Opinion | Lockdowns are ineffective and the Quebec govt. keeps ignoring science

By Éric Duhaime Candidate for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Quebec.

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To leaders of the opposition parties and to Mr. Francois Legault,

Next Monday, January 11, the second lockdown imposed on Quebecers should normally end.

The four political parties that you lead are unanimous in approving lockdowns as a way to counter the coronavirus.

However, for the past nine months, Quebec has continued to have the worst record in the country in terms of deaths and cases, despite the fact that we have been subjected to the most abusive measures since the first day of the state of health emergency.

The government, supported by the other three parties, is pursuing its strategy and blaming sub-groups of society or gathering places to justify its poor results. We have witnessed a veritable parade of scapegoats: from the recalcitrant to the gyms, to the spring break, to the covidiots, to the karaoke bars, to a hairdresser from Thetford Mines, to the demonstrators, to the restaurants and bars, to the youth, to the plots, to the shopping malls and the latest, the “idiotic” tourists!

The culprit for the spread of the virus, however, is to be found elsewhere. Quebecers have been among the most “docile and obedient” since the very beginning of the crisis. In particular, they are not responsible for last spring’s massacre in the long-term care centers. Curiously, on this subject, the government no longer wants to go ahead with a public and independent commission of inquiry to understand the causes of this true national tragedy.

Fear, panic and coercion are not an effective strategy to stop a virus.

Let us remember that the lockdown approach was inspired last March by the epidemiological models of Imperial College, under the direction of Professor Neil Ferguson, according to which there would be more than 60,000 deaths in Quebec. However, these epidemiological models have been strongly contradicted by reality, both in Quebec and elsewhere in the world.

Before prolonging even further, almost ten months later, the lockdown that is slowly killing Quebec, before looking for new scapegoats to explain Quebec’s failure, I would like to hereby implore you to take note of serious empirical research that shows, more and more, that it is not by closing businesses, schools, skating rinks or offices that the transmission of the virus is controlled.

For example, the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER) recently published a review of 26 studies from around the world by some of the world’s greatest minds, all of which conclude that there is no scientific evidence that lockdowns slow the spread of COVID-19.

Even the World Health Organization (WHO) has for months now rejected lockdowns as a control method for COVID-19.

Where there is unanimous agreement on lockdowns, it is on the multiple disastrous consequences it has as it continues: psychological distress, physical health problems, suicides, school dropouts, bankruptcies, loss of individual rights and freedoms, the explosion of the public debt, and so on.

In a word, lockdowns have zero advantages, but definite and very serious disadvantages. It is unquestionably the wrong approach to take.

All the more so since, in a democracy such as ours, when we wish to restrict the freedom and rights of citizens, the burden of proof rests on the shoulders of the pro-lockdowns, not the other way around.

The most up-to-date data suggests that there is no correlation between your liberticidal measures and the elimination of the virus.

Rather than asking people to confine themselves more and more, provide us, first and foremost, with the scientific studies you are using to support this new lockdown.

Many Quebecers and I am one of them, no longer believe the government when it says it makes decisions based on science. The infamous episode of the arbitrary closure of restaurants more than three months ago, without a recommendation from Public Health, has only fueled our healthy skepticism.

After more than nine months of extreme sacrifices that are wreaking havoc at all levels of Quebec society, the time has come to stop dividing Quebecers and instead engage in a constructive dialogue, with a view to finding measures that are better targeted, more effective, respectful of individuals and more based on scientific evidence.

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