If the Grinch could have used COVID-19 as an excuse, he might have succeeded in destroying Christmas for the citizens of Whoville.
The bitter, nasty, hairy, green character with the cat-like face, from Dr. Seuss' 1957 classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas, learned on Christmas morning that his plan had failed. After stealing all the gifts from all of the homes of Whoville, the Grinch was shocked to hear the Whos still singing cheerfully, happy simply to be together for such an important holiday.
Prime Minister Trudeau, Ontario Premier Doug Ford and other premiers, have already stolen a great deal of our wealth and prosperity through lockdown measures that have thrust millions of Canadians into unemployment, isolation, poverty and despair. It seems not to occur to our well-paid politicians that unemployment causes poverty, misery and enormous mental and emotional suffering, even if you are lucky enough to qualify for $2,000 in monthly government benefits. Politicians have also stolen access to life-saving surgeries and timely cancer diagnoses from many Canadians.
But worse than the Grinch, politicians have made it illegal for people to gather together, and to sing freely. Politicians and chief medical officers pretend that Zoom and Skype are somehow adequate substitutes for authentic human interaction and real connections, which require being in the same room at the same time with those you love. Unlike government officials, the Grinch did not find a way to stop the villagers of Whoville from assembling, singing and enjoying each other's company without fear.
It's interesting that the Grinch disguises himself as Santa Claus when breaking into the Whos' homes to steal everything they own, and then dump it off a nearby mountain. Prime Minister Trudeau plays Santa every day, using money stolen from our children and our grandchildren, who must now repay over one trillion dollars: more than $26,000 for every Canadian man, woman and child.
While promoting fear and racking up hundreds of billions of dollars in new debt, our Prime Minister has threatened to cancel Christmas gatherings unless we also live in fear, behaving as though COVID-19 is an unusually deadly killer.
Likewise Premier Ford has warned he "won't hesitate in a heartbeat to lock things down," because "we'll always have other celebrations, we'll always have other Christmases."
One might object to comparing politicians to the joy-killing evil Grinch because politicians claim they are doing this for our own good, seeking to promote health and safety and somehow eliminate the evil COVID-19 virus.
The cry of "unfair comparison" would have been valid in March, when the fearmongering Neil Ferguson of Imperial College warned that COVID-19 would kill millions of people across the globe, as though this virus was like the real pandemics of 1918-20 (Spanish Flu), 1957 (Asian Flu) and 1968 (Hong Kong Flu). Governments across the globe relied on his dire (and ultimately false) projections.
The COVID-19 death toll is not remotely close to that of the Spanish Flu, which killed between 20 and 50 million people around the world from 1918 to 1920. Unlike COVID-19, the Spanish Flu killed many healthy 20- to 40-year-olds and did not limit its focus to elderly people in nursing homes who are already sick and close to death. The pandemics of 1957 and 1968 were less deadly than the Spanish Flu, but far more deadly than COVID-19. The data produced and published by governments tells us that today's virus is in line with a nasty annual flu, and has little impact on population life expectancy. This is what the data of Canada's federal and provincial governments tells us; statistics from other countries tell the same story.
Back in March (or even April) it would have been unfair to criticize Messrs. Trudeau and Ford (and other premiers) for taking a "better safe than sorry" approach, and locking down for a week or two, out of an abundance of caution.
It took several weeks to find out that Dr. Ferguson's exaggerated claims were in line with his other wildly inaccurate predictions made about the bird flu and BSE (mad cow disease).
But there is no medical or scientific basis for continued lockdowns in November, or for threats to reduce Christmas celebrations down to Zoom and Skype and rob people of their families, friends, celebrations and traditions.
Ontario has 14.4 million people, of whom more than 115,000 die each year. Almost 10,000 Ontarians die each month; more than 2,000 each and every week. Why are 3,400 COVID-19 deaths more sad or more tragic than the other 111,600 deaths from suicides, drug overdoses, cancelled surgeries, delayed cancer diagnoses, and other causes? Many of these 111,600 non-COVID deaths are caused by lockdown measures, while COVID-19 deaths make up less than 3 percent of the total.
Ontario has over 30,000 beds with fewer than 600 of these used by COVID-19 patients: less than 2 percent. Ontario has capacity for 7,700 acute-care and critical-care beds of which 127 are used by COVID-19 patients: less than 2 percent.
COVID-19 patients are using less than 2 percent of Ontario's hospital beds and less than 2 percent of ICU capacity. COVID-19 deaths make up less than 3 percent of total deaths. Premier Ford calls this a crisis that justifies lockdowns.
Under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, there is no justification for governments to adopt a Scrooge-spirit and prohibit visiting the sick, socializing with the poor, embracing the outcast, and all manner of Christmas goodness which Zoom and Skype are simply incapable of providing.
Sadly, comparing Canadian politicians to the Grinch is fair and reasonable, based on the data and statistics provided to us by the governments which are violating our Charter freedoms. Threatening to prevent families from celebrating Christmas together is cruel and entirely unnecessary; doing so won't save any lives. It's time for the people of Canada to be like the people of Whoville, and take Christmas back.
Lawyer John Carpay is president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.
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