Today's discussion:

The government violated Canadians’ rights during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now the courts are giving them a pass

It is vital to remember the lessons from the pandemic and how rights were so easily bulldozed in the name of amorphous claims of public safety. In retrospect, what did the quarantine hotels afford Canada? According to the government's stated rationale of protecting the country from variants, not much.

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George R Hinchliffe

The Government overeaction was far worse than the effects of the Virus. Lives devastated Businesses destroyed families torn apart and people fired from their jobs for not taking a shot that doesnt stop transmission or the spread of the virus. Our own Prime Minister turning Canadians against one another it was Discusting. It was like amputating an arm because you have a cut on your finger. And worst of all they still havent acknowledged any mistakes they made and now they want to just sweep it under the rug. They are continuing the same madness with the overeaction to the so called threat of climate change.

7th November 2023 at 8:33 am

I was, and still am supportive, of all the government measures. Governments everywhere were trying to figure out this once in a lifetime emergency. These types of articles and those who fought the restrictions make it sound as if there was some other devious agenda that the government had to control us. In fact, as we can see, those restrictions were lifted as soon as possible. I am glad the government did this. I was angered at those who defied them. it was a scary time and I didn’t want unwaxed, unmasked people anywhere near me. I live alone and it was tough but not the end of the world. This is what we want governments to do; take important measures to protect us. Will they make. mistakes. Of course. But I didn’t suffer, I was safe in my home, I lined up for groceries, I was restricted where I could do. If that is the worst, I felt I was lucky. I didn’t get sick, I didn’t end up in hospital, I didn’t live in a shelter or 3rd world country. I would do it all again.

7th November 2023 at 9:19 am
A. Chezzi

What does constitute an national emergency for Conservatives and what then gives the government the right to impose restrictions which may override personal freedoms?
It doesn’t seems as if public health creates an emergency but it does seem as if the carbon tax does. The carbon tax is far from an national emergency which the Con claim it is. All governments, at different times, impose rules which have differing affects on different parts of the country as far back as the building of the railroad. It is surprising how the Con argue that one size doesn’t fit all and yet when there are differences in policy, they argue it is divisive. It is amusing how Con premiers call for co operation from the Feds but in their mind, co operation means getting what they want. Smith wants the Feds to co-operate with Alberta’s plan to withdraw from CPP. In her mind, co-operation means the Feds helping the UCP to do as as they want. There is no real dialogue.
So, it was with covid. The Con, the party of individual rights, saw this as an opportunity to politicize an issue, as they are with the carbon tax. The Con are not nation building. They believe in small government which means deconstruction, tearing down institutions like the Supreme Court and the Bank of Canada so there are few protections for the average citizen.
I really cannot see what would constitute an national emergency for Conservatives and hence I cannot see how they would protect Canada.

7th November 2023 at 8:33 am
Thor Ragnorson

There is a national emergency. A pandemic of ignorance. An army of useful idiots “employed” in a variety of public institutions. Trained in our hallowed Universities to believe in a program of wealth redistribution from those who can to those who can’t or won’t. In the guise of an atheistic theology of performative virtue preying on human beings inert need to be loved and lovely, while also recognizing why there are 7 deadly sins. When sin is rebranded and marketed as virtue at scale, it’s time for people to wake up.

7th November 2023 at 10:10 am
Rob Tyrrell

Our society certainly has challenges.
– Public institutions can be disconnected from, and possibly indifferent to, the realities and needs of the wider public.
– Universities seems to be producing some monocultures of thought that do not permit questions, let alone dissent.
– Tax burden balance and the appropriate level of the social safety net is not optimal and requires changes.
– Not quite sure what the other stuff means.

One Unmentioned Big Problem
– Radicalized citizens with unfounded certainty that government and intuition elites are plotting against us, while society is collapsing around us, thus requiring unhinged rhetoric and, for some, drastic (likely undemocratic) intervention.
Great premise for a post apocalyptical video game but not the posture a responsible citizen in a prosperous democracy should take.

7th November 2023 at 11:29 am

Hindsight is usually 20/20. Had none or few conditions been put in place many more Canadians would have died. Case examples here include N of one, not a great example of a scientific discussion. The provinces and cities did the best they could to contain Covid. Stores and restaurants, dentists and other community health providers also made changes to help by keeping patients apart. Expense to them was not refunded. People coming home from the US stopped at grocery stores to stock up for home. How would you suggest it might have been handled without excess deaths?

7th November 2023 at 8:12 am
The Hub Staff

This is a great question Dauna. The Hub has previously written about this topic on Sweden’s handling of pandemic lockdowns, and how Sweden leaned more on guidelines and recommendations over laws. You can read the article here:

7th November 2023 at 1:51 pm

Amorphous means not clearly defined. How could a brand new virus be defined right away. The best option was to safeguard the public.
If a million Canadians would have died because of Covid, the finger pointing Conservatives would have blamed them for not safeguarding the public.
Stop whining. The whole world took the safe action.

7th November 2023 at 7:40 am
Michael F

Not the whole world but countries with the means to help their citizens tried to react to a fast moving, complex problem. Some certainly did a better job than others. Personally I would say Canada did a decent enough job striking a balance between liberties and not letting a public health emergency implode our healthcare system. Some countries were absent, some draconian in their response. I think Canada emerged from the pandemic in pretty decent shape overall.

7th November 2023 at 12:01 pm
Richard Courtemanche

Governments and justices have sunk deep into corruption.

7th November 2023 at 10:41 am
Paul Haliburton

Good Canadians followed the directives of highly paid health care leaders only to find out later there was no science and our leaders were making it up as they went along. It turns out healthcare leaders didn’t have a clue as to what they were talking about.

