Troy Weppler says he turned away from a post office employee in Saskatoon as he shoved a box of COVID-19 rapid tests into an envelope to send to family in British Columbia.
“Why do I feel so guilty about doing this? Am I breaking any laws or is it just an ethical thing?” Weppler said as he recalled the moment during the holiday season when he felt like an outlaw.
“Everywhere I go I’m getting tests thrown at me, so why can’t I throw a couple in an envelope and mail them out to family?”
Weppler is not the only person in Saskatchewan fielding family requests from across the country for the much sought-after tests. Walk into libraries, firehalls andsome grocery stores and a smiling worker is likely to offer a kit with five tests.
Weppler was given his first box weeks ago when he went to cash in a lottery ticket. The employee told him he’d won $20 and a free play, then handed him the kit.
It’s puzzling for most people elsewhere in Canada where the demand for tests vastly outweighs supply. Federal Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole compared the situation to the ‘Hunger Games’ movies earlier this week.
Federal Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos has said that 140 million tests are to be distributed to provinces and territories on a per-capita basis this month. He said that would allow every Canadian to have one test per week in January.
But many are wondering if the uptick in supply will make a difference in being able to find rapid tests since each province, so far, has distributed them differently.
Ontario’s pop-up model for rapid tests has been widely criticized. British Columbia’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, had to assure residents earlier this week that tests were not being hoarded after growing public frustration.
The demand has only grown with the fast-spreading Omicron variant and with many provinces limiting the standard molecular lab tests to certain groups.
“Why can they get them in … grocery stores in Saskatchewan and why can’t you get them here?” Scott Forbes asked.
The University of Winnipeg biology professor has a son who lives in Moose Jaw, Sask. He came home for the holiday season and was having some light cold symptoms, Forbes said.
Forbes said his son went to get a lab test in Winnipeg and waited in line for more than four hours. The family had heard that the results could be delayed by up to a week. Rapid tests were nowhere to be found.
“He knew he wouldn’t get the test results for awhile … so he called his girlfriend to ship out some rapid tests from Moose Jaw.” Forbes said.
“She just picked them up from the grocery store and we had them the next day.”
Forbes said his son tested negative and his symptoms quickly subsided. He still hasn’t received results from the lab test.
The Saskatchewan government said this week that it has distributed over 12 million tests to about 600 sites. About 3.7 million of those were sent to communities through public distribution networks, including libraries and fire halls, starting in November.
The Manitoba government did not respond to a request for updated numbers of rapid tests.
Federal numbers from Dec. 17 indicate the province had been sent about 3.2 million tests. Saskatchewan had received more than 10.6 million tests, significantly more than its neighbours.Almost 3.4 million had gone to British Columbia.
Saskatchewan officials have said they received more tests from Ottawa because they asked for more.
Forbessaid he wonders why other provincial governments didn’t do the same.
Ontario anticipated receiving 15.5 million rapid tests from the federal government in December, but only 3.4 million arrived, Ivana Yelich, a spokeswoman for Premier Doug Ford, said in an email.
“The federal government has confirmed they will not be providing the remaining … 12 million tests,” Yelich said.
Ontario has received about 34.2 million tests from the federal government so far, she added. The province also obtained almost 20.8 million tests on its own. It has deployed about 55 million tests since the start of the pandemic.
Marlo Pritchard, president of the Saskatchewan Public Safety Agency, said he’s optimistic Saskatchewan will continue to have a bounty of rapid tests despite the federal government signalling population will play a larger role in distribution.
The province expects four million tests in January and again in February, he added.
In Saskatoon, Weppler said if that’s the case, he will consider making another clandestine journey to the post office to help family elsewhere.
“It’s nice to be able to do this test.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 7, 2022.
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Most Canadians may be unaware that a Citizen-Led Inquiry into Canada’s COVID-19 Response is underway. The first hearing which took place in Truro, Nova Scotia has already provided the five Inquiry Commissioners with hours of evidence to consider.
Hearings are also scheduled for Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Red Deer, Vancouver, Quebec City, and finally Ottawa. The second round of hearings starts Thursday, March 30 in Toronto. On the eve of this, the National Citizens Inquiry has released a statement from renowned Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson. Below in his message to the commissioners, Dr. Peterson outlines all the reasons this inquiry is so important.
