. These 75 deaths are very sad, and so are the other 11,191 deaths from cancer, cancelled surgeries, alcoholism, drug overdoses, suicides, and other causes.
In Manitoba and elsewhere, COVID-19’s impact on life expectancy is negligible, because this virus primarily targets elderly people who are already close to death because they are sick with heart disease, emphysema, diabetes, and other serious illnesses.
How many Manitobans have died, and how many will die, because of lockdown measures? It’s not something that Chief Provincial Public Health Officer Dr. Brent Roussin talks about. He and the politicians blithely assume, without evidence, that lockdowns do more good than harm. The number of lockdown deaths from cancelled surgeries, delayed cancer diagnosis, drug overdoses, and suicides is not yet fully known, but will likely exceed the number of COVID-19 deaths. In the United Kingdom, delays in cancer diagnosis have led to thousands of avoidable deaths and more than 59,000 years of life lost, according to a Lancet study.
The fact that death is a painful, inevitable part of life should not prevent us from taking a hard look at government policies, especially policies that might be taking more lives than the number of lives being saved.
Seven months ago, Canada’s provincial and federal governments joined other jurisdictions in accepting the predictions of Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London, who said that COVID-19 would kill millions of people. Some politicians and chief medical officers claimed that COVID-19 poses a serious threat to children, youth, and young adults, thereby ramping up the fear.
This fearmongering caused Canadians to accept significant restrictions on their Charter freedoms to move, travel, assemble, associate and worship, all for the worthy goal of “saving lives.” Lockdown harms, such as increases in drug overdoses and suicides, have been ignored or accepted, as if dying of COVID-19 is somehow worse than dying of another cause.
Media continue to hype “cases” and warn of a “second wave.” Curiously, media rarely mention the fact that COVID-19 deaths peaked in April and May, then declined drastically in June, with further declines in July and August. Government data tells us that the number of deaths in September and October is nowhere near the numbers we saw in April and May. In every province, the government’s own data shows that there is no second wave of COVID-19 deaths.
Our Charter freedoms are violated on the basis of “cases” of COVID-19. Prior to lockdowns, the word “cases” referred to people who are actually sick. But today’s “cases” include completely healthy people who simply had a positive PCR (nucleic acid-based) test, the reliability of which is in dispute, with the number of false positives as high as 90 percent.
According to a National Post article, the “reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction test, or RT-PCR — is so sensitive it can pick up debris from an old infection.” The PCR test detects genetic material as well as live virus, meaning it can be positive after the person has cleared the live organism. The article goes on to claim that “provinces are encouraging mass testing using a hyper-sensitive test that’s churning out daily case numbers, the implication being that a case always equals an active infection equals a person capable of spreading to others.” But Dr. Vanessa Allen, chief of medical microbiology at Public Health Ontario, states that “PCR picks up dead organism that is not infectious.”
As Harvard University’s Dr. Michael J. Mina explains it in the New England Journal of Medicine: “Most infected people are being identified after the infectious period has passed,” such that “thousands of people are being sent into 10-day quarantines after positive RNA tests despite having already passed the transmissible stage of infection.” According to Dr. Jared Bullard, associate medical director of Cadham Provincial Laboratory in Winnipeg, any virus that is being picked up beyond 25 cycles is probably leftover genetic material from dead virus.
Even Dr. Anthony Fauci has confirmed that any PCR test result above a cycle threshold of 35 is too high, and only picks up dead nucleotides.
Unsurprisingly, the number of “cases” rises with the number of tests that governments conduct. For example, September saw 28,763 “cases” in Canada, as a result of testing almost two million Canadians. But what really matters is not the “cases” of perfectly healthy people, but rather the fact that 300,000 Canadians die each year, an average of 25,000 per month. In September, 171 Canadians died of COVID-19, while 24,829 Canadians died of other causes. The 10,000 COVID-19 deaths in Canada in 2020 are not much different from the 8,500 annual flu deaths in Canada in 2018.
Politicians claim that the lockdowns saved many lives, but they have yet to put forward actual evidence that might support their speculation and conjecture.
With government data on COVID-19 deaths at their fingertips, why do politicians and chief medical officers impose further restrictions on our Charter freedoms? Are they listening to media fearmongering about “cases” while ignoring their own data showing that there is no “second wave” of COVID-19 deaths? Do they realize that their promotion and instigation of unfounded fear serve to generate continued acceptance of Charter violations? Or is it that they have become addicted to control?
Lawyer John Carpay is president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (jccf.ca).