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MODRY: An open letter to Kenney on his COVID-19 response to me

“Conventional thinking, Premier, is not always correct.”

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Good Day Premier Kenney:

Thank you for your letter of March 11, 2021 responding to my “Open Letter” to you of December 11, 2020. 

I accept your apology for your delay in responding, but not all Albertans accept your rationale for lockdowns given the evidence that refutes the necessity. 

While we are both interested in the health and well-being of all Albertans, as your response implies, the purpose of my Dec 11, 2020 letter to you was to give you an off-ramp from using lockdowns to contain COVID-19 based on new evidence.  I am acutely aware many in your caucus have been and still are advocating to hear an alternate narrative from professionals who disagree with your “Dr. Hinshaw-led COVID experts panel”, who convinced you to accept “conventional”, but misguided thinking on how to manage the “COVID‘flu”. 

At the same time, I applaud you for challenging on March 26, 2021 the latest federal modelling prediction in which you stated that, “Dr. Tam’s office released modelling 3 weeks ago which has been proven to be completely inaccurate. Constantly publishing models which time after time prove to be spectacularly wrong is not a great way to instill public confidence”.  Bravo! 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBIab9Y0h-A.

Kenney attacks ottawa

This is your first foray into challenging conventional thinking publicly on the management of COVID-19, and it must be acknowledged. 

The purpose of my response to your response is to provide further rationale for targeting only the vulnerable and fully opening up Alberta for the rest of us.

Thus far you have never questioned the veracity of “lockdown dogma” and have ignored evidence to the contrary provided by esteemed physicians and scientists from many prestigious medical centers and universities around the world.  

Conventional thinking, Premier, is not always correct. 

Prior to 1982, “conventional thinking” preached that gastric ulcers and gastritis were caused by hyperacidity.  However, in 1982, Brent Marshall and Robin Warren from Australia provided evidence that the majority of peptic ulcer disease was actually caused by a bacterium, Helicobacter pylori.  For many years afterward, the medical community stubbornly would not accept Marshall and Warren’s thesis.  In 2005, Marshall and Warren were both awarded the Nobel Prize for their discovery.  I think you see my point. It is not too late for caucus to hear from another multidisciplinary panel, and for you to change course, regardless of the damage already done by lockdowns.         

Your 2nd paragraph in your response asserts that the evidence I referenced is “worthy of consideration—(but)—-is incomplete”.  Your comment is a classic case of “cognitive dissonance”—–the inability to accept new evidence that is contrary to your accepted belief.  Although all of the considerable evidence that I provided to you was irrefutable, timely and  published within a few days and weeks of my December 11, 2020 Open Letter to you, it was certainly not incomplete, especially in the context of evolving knowledge.  

Now, there is even more evidence to discredit lockdowns as a means to prevent COVID-19.  A recent international study from Stanford published January 5, 2021 in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation proves that lockdowns have no significant benefit. 

And from Oxford University, a world class Professor of Epidemiology explains that lockdowns have done nothing to protect people from Covid-19, and that they have caused a great deal of harm”. 

Closer to home, Dr. Ari Joffee, a specialist in pediatrics, infectious disease, and critical care, has also provided evidence on December 18, 2020, that lockdowns are the wrong response to COVID-19 using an analysis of Quality-Adjusted Life Years lost due to COVID-19 versus lost due to the lockdowns.  

More recently, on Feb 9, 2021, Dr. Joffe and Colonel David Redman provided Alberta evidence on the futility of lockdowns. Contrary to your claim that “we (government) monitor all available evidence when making decisions about public health restrictions”, it would be more accurate to state that “We monitor all available evidence and ignore that which does not fit our predetermined narrative………….”

Your 3rd paragraph asserts that you have “resisted imposing unnecessary restrictions on Albertans…..”, but that is exactly what you did. You claimed there was a “significant threat to the capacity of our healthcare system”, which is debatable. You knew and admitted that you could increase ICU capacity from 272 beds to 1081 beds. By the 2020-year end, there were only 156 patients in ICUs diagnosed with COVID-19, of which the diagnosis of COVID-19 itself is questionable given the high incidence of false positives with PCR testing.     

Out of an abundance of caution in the event of a real surge in cases, you were also persuaded to create a field hospital in the Edmonton Butterdome which, as I have been informed, did not accommodate a single case.  

Finally, you claim that “the situation required more stringent health measures to preserve access to the healthcare services that Albertans rely on”.  Those more stringent measures did no such thing.  What you caused was a massive reduction in hospital-required diagnostic and therapeutic procedures for other illnesses, which has caused many deaths and will cause more deaths and disabilities in the future.

Your 4th , 5th , and 6th  paragraphs come closest to what I and many others have been advocating, which is to target the vulnerable, particularly those greater than 70 and anyone with predisposing conditions, such as obesity, dementia, diabetes, etc.

Where you failed, and continue to fail, is by applying restrictions across the board to all Albertans, which has caused vastly more physical and economic harm than the COVID-19 ‘flu ever could. 

In addition, how is it sensible for an asymptomatic octogenarian who has survived COVID-19 and had received both Pfizer inoculations to be kept isolated from family members? How can you support taking asymptomatic people off flights to Alberta and putting them in “hotel jail”, especially since there is irrefutable evidence that there is trivial to no risk of asymptomatic individuals transmitting COVID-19? 

There is no logic to these usurpations of people’s civil rights.  Yet, you continue to accept the flawed PCR test as the sine qua non to diagnose COVID-19 based on cycle thresholds of 35 or greater, at which cycle rates are frequently falsely positive. 

Recently the CDC on February 13, 2021 stated that it is extremely difficult to detect any live virus at cycle thresholds greater than 33. Why is it that AHS does not report PCR cycle thresholds which would validate whether patients were admitted to hospital or ICU due to Covid-19 as opposed to with Covid-19?

For patients who die purportedly with or due to COVID-19, PCR cycle thresholds should be defined. This would better distinguish those who died from COVID-19 as opposed to those who died from their underlying disease who coincidentally tested positive with a non-pathogenic PCR cycle threshold.  There is an opportunity here that should not be missed.

You also stated that you have been widely criticized for “highlighting the negative effects of restrictions”.  Those criticisms are trivial compared to what is coming when Albertans fully understand the futility of COVID-19 lockdowns and the corresponding harm from them.  And that additional scientific evidence is coming like a freight train.  Believe it or not, I and several others would like to help you get out of the way.   

Your 7th ,8th  and 9th  paragraphs require special attention.  First, you “assert that at the height of the restrictions in the “Spring of 2020, 85 per cent of businesses representing 96 per cent of our economy continued to operate safely”.  However, as of Jan 21, 2021, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), only 60% of small businesses are fully open in Alberta, and 1 in 5 small businesses (34,500) are contemplating permanently closing, which would result in 625,000 job losses in the private sector (41% of all private-sector jobs).

Presently, “only 20 per cent of small businesses in Alberta are making normal sales” according to the CFIB.  The truth is uncomfortable, isn’t it?

Second, you once again claim that the restrictions were necessary to prevent overwhelming the hospital system, yet you provide zero evidence to support your claim.  In fact, the numbers that you cite prove that your claims are “demonstrably false”!  

Your 10th -13th paragraphs are maddeningly illogical regarding overwhelming the healthcare system.  You know that you have 8,500 beds in the province and 272 ICU beds. As of March 31, 2021, there are 301 “supposed COVID-19 patients” in the hospital (3.5 per cent of the 8,500 beds) and 58 in the ICU (21.3 per cent of the 272 beds).  

You also admit that you could ramp up to 1,081 ICU beds, but you then claim that you would only do so in a “worst-case scenario”.  Really! What could be more of a worst-case scenario than cancelling thousands of patient’s access to healthcare, for whom many lives have already been lost, and other patients whose quality of lives have been severely compromised, along with others whose businesses and livelihoods have been shuttered forever? 

You have set yourself, Dr. Hinshaw, the AHS, and your government up for class action lawsuits by all of those families who have lost loved ones, those whose conditions have deteriorated beyond curative medical intervention, those who have permanently lost quality of life, as well as the thousands of patients who could not access diagnostic studies, who will find that their illness is beyond life-saving curative treatment.

What is especially troubling is that you were previously informed that more people have died from lockdowns than from COVID-19, yet you locked down the province again.

Your 12th and 13th  paragraphs highlight the fundamental problem with yours’ and Dr. Hinshaw’s interpretation of “cases”.  Asymptomatic COVID-19 “cases” are no such thing.  In medicine, cases refer to individuals who become ill with something. 

Your costly testing of large numbers of the asymptomatic public has not provided any useful information but has unnecessarily sewn fear and apprehension of a ‘flu-like illness which has a 99.97 per cent overall survival rate for those under 70 years who test positive for COVID-19.  Further, you knew from the first lockdown last spring that the elderly and those with predisposing conditions were at the greatest risk. 

This should have informed you to target the vulnerable and let herd immunity, along with vaccinating first those at risk, rather than implement your 2nd lockdown, for which there was and still is zero evidence justifying your decision.   

On the contrary, lockdowns actually delay natural herd immunity from developing in the 90 per cent of the population not at risk.

“Dr. Hinshaw’s-panel-of-experts” will try and convince you that ‘another reason justifying lockdowns is that the virus has mutated, is more transmissible and possibly more lethal, and the spread must be stopped’.  By now you must know that RNA viruses such as COVID-19 mutate all the time. 

That is why there is a new vaccine every year to treat seasonal ‘flu. Further, there is no confirmed evidence yet that any new strain of COVID-19 is more or less lethal. But let’s assume that it is twice as lethal. This would mean the mortality would increase from 0.03 per cent to 0.06 per cent for those under 70 years of age.  Conversely, this also means that instead of survivability being 99.97 per cent, survivability would negligibly decrease to 99.94 per cent.

Recent data reported in Nature on March 21, 2021  suggests that for males aged 55-69 years, the B117 variant is 55 per cent more lethal, meaning that the mortality risk would increase from 0.6 per cent to 0.9 per cent with survival probability being 99.1 per cent.

At  present, the average age of death in Alberta from all causes (excluding COVID-19) is  82 years, and the average age of death from COVID-19 is 82 years. In other words, COVID-19 has not negatively impacted overall average survival in Alberta, further questioning the rationale of pan-lockdown measures. 

Given that people die for many reasons, we all understand that life carries many risks which we are prepared to accept, or not, such as mountain climbing, skiing, driving, over-eating, etc.  What we don’t need is death from lockdowns, which is totally in your control.

Finally, you state “In the future, our government will continue to focus efforts on protecting the vulnerable and minimizing restrictions on the rest of Albertans.  However, we must keep in mind that when the capacity of our health system is in jeopardy, we are all vulnerable”.   

Instead, why not focus exclusively on the vulnerable, as you have stated. Permit the rest of the Alberta population to function unfettered by lockdowns, for which there is now considerable evidence to be a more effective strategy to minimize deaths, disability, despair, and economic devastation. And if you are really concerned about overwhelming the healthcare system, invest in another 100 or more ICU beds and show Albertans that you meant it when you said that “lockdowns were a mistake last spring”, for which you apologized. Albertans need to be reassured, not locked down.  

In conlusion, I would like to make an overture to you and your caucus.  Given your willingness to challenge Dr. Tam’s modelling, I and other interested professionals would very much like to present the case to end lockdowns.  At the very least, our presentation to you and Caucus privately or in a public forum, followed by a Q & A will give you an entirely different perspective than what you all have incorrectly assumed to be definitively factual.  Your willingness to engage in a productive dialogue will demonstrate to the public that you do listen to opposing evidentiary facts with an open mind.  Premier, you and you alone can end the current destructive course, and in the process affirm yourself as a true leader in this time of crisis.

Respectfully,

Dennis L Modry, BSc, MD, FRCS, FACCP, FACS,

Clinical Associate Professor, Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery,

Founder and Director of the Heart/Lung Transplantation Program & Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit.  RETIRED

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Division of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Josh

    May 12, 2021 at 11:08 pm

    Thank you for sharing that video.

  2. Carol Kelemen

    April 8, 2021 at 10:11 am

    Thank you Dr Modry for standing up against this insanity the government leaders are chosing to use to back up their poor choices on locking down the common working middle class and small business while pumping up the wealth of big corporations like Amazon, Walmart, and Costco. Thank you for giving a voice to all those that are dying due to the lockdowns and inability to access the medical treatments they need because of total focus on Covid.

  3. Rainer Rohr

    April 1, 2021 at 11:16 am

    Thank you to the Western Standard for printing this response in full. How may I contact Dr. Modry to thank him for his courage and willingness to fight this necessary battle ?

  4. Left Coast

    March 31, 2021 at 5:31 pm

    Watch this video . . . it ends the insane Mask debate forever . . .

    Masks: The Science & Myths

    https://www.americasfrontlinedoctors.com/custom_videos/mask-myths/

    Funny how clueless Politicians keep doing the same thing Over & Over . . . Expecting a Different Result? That is the definition of Insanity !

  5. Mark Edgell

    March 31, 2021 at 4:03 pm

    Beautifully written, sensible, accurate (insofar as I can understand) and comprehensive. Thank you sir.

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Opinion

MORGAN: Big labour wants big government in Calgary’s civic election

“Calgary’s Future used to be called “Calgarians for a Progressive Future” and the Canadian Union for Public Employees pumped nearly $1.4 million into the group in 2019 alone.”

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Alberta’s civic election fundraising laws used to be pretty ‘wild west’. There were no contribution limits for candidates. Disclosure requirements on contributors were loose and candidates could spend contributions on whatever they pleased.

Just think about how ridiculous that was. A person, company, or union could give tens of thousands of dollars to a candidate and we were supposed to pretend that it wouldn’t impact how they govern. There was no formal campaign period, so fundraising could happen during the entire term of the councillor. The official didn’t have to actually spend the funds on their campaign. They could and did build surpluses in their campaign accounts. It was a perfect system for (soft) bribery and money laundering, and let’s not pretend that it never happened.

Campaign accounts could be used as retirement funds for city councillors. Upon leaving office, whatever surplus funds were in the campaign account could go to the councillor as a tax-free gift.

Ward 11 councilor Barry Erskine was so flagrant in his abuse of the system, he can at least be credited for helping spur the reform of it. In 2004, Erskine claimed $67,000 in election expenses while he was acclaimed. How do you spend so much on a campaign against nobody? In 2007, Erskine pretended an intent to run right up until a couple of days before the deadline. He then dropped out of the race, pocketed whatever campaign funds were in his account, and rode off into the sunset. While the act was grossly unprincipled, it was entirely legal.

Multiple campaign finance reform bills have been passed since the unregulated days of 2007. Unions and corporations can no longer donate to candidates and the maximum that anybody can donate to a campaign is $5,000 per year.

Campaign finance reforms have not stopped the influence of well-heeled groups, however. Rather than donating directly to candidates as they used to, organizations have formed a myriad of Third-Party Advertiser (TPA) groups and have been funneling a lot of money into them. Most of these groups have modest funding. A TPA called “Calgary’s Future” is an exception and is sitting on a $1.7 million campaign war chest.

While contributions to TPAs are capped at $30,000 now, there was no limit on contributions to them prior to 2021. Calgary’s Future used to be called “Calgarians for a Progressive Future” and the Canadian Union for Public Employees pumped nearly $1.4 million into the group in 2019 alone.

Calgary’s Future may have dropped the term “progressive” from their name, but their leftward slant isn’t hard to see on their website. Every candidate that they have endorsed is running on a progressive platform. The group gives an impression of transparency but no organizers or principles behind the organization are disclosed beyond first names. It is hardly a secret that they are a creation of government unions.

We can try to cork the bottle when it comes to campaign funding, but big money will always find another way to influence candidates. Having nearly $2 million in union dues directed towards promoting a specific set of candidates is surely going to impact the election. There is no TPA with a budget even close to Calgary’s Future. No other TPA has the paycheques of thousands of union members to tap for funding either.

If any of the candidates being backed by Calgary’s Future do get elected, they will have more than a little bias in favour of labour unions when contract negotiations with civil service unions are done. We are in a period of fiscal crisis and need councilors who will stand up to organized labour as opposed to being beholden to it.

We clearly needed to fix our unregulated campaign funding system; but have we now created a monster worse than what we had to begin with? Things are less transparent than ever and the dollars are bigger. Interest groups with multi-million dollar budgets will be supporting campaigns while the average voter doesn’t even realize it. It is more difficult to tie a candidate to who their backers may actually be. The money is still there, but now it is indirect.

It is too late to change the campaign funding system for 2021, but we should work to expose it. Organized labour is funding a large campaign for a small number of candidates. Calgary needs councilors who are working for the interest of the city as a whole rather than the labour unions for city employees. If Calgarians want the city to return to fiscal responsibility, they need to look at the list of candidates being endorsed by Calgary’s Future and choose not to vote for them.

Cory Morgan is the Alberta Political Columnist for the Western Standard and Host of the Cory Morgan Show

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Opinion

Allison: Official bilingualism creates a regional power imbalance

Westerners must join the elite minority of bilinguals by learning a second language or be left behind when it comes to rising the ranks of Canada’s federal institutions.

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Bilinguals make up only 18% of our population, yet they dominate our federal institutions.

The reason for this is no secret. Canada’s official bilingualism, legally enshrined in the Official Languages Act (1969), gives a distinct advantage to one class of Canadians; bilinguals, over all others. The Act requires that federal institutions provide services in both French and English. The result is that 40% of federal public service jobs are “designated bilingual.” This means that some 300,000 jobs which make up our federal bureaucracies are available only to 18% of Canadians and closed to the other 82%

What does this mean for regional representation in our federal institutions? It means overrepresentation from Quebec and underrepresentation from the West. About 45% of Quebecers are bilingual whereas only 7% of those in the prairie provinces are bilingual. Thus, the pool of qualified candidates for federal public service jobs is going to be overwhelmingly filled with Quebecers while having scarcely any Westerners. As spokesman for Canadians for Language Fairness, Gordon Miller, writes: “The Official Languages Act has allowed this group [the “Laurentian elite”] to dominate the federal government bureaucracy and further entrench the dominance of the Eastern provinces in federal affairs.”

The Laurentian elite does dominate the federal public service. A total of 67% of the federal public service is made up of Quebecers and Ontarians and only 11% are from the prairie provinces. Of course, official bilingualism is not the only cause that has explanatory power in the case of this discrepancy. The federal capital being located on the border between the two most populous provinces also plays a significant role in determining the regional makeup of the federal public service (a separate and distinct advantage that the Laurentians have over Westerners in controlling federal institutions). In fact, 42% of federal public service employees live in the National Capital Region in Ottawa-Gatineau.

But, when it comes to those who rise the ranks in Canada’s federal bureaucracy, official bilingualism provides an explanation for its overwhelmingly Quebecer makeup. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada Richard Wagner, the Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Appeal Marc Noël, the Governor of the Bank of Canada Tiff Macklem, Government Film Commissioner and Chairperson for the National Film Board of Canada Claude Joli-Coeur, the Director and CEO of the Canada Council of the Arts Simon Brault, the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada Stéphane Perrault, and the Director of CSIS David Vigneault are all Quebecers. The board of directors for the CBC, is also made up of 33% Quebecers with only one member hailing from the prairie provinces — Jennifer Moore Rattray from Manitoba. As Washington Post columnist, J.J. McCullough, suggests: “It is really hard to argue that by some massive coincidence the most qualified people for all of these jobs just happen to be Quebecers.”

Indeed, it is no coincidence. Since all federal institutions must provide services in both French and English, it is likely to have a bilingual in charge of these federal bureaucracies in order to ensure that these institutions run smoothly. As a result, Quebecers with their disproportionate number of bilinguals, have come to dominate the highest ranks of these bureaucracies.

Official bilingualism lays the groundwork for these regional disparities in Canada’s federal bureaucracies. Quebecers are overwhelmingly more likely to be bilingual than Westerners. As such, Westerners must join the elite minority of bilinguals by learning a second language or be left behind when it comes to rising the ranks of Canada’s federal institutions.

Andrew Allison is a PhD philosophy student at the University of Calgary
andrew.allison@ucalgary.ca

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Opinion

SLOBODIAN: Doug Ford’s daughter could teach her father a thing or two about freedom

Daughter champions freedoms, daddy seizes them. Some who despise Premier Dad’s authoritarian decrees say the wrong family member heads Ontario.

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Krista Ford Haynes, daughter of Ontario Premier Doug Ford, is going to make for some interesting Thanksgiving Dinner family conversation.

On Tuesday, Krista issued another dire warning against governments forcing vaccine passports, urging people to “collectively wake up” and not be obedient and unquestioning.

The following day, her father, Ontario Premier Doug Ford, launched COVID-19 vaccine passports, forcing people to choose between taking the jab, or losing many of their most basic freedoms. He claimed the passports are temporary.

Sure, they are. And 14 days would flatten the curve. No government relinquishes control it grabs. When COVID eventually passes, the newly established government powers will be turned elsewhere.

Daughter champions freedoms, daddy seizes them. Some who despise Premier Dad’s authoritarian decrees say the wrong family member heads Ontario.

Ford family get-togethers can’t be fun. Hopefully, they’re amicable. That’s not always the case.

Polarizing COVID-19 views about forced-masking, lockdowns, vaccines, and mandatory vaccine passports are dividing and destroying families and friendships.

Screaming matches and brawls over masks and social distancing aren’t confined to the aisles of Walmart among strangers.

Loved ones nearly, or maybe do, come to blows at dinner tables before the soup gets cold. That only happens when the government permits them to visit in between intermittent lockdowns.

Everyone’s ready to fall on their swords, convinced that their side — whichever it is — is solely righteous and right.

Haynes, 30, is an anti-vax crusader. Insults are hurled at her. The indignant demand she is reported. She’s been called “ignorant.” She makes people’s “blood boil.”

The feisty Haynes won’t back down from views some declare extreme.

Haynes, with thousands of followers, delivered her latest message in a video posted to Instagram after the federal election.

“Good morning, everyone. Happy Tuesday. As we could have all expected, the Liberal government won last night with a minority government,” said Haynes.

The Liberals will carry on “stripping our freedoms away one day at a time,” she said.

Haynes has long warned that forced masking was a steppingstone to vaccine passports. She was mocked. Few are laughing now.

The passports are here. Alberta succumbed, despite Premier Jason Kenney’s solemn vow to gallantly fight the feds if they forced them. Then he did a 180 and imposed them with a vengeance.

Now Haynes warns vaccine passports are a steppingstone to more controls and lost freedoms.

“When I posted in May or June of last year about the upcoming mask mandates and not to comply, this is why I wanted people, urged people, not to comply,” she said.

“We found out right away that masks weren’t very effective at all based on how people were wearing and revising them, and it actually could have made things a lot worse for some people and are making things a lot worse for certain age groups today.”

“That was one, but we complied, we complied. We could have put our foot down collectively, and we didn’t.”

So, the worst of it has arrived?

“You think it’s just going to be movie theatres, restaurants, gyms. That’s the first step. The first step. They’re going to take it all. They’re going to take it all and we’ve allowed it.”

Australians wore their masks and obeyed ‘temporary’ lockdown orders. The former penal colony turned into one of the freest countries, has become an effective police state. Citizens face the most extreme lockdowns globally. Wednesday, police fired rubber bullets into a crowd of 400 unarmed and peaceful protestors against severe lockdowns and vaccine passports.

Chaos erupts around the world. People fear pandemic “mandates” have morphed into a sinister grab for complete control over their lives to advance ever-greater government control.

Many are losing their jobs for no good reason.

Citizens are enraged their children suffer abuse, being forced to wear masks with little proof they effectively prevent transmission of COVID.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended emergency use authorization of Pfizer’s booster (third) shot six months after full immunization for the elderly and high-risk. It rejected an application to approve booster shots for all Americans 16 and older. They’ll circle back to that.

Haynes urged people to ask questions, discuss, research. She, like others who advocate this, are ridiculed, attacked, discredited, even fired.

Their critics just want everyone to comply with the latest orders and shut up.

Fear, anger and distrust over this curse called COVID-19 prevail. There’s little common ground.

Doctors who question the official doctrine are dismissed, shamed, and now, being fired in some cases.

Asking questions is a good thing. Blindly complying isn’t.

Slobodian is the Senior Manitoba Columnist for the Western Standard
lslobodian@westernstandardonline.com

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