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Predictions made in March of 2020, that COVID-19 would kill millions around the globe and inflict permanent health damage on large numbers of healthy younger adults, simply haven't materialized.
Meanwhile, mainstream media continue to report breathlessly about new COVID-19 "cases," often without mentioning the steadily declining number of deaths and hospitalizations, or that the vast majority of these "cases" concern people not experiencing any symptoms or illness at all.
Unsurprisingly, fear still reigns supreme, providing impetus to lockdown measures which have crippled tens of thousands of small businesses (while large box stores stayed open), pushed hundreds of thousands of Canadians into unemployment, and caused the cancellation of tens of thousands of medical procedures to make room for COVID-19 patients who never arrived.
Jerry Dunham—father of two girls aged 6 and 9—died at the age of 46 in Medicine Hat, Alberta, just before Father's Day, because Alberta's Chief Medical Officer Dr. Deena Hinshaw had deemed his pacemaker surgery "non-essential" under lockdown measures. Aaron Ogden—aged 19—died on August 15 after his scheduled CT scan in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, was cancelled. Media have reported on more than 30 cardiac patients in Ontario dying after their medically necessary surgeries were cancelled by the lockdown.
Canadians ought to know exactly how many people have died because their surgeries, consultations and treatments were cancelled in the name of "flattening the curve." To date, politicians and health officials won't release statistics disclosing the full impact of their lockdown measures.
Yet the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms requires politicians to consider carefully whether laws and policies which violate our Charter freedoms to move, travel, associate, assemble and worship are actually doing more good than harm. The Charter requires governments to conduct a full investigation into all lockdown consequences, both positive and negative.
Deaths from cancelled medical procedures are the tip of the proverbial iceberg. What about deaths and serious health damage resulting from patients being frightened away from going to the hospital to seek necessary medical care? What of the damage suffered by Canadians who were prevented, for months on end, from seeing their chiropractors, podiatrists, physiotherapists, massage therapists, naturopaths, optometrists and other health providers?
How did lockdown measures impact the rates of depression, anxiety, suicide, alcoholism, drug overdoses, obesity, family violence and psychiatric illnesses?
What of the physical and mental harms inflicted on children, deprived of school and sociability, frightened by the constant media narrative of exaggerated dangers of COVID-19, and deprived for months on end of their swimming lessons, martial arts classes, music recitals, ballet practices and carefree playtime with their friends? What are the short-term and long-term impacts?
What of the Canadians denied their chance to say good-bye to their dying parents or grandparents, or those prohibited from attending their loved one’s funerals? What about those in long-term care homes who, isolated in their rooms, were deprived of their family members’ presence, in some cases for five months? Being robbed of those irreplaceable moments is profoundly wrong, and anything but trivial.
Last but not least, how will a crippled and debt-ridden economy generate money to pay for health care and nursing homes, not to mention education, social services, policing, our court system, and roads and bridges? Do public health experts, who now create and determine government policies almost as though they were elected Premiers, understand that money is generated by businesses which employ staff and contractors? Do they grasp that bankruptcies and unemployment lead to cuts in health care spending?
If governments claim ignorance about the specific nature and magnitude of lockdown harms, it's because they’re making little or no serious effort to study all of the data and information that is in their possession.
I fully respect the expertise of experts when it comes to understanding the nature of a virus. But the public health experts who now shape our public policy have neither training nor expertise in economics, finance, law, public policy, or the Charter freedoms which form the basis of a free and prosperous democracy. They should not enjoy unchecked power over the economic, legal, social, psychological and spiritual dimensions of Canadians lives.
Lawyer John Carpay is president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.