From the Frontier Centre for Public Policy
By Ray McGinnis
Dr. Theresa Tam and senior federal health officials walked onto a stage this fall, socially distanced. Each wore masks, addressing an empty room.
Have they been living in a bubble?
The New York Times reported on February 21, 2023, that wearing masks did nothing to protect people from the COVID-19 virus.
Reporting on a rigorous and extensive study, Oxford epidemiologist Tom Jefferson said, “There is just no evidence that they [masks] make any difference. Full stop.” Jefferson said that even if one were to don an N-95 mask that it “makes no difference – none of it.” The microscopic hole in an N-95 mask was 35 microns. The much smaller droplet from the C-19 virus was 0.15 microns and could easily float through the N-19 mask hole. And why would a mask only be needed to protect us in public when we are not eating or drinking?
Health Canada continues to encourage the public to get COVID-19 boosters this fall. The agency asserts: “It’s considered safe to get both your COVID booster and a flu shot at the same appointment.” They are also “reviewing updated booster shots for children six months and up.”
However, release of the Pfizer Documents reveals people would be wise to avoid getting anymore boosters.
During its brief clinical trials, and in the first 12 weeks of the mRNA vaccine rollout, Pfizer compiled over 55,000 documents that related to clinical trials and other research the company conducted. The company hoped these documents would be sealed from public view for 75 years. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration supported keeping the data secret.
Nevertheless, a US court disagreed. The documents began being released in 2022. Steve K. Bannon hosted whistleblower Dr. Naomi Wolf on his War Room podcast. Together, they issued a call for medical and scientific experts to examine the documents. Project manager, Amy Kelly divided 3,500 highly trained specialists into teams. And they went through the material with a fine-toothed comb Their findings are published in the War Room/DailyClout Pfizer Documents Analysis Reports.
The teams learned that Pfizer had many reports of serious adverse events after the initial 12-week rollout – 158,000 – that they had to hire an additional 2,400 full-time staff to manage the caseload.
A Pfizer Safety Branch Report concluded that by February 28, 2021, 1,223 people had died because of the vaccine.
Pfizer did not disclose all of its vaccine ingredients. In fact, a news story reports: “Health Canada Confirms Undisclosed Presence of DNA Sequence in Pfizer Shot.” The Epoch Times explains that the Simian Virus 40 DNA sequence is in some of the the Pfizer mRNA vaccine, citing scientists who warn that it can be carcinogenic.
It seems that Pfizer kept sloppy records of the clinical trials. Pfizer Documents Investigation Team 5 reported: “a great deal of data… [is] missing from Pfizer’s analysis of adverse events that were reported after the Pfizer mRNA vaccine was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration…. The outcomes of almost one-quarter (22%) are not known.” They added, “Pfizer’s 3.7% fatality rate for the adverse event cases with known outcomes doesn’t include patients that Pfizer said had not recovered at the time of the report (30 April 2021).”
Team 1 reported that from December 1, 2020, “Pfizer was aware that the vaccine…had limited efficacy.” They reported that:“1,625 serious cases of vaccine ineffectiveness….” This included 136 people dying of COVID-19 related pneumonia after getting the Pfizer shot.
Team 3 examined what Pfizer did to ensure the safety of their vaccine. Did the vaccine stay in the arm, or did it travel to other places?
It was known that the engineered nanomaterials in the vaccine can cross or bypass the blood-brain barrier. What were the implications for the central nervous system? Team 3 discovered that: “This evaluation was never done in the Pfizer safety and efficacy trials… it is impossible to know whether the vaccine is safe in this arena. Pfizer did not prove the safety of the nano-lipid delivery system for the brain:” They just didn’t look under that rock.
In March 2022, the Journal of Pediatrics reported that the Seattle Children’s Hospital at the University of Washington had 35 cases of myocarditis in children within one week of receiving the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine. Team 1 reported that it was clear to both Pfizer and the FDA that by June 2021 there was a “serious problem of myocarditis in adolescents following mRNA vaccination….” Nonetheless, the FDA went ahead and issued the Emergency Use Authorization to include teenagers, and they did not mention the risks.
