Slobodian: Redman Got It Right On COVID Response

Emergency response expert and retired Lt. Col. David Redman tirelessly tried to warn everyone that the “incoherent” chaotic response to COVID-19 was dangerously flawed. The powers in charge didn’t listen […]
Published on November 24, 2023

Emergency response expert and retired Lt. Col. David Redman tirelessly tried to warn everyone that the “incoherent” chaotic response to COVID-19 was dangerously flawed.

The powers in charge didn’t listen to Redman, a globally respected authority who led Alberta’s Emergency Management Agency (AEMA) for five years and served 27 years with the Canadian Armed Forces.

But finally, Redman’s dire warnings, concerns, and suggested response to dealing with a pandemic were validated by recommendations made by the Public Health Emergencies Governance Review Panel (PHEGRP) in a report submitted to the Alberta government this week.

What the government does with the recommendations remains to be seen.

But steps must be taken to hold decision-makers accountable for “gross negligence” and to help people break out of COVID’s needless “cycle of fear” that still cripples too many, Redman told the Western Standard Friday.

“Canada will pay the costs of this deadly response for decades to come,” said Redman.

Redman’s letters early on to Canada’s premiers warning them that discarding emergency management principles and placing health care officials in charge of pandemic response was dangerous, were ignored.

AEMA strategies, prepared in advance and in place to deal with pandemics, collected dust. Redman led the team that wrote the 2005 Pandemic Influenza Response Plan that was updated in 2014.

Emergency management offices — fully equipped and staffed with experts — in every province and territory were shut out.

Under the direction of health officials, the public was under siege. Punished for disobeying mandates. Subjected to unnecessary lockdowns and school closures. And controlled by a fear factor that defied a tenet of emergency management experts.

“They did it on purpose. They used fear as a weapon. In emergency management you never use fear. You use confidence. You show confidence that the emergency can be handled and present a plan to show how this will be achieved,” said Redman.

He said it is deeply disturbing that people still believe they must keep vaccines up to date and self-isolate. And that must be rectified if even possible.

“The fear that this government generated — by this government I mean every provincial, territorial government, and in particular the federal government — created for two straight years, only broken by the Freedom Convoy — will last until the children that were just entering school in 2020 die.”

Redman said the COVID-19 response was the “exact opposite” of an emergency management response.

“The pandemic response was health only focussed with terrible and deadly costs to individual mental health, societal health, our children, other serious illnesses and diseases, economic viability, and our democratic way of life simply ignored.”

“Unless there is an emergency management plan built, these costs will continue to be massive.”

Well, there’s hope.

The PHEGRP submitted its final report with more than 90 recommendations.

The panel was established by Premier Danielle Smith in January to review the government’s legislation and governance practices to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is my hope that by adopting these recommendations, the Government will be better equipped to cope with future emergencies and that the impacts on Albertans — their personal livelihoods, civil liberties and mental health — can be mitigated to the greatest extent possible,” said PHEGRP Chair and former Reform party leader Preston Manning in a press release.

Key recommendations include strengthening the AEMA through legislative amendments and budgetary provisions to make it the lead government agency responding to and coordinating the government’s response to future public emergencies.

Redman is “very happy” with Manning’s recommendations.

“There’s a lot of meat in what he’s written.”

“The first and foremost recommendation overarching his whole report is that legislation need to be changed to ensure that the emergency management process and emergency managers are in charge of every emergency including the next pandemic.”

“And that that the AEMA is appropriately funded and staffed to do their new far extended role.”

“He didn’t just say the legislation needs to be changed. He said the government needs to build and fund that organization to be responsible for response for every emergency including pandemics.”

Redman, who testified at the National Citizens Inquiry in Red Deer last April, was pleased with Manning’s wide scope.

“In the first line of each recommendation he’s covered all of the areas from fear being number one, to not doing a hazard assessment to realize that Sars-CoV-2 was really only affecting the elderly.”

“And the terrible destruction of the children and their education system, but more importantly their socialization, the effects on business, the destruction of our economy, and then summing it up with the complete destruction of rights and freedoms.”

“I think they’ve pretty much covered the areas.”

Redman said two steps must be followed immediately.

First, hold a public inquiry to educate the public and “break the cycle of fear.”

“The fear is still, I would say, in 65% of our population. They are now self-destroying their Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

“They believe Sars-C0V-2, the sixth version of the common cold, is deadly. And they will keep believing it until we do a full, open, transparent public inquiry to teach people that what we did was absolutely wrong and why it was wrong.”

“Step two, there must be a process-driven full-recovery plan … That recovery process has to be complete, covering all the points in the Manning report and any that he might have missed.”

“Again, it must be transparent. And that plan has to be fully implemented with the ability to hold accountable everyone responsible for the gross negligence and criminal negligence that was done during COVID.”

“That will show to the public that what was done wasn’t just wrong, it was criminally wrong, and they can stop the fear.”

The inquiry must address what was done, why and “how do we recover from all of the damage we’ve done.”

“Let’s use children as an example. How do you overcome the loss of academic training. And how do you overcome two years of lack of socialization?”

If the emergency management recommendation is implemented by Smith’s government, citizens can be confident if/when the next pandemic hits.

“Emergency management is made up of professionals who are experts who evaluate daily hazards. They use a disciplined process to mitigate, prepare for, respond to and recovery from all hazards in their jurisdiction,” said Redman.

“The process they use ensures that all required experts, across the public and private sector, are involved in making a plan that evaluates the cost versus the benefits of all possible actions, making a coherent plan that is issued to the public for their engagement and feedback.”

Alberta’s pandemic plan is designed to control the spread of disease, reduce mortality, mitigate societal disruption, minimize adverse economic impact, and support efficient and effective use of recourses during response and recovery.

The Manning report recognized the delicate balance in protecting Albertans during emergencies and honouring rights and freedoms.

It recommended amending the Alberta Bill of Rights, Employment Standards Code, and Health Professions Act to protect the rights and freedoms of all Albertans, including workers and healthcare professionals and freedom of expression during emergencies.

Manning noted that too many Canadians suffered losses — including loved ones, jobs due to “rigorous health protection measures,” businesses, and freedoms.

How different would things have been if people like Redman had been listened to at the time…

 

Linda Slobodian is the Senior Manitoba Columnist for the Western Standard based out of Winnipeg. She has been an investigative columnist for the Calgary Herald, Calgary Sun, Edmonton Sun, and Alberta Report.  This originally appeared in the Western Standard here.

 

Related Items:

Read: The Redman Plan.

Watch: Frontier Live on X – With David Redman and Gerry Bowler

Read: David Redman: Briefing Note to Premiers – A Post Covid Recovery Plan

Read: Due Diligence – Canadian Charter Of Rights And Freedoms vs “Lockdowns” – May 2021 – Frontier Policy Series Paper 235 – by David Redman

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