TORONTO - It has never been acceptable to accept anything at face value - caveat emptor – especially in time of crisis. The flip side of that coin is equally de riguer, cui bono?
For these reasons, and any elaboration of them, in our western democracies we value and promote transparency, openness and public debate. We need on-going evidence that private gain does not distort, subvert or trump social goals.
Not that private interest is to be condemned, but collectively, with respect to “public assets”, we expect that decisions be motivated by semi-utopian rationale guided by a keen concern for public’s safety and interest. But we need to see the process along the way. No exceptions.
Covid-19 is testing all the infrastructures previously accepted without critique. In the first seven months of 2020, the world seems to have collapsed into the grip of new “assumptions” previously met with the skepticism they so richly deserved.
For instance, the political branch’s “reliance on the experts” for their decisions has been particularly worrisome. There is a centuries-old rationale for an open Parliament of publicly elected - informed – individuals that no emergency should sweep aside. Yet, here in Canada, at all levels of government, open debate has been displaced by politicos “at a podium” announcing new initiatives or updates. And for good measure (or “validation”) accompanied by “medical experts” to “back up” those measures.
Who are those experts? Before the Covid-19 contagion they were illustrious for their anonymity. Even the celebrated Dr. Anthony Fauci made, or makes, no pretensions for public policy. If anything, he became well known for admitting, in early March, the widespread ignorance among the scientific community of way Covid-19 spreads and develops: “we don’t have the data”, he said.
He has some now, but, still refuses to encroach on public policy. Expertise is “evolving”, to be polite. Dr Teresa Tam may be a case in point. Her views regarding face masks and their “efficacy” for containing spread suggest she has been bending to pressure or adjusting to perceived counter pressure.
Public authorities, like the Ministries of Education are being publicly challenged for “return-to-school conditions” based on such advice. In Berlin, Germany, over 20,000 people “took to the streets” last week to protest the mandating of masks. The general public, everywhere, is a wealth of examples of “scufflaw” behaviour.
The “scientific research community” (yes that includes the Pharmaceutical Industry) is flooding the Press and Media with announcements of pending “cure-all” vaccines.
There is an odor of profit in the air; not a problem, but, where are the legislative branches of our governments in this time of need?
From a personal perspective, none of us want to take unnecessary risks. I refuse to “play with the numbers”, even the ones that we daily dutifully table, in chart format, for our online readers.
Nonetheless, Governments are leaving themselves open to Court challenges when their own experts question the efficacy and safety of masking and vaccines perhaps available on the horizon.
That is exactly what a group of Canadians did on July 6 when they engaged the services of a Constitutionalist expert, Rocco Galati, to present Statement of Claim against, among others, the Prime Minister of Canada and the Premier of Ontario.
It makes for interesting reading. Regrettably, our democratic governance has come to this: examine “expertise” and decisions that flow from it in the Courts rather than at the source – in Parliaments.
Just as interesting, European parliamentarians did not shut down the legislative process in the face of Covid-19.
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