The Pfizer Documents also reveal that by February 28, 2021, they knew that serious stroke adverse events were occurring after vaccination. Pfizer observed 275 patients who had a stroke post-vaccine….“Strokes are life-altering events. Even Pfizer categorized all the reported stroke as serious.” Nonetheless, even after Pfizer examined the stroke adverse events, they offered an upbeat assessment: “This cumulative case review does not raise new safety issues.”
And what did Health Canada say?
Journalist Rodney Palmer reported to the National Citizens Inquiry that the Government of Canada reported that by “March 3, 2023, [there were] a total of 427 reports with an outcome of death…reported following vaccination.”
Unfortunately, Canadians are still living in a bubble with little understanding of the adverse effects of the COVID-19 vaccines and boosters.
Barriers to care persist but access to MAiD keeps expanding
From the Macdonald Laurier Institute
By Ramona Coelho
Our government has allowed the incredible power of certain lobby groups to control the public discourse and policies around MAiD and its expansion, prioritizing access to MAiD over the safety of Canadians.
My family medicine practice serves predominantly low-income and marginalized patients, including refugees, those who have been in our prison system or are facing charges, and many with disabilities and mental health issues. My patients experience high barriers to care and support and face social isolation and all kinds of discrimination. Observing the impacts of this has left me deeply concerned about our government’s priorities.
When the federal government introduced MAiD (a medical procedure that causes death) to those not at imminent risk of dying, I was appalled to learn that my patients, who are frequently blocked from care as a result of hurdles created by our government and systems, could potentially be offered an expedient death provided by the government.
In 2016, assisted suicide and euthanasia were first legalized in Canada and the term medical assistance in dying (MAiD) was created. Originally MAiD was presented as an exceptional lethal procedure for ending the lives of consenting adults who were experiencing intolerable suffering and were near death. The legislation required that patients meet certain criteria, including having a “grievous and irremediable” medical condition, such as organ failure or cancer, and a “reasonably foreseeable natural death.”
But the Canadian discourse around MAiD rapidly shifted to facilitating access and there has been a broadening of the number and criteria of those who qualify for MAiD. In 2021, Bill C-7 came into effect and removed some of the safeguards within the original pathway, now called Track 1, and created a new, second track, Track 2, for adults with physical disabilities who are not dying. Furthermore, there is a planned expansion, though the timing is currently being debated in Parliament, for patients whose only medical condition is mental illness. Parliamentary recommendations in 2023 included future expansion to children and to incapable adults who signed advance directives for euthanasia.
Currently, those in Track 1 with a “reasonably foreseeable natural death” can potentially have their life ended the same day as the initial request if all the criteria are met and practitioners are available.
For those in Track 2, those not dying, death by lethal injection is set at a minimum of 90 days after the completion of the first MAiD assessment. To qualify for this track, a patient must also have a “grievous and irremediable” condition and experience intolerable psychological or physical suffering. Suffering is treated as purely subjective with no requirement for further validation. There is also no legal requirement for standard treatment options to be accessible or tried, only that a patient be informed that they exist. This means that a patient who says they are suffering intolerably could access MAiD having declined treatments that would remediate their condition. This could be because the treatment is inaccessible, or unaffordable, or if the patient declines therapy.
The Canadian Association of MAiD Assessors and Providers (CAMAP) has received 3.3 million dollars in funding from Health Canada to educate clinicians assessing and providing for those who have requested the service. So although the existing Track 1 and Track 2 pathways have different safeguards, in aiming to allow those near death to have access to MAiD quickly and with no barriers, CAMAP has created a guidance document that suggests clinicians can be flexible as to whether someone fits Track 1’s reasonably foreseeable natural death, since the law does not require that the person be terminally ill or likely to die within 6 or 12 months. It also states that a person may meet the reasonably foreseeable criterion if they’ve demonstrated a clear and serious intent to take steps to “make their natural death happen soon, or to cause their death to be predictable.” This could come about from a refusal to take antibiotics for an infection, stopping oxygen therapy, or refusing to eat and drink.
