It’s usually a good thing when a person has leaned from an experience. While times of crisis cause damage, they also can bring about innovation and wisdom. We can come out of a struggle with insight and be stronger for it.
Considering the actions and words of some of our political leaders however, I fear that they are coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic having learned all the wrong lessons.
While it may be coincidence, the language coming from President Joe Biden’s administration and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has been strikingly similar this week.
The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) just launched the new Office of Climate Change and Health Equity. This wasn’t surprising as it was in response to an executive order from President Biden last January. The terminology used was interesting though. HHS claimed that it would use “lessons learned” from the COVID-19 pandemic to address climate change and health issues.
Meanwhile on Aug. 29, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau told a crowd of supporters “What we learned from this COVID crisis, we will be applying to the climate crisis, the housing crisis, to reconciliation, to making sure that everyone has good jobs and careers that carry them through and create good opportunity for their kids.”
What I fear is that the lesson these political leaders are referring to is confirmation of just how easily and willingly the populace will give up its civil rights in the face of a health crisis. Authoritarian-minded politicians now know that if they can package an initiative as a response to a public health crisis, they won’t need to bother with worrying about the individual rights of citizens when implementing it.
In referring to a “climate crisis” and in tying it to health issues, politicians are setting the stage to continue to implement policies without regard to individual rights. They just need to act under the guise of responding to an immediate crisis.
The “Great Reset” concept is often dismissed as a conspiracy theory, but it is very real. It is a plan to use a world crisis in order to implement massive changes in political policies and government structures. It wants to reconfigure capitalism, and not for the better. Proponents of the Great Reset speak to the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity rather than a crisis. Again, this is no deeply hidden conspiracy or secret. It is all laid out on the World Economic Forum website in plain text.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is a supporter of the World Economic Forum and he addressed their annual conference in 2018. Last November while addressing the U.N., Trudeau said “This pandemic has provided an opportunity for a reset, This is our chance to accelerate our pre-pandemic efforts to re-imagine economic systems that actually address global challenges like extreme poverty, inequality and climate change.”
We should be very concerned when ideologically driven politicians see the COVID-19 crisis as an opportunity rather than a calamity. When leaders see times of crisis as a means to pursue radical change, they may feel inspired to drag out or even cause emergencies. It certainly is an easier way to bring the public on board than democratic exercises are.
In challenging times like now, citizens need to keep their governments in check. Constitutions and documents such as the Canadian Charter of Rights were designed specifically to protect the rights of individuals from government overreach. Section 1 of the Canadian Charter allows the government to suspend individual rights as it says our rights are subject to “reasonable limits.” Our government felt that it was reasonable to limit several our Charter rights in the name of protecting us from COVID-19. The courts and a large proportion of our citizenry agreed.
Having learned how easily the government can suspend Charter rights, we can rest assured that unprincipled and ideologically driven leaders will concoct future emergencies to bypass the rights of citizens again. We have heard everything from racism to firearm crimes to climate change being referred to as health issues now. That is no mistake. It sets the stage for state intervention that may bypass legislated rights protection.
Some of the world’s most horrific governments emerged from hard times. We saw that clearly enough just after the Great Depression. Citizens are too concerned with simply getting by to realize what their politicians may be getting up to. We always need to be vigilant and when we see world leaders referring to the pandemic as an opportunity, we need to sit up and take notice. An opportunity for whom, and at what cost?
Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.