I’m a Nova Scotian native–born and bred in a small community on Cape Breton Island. To say I was following the recent tragedy in Nova Scotia closely is putting it mildly. I have friends and relatives near the final show-down, and I’ve eaten at the Big Stop on more occasions than I can count. I have warm memories of breakfasts there on the way home from visiting my grandmother. The quiet, warm memories you’d expect of Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia, like the rest of the country (including New Brunswick where I now live) were already facing uncertainty and unprecedented conditions due to COVID-19.
Systematically, human rights are being infringed upon country and world-wide. The UN’s own doctrine of human rights is being put aside in the name of public health. Please don’t get me wrong – I am not saying that this is a bad thing. I am not advocating for opening the public and harming people, particularly the vulnerable, but my worry is something far more sinister – this idea that public health gives the government a blank piece of parchment for writing whatever bills they want. Experts world-wide are saying that COVID-19 is serious and could get worse. I do not disagree with pushing rights aside for public health – but the fact remains that the rights to movement, worship, and numerous others are on stand-still.
The problems with COVID-19 are numerous, though. We are not sure how much more Canada could have done. Theresa Tam, our lead doctor is a member of the WHO instead of putting Canada first. If the WHO did not lie – they at the very least listened to China. I am not here to debate whether or not the WHO was right or wrong – that’s up to the future, heavy research, and analysis to decide. What I find concerning – horrifying, really, is that anybody who questions Theresa Tam, her loyalties, or the WHO, they are vilified for being racist. Any attempt to question Dr. Tam is immediately considered bad faith. When Derek Sloan – CPC leadership candidate questioned Dr. Tam’s loyalty, Prime Minister Trudeau went on television to say, “MP Sloan’s comments were cruel, racist and completely unbecoming of a Member of Parliament”. Trudeau is wrong. The point of parliament is not sycophants who agree only with the sitting Prime Minister. Regardless of Sloan’s beliefs, he is within his rights, and owes it to those with similar views who voted for him. There is a question of ethics when Dr. Tam works as a member of the WHO and as the lead doctor for Canada. Unfortunately, all those asking questions are called racist and silenced. This is a diversion tactic, and it’s working very well. The conversation is changed from “Did the WHO lie, and is Dr. Tam’s involvement in the WHO and as Canada’s lead doctor a conflict of interest” to “Anybody who questions Dr. Tam is merely a racist”.
We go back to Nova Scotia for my point on the RCMP. Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil encouraged Nova Scotians not to criticize the RCMP after the gunman killed 22 of my fellow Nova Scotians. While the premier is within his rights to ask – let’s be real, we all have the right to question authority. We have the right to ask if the RCMP did enough. We certainly should criticize. We should ask tough questions. Unchecked authority is the first step to losing all of our civil liberties. The most democratic, liberal, free thing that we can do is question government and authority – even if it’s too “raw”. The right time to fight for civil liberties is the exact second when somebody questions you for doing so.
This leads to another nail in our coffin of democratic freedoms – the unlawful gun-ban by Prime Minister Trudeau. I call this unlawful because I do not respect government decisions that lie in one man. I did not vote Mr. Trudeau into office to be our supreme leader (and yes, I did vote for Trudeau, both as Party leader and PM in his first race). I voted for Mr. Trudeau to be the Prime Minister, an elected official, but not the be all and end all. I believe in parliament. I believe in democracy and in decisions that are based on weighing the views of all members of parliament. These past few months have been horrifying for democracy in Canada – especially when we consider that any criticism is considered racist, anti-patriotic, or unsympathetic to tragedy.