Former Newfoundland Premier Brian Peckford says pandemic responses by governments and medical authorities are unconstitutional and misguided and disregard relevant facts and research.
Peckford, premier from 1979 to 1989 is the last living First Minister present for negotiations prior to the adoption of the 1982 Constitution. He says the threshold required to override constitutional rights has not been met during the pandemic.
Section One of the Charter says, “The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.”
Lockdowns and vaccine passports exceed “reasonable limits” and have never been “demonstrably justified,” according to Peckford. He says rights to work, travel, receive equal treatment under the law, and freedoms of worship and assembly have been unduly trampled.
“You have a 99 per cent recovery rate from this virus…That’s hardly a threat to the state or a war or insurrection. So I take the view that this is totally inapplicable to our present circumstance,” Peckford said in an interview.
“You should have to do a cost benefit analysis or some other study. And that’s not being done right now. At all. No government in Canada has done a cost benefit analysis. There’s been independent cost benefit analysis that shows that the cure is worse than the disease.”
An analysis by Simon Fraser University economist Dr. Douglas Allen published in April 2021 estimated the cost-benefit ratio of lockdowns in terms of life-years was between 3.6 and 282. His conclusion, based on econometric analysis informed by 80 studies, led him to conclude that “it is possible lockdown will go down as one of the greatest peacetime policy failures in Canada’s history.”
It’s just part of “mountains and mountains of evidence” that’s been disregarded, Peckford said.
“This has all been ignored. And my argument is that I think this is inoperative in law. This government in British Columbia and the governments across Canada, they knew or they ought to have known,” said Peckford.
The former premier is at ease about remaining unvaccinated as breakthrough cases and hospitalizations for the vaccinated continue.
“So what’s the whole point of getting vaccinated if you’re going to get it again? [They] said oh, it just reduces how bad you get it. Oh, yeah? Well, how come there’s all these hospitalizations?” asked Peckford.
“It’s gonna flatten the curve in a week or two. Here we are two years in… even the most ardent pro-vaccine on COVID would have to acknowledge that this has gone on an awful lot longer than anybody thought… You’ve changed your tune so many times. And so one has to wonder what is going on?”
Peckford’s skepticism is especially high for the Pfizer shot due to the company’s track record. It paid the largest fine in U.S. history in a $2.3 billion plea deal after federal prosecutors pressed charges for mis-promoting medicines and paying kickbacks to complaint doctors. It paid $142.1 million to settle racketeering fraud charges for marketing the drug Neurontin. Pfizer also paid $75 million to settle a lawsuit for using an experimental antibiotic called Trovan on children without parental consent.
“So this is the people who are promoting a vaccine for which they have no liability whatsoever. Where’s the credibility to even trust Pfizer?” Peckford asked.
“The Canadian COVID [Care] Alliance has just done a 52-page-review of the first six months of Pfizer’s clinical trials which they were forced to release by the court… ‘More harm than good’ is the title of the study [which] was reviewed by experts like Dr. Byram Bridle of University of Guelph and by Dr. Steve Pelech of the University of British Columbia.”
The study reports that in Pfizer’s clinical trials, 21,926 people received the vaccine and 21,921 received a placebo. According to Pfizer, after two months, the vaccine caused a 91 percent reduction of COVID-19 cases. However, more sicknesses and deaths were reported in the vaccine recipient group, making the absolute risk reduction just 0.84 percent.
As the vaccine was developed, animal trials were skipped, the timeline crunched, and then a trial was conducted on the healthy. Although 95 per cent of people who died with COVID-19 have had at least one co-morbidity (and four on average), only 21 per cent of those in the trial had pre-existing conditions. Those aged 75 years and up compose 85 percent of COVID deaths, but only 4.4 per cent of those in the trial.
The data itself has been called into question. The reduction in cases was only among those tested afterwards, something fully at the discretion of the investigator. However, the study acknowledged that suspected cases (due to symptoms but not tested) equaled 1,594 in the inoculated group and 1,816 in the placebo group. Moreover, investigators identified 5,241 adverse events among the inoculated vs 1,311 in the placebo group – a 300 per cent difference.
Why weren’t the symptomatic tested or counted as cases as it was in the real world? The report of a whistleblower published in the British Medical Journal claimed that Ventavia, one of the companies hired by Pfizer to conduct the trials, falsified data, mislabeled specimens, unblinded participants and failed to follow up and test participants who reported symptoms. Although several other employees backed up the report, neither Pfizer nor the FDA investigated, and Pfizer even hired Ventavia to conduct four more trials.
How safe and effective is that?
Lee Harding is a Research Associate with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.