As for myself, I fled to Florida which was portrayed by Canadian mainstream media as the COVID wild west. While in Florida, we received our shots months before most Canadians and enjoyed the freedom to determine our own course of action, unencumbered by those who believed they knew better.

7th November 2023 at 9:55 am

No science, maybe not in the media you follow.

7th November 2023 at 12:15 pm

The government could have declared a general quarantine and locked everyone in their homes like the Spanish flu era. During that time, it was not only the elderly that died. it seems now the entitled are more important to the country than the elderly.

7th November 2023 at 12:09 pm
Bill Hertha

The article lays out several compelling points. I’d like to see the arguments for the other side equally well presented.

7th November 2023 at 9:36 am
Rob Tyrrell

The magic words “in retrospect” do a lot work in these discussions. Every judgement must be placed on the COVID-19 timeline to determine reasonableness.

Who would expect governments, weak on execution at the best of times, would be effective individually in a novel and fast-moving crisis, let alone in concert with one another? Layer on political considerations and interference, and I am surprised that it was not worse. It was both ridiculous and cruel at points and governments, while being understandably prudent, did not seem to be able adjust to new information on-the-fly. We got lucky that COVID-19 was not as deadly as first suspected. We are so very fortunate that we have an independent court system that allows citizens to test the law in fairness and without fear.

The faith of many citizens has been shaken, justifiably and not. Obviously, we need to learn and adjust, or we will simply have to rely on luck and repeat the generally good faith but mixed bag response for the inevitable next one. As a citizen I am not aware that this is, or has, happened.

7th November 2023 at 8:46 am
Rod Hancock

I never trusted politicians before this cluster flop and now I have no use for any of them.

7th November 2023 at 2:06 pm
Dan Mcco

People seem to think the Government was acting in the best interests of the people based on a novel and evolving threat. In reality, there were plans that were ignored and PPE stockpiles that were useless. It was a massive failure on the part of the government that may or may not have saved any lives but certainly caused long term mental health issues, early childhood education problems, socialization issues, political fractiousness, economic pain, corruption and fraud.

This Government refuses to have a Public Inquiry such as is being done in the UK to examine what worked and what didn’t and how to prepare for the next episode.

“Governments took every emergency pandemic plan they’d ever written and threw them out the window when COVID arrived,” says Redman. “No one followed the process — even though they had plenty of time and forewarning as we had the benefit of seeing what was happening in China, Italy, Spain and France before the virus hit us in March (2020). Instead, they panicked, started flying by the seat of their pants and put the doctors in charge.”


Redman was so alarmed with Canada’s pandemic response, in April he wrote a three-page letter to Premier Jason Kenney saying, “I am genuinely concerned by the GoA response to this pandemic. It appears that we have scrapped the Pandemic Influenza support plan, started from scratch and decided to ignore all principles of Emergency Management.”

Alberta’s 2014 Pandemic Influenza Plan has four goals:

• Controlling the spread of influenza disease and reducing illness and death by providing access to appropriate prevention measures, care, and treatment.

• Mitigating societal disruption in Alberta through ensuring the continuity and recovery of critical services.

• Minimizing adverse economic impact.

• Supporting an efficient and effective use of resources during response and recovery.

“We’ve failed in all of those objectives clear across the country because they didn’t stick to a plan. They panicked. They were constantly surprised at the beginning with every new outbreak and every death in a long-term care home, but it was completely foreseeable.

“Pandemics happen continuously,” he points out. A pandemic — even an unknown and tricky one like COVID-19 — is not a public health emergency, Redman insists, it’s a public emergency, since all areas of society are affected: the public sector, private sector, not-for-profit sector and every citizen.

Redman says putting doctors in charge of a public emergency is the wrong approach.

“We can’t keep doing this — locking down our whole society,” says Redman. “We don’t have 400 billion more dollars to tell healthy people to lock themselves in their houses and not go to work.”

Redman points out that Alberta’s 2014 Pandemic Influenza Plan should have been dusted off last January after the Chinese government finally acknowledged to the world that a new, contagious coronavirus that originated in Wuhan, had started spreading in early Dec. 2019. Then it should have been rewritten to deal with the specific challenges of COVID-19.

7th November 2023 at 1:22 pm

This has nothing to do with whatever political leanings we have. At the time, none of us knew what was best. We were all afraid of this new, easily spread virus for which there was no vaccination. So, it can be easily understood that the governments of the day took a number of decisions and imposed a number of rules that we now know were ineffective or inappropriate. Hind sight is always 20-20, as the saying goes. But there came a point where our governments went too far and kept rules in place that should have been abandoned. They also thought nothing of our rights under the Charter. Our schools should have been opened earlier, people should not have lost their jobs, and governments should not have pitted citizen against citizen. I can only hope that we have learned and are not doomed to repeat our errors because we cannot recognize and accept our mistakes.

7th November 2023 at 12:03 pm

Should haves….. but it was okay that hundreds of the elderly were dying.

7th November 2023 at 12:17 pm
Kenneth Chaddock

Where is the boundary between the rights of individuals ? Who “wins” when the exercise of one person’s individual “rights” impringes upon the “rights” of another individual ? There is a very old saying “your rights stop where my rights begin” and while I don’t 100% agree with this, there has to be a boundary otherwise we would very quickly decend into violence when a person who feels that their rights are being violated by another person pushes back agaainst someone who claims to simply be exercising THEIR rights. Further, is there a difference between a government that legislated or promulgated “consequences” for certain actions/inactions and a government that forbids those actions/inaction ? Until those thorny questions are resolved, asserting that Canadian governments (federal AND provincial) violated Canadian’s civil rights is, in my view, premature.

7th November 2023 at 3:43 pm
Michael F

Here for the comments and some don’t disappoint. Covid denialism is still alive and well in Canada.

7th November 2023 at 12:07 pm