A group of representatives have gathered to form a new caucus that seeks to challenge current COVID-19 policies with special emphasis on ending the governments’ use of province-wide lockdowns and stay-at-home orders.
Called the End the Lockdowns National Caucus, the non-partisan group was created in response to the COVID-19 restrictions launched by governments across the country that cause “unprecedented mass violations of Canadian’s Charter Rights.”
“We are current and former elected representatives from municipal, provincial, and federal levels of government across Canada, unified in pursuit of the truth, and resolved to ensure there is open, honest, and public debate regarding the COVID-19 government response,” said the caucus in a news release on Feb. 4.
The representatives include Ontario MPP Randy Hillier, People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier, independent MP Derek Sloan, Centre Wellington Councillor Steve VanLeeuwen, and Perth East Councillor Daryl Herlick.
The group holds the view that the current measures do more harm than good to Canadians.
“After careful examination and scrutiny of mitigation measures undertaken by all levels of government, it is now evident that the lockdowns cause more harm than the virus and must be brought to an end,” the group said.
“Lockdown was never part of our planned pandemic response nor is it supported by strong science,” Schabas wrote.
“There are significant costs to lockdowns—lost education, unemployment, social isolation, deteriorating mental health, and compromised access to health care. Lockdown is an affront to social justice because its burdens fall disproportionately on the young, the working poor, and visible minorities. We will be paying for lockdowns—in lives and dollars for decades to come.”
The caucus calls for a “just and compassionate” reopening of businesses, schools, places of worship, recreational facilities across the country, at the same time with the “full resumption and expansion of efficient medical services.”
“We desire to restore dignity and respect for all Canadians by safeguarding our representative democracy and its institutions, defending our Constitution, personal freedoms, and responsibilities, whilst implementing focused protection for the most vulnerable,” the group said.
A petition in support of the caucus was also launched on Feb. 4 by the Liberty Coalition Canada, a group that urges Canadians to lobby for issues concerning the country. As of date, the petition has garnered more than 19,000 signatures.
As of Feb. 8, Ford announced Ontario will gradually reopen its economy in selected regions starting Wednesday over three weeks, and the state of emergency order will end on Tuesday.
Similarly, Quebec said last week that they will allow non-essential stores, personal care salons, and museums across the province to reopen starting Monday. Six less-populated regions were also moved into the orange zone under the province’s COVID-19 alert tier system, where restaurant dining rooms, gyms, and indoor sports facilities can be reopened with restrictions on Feb. 8. The rest of the province will remain in red zones.