Open letter to Premier Horgan — you have not made the case
Dear Premier Horgan,
I have been reading the news reports of you and your Government’s latest efforts announced yesterday, April 19, concerning the Wuhan Virus. It is difficult to get any written material directly of what you said but only press reports of what you are alleged to have said. Your own website does not carry your comments, for example. And the travel section of your website on restrictions talks of regions, not health regions, although the press talk of health regions. One should not have to wait for such important issues to be clarified now thirteen months in.
Additionally, Government pronouncements on the facts have been limited. These often talk of cases as if they were all sick people, and I have not see the numbers of total acute care beds in the Province and total ICU beds. I have had to look elsewhere to find such information. What percentage of cases end up as hospitalization, what is the fatality rate for various age groups? What is the recovery rate? There seems to be no balance of all the facts but rather a concentration on the dire straits we are all in. Surely some context is necessary.
Sadly, you have followed the mantra of so many places where lockdowns have been implemented and have ignored the efforts of jurisdictions who have refrained from lockdowns or implemented mild ones.
If you had looked at this information, you would have seen that places like Florida have been successful without resorting to extreme measures as you and your Government are now implementing.
But what is most disconcerting for me are two things:
A. You and your Ministers have paid little attention, if any, to providing citizens with any type of cost benefit analysis when you announce your restrictive measures. This, in my view, is a major failing.
When the pandemic first affected this province, one perhaps could find sympathy with the view of move fast, figure out later. But not now. You have had time with your scores of advisors, experts, etc. to take a more thoughtful approach and examine the evidence.
Have you, for example, read The Great Barrington Declaration of October 04, 2020? This has been authored, as of this date, by 13,985 medical and and public heath scientists and 42,520 medical practitioners. Three of the founders of this declaration are world renowned professors and researchers at Oxford, Dr. Sunetra Gupta, Stanford, Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, Harvard, Dr. Mutha Kulldorff, two Canadians, Dr. Matthew Strauss of Queen’s University and Dr. Annie Janvies, University of Montreal. Have you contacted these Canadians to get an alternative point of view?
Dr Joseph A. Ladapo, Professor of Medicine, UCLA, writing in the Wall Street Journal today, comments in his article entitled “An American Epidemic of Covid Mania”:
“Covid mania has also wreaked havoc on science and its influence on policy. While scientists’ passion for discovery and improving health has fueled research on the novel coronavirus, Covid mania has interpreted scientific advancements through an increasingly narrow frame. There has only been one question: How can scientific findings be deployed to reduce Covid-19 spread? It hasn’t mattered how impractical these measures may be. Discoveries that might have helped save lives, such as better outpatient therapies, were ignored because they didn’t fit the desired policy outcome.”
As an elected public official, I submit you have not made your case regarding the new restrictions taking into account a cost benefit analysis. At least the public has not seen any such analysis, which I think they deserve.
B. In all the statements that you, your Ministers and officials have made since the beginning, I find a blatant disregard for the provisions in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms of our Constitution. One would have thought that you would have shared with the public your appreciation for these provisions and provided what you thought was a reasoned analysis of why you believed your Government’s measures could constitutionally override these Charter provisions. To not have done so is, in my view, a dereliction of your obligation as the First Minister of this Province. Already, various Provincial orders and regulations are being questioned and overridden by the courts.
I must remind you as one who was intricately involved in the Charter that it contains the following:
2 Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
(a) freedom of conscience and religion;
(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
(d) freedom of association.
Mobility of citizens
6 (1) Every citizen of Canada has the right to enter, remain in and leave Canada
Rights to move and gain livelihood (2) Every citizen of Canada and every person who has the status of a permanent resident of Canada has the right
(a) to move to and take up residence in any province; and
(b) to pursue the gaining of a livelihood in any province.
Life, liberty and security of person
7 Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.
Treatment or punishment
12 Everyone has the right not to be subjected to any cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.
I submit that you have not made the case for your Government’s orders and regulations in the context of the Charter provisions, and that such a consideration and analysis is necessary and made public, a requirement I would think, before embarking on measures which clearly breech fundamental rights and freedoms in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms which is a part of The Constitution of Canada.
No one doubts the seriousness of the situation, but in a democracy like ours one is not relieved of fundamental responsibilities when the health of all citizens and rights and freedoms of all those citizens are crucially at stake.
Hence, taxpayers and citizens, deserve a full cost benefit analysis of the measures and a full constitutional analysis. Only then can severe restrictions be soberly assessed.
Hon. A. Brian Peckford, P.C.