Is Canada’s Response to COVID-19 Led by China Sympathizers?

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks during a news conference in Ottawa on May 31, 2018. (Patrick Doyle/The Canadian Press via AP)

The controversy over Canada’s Public Chief Health Officer Theresa Tam continues to fester. Her lack of consistency, credibility, and competence—the three Cs of responsible authority—is a matter of public record. As I wrote previously, Tam has become the face of the anti-COVID task force. But she remains something of an enigma, including her date of birth, her actual place of birth and the dates of her degrees.

What do we know? We know that she initially downplayed the scope of the disease. We know that she is intimately associated with the World Health Organization as one of seven physicians who sit on its oversight committee. We know that the WHO operates as an arm of the People’s Republic and that its Director-General Tedros Adhanon Ghebreyesus has no medical expertise, is an ardent lifelong Marxist, and is a loyal defender of China.

Tam’s public record is deplorable. Indeed, she has been wrong at every turn. “Right now,” she said at a critical juncture, “the risk is low in Canada.” She assured us that travel bans were not necessary since they were not recommended by the WHO. Recently, Conservative Member of Parliament Derek Sloan, one of the four contenders for the party leadership vacated by Andrew Scheer, circulated an email highly critical of Tam recommending that she either resign or be fired. Sloan pointed out her failure on several counts, including:

Dr. Theresa Tam has continually cited the WHO as an authority.

Dr. Tam said face masks don’t work. Not true.

She said closing the borders to travelers arriving from virus hotspots wouldn’t work. Not true.

She spent the month of January echoing the WHO’s contention that anyone worried about the virus was indulging in racism.

She was wrong on travel bans.

She was wrong on asymptomatic transmission.

She was wrong on voluntary quarantines.

Sloan concludes:

Canada needed a Chief Public Health Officer who would investigate all the pertinent information and then recommend policies to protect Canadians. But instead we got Dr. Tam, who dutifully repeats the propaganda of a CCP government obsessed with political control and saving face. She does this because she is involved with an organization, the WHO, which is effectively controlled by that government.

The sequel was drearily predictable. Sloan was immediately called a racist and a misogynist. He queried a woman of Chinese origin—a double transgression in our politically correct age—and moreover was accused of questioning her loyalty to Canada. Sloan responded to the denunciations by asserting, “My views that Dr. Tam has followed the directives of the WHO to a fault and that the WHO’s directives are unduly influenced by the Chinese Communist Party do not have their genesis in the ethnic background or sex of our country’s chief medical officer. They are plain and simple facts…We are a democracy. Our elected leaders and the bureaucrats they appoint are not a ruling class that is above reproach, but public servants there to serve the interests of Canadians.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was having none of it, adding his bloviating glibness to the controversy by claiming that “intolerance and racism have no place in our country” and “We need to continue in our resolve to be an open, welcoming, respectful country.” Were Trudeau to seek another family pet, it would be a duck-billed platitude. (We recall, too, that Trudeau went public expressing his admiration for China’s “basic dictatorship” and that he has been solidly behind Tam every step of the way.) In any event, it has become increasingly difficult to listen to Trudeau’s progressivist bafflegab without feeling sick to one’s stomach.

According to the Toronto Star, anger at Sloan is boiling over, even among his colleagues. His fellow Ontario Conservative MP Eric Duncan posted that while he may have “questions and constructive concerns” about Tam’s advice, he would “never question her loyalty to Canada.” Conservative MP Michael Chong, the son of a Chinese immigrant, was deeply offended by Sloan’s “outrageous” remarks. “I’m convinced about one thing: he is going to lose the leadership race. Convincingly. And the Conservative party that I know does not stand for this kind of garbage.”

There is, however, more than one kind of garbage. Chong, formerly a Conservative Party leadership hopeful before losing out to the equally lamentable Scheer, is also a fervent believer in global warming and would certainly approve of Trudeau’s carbon tax. When questioned on the subject at a Conservative get-together in our local riding association prior to the last election, Chong assumed that CO2 counted for 60-80 parts per million of atmospheric volume. The ratio is still contested but it appears to be between .390 and .400, not all of it anthropogenic. Chong’s calculations are out by a factor of around 180 to 1. His ignorance is, not to put too fine a point on it, astounding. So is his pretentiousness, but in this regard he differs not a whit from most of his comrades.

It is dispiriting to note that the majority of Chong’s Twitter followers laud him for his presumably principled stand against Sloan and his defense of Tam’s loyalties and competence, and many urge him to declare his candidacy for the leadership of the Conservative Party. Such advocacy shows how far down the road to political mindlessness the country has traveled—and how farcical an organization the Conservative Party has become. As political commentator Grant Brown observes in a circular email addressed to Chong, in sending 16 tonnes of much-needed PPE (personal protective equipment) to China, it appears that Tam “was putting the interests of China ahead of the interests of Canada.” She also took “contradictory positions on the usefulness of PPE in defense of her misplaced priorities. If there is a good answer to this question, I’d like to hear it—rather than the nonsense responses like yours.”

But here is an equally important question. Grant asks rhetorically of Chong, “What are you doing? I know it is traditional for conservatives to circle the wagons and shoot inwards, but this woke virtue-signalling really has to stop.” The answer is, it won’t. Canada’s Sinophile policies will stay in place. The Liberals will remain in power. The Conservatives will cave and fold and continue to shoot inwards, as they always do. The public business will be mismanaged as usual and those who draw attention to the folly and corruption and sanctimoniousness in the handling of domestic affairs will be pilloried and slandered. And Canadians will continue to vote for politicians who are either without scruples or without brains, or both.

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