Richard Schabas

Richard Schabas, a retired public health physician who served as Chief Medical Officer of Ontario (1987-1997), declared himself a strong advocate for vaccines, in general, and, specifically, Covid “vaccines” having received three shots. He said this to clarify that nothing he is saying should be confused with “anti-vaccine” sentiment—but he is against mandates. He then outlined his extensive academic and professional background, one with extensive and lengthy experience in medical panels and public health bodies. Schabas stated, “I have looked on in horror” at what has been done in the name of public health. Covid mortality was mostly an issue for the frail elderly, but the biggest burden of the crisis has been borne by the young and healthy. Public health in the past was more holistic—it included physical, mental, and social well-being. That has been reduced to a matter of Covid “case” counts. The public health he practiced in the past in Canada was based on persuasion, not coercion—now, any public health measure immediately becomes a mandate. The irony is things such as “vaccine passports” have backfired. Those who did not want to be forced, became hardened by such measures, and the passports had no impact on preventing surges. In March of 2020 we uncritically accepted speculative mathematical models. Models, until then, were always understood to be imperfect at best, but suddenly they were taken as definitive: there would be four million deaths in the summer of 2020, we were told. That was false, as were all major modelling predictions for the past outbreaks of the last 20 years or so. Public health measures induced panic.

In 2019, the WHO’s document on non-pharmaceutical interventions should have been the basis for our response—but it was not. Our lockdowns were not based on any evidence. Mask wearing by asymptomatic persons—no evidence this was effective, said the WHO in 2019. Active contract tracing was not recommended. Surface cleaning was not deemed effective. Quarantining those who are assumed to have been exposed, made no sense—a wasteful and punitive measure, this was also not recommended by the WHO. In Ontario, the belief was that home quarantine quelled the 2003 SARS outbreak—false. Border closures, testing travelers, etc.—none of these were recommended by the WHO.

We panicked, imposed lockdown measures, and there was no clear goal. Our hospitals were largely empty in April and May of 2020. Then we had to lockdown to wait for the “vaccines”. Then we had to lockdown to wait until everyone was jabbed. Then we had to lockdown because of variants. We never had a clear idea of what we were trying to accomplish.

The Canadian plan for influenza emphasized not just minimizing deaths, but also minimizing disruptions. We used fear as a tool of public health policy, which was fundamentally wrong and destructive. We invoked fear deliberately. We cancelled dissenting views, at a time when there were so many uncertainties. A long-time contributor and frequent guest, he was personally cancelled by the CBC because his views were “akin to a climate change denier”. Colleges of physicians and surgeons shut down any doctor who questions the dominant policy. There has been no commitment to finding out if the measures work, or to develop a better science.

We have done great damage to ourselves. The worst is what we have done to our children, the group at lowest risk from Covid 19. Ten or twenty years from now, people may look back with horror. We have terrorized the elderly. We have deprived many of them of family contact during their final years. We have denied basic human rights, such as the freedom to protest, to practice religion, freedom of speech has been suppressed, and the right to bodily autonomy has been denied.

We need to make a real effort to learn the lessons of what has happened. We need to review our public health institutions.

In response to questions from the panel, he noted how British Columbia had the least stringent lockdown, and Quebec the most stringent—and BC had one third the mortality of Quebec. He also said that the debate here is not much different from the debate about influenza vaccination, where the frail and elderly and targeted. Why didn’t we take that approach? Instead we became obsessed with the notion that we could stop and control this virus, bordering on Zero Covid, if not being explicitly that kind of policy in the minds of some. We would have had less mortality, with less disruption to our society, if we had taken that approach. If a national investigation were to occur, it cannot be led by one person, nor can we promote group-think. He advocates for panels of credentialed experts rather than “mavericks with crazy ideas”. Politicians and public health officials have not done a good job in public messaging; there was no need for more fear-mongering and panic. Our job should have been to promote the idea of, “keep calm and carry on”. If leaders were not panicky, then they were criticized in these past two years: “Don’t they realize that everybody is going to die?!” Ridiculous and absurd predictions were made. There needs to be a reckoning. Many cried “fire” in a crowded theatre. David Ross applauded the presentation.

Schabas said that fear and intimidation won over common sense. There has been no admission of mistakes. He hopes that people have had enough with lockdowns and will not do it again. He is glad for the example of Sweden, which stuck to basic principles, whose Covid mortality is in the bottom third of European countries—and it is false that Sweden was some sort of Covid disaster. Sweden’s chief public health officer is also wholly independent of government, unlike the heavily politicized CDC in the US, which has now become the source of some of the worst, the sketchiest “research”. Public Health Canada is also an agency of government, and is federal rather than national.

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