This means that people with disabilities can state their intention to or make themselves sick enough to qualify as having a reasonably foreseeable natural death, as is currently happening with adults who are not dying and yet are having their lives ended within days of their first MAiD assessment. In one case, a man had a mild stroke and received MAiD shortly after, even though he wasn’t terminally ill. The reason? He was approved for track 1 as he was temporarily eating less. This was due to following a cautious meal plan ordered by the treating team which was intended to prevent choking and aspiration risks.
Currently, some places in Canada have MAiD rates that are the highest in the world. By the end of 2022, there had been almost 45,000 MAiD deaths across Canada since legalization—more than 13,000 of which took place in 2022 with 463 of those individuals accessing MAiD through Track 2. Estimates based on provincial reporting approximate 16,000 deaths in 2023. Health Canada and MAiD expansionists have tried to reassure the public that the overwhelming number of MAiD deaths have been mostly Track 1 deaths (implying they were dying anyway) but we do not know how many of those persons were “fast-tracked” and may have had many decades of life left to live and the potential to recover with time and care.
The CAMAP guidance document that seems to circumvent Track 2 safeguards is just the beginning of many serious problems with MAiD legislation and practice in Canada.
Patient safeguards for MAiD are lacking
Other jurisdictions in the world where MAiD practices are legalized, such as New Zealand and Victoria, Australia, frown on or prohibit raising death as a treatment option. This is due to the power imbalance that exists between physician and patient, coupled with the patients’ assumption that the provider will only suggest the best options for their health. Raising MAiD unsolicited could cause undue pressure to choose death. Yet Health Canada’s 2023 Model Practice Standard for Medical Assistance in Dying recommends that MAiD should be raised to all who might qualify if the practitioner suspects it aligns with a patient’s values and preferences.
The model practice standard’s approach to “conscientious objection” is equally troubling. Health care providers who object to providing MAiD, even in specific cases, are considered conscientious objectors. A physician who is concerned that MAiD is not a patient’s best option is supposed to ignore their conscience or professional opinion and simply refer the patient on so they can seek access to a MAiD death.
This is further echoed in a CAMAP video training session where experts explain that patients might be driven to MAiD by unmet psycho-social needs. The expert leading the session responds to a trainee’s concerns: “If withdrawing is about protecting your conscience, you have [an] absolute right to do so.” But he adds: “You’ll then have to refer the person on to somebody else, who may hopefully fulfill the request in the end.” This demonstrates precisely how effective referrals can funnel patients toward death despite legitimate professional concerns and obligations that should have instead led to the process being stopped or paused.
In response to this legislation, many from the disability community have advocated for safe spaces where MAiD can’t pose a risk to their lives. The Disability Filibuster, a national grassroots disability community, stated in an open letter that its members have raised fears about seeking health care where death could be offered to them and if at their lowest, they might agree.
The disability community is not being alarmist in this concern. Health care providers often rate the quality of life of those with disabilities as poor despite those patients rating their own quality of life as the same as aged-matched healthy individuals. Put differently, many physicians might consider that patients with disabilities are better off dead, consciously or unconsciously, which might lead them to suggest MAiD.
Besides the problems of mandatory referral and raising MAiD unsolicited, there is another important factor to consider. Persons with physical disabilities systemically lack much of the essential care they need to live and consequently suffer higher rates of isolation, poverty, and marginalization, all of which can make death their most accessible option. The Canadian government commissioned a University of Guelph study, published in 2021, in which the researchers noted that some persons with disabilities were encouraged to explore the MAiD option—even though they had not been contemplating doing so—because of a lack of resources that would enable them to live. Those with disabilities can be approved for MAiD based on their disability, but it is their psycho-social suﬀering that can drive their requests.
