Vaccine Mandates Are Dividing Canadians: Former Judge

Most Canadians gave up their charter rights and freedoms during the pandemic, emergency management expert says
By Isaac Teo
Isaac Teo
Isaac Teo
Isaac Teo is an Epoch Times reporter based in Toronto.
November 6, 2021 Updated: November 6, 2021

The vaccine mandates pushed by the federal and provincial governments have divided Canadians, and the way the unvaccinated are berated is “extremely ugly,” a former judge says.

“I would never have thought such a thing could happen in Canada,” said Brian Giesbrecht, who served as a provincial court judge in Manitoba from 1976 to 2007.

“The idea of forcing people to be vaccinated, and then yelling at them if they don’t do what you say, is something that should not occur in a country like Canada.”

Giesbrecht was speaking at a webinar on Oct. 28 titled “No More COVID-19 Lockdowns,” hosted by the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. He was commenting on how governments’ responses to the pandemic are “almost exactly wrong.”  

“We’ve almost demonized a good portion of the population,” said the retired judge on how unvaccinated individuals are targeted online and being labelled by some politicians. 

A poll conducted by pollster Leger in September for the Association for Canadian Studies found that some 77 percent of Canadians hold a negative view of the unvaccinated and that when it comes to vaccinated Canadians, 85 percent of them hold that view. The poll also found that a vast majority of vaccinated people in Canada believe that the unvaccinated “are behaving irresponsibly, are being selfish, and [are] putting others at risk.”

Giesbrecht said governments should have just laid out the “honest facts” about the COVID-19 vaccines and let people have the final say.

“People in different age categories, people in different health categories, etc., should be able to make their [own] decision,” said the retired judge, who chose to be vaccinated because of his age.

“The individual makes a much better health decision for themselves than does a government.”

Throwing Away ‘All the Lessons Learned’

David Redman, a former head of the Alberta Emergency Management Agency (AEMA), said most Canadians have surrendered their charter rights during this pandemic.

“What I’ve seen in the last 20 months is Canadians run away and abandon their charter rights and freedoms from the very first day,” Redman said at the webinar.

“The lockdown to schools, the closure of jobs, the right to earn money, the right to associate, the right to interact with other human beings—a basic fundamental right—I can’t believe that Canadians gave it up so quickly.”

He noted that the World Health Organization (WHO) had recommended against using non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) such as school and workplace closures. This advice was in its guidance document published in September 2019, prior to the arrival of COVID-19.

“The evidence base on the effectiveness of NPIs in community settings is limited, and the overall quality of evidence [of their effectiveness in reducing influenza transmission] was very low for most interventions,” read the document, titled “Non-pharmaceutical public health measures for mitigating the risk and impact of epidemic and pandemic influenza.” 

The governments basically “threw away all the lessons learned worldwide,” Redman said, including the ones from the WHO document and existing pandemic plans created before the COVID-19 pandemic by all provinces and territories as well as the federal government.

Redman, who was relocated 19 times around the world in 27 years of military service before becoming head of AEMA in 2004, said most Canadians have never lived in a country where those charter rights don’t exist and therefore have never seen the horrors of what could happen.

“But they should be seeing the horrors of what’s happening now as we treat each other with complete disrespect—vaccinated to unvaccinated—where we think that some people’s jobs simply don’t matter, and their livelihood and their future don’t matter,” he said.

Giesbrecht said people’s confidence in government has been shaken by the actions of some politicians. For example, thousands of people attended Black Lives Matter protests without consequence, including politicians, amid government pronouncements about the risk of gathering in crowds. In contrast, Christian pastors were put in jail for holding local church services during the pandemic.

“If you are on a certain political cause, [the policy-makers] were letting people do that,” he said.

Canadians should start reflecting on the kind of country they would like to live in, said Giesbrecht.

“Do we want to live in a country where the government is our nanny and our protector and makes decisions for us?” he asked. Or “the kind of Canada … where we have our rights respected?”

 

Isaac Teo
Isaac Teo is an Epoch Times reporter based in Toronto.