A Citizen-Led Inquiry Into Canada’s COVID-19 Response
Canada’s federal and provincial governments’ COVID-19 policies were unprecedented. These interventions into Canadians’ lives, our families, businesses, and communities were, and to great extent remain, significant. In particular, these interventions impacted the physical and mental health, civil liberties and fundamental freedoms, jobs and livelihoods, and overall social and economic wellbeing of nearly all Canadians.
These circumstances demand a comprehensive, transparent, and objective national inquiry into the appropriateness and efficacy of these interventions, and to determine what lessons can be learned for the future. Such an inquiry cannot be commissioned or conducted impartially by our governments as it is their responses and actions to the COVID-19 which would be under investigation.
The National Citizen’s Inquiry (NCI) is a citizen-led and citizen-funded initiative that is completely independent from government. In early 2023, the NCI will hear from Canadians and experts and investigate governments’ COVID-19 policies in a fair and impartial manner.
The NCI’s purpose is to listen, to learn, and to recommend. What went right? What went wrong? How can Canadians and our governments better react to national crises in the future in a manner that balances the interests of all members of our society?
Canadian psychologist, Dr. Jordan B. Peterson who is also an author, online educator, and Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto spoke out about the Canadian response to COVID-19.
Dr. Peterson’s prerecorded testimony was directed to the five Commissioners at the National Citizens Inquiry in Truro, Nova Scotia.
Start: March 30 @ 9:00 am
End: April 1 @ 5:00 pm
The National Citizen’s Inquiry Hearings Event in the city of Toronto, Ontario Canada.
This event takes place starting March 30th to April 1st 2023.
Hearings go from 9:00am – 5:00pm Eastern Time.
The journalists have fallen down on the job. To say the least.
Three years ago, all normal rights and liberties of the people were trampled on by governments everywhere. It was all for naught. The virus came and became endemic as it always would in any case. And as societies opened up gradually, we were left with unbearable carnage: economic, cultural, and public health. The damages continue to hammer the world in the form of health and economic losses, and now we face a growing financial and banking crisis.
One might assume that professional journalists would be all over this, digging into every nook and cranny to discover precisely how all this came to be. Alas, there is a weird game of pretend going on in the mainstream press: pretend lockdowns were fine, pretend the shots worked, and pretend that today’s shattered politics and economics have nothing to do with the outrageous actions that were perpetuated on people the world over.
As a result of this tremendously odd conspiracy of silence, the journalistic duty has fallen to people independent of the mainstream, writing for Brownstone, Substack, and a handful of other venues.
And yet, every once in a while, something does leak through in a large venue. That happened this weekend in the Wall Street Journal. The opinion page editor James Taranto took a trip to Georgia to talk with Governor Brian Kemp. The result is “Brian Kemp, Georgia’s Affable Culture Warrior.”
The thesis is that Kemp has been battling woke culture longer than anyone else while rarely getting the credit.
That’s interesting but not the real revelation of the piece. What it really does is dig deeply into the most interesting aspect of the last three years: how it came to be that Georgia was the first state to open following lockdowns and how the White House responded. On this subject, the piece absolutely breaks new ground, so much so that it is worth quoting the relevant passages here.
In April 2020, businesses in Georgia were shuttered by government decree as in most of the rest of the country. Mr. Kemp was hearing from desperate entrepreneurs: “ ‘Look man, we’re losing everything we’ve got. We can’t keep doing this.’ And I really felt like there was a lot of people fixin’ to revolt against the government.”
The Trump administration “had that damn graph or matrix or whatever that you had to fit into to be able to do certain things,” Mr. Kemp recalls. “Your cases had to be going down and whatever. Well, we felt like we met the matrix, and so I decided to move forward and open up.” He alerted Vice President Mike Pence, who headed the White House’s coronavirus task force, before publicly announcing his intentions on April 20.
That afternoon Mr. Trump called Mr. Kemp, “and he was furious.” Mr. Kemp recounts the conversation as follows:
“Look, the national media’s all over me about letting you do this,” Mr. Trump said. “And they’re saying you don’t meet whatever.”
Mr. Kemp replied: “Well, Mr. President, we sent your team everything, and they knew what we were doing. You’ve been saying the whole pandemic you trust the governors because we’re closest to the people. Just tell them you may not like what I’m doing, but you’re trusting me because I’m the governor of Georgia and leave it at that. I’ll take the heat.”
“Well, see what you can do,” the president said. “Hair salons aren’t essential and bowling alleys, tattoo parlors aren’t essential.”
“With all due respect, those are our people,” Mr. Kemp said. “They’re the people that elected us. They’re the people that are wondering who’s fighting for them. We’re fixin’ to lose them over this, because they’re about to lose everything. They are not going to sit in their basement and lose everything they got over a virus.”
Mr. Trump publicly attacked Mr. Kemp: “He went on the news at 5 o’clock and just absolutely trashed me. . . . Then the local media’s all over me—it was brutal.” The president was still holding daily press briefings on Covid. “After running over me with the bus on Monday, he backed over me on Tuesday,” Mr. Kemp says. “I could either back down and look weak and lose all respect with the legislators and get hammered in the media, or I could just say, ‘You know what? Screw it, we’re holding the line. We’re going to do what’s right.’ ” He chose the latter course. “Then on Wednesday, him and [Anthony] Fauci did it again, but at that point it didn’t really matter. The damage had already been done there, for me anyway.”
The damage healed quickly once businesses began reopening on Friday, April 24. Mr. Kemp quotes a state lawmaker who said in a phone call: “I went and got my hair cut, and the lady that cuts my hair wanted me to tell you—and she started crying when she told me this story—she said, ‘You tell the governor I appreciate him reopening, to allow me to make a choice, because . . . if I’d have stayed closed, I had a 95% chance of losing everything I’ve ever worked for. But if I open, I only had a 5% chance of getting Covid. And so I decided to open, and the governor gave me that choice.’ ”
At that point, Florida was still shut down. Mr. DeSantis issued his first reopening order on April 29, nine days after Mr. Kemp’s. On April 28, the Florida governor had visited the White House, where, as CNN reported, “he made sure to compliment the President and his handling of the crisis, praise Trump returned in spades.”
Three years later, here’s the thanks Mr. DeSantis gets: This Wednesday Mr. Trump issued a statement excoriating “Ron DeSanctimonious” as “a big Lockdown Governor on the China Virus.” As Mr. Trump now tells the tale, “other Republican Governors did MUCH BETTER than Ron and, because I allowed them this ‘freedom,’ never closed their States. Remember, I left that decision up to the Governors!”
What’s utterly remarkable here is that readers gain an inside look into the difficult spot into which Trump’s White House had placed Republican governors. The whole machinery of DC had been marshaled with Trump’s approval. The order read: “indoor and outdoor venues where people can congregate should be closed.” He issued this order on March 16 and expected full compliance, and then lobbied for trillions in welfare to the states to make sure they stayed locked down.
Only South Dakota with Kristy Noem refused. And for that she was dragged through the mud of media lies for two years because she allowed motorcyclists, for example, to organize and ride in her state. The fake studies coming out about the Sturgis bike rallies set a new low standard for real-time science.
Georgia is important because it was the first state to open. Trump tweeted his opposition to this move both in general and then, two weeks later, in opposition to Kemp’s opening.
Every bit of documentation absolutely contradicts Trump’s claim that he “left that decision up to the Governors” as a matter of his own intention. It was his intention to achieve what he later bragged he had done, which is “turned it off.”
I won’t belabor this anymore because we’ve covered this in more detail here and here.
And yet for weeks now, Trump has been telling visitors to Mar-a-Lago, and his coterie has backed him up, that he never locked down and only people like Kemp and DeSantis did this over his objections. Daily I get calls from people who are stunned that this outright attempt to falsify history is happening. But these days, it is just part of public life, I suppose.
This is why we must be grateful for people like Taranto for digging more deeply into the actual history of what happened in those fateful months from 2020 when life itself was completely upended by dreadful decision-making from the White House. If we had more journalists interested in what actually happened, rather than just pretending that either what happened was perfectly normal or that it didn’t happen at all, we would be far closer to getting to the truth, and making sure that such a calamity never repeats itself.
Jeffrey A. Tucker is Founder and President of the Brownstone Institute. He is also Senior Economics Columnist for Epoch Times, author of 10 books, including Liberty or Lockdown, and thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press. He speaks widely on topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture.