Alberta Doctor Speaks Out Against ‘Draconian’ COVID Restrictions

Alberta Doctor Speaks Out Against ‘Draconian’ COVID Restrictions
People line up outside a store in Montreal on Nov. 23, 2020, as various levels of COVID-19 restrictions continue across the country. (The Canadian Press/Ryan Remiorz)
Jason Unrau

As COVID-19 restrictions ramp up across the country, an Alberta doctor stands by his “lay language and blunt” repudiation of such measures that he made to Edmonton city council recently, while a recording of his comments and related memes continue to be shared across social media.

“I take the Hippocratic Oath extremely seriously. The first line is do no harm, and  that is what motivated my presentation,” Dr. Roger Hodkinson told The Epoch Times regarding his statement against pandemic restrictions to Edmonton city councillors on Nov. 13.

“If I see something going on that’s harmful, I feel as a physician that I’m obligated to stand up and say something.”

A number of jurisdictions across the country have brought back blanket restrictions as a means to combat COVID-19.

In Ontario, those living in Toronto and the Peel and York regions have returned to a total lockdown as of Nov. 23. Alberta also enacted a state of public health emergency on Nov. 24, banning indoor social gatherings.

Nearly 300 coronavirus hospitalizations in Manitoba prompted the provincial government to restrict private gatherings, advertise a snitch line for people to tattle on neighbours engaging in “illegal gatherings,” and hire private police to ensure retailers remove of toys and other “non-essentials” from shelves. The province is currently amid a shutdown that began on Nov. 12.

Quebec’s partial lockdown, which has closed restaurant dining rooms, bars, entertainment venues, and gyms, is likely to be extended at least until around Christmas, Premier Francois Legault said on Nov. 17.

On Nov. 19, B.C. announced a temporary social lockdown across the entire province and a new mandatory mask policy.

“All of this is draconian … first of all because they have no basis in evidence-based medicine, and secondly because of horrendous consequences of that action,” said Hodkinson, a pathologist and former president of the Alberta Society of Laboratory Physicians.

“We’re talking, of course, about an enormous number of businesses—ferocious, hardworking, entrepreneurial people who are seeing their dreams disappear. We’re talking about delayed cancer investigations and treatment. We’re talking about cancelled surgeries. We’re talking about suicides and drug addiction.

“The consequence of all these measures is, and has been, absolutely catastrophic.”

Hodkinson said his opinions are in line with the doctors behind the Great Barrington Declaration—Martin Kulldorff, a Harvard University professor of medicine; Sunetra Gupta, an epidemiologist and professor at Oxford University with expertise in immunology; and Jay Bhattacharya, a physician and professor at Stanford University Medical School.

Signed in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, in early October and since co-signed by more than 40 leaders in mathematics, immunology, psychiatry, and medicine, the declaration states: “Keeping these measures in place until a vaccine is available will cause irreparable damage, with the underprivileged disproportionately harmed.”

Aggregated data on COVID-19 fatalities available as early as May 25 and contained in a Canadian Institute for Health Information report notes that 81 percent of all reported deaths in the country occurred in long-term care homes.

Since his statement to Edmonton city officials went viral on social media, Hodkinson said he has received an inordinate amount of attention, much of it negative, including having his credentials questioned.

A media report originally referred to Hodkinson as a presenter “who called himself a specialist in pathology.” It has since corrected this wording to simply read “pathologist.” Another news outlet incorrectly described him as a virologist.

Hodkinson was certified by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in 1976, according to a statement the college posted on its website on Nov. 20. The statement also said that Hodkinson had never served as the college’s chairman, as was indicated in some media reports. The college later amended that statement.

“We updated our online statement to make it clear that while Dr. Hodkinson did not identify himself as a past chair of the Royal College, this was incorrectly reported by other online sources. In fact many social/online references to date have described him in this manner,” communications director Sandra Shearman explained in an email.

Hodkinson said he never claimed to be the chair of the college but that he was “chairman of the Royal College of Physicians of Canada examination committee in pathology” in Ottawa.

“Thirty years ago I was the chairman of a committee of the Royal College with responsibility for setting the annual written examination in pathology—the examination that allows residents in pathology to become fully fledged specialists in pathology. That is exactly what I said during my presentation [to Edmonton city officials],” he said.

Jason Unrau was a freelance contributor to The Epoch Times.
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