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Premier Kenney urged to ignore “fearmongering” doctors who call for further Charter violations

CALGARY: The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms has called on Alberta Premier Jason Kenney to disregard a November 9 letter from doctors who are urging further violations of Charter freedoms to move, travel, associate, assemble and worship.

The November 9, 2020 letter, signed by Dr. Noel Gibney, Dr. Darren Markland and other doctors, speaks of a growth in “cases” but fails to mention the relevant fact that COVID-19 deaths peaked in April and May, after which they declined sharply and have remained low.

“Alberta Health Services data is very clear about the fact that there is no ‘second wave’ of COVID-19 deaths; ignoring this data constitutes fearmongering,” stated lawyer and Justice Centre president John Carpay.

The doctors state in their letter that hospitalizations and ICU admissions are at an “all time high,” yet fail to mention that on November 9 only 207 COVID-19 patients were in hospital, and only 43 in ICU, in the context of nearly 8,500 hospital beds in Alberta. Ignoring context and promoting panic, the doctors fail to mention that fewer than 3% of the scary “cases” are people who are sick enough to require hospitalization, while more than 97% of cases are people who are asymptomatic or only mildly ill. The doctors cry “crisis” when AHS tells us that COVID-19 patients are currently using less than 3% of Alberta’s available hospital beds. As announced by the UCP government in April, ICU capacity can be further expanded to 1,374 beds; currently COVID-19 patients are using only 3% of this total ICU capacity.

“AHS data tells us there is no crisis, which means these doctors are fearmongering,” stated Carpay.

The doctors warn that the health care system will be “overrun,” a claim similar to, if not identical to, claims made in March and April, which never materialized.

“To the contrary, Alberta’s hospitals were largely empty from late March through to early May, because so many patients needing medical care were frightened away from hospitals,” continued Carpay.

“The predictions of Dr. Neil Ferguson, who claimed in March that millions of people would die of COVID-19, have been thoroughly discredited. These false predictions should no longer form the basis of public policy. The claims made in March and April, that COVID-19 threatens children, youth and healthy adults, have also been disproven by AHS data,” stated Carpay.

In their November 9 letter, the doctors warn of supposedly “catastrophic” consequences unless Premier Kenney imposes a two-week “sharp” lockdown as a “circuit-breaker.” 

“What is truly catastrophic is the harms which lockdown measures have inflicted on Albertans, by way of deaths from cancelled surgeries, delayed cancer diagnoses, drug overdoses, suicides, and the economic devastation caused by thousands of businesses forced to close their doors and lay off employees. Lockdowns have imposed serious harms on patients denied access to their physiotherapists, massage therapists, optometrists, chiropractors, osteopaths, podiatrists and dentists,” stated Carpay.

Referencing increases in alcoholism, other addictions, family violence and catastrophic mental health problems caused by forcing countless individuals into isolation, the Justice Centre urges Premier Kenney to continue to have compassion for the Albertans forced into unemployment, poverty, bankruptcy and despair by lockdown measures.

“Would these doctors be willing to give up their own public sector incomes, and instead depend on $2,000 per month in government benefits?” asked Carpay.

“Public health ought to consist of more than fighting one virus. All illnesses and conditions deserve appropriate attention and treatment, and who is to say that physical health is more important than mental health? This single-minded, obsessive focus on COVID ignores the sickness and death caused by other illnesses, which are preventable with proper medical care,” stated Carpay.

“The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms places the onus on government to show that lockdown measures have, in fact, saved more lives than the number of lives which lockdown measures have destroyed. The Charter does not place any burden on citizens to prove that lockdowns do more harm than good,” stated Carpay.

“Rather than locking down society and the economy with measures that clearly violate our most fundamental Charter freedoms, your government should instead protect the vulnerable, and remove the remaining Charter-violating policies that continue to harm Alberta’s society and economy,” concludes the letter to Premier Kenney.

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