EDITORIAL: Pandemic open debate is important

Author of the article:Postmedia News

Publishing date:Jan 15, 2021  

Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced an Ontario-wide lockdown in an effort to curtail a massive spike in COVID-19 cases expected over the holiday season. The Canadian Press PHOTO BY FILE PHOTO /THE CANADIAN PRESS

A large part of the world is currently engaged in an unprecedented experiment to stamp out COVID-19. Across Canada, people are living under a variety of lockdown restrictions. For the most part, the rules keep getting tighter.

Is it working? Is it a good idea? Is there a better way?

People are going to have different answers to these questions for a whole variety of reasons.

And guess what? That’s OK. It’s healthy. This is a democracy and Canadians are informed people who have a right to hold an opinion and voice it.

There is unfortunately a narrative that has emerged in Canada though that blindly assumes that only good will come from lockdowns. Any individual — no matter how highly-credentialed — can be attacked for questioning and even presenting evidence that there are consequences to locking down human society for an extended period of time.

For example, on Friday Ontario Premier Doug Ford removed one of his own MPPs, Roman Baber, from the Progressive Conservative caucus for daring to challenge the government’s fixation with strict lockdowns.

While it’s not surprising to learn that a politician got booted from his own team for openly challenging his government’s direction, what is alarming is the way Ford did it.

Ford denounced Baber for “spreading misinformation.” That’s just not true.

Instead, Baber produced a two-page letter that was full of facts and statistics about how COVID-19 is playing out in Canada and some of the negative consequences of the lockdowns that have been highlighted by experts.

It is not misinformation to quote government data. It is not misinformation to highlight how the Canadian Mental Health Association reports that the number of people who now have thoughts of suicide has skyrocketed to 1 in 10 Canadians.

It is not misinformation to suggest, as many experts have already done, that there is a better way to doing all of this.

We need more of an open debate. Pro-lockdown. Anti-lockdown. Calls for a more balanced approach. It should all be encouraged.

These are major decisions being made about our lives that shouldn’t be made lightly. They should include as many voices at the table as possible.

It’s more important now than ever.

EDITORIAL: Pandemic open debate is important | Toronto Sun


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