Masterful COVID Guide Book for Policy Makers

A Review of: Canada’s COVID: The Story of a Pandemic Moral Panic, Expanded Edition by Barry Cooper and Marco Navarro-Genie (2 of 2)

The Frontier Centre is pleased to publish reviews of Canada’s COVID: The Story of a Pandemic Moral Panic, expanded edition. The reviewers, Rodney Clifton and Jodi Bruhn, have very high praise for this work because it exhaustively demonstrates that the responses by our governments, federal, provincial/territorial, and municipal, created both moral and physical panic among citizens. This book provides helpful guidelines for future pandemics. Our elected officials and their bureaucrats could learn some vital lessons from the book.


There have been a few brave people who have tried to expose serious problems with the way countries reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic. The most widely known have been Peter McCullough in the U.S., Jay Bhattacharya (Stanford), Martin Kulldorff (Harvard), and Sunetra Gupta (Oxford), the authors of the Great Barrington Declaration, and Dr. John Campbell (United Kingdom) who has a large international following for his highly informative videocasts. These people, and a handful of others, are the contrary-minded heroes talking about the way governments screwed up in responding to the pandemic.

To this august list we add the names of two Canadians, Barry Cooper and Marco Navarro-Genie. These scholars have done a masterful job of pulling together a very extensive discussion, both research literature and opinion pieces, on the way the pandemic was handled in Canada. They convincingly show that the pandemic was handled badly, with the federal and provincial governments creating a moral panic in the population, destroying lives, businesses, and most importantly, destroying trust between ordinary Canadians and their political leaders.

A moral panic is a situation where information and claims about a situation are distorted and exaggerated by the federal and provincial governments and their health officers, so there is an overreaction of fear in the mind of ordinary people. Moral panic, in turn, induces mass hysteria in criminalizing the common sense of the common people. Many of the contrary-minded people were demonized for speaking out. The book, Canada’s COVID, redeems many of their concerns.

The media, or the “howling media apparatus” as Jeffrey Tucker called it, has been the source of much of the exaggeration, simplification, and the prediction of over-blown consequences that were, more recently, shown to be wrong. The legacy media was supported, of course, by politicians and the justice system, police, public prosecutors, and courts who enforced regulations stopping people from attending outdoor church services, for example, and forcing them to do things they dislike, like wearing masks, staying 6 feet apart, being inoculated, carrying passports outlining their recent medical histories, closing schools, universities, and business.

Of course, one of the most troublesome responses to the COVID-19 event was the requirement that Canadians carry passports saying when they had their inoculations and boosters of a new and untested messenger RNA concoctions, that caused proteins from the COVID virus to be manufactured in cells in their bodies, followed by their  immune system attacking and destroying those cells. Cooper and Navarro-Genie argue convincingly that Big Pharma benefitted financially from the pandemic, but never adequately tested their new inoculations before administering them, and these corporations were often indemnified by governments so that those who were injured could not sue the corporations for redress.

In the past, societies quarantined infected people to protect those who were not infected. In the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries including Canada, tried to quarantine everyone. The goal, as you remember, was to flatten the curve so the medical system would not become swamped with critically ill people.

Cooper and Navarro-Genie do super work in helping us understand how our governments responded to the pandemic, pointing out the many grievous errors that were made even after governments knew better. The authors of this book ask some fundamental questions about the governments’ responses to the pandemic. The questions they asked, not surprisingly, also occurred to other Canadians:

  • Why did few, if any, authorities admit that the COVID-19 virus probably escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology? It is surprising to learn that this lab was conducting Gain of Function research on corona viruses with millions of dollars provided by the USA.
  • Why did those in authority not follow the recommendations in the Great Barrington Declaration and protect the most venerable, the elderly and those with serious comorbidities, allowing those who were most safe, the young and healthy, to develop natural immunity?
  • Why were some government officials’ hypocrites? Some were caught traveling to the Caribbean, Florida, and Hawaii while ordinary Canadians were forced to shelter at home.
  • Why was natural immunity not seriously considered as a possibility? Early in the pandemic, it became clear that children were not likely to become infected with the virus, so why were they inoculated?
  • Why did the legacy media accept the inconsistencies presented by the health spokespersons? Often, over time these people contradicted themselves.
  • Why did few, if any, governments not sack their health officials when it became clear that their predictions were widely skewed, and their policy recommendations violated principles of freedom and informed consent?
  • Why did the health care authorities not allow MDs to prescribe cheap therapeutics, such as Ivermectin, Hydroxychloroquine, vitamins, and zinc, to help people overcome their COVID-19 infection? There is evidence that these therapeutics were effective.

Cooper and Navarro-Genie have no illusion that even with their detailed examination of the many errors that our governments committed, few, if any, Canadian authorities will, even now, acknowledge the collateral damage they caused to individuals, businesses, churches, and to the trust Canadians had in their government officials. Also, they doubt that any officials will be punished for their errors.

This book is an exhaustive examination of the Canadian response to the COVID-19 pandemic with over 1000 endnotes, covering almost 100 pages. Readers will need a keen mind to read and remember the details in the book. The chapters are complex, so that it is difficult to remember what the big picture is because there are so many examples that your mind can easily wonder off the main point. Consequently, I recommend reading this book when you are wide-awake and not just before going to bed; it will either wake you up completely or put you to sleep quickly.

Nevertheless, this book is a masterful guidebook for policy makers as they (hopefully) examine what they did correctly and wrongly during this pandemic, and what they need to do to prepare for the next pandemic. Hopefully, Canadian policy makers will have a better sense of what not to do because of this book. The authors will arm critics of the next pandemic.

Even though I have extremely high praise for this scholarly book, I also have a few concerns. First, as noted above, the chapters are exceptionally long and complex (some are almost 100 pages long), and it would have been helpful to have headings and sub-headings so that readers could have a better understanding of the structure of the argument. Second, it would have been helpful to have a concise summary of each chapter on the final couple of pages. Third, normally I write notes in the margins of books, but the margins of this book are much too narrow for any jotting. Finally, the authors use at least a hundred acronyms, defining them once, and using them from that point on. A pull-out page with an alphabetized list of acronyms and their meanings would have been useful.

This book clearly illustrates what C.S. Lewis described as a moral busybody, though Lewis was not thinking of the moral panic caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada: “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive…. Those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

Part of this quotation is at the beginning of Chapter 7, and it is a biting summary of the story that Barry Cooper and Marco Navarro-Genie tell. In total, they have given us good reasons to stand up for our rights, those enshrined in our Constitution and Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In fact, their story reminds us that we should not allow governments and their experts to torment us by curtailing our basic human rights. Good democracies do not do that; only tyrannies do it.

So far, we live in a democracy, not a tyranny, and our political leaders need to remember this fact. Of course, Canadians need to keep reminding our leaders of this fact too.


Rodney A. Clifton is a professor emeritus at the University of Manitoba and a senior fellow at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. His most recent book with Mark DeWolf is From Truth Comes Reconciliation: An Assessment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report. A second expanded edition will be published in 2024.

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