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Fear of COVID-19 has taken on a religious fervour, permeating and shaping our laws, policies and culture. The job-killing, economy-destroying, soul-deadening, anxiety-producing, loneliness-creating, debt-incurring lockdowns, imposed on us since March 2020, have now become permanent restrictions on our Charter freedoms to move, travel, associate, assemble and worship.
In Quebec it's illegal to celebrate Thanksgiving with family and friends. Fortunately, Quebec's magnanimous Health Minister Christian Dubé said that he might allow Quebecers to enjoy "a nice Christmas" if citizens are sufficiently submissive to his Thanksgiving decrees.
To enforce these new unpopular restrictions, Quebec is giving police the ability to obtain "telewarrants," allowing them to enter people's private homes quickly and easily. Gone are the bad old days of needing to submit a hard-copy sworn-and-signed affidavit to a judge in person, a process which made it so cumbersome for police to barge into citizens' homes. Quebec has also prohibited outdoor gatherings and made masks mandatory for demonstrations, and police have the power to hand out hefty fines to those who flout the rules.
Saskatchewan has issued detailed restrictions on celebrating Thanksgiving, Halloween and Remembrance Day. Children, who stand a greater chance of being struck by lightning than they do of dying of COVID-19, must have their treats dropped into their bags or pillow cases with tongs, to avoid the deadly risk of any physical contact. Saskatchewanians should, of course, be very grateful that their government is allowing trick-or-treating in the first place.
Media are driving the fear that has turned lockdowns into permanent violations of our rights, freedoms and human dignity.
For example, on October 7 the Canadian Press proclaimed that "COVID cases jump 40 per cent in Canada in one week, with Quebec and Ontario hardest hit." This article declares that the number of "cases" is nearly ten times higher than this past July. Missing entirely from this article is any mention of the fact that COVID-19 deaths are down to a mere trickle of their peak in April and May.
Deaths declined rapidly in June, further in July, and have stayed very low through to October. Government data shows that there has been only one "wave" of COVID deaths, cresting in April and May. While increased testing uncovers thousands of harmless "cases," there is no second "wave" of COVID deaths. This is what the governments’ own data is telling us.
This October 7 Canadian Press story notes a total of 15 COVID-19 deaths in Ontario and Quebec, but fails to report on the relevant context: over 287,000 Canadians die each year, including over 115,000 deaths in Ontario (more than 2,000 each week), and over 73,000 deaths in Quebec each year (more than 1,400 each week). The media won't juxtapose 10,000 new "cases" with 15 deaths. Canadians must not know about the 99.85 percent survival rate for these scary "cases."
The National Post on October 6 stated "Quebec reports more than 1,000 new COVID-19 cases for fifth straight day" but makes no mention of the fact that more than 99 percent of these people suffer no harm at all.
When trumpeting new "cases," media also have little to say about the way the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test is set at a level of cycles designed to pick up even the tiniest traces of viral RNA, which could be from a past illness, or unrelated cold virus. Media keep matters simple and scary.
Another Canadian Press article trumpets "Ontario sees COVID-19 surge, Quebec poised to declare maximum alert." But this article also says nothing about the fact that there is no second wave of COVID-19 deaths, or about the fact more than 99 percent of the "cases" are harmless.
Yet Ontario Premier Doug Ford is quoted as claiming that "this round of the pandemic could hit harder than the first"—as though such claim is based on facts. The Ontario Government's own data shows that Premier Ford's warning is simply more fearmongering, to justify continued lockdown violations of our Charter freedoms.
Likewise, the Huffington Post mentions COVID-19 "cases" but not the declining deaths since May.
Likewise the CBC writes that "Ontario tightens rules on bars and restaurants, closes strip clubs," mentioning cases but saying nothing about the very small number of deaths.
For the sake of truth and accurate understanding, the courtroom oath asks the witness to tell "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth." A news story devoid of lies becomes misleading when vital, crucial, relevant facts are omitted. The COVID-19 death data on government websites makes it abundantly clear that the latest "cases" are harmless to at least 99 percent of Canadians; that COVID-19 deaths are not in the process of returning to the peaks they reached this past April and May; that there is no "second wave" of COVID-19 deaths.
When media, whether for the purpose of selling papers or internet advertising space, refuse to provide relevant context in their "news" articles, they fail to report honestly to the Canadian public. By hyping data about "cases" and refusing to report on the nearly non-existent fatalities from those cases, the media become lobbyists for harmful lockdown measures that violate our human rights and Charter freedoms.
Lawyer John Carpay is president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms.