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MUST-READ: Open letter from a doctor to Jason Kenney

Dr. Dennis Modry writes an open letter to Alberta Premier Jason Kenney calling for an end to lockdowns and mandatory mask laws.

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Dennis L. Modry BSc, MD, MSc, FRCS, FACCP, FACS is the Clinical Associate Professor, Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of Alberta. He is also the Founder and Director of the Heart, Lung and Heart-Lung Transplant Program and was the Director of the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (1984 – 2015).

Dear Premier Kenney:

Many Albertans – myself included – commended you on your previous commitment to a balanced approach to protecting Albertans from COVID-19, while at the same time not completely abrogating our freedoms and rights such as free speech, peaceful assembly, association, and our ability to earn a living and care for our families.  

(Tuesday) you imposed new lockdown measures which severely limit and, in some cases, shut down entirely many social, family, friendship, spiritual, recreational and entertainment pursuits that Albertans rely on for their well-being, just as you did in the spring. While you have commendably spared small businesses from suffering the complete shut-down they experienced this past spring (and your apology for this mistake is laudable and honourable), it seems that you have not learned much from the lockdown harms which Albertans experienced earlier this year. 

The evidence that you provided for this lockdown is both suspect and incomplete and does a disservice to Albertans who deserve more from you.  A major tenet of the Hippocratic Oath that physicians like myself ascribe to is “First Do No Harm”, which is ignored by this imposed lockdown.  

Is it too late to correct this lockdown error?  No, not if you are willing to be better informed. We have learned a great deal since the onset of this pandemic, much of which is the result of how different regions and countries have attempted to control the spread of COVID-19 and treat those infected. Now we know who is at greatest risk and have proven effective therapies for those who are seriously ill, as reported by the National Institute of Health on Dec 3, 2020; and we are on the cusp of mass immunization consequent to multiple vaccines soon to be available worldwide.  The public should be reassured, rather than locked down.

Within the last few weeks, new evidence informs a more nuanced approach to  better protect Albertans without unintended and unacceptable consequences, such as defined in the excellent recommendations of the Great Barrington Declaration, further addressed below. 

I acknowledge with reverence those Albertans who have passed on from COVID-19, just as I acknowledge many others like Jerry Dunham who have died because lockdowns prevented their access to healthcare for very serious non-COVID-19 illnesses and conditions. I acknowledge the many with despair who have died from suicide and drug overdose.  We now know that lockdowns are more lethal than COVID-19, and must learn from what has transpired to ensure we do not continue to make the same mistakes.  Were you not informed of these facts, or did you simply ignore them? 

Please consider the following evidence and unintended consequences that should give you the courage to retract the restrictions:

  1. We are nowhere close to overwhelming our healthcare system. As of December 9, 2020 there were 654 COVID-19 patients in 8,500 beds, or 7.7 per cent of capacity. There were only 112 patients in 272 ICU beds, or 41.2 per cent of operational capacity, however, you have stated publicly that the ICU capacity can be increased to 1,081 beds. This implies that, at present, only 10.4 per cent of potential ICU beds are filled.
  2. Have you evaluated what percentage of patients hospitalized with COVID-19 are actually in hospital because of COVID-19, as opposed to with COVID-19, wherein it is the underlying disease that is the actual reason for the admission?  The public deserves to know.
  3. Have you evaluated the percentage of patients who died with, but not from COVID-19?  This information is extremely important to share with the public who deserve a fair and balanced presentation of the facts to both prevent fear and panic, as well as garner buy-in of government policy.  
  4. Are you aware that the PCR test for COVID-19 has a false positive rate of up to 50 per cent according to the CDC (USA Center for Disease Control), and up to 90 per cent by other sources?      
  5. Are you aware of how many people have died or become seriously compromised because they could not access healthcare for non-COVID-19 disease, including treatments for heart disease, cancer, and other life-threatening problems? Lockdowns are more lethal than Covid-19, which cannot be over-emphasized. Do you not think that the public should know this?
  6. Are you aware of how many people have committed suicide due to government-imposed lockdowns and the shuttering of businesses, schools, colleges, and universities?  Have you tried to find out?
  7. Do you believe that it is ethically and morally appropriate for government to pick winners and losers by defining what is an essential versus a non-essential business, or activity such as, but not limited to, social, recreational, fitness-related, or spiritual pursuits? 
  8. Are you fully aware of the magnitude of the economic devastation Alberta has sustained, and that we are spiralling down rapidly to a have-not province, according to the Fraser Institute
  9. Are you aware of how many divorces have occurred consequent to lockdowns and loss of income?  What about the increase in domestic abuse, family violence and increase of substance abuse?
  10. Are you aware of the short- and long-term effects on the mental health of our most vulnerable, including our children? 
  11. Have you been apprised of how much crime has increased due to people becoming desperate just to stay alive? 
  12. Finally, in the interests of transparency, please provide the information highlighted above to all Albertans on a daily or weekly basis on the AHS website, various social and other media sources available, so that we the people of Alberta can work with you, rather than question the validity of imposed interventions that are no longer required.

Your consideration to rescind the lockdown should also be based on fact. I implore you to read the Great Barrington Declaration authored by professors in medicine from Oxford, Harvard, and Stanford, who are experts in epidemiology, immunology, biostatistics, vaccine development, mathematical modelling, and public health policy.  The Declaration has been co-signed by 38,154 medical practitioners, as well as 12,717 medical and public health scientists world-wide. Please also review the section in the Declaration on Frequently Asked Questions.  You will be better informed and better able to give proper consideration to a more humane, compassionate and effective approach, rather than inflicting a multitude of harms on 4.4 million people. Please consider the following targeted recommendations: 

  1. All testing should stop immediately, particularly for those who are asymptomatic, except for;
    -People presenting to hospital with respiratory problems
    -Healthcare workers
    -Nursing home employees with ‘point-of-care’ testing
  2. Nursing homes should have a comprehensive campaign for;
    -Staff education in infection control
    Vitamin D daily for all inhabitants 
    -Electronic audiovisual communications for loved ones wishing to stay in touch
  3. There is also gathering evidence on the use of Ivermectin to prevent COVID-19, as evidenced in this Senate Testimony on December 8, 2020. The evidence for effective prophylaxis with Ivermectin is compelling
  4. Everywhere – hospitals included – should open immediately with conventional pre-Covid-19 precautions.
  5. Mandatory mask-wearing should cease (except for health professionals) as there is no credible scientific basis, as evidenced in the November 18, 2020 Danish randomized controlled trial reported in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Further, no country has reported a change in the trajectory of COVID-19 diagnosis consequent to widespread public testing of asymptomatic citizens before and after the institution of a countrywide mask mandate.   
  6. Interventions such as total lockdowns, social distancing, and compulsory mask use are causing more harm than good.  The genie (virus) is out of the bottle and the spread cannot realistically be controlled at all by the current interventions. 
  7. Contact tracing and snitching should cease immediately.
  8. AHS must come clean with Albertans and provide robust information on the unintended consequences of lockdown measures which were initially well-intentioned but have now proven to be harmful to Albertans’ mental, physical, emotional, psychological, spiritual, and economic well-being; as well as lethal from suicide, drug overdose and inability to access healthcare for serious non-COVID illness and conditions.
  9. Finally, as healthcare is in your purview, please ensure that decisions come from your government/AHS, and not from municipalities who do not have access to the necessary resources and expertise to justify restrictions of any kind.  

In conclusion, we have learned much over the past several months. Perhaps most important is the knowledge that lockdowns are more lethal than COVID-19, which should compel you and your government to end them. Your advice and policies for the benefit of Albertans should be predicated on one important tenet of the Hippocratic Oath, “First Do No Harm”, and a focussed approach will achieve just that, as explained in the Great Barrington Declaration. 

As for each of us Albertans, we must simply adapt and learn to accommodate to COVID-19, as we all did every previous year with seasonal influenza. We must all take personal responsibility for our health and take actions that are in each of our best interest, including vaccination if one is so inclined, which may well be of benefit if one is COVID-19 negative. Healthcare, like all freedoms, must and should always remain an informed choice, not a government directive. 

Dennis L. Modry, BSc, MD, MSc, FRCS, FACCP, FACS
Clinical Associate Professor, Cardiothoracic Surgery, University of Alberta
Founder and Director of the Heart, Lung and Heart-Lung Transplant Program
Director of the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (1984 – 2015)

Opinion

FROM: Why the secular mind cannot understand Pastor Coates’ civil disobedience

“Until the secular mind acknowledges that other coherent worldviews exist, the divide between it and the religious mind will remain intractable.”

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My scissors don’t work very well. The rivet at the centre has fatigued and loosened over time so that the blades no longer meet. To my chagrin, almost anything I try to cut merely passes between the blades unmarked and unscathed. It appears to be a pair of scissors, but it’s incapable of functioning as one.

Recent criticisms of Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church by our politicians and those in the mainstream media are just like my scissors. They have failed to meet at an intersection. A grand missing-of-the-point. Even politicians and media outlets that I assumed would be receptive to Pastor Coates’s plight have demonstrated a fundamental misunderstanding of his position, and, presumably, of those in his congregation. Until these critics sincerely consider Pastor Coates’s arguments and acknowledge the worldview that compels him to behave as he has, these criticisms will continue to completely and utterly fail.

Premier Jason Kenney – whom I’m told once considered entering the priesthood – provided an unsolicited and backhanded homily to Pastor Coates, on the final day of Danielle Smith’s radio show, by outlining his view on what being a Christian means for the rest of us.

Dr. Deena Hinshaw – whose mandate concerns the maintenance of the public healthcare system, not theological matters – advised Pastor Coates to be “compassionate.” (This term seems to be eclipsing “we’re all in this together” as Dr. Hinshaw’s favoured bromide.)

Then there’s Mayor Naheed Nenshi who believes it is within his expertise to lecture Pastor Coates – a graduate of The Master’s Seminary – on the “tenets” of Christianity.

Even Sun Media’s Lorne Gunter joined the chorus of those admonishing Pastor Coates on his ethical responsibilities.

None of these critics has sincerely engaged Pastor Coates’s position, but it’s not their fault. There’s a crucial divide between them because their worldviews are so fundamentally different. This is an example of a secular mind being unwilling to acknowledge or understand the religious mind. And just like my failed scissors, Pastor Coates’s critics have not addressed his position, and so it remains unmarked and unscathed.

On the Sunday before his incarceration, Pastor Coates thoughtfully and eloquently surveyed his view on ecclesiology; a term for the theology of the Church. The biblical Church (notice the capitalization?) is commanded to be obedient to Christ and to submit to the state. If the state oversteps its God-given jurisdiction and requires believers to be disobedient to Christ, civil disobedience becomes their moral imperative.

Historically, the Bible has been held to command Christians to meet together for the important religious ritual of corporate worship. Can you see the dilemma yet? Obedience to Christ conflicts with what the Alberta government demands. And just as our constitution is superior to ordinary statutes, Pastor Coates views his moral duty to obey Christ as superior to obedience to the state.

Now, if you scoff and say, “obedience to Christ” is a meaningless and hopelessly vague moral directive either because one, it’s impossibly idiosyncratic or two, Christ is fiction, then all you’ve done is demonstrate my thesis. Until you sincerely consider Pastor Coates’s arguments and acknowledge the worldview that compels him, you lack even the capacity to understand his actions.

Pastor Coates’s actions stem from a view of the world where Christ is a real person that places real demands on the lives of those claiming to be his followers. If you reject this – and many people reasonably do – you cannot criticize Pastor Coates as an intellectual charlatan or, worse yet, someone lacking in compassion. All you’ve done is reject his faith in Christ. And, quite frankly, that’s boring.

Notice that Pastor Coates’s religious convictions do not mean that the state has no jurisdiction within the Church. The state has outlawed murder, rape and assault. So has Christ. There is no conflict. If the state wants to punish a congregant from GraceLife Church for unlawful violent actions, I do not doubt that Pastor Coates would recognize the authority of the state. It’s only when there is a conflict between Christ and the state that the state must be opposed through civil disobedience.

Until the secular mind acknowledges that other coherent worldviews exist, the divide between it and the religious mind will remain intractable.

Derek James-From is a columnist for the Western Standard and a constitutional lawyer

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Energy

OUELLETTE: To save Canada’s energy industry, we need to end dependence on the US market

“The construction of new Canadian pipelines would maximize the volume of fuels transported by the safest, greenest means, and allow us to seize a golden opportunity to diversify the markets for our oil.”

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Guest column from Miguel Ouellette, Economist and Director of Operations at the Montreal Economic Institute www.iedm.org

Oil: Let’s put an end to our dependence on the United States

By Miguel Ouellette, Economist and Director of Operations at the Montreal Economic Institute www.iedm.org

Imagine for a moment that you are the head of a popcorn company. You know that the demand for popcorn is strong, and that contrary to what anti-fast food lobby groups say, demand will continue to increase in the coming years. But you have a problem: 98 per cent of your popcorn is purchased by one single cinema, because you didn’t diversify your client base. This cinema, however, has just named a new CEO who, to please some nutritionist friends, wants to keep your popcorn out. What do you do? Would it maybe be a good idea to try to sell your popcorn in other cinemas in order to save your company, and all its associated jobs?

Canadian oil is in a similar situation. His very first day in office, new US President Joe Biden revoked Keystone XL’s permit, and this project will likely not be his last victim. As in our hypothetical example, 98 per cent of Canada’s oil exports go to our southern neighbour. What should Canada and its industry do, then, to sell its product? The answer: Build new pipelines in order to reduce the risk associated with this one-client strategy and maximize oil export revenues.

According to the latest estimates, global oil demand will grow by 9 per cent by 2045, and by more than 40 per cent in a number of Asian countries. New pipelines would allow Canada to transport its oil to a larger number of refineries and terminals that could then export it to these new markets.

We therefore need more pipeline infrastructure to diversify our exports, and the Canadian government should do everything in its power to allow these projects to be completed. Putting all of our eggs in the same basket is a risky strategy. The Keystone XL cancellation alone represents over $50 million a day in potential exports for Canada that have fallen through.

Over the past five years, the federal government collected an average of $14 billion a year from the oil and gas industry. This tax revenue totals more than half of the sum of all provincial deficits during the pandemic. And the energy sector directly or indirectly employs over 830,000 workers, and accounts for around 10 per cent of our GDP. It’s therefore not just “Big Oil” that would benefit from such a strategy, but all Canadians.

Finally, it bears repeating: Pipelines are the safest and “greenest” method of transporting oil. New pipeline projects compromise neither our safety nor the protection of our natural environment. On average, over 99.99 per cent of the oil transported by federally regulated pipeline arrives without incident every year. Not to mention that transporting fuel by pipeline emits from 61 per cent to 77 per cent fewer GHGs than transport by rail.

In short, the construction of new Canadian pipelines would maximize the volume of fuels transported by the safest, greenest means, and allow us to seize a golden opportunity to diversify the markets for our oil.

So I ask you again: If you were the boss, what would you do?

Guest column from Miguel Ouellette, Economist and Director of Operations at the Montreal Economic Institute www.iedm.org

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Opinion

MORGAN: Sexual assaults & extortion just the latest reasons to shut down Trudeau’s prison-hotels

“We never should have begun locking up innocent citizens in quarantine facilities in the first place. In light of these alleged assaults, all forced-quarantine facilities should be closed immediately and people allowed to go home.”

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As if the incidents of law-abiding Canadian citizens being swooped away in unmarked vans from airports to be imprisoned incommunicado from concerned family members wasn’t enough, we are now learning of serious reports of extortion and sexual assaults on people forced into quarantine.

The time is long since past to shut down Trudeau’s prison-hotels.

In an all too familiar story; a woman had arrived from the United States only to be told that she had taken the “wrong” COVID-19 test and was forced to quarantine in a government-run hotel in Montreal. She was told that she was not allowed to disclose her location, even to close family. A neighboring “guest” in the hotel allegedly forced his way into her room and sexually assaulted her. Robert Shakory faces one count of sexual assault, one count of breaking and entering, and one count of criminal harassment in the incident.

In Oakville Ontario, a quarantine screening officer allegedly demanded cash from a woman before sexually assaulting her at her private home. Privately contracted government screening officers essentially are enforcing house arrest upon people under quarantine. Police have arrested a man they identified only as Hemant, 27, of Hamilton. He has been charged with sexual assault and extortion. Apparently, he only goes by a single name.

Canada should not be imprisoning law-abiding citizens in the first place. The least we could hope for and expect though is that the citizens being imprisoned for mandatory COVID-19 quarantines would be kept safe. It is horrifying to imagine a vulnerable loved one being assaulted while under quarantine, yet it appears that these cases are becoming increasingly common.

Whether in homes or in hotels, when a person is locked there by law and force, it is imprisonment. The prison power dynamics quickly take over. Prisoners are dejected and vulnerable while other prisoners and authority figures take advantage of them. It’s unthinkable that Canadian citizens are enduring this sort of experience for the crime of having traveled, as the constitution is supposed to guarantee is their right.

In Toronto at Pearson International airport, there are reports that returning travelers are refusing quarantine orders and walking out of the airport. Peel region police are now refusing to enforce the quarantine orders. As Martha Stuart says, “and that’s a good thing.” People refusing to comply with government-ordered quarantine orders whether at home or in a prison-hotel have a very real defence in saying that they fear for their safety.

We never should have begun locking up innocent citizens in quarantine facilities in the first place. In light of these alleged assaults, all forced-quarantine facilities should be closed immediately and people allowed to go home. If the state can’t keep citizens safe, it must release them. This is only going to get worse. Innocent people are being stripped of their liberties, harm is being down, and expensive lawsuits are pending.

When we look back on our pandemic responses, we are going to see a great many errors that were made. Locking up our citizens is by far our most egregious one. History will not look kindly at the leaders that forced it to happen.

Cory Morgan is the Podcast Editor and a column for the Western Standard

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