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons, and the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights have all warned the Canadian government that the current MAiD framework could lead to human rights violations. Their concerns are validated by the numerous fact-checked stories about MAiD abuses that are emerging in Canada. These should give us pause. For example, Sathya Dhara Kovac, 44, ended her life through the MAiD program. She lived with a degenerative disease and her condition was worsening, but she wanted to live but lacked the home care resources to do so. “Ultimately it was not a genetic disease that took me out, it was a system,” Kovac wrote in an obituary to loved ones. All Canadians have a right to humane living conditions, to be treated with respect and dignity, and to receive appropriate timely medical care. Considering the living conditions and lack of care that as a society we allow persons with disabilities to have, choices to die might be understandable for those like Sathya. But we should ask ourselves if choices, made under inhumane conditions, are made freely if driven by structural coercion.
Disturbingly, there are MAiD assessors and providers who seem to be ok with proving MAiD under such inhumane conditions. One such provider testified at a parliamentary committee on MAiD that if someone had to wait a long time for a service that would remediate their suffering, she would still consider that waiting to be irremediable suffering and grant them MAiD in the interim. Therefore, it is not surprising that patients with unaddressed psycho-social suffering are being given MAiD by assessors like her.
When it was considering Bill C-7, the federal government asked the Parliamentary Budget Officer to estimate cost savings to our health care system of the legalization of MAiD. The office did this by looking at the comparative cost savings of MAiD versus palliative care at the end of life. Through this impoverished lens of valuation, it is clear that the cost savings will be even greater when, by many years, we prematurely end the lives of people who have higher care needs, especially when we factor in social services, disability benefits, equipment, and other costs on top of the direct savings to health care budgets. But this is not how we should create budgets or measure outcomes. Our socialized health care system is meant to serve those with disabilities, not consider them a cost to the system.
The Canadian government is currently deciding on the timing for its further roll-out of MAiD, this time for mental illness and with no legislative changes to the current safeguards. This expansion is alarming given what we know is happening already to disabled Canadians under the existing MAiD regime. The Canadian Association of Chairs of Psychiatry wrote a letter in 2022—and some testified more recently in Parliament—that we are not ready for this development. They have warned that there is no evidence to guide decisions about who with mental illness would not get better. The evidence suggests that for every 5 people whose lives would be ended based on the sole medical condition of mental illness, 2 or 3 would have recovered. We expect to have much higher numbers qualifying for MAiD on the grounds of mental illness in Canada than in other jurisdictions that allow assisted death for this reason, since barriers to care and unmitigated psycho-social suffering do not have to be rectified in this country (as they do elsewhere) before being granted MAiD.
Our government has allowed the incredible power and influence of certain lobby groups and their members to control the public discourse and policies around MAiD and its expansion, prioritizing access to MAiD over the safety of Canadians. Besides the current discussion about when to legalize MAiD for mental illness, the parliamentary committee has also recommended expansion to children and MAiD by advance directives. With eligibility for MAiD continuing to broaden, we are not giving priority to serving those most in need, but instead seem intent on rapidly expanding a path to end their lives.
 Disabilities is an umbrella term that includes impairment, chronic illness and/or other conditions.
Dr. Ramona Coelho is a family physician in London, Ontario. Her practice largely serves marginalized patients.
Save Taylor Swift. Stop deep-fake porn: Peter Menzies
Photo by Michael Hicks, via Flickr
From the MacDonald Laurier Institute
By Peter Menzies
Tweak an existing law to ensure AI-generated porn that uses the images of real people is made illegal.
Hey there, Swifties.
Stop worrying about whether your girl can make it back from a tour performance in Tokyo in time to cheer on her boyfriend in Super Bowl LVIII.
Please shift your infatuation away from your treasured superstar’s romantic attachment to Kansas City Chiefs’ dreamy Travis Kelce and his pending battle with the San Francisco 49ers. We all know Taylor Swift’ll be in Vegas for kickoff on Feb. 11. She’ll get there. Billionaires always find a way. And, hey, what modern woman wouldn’t take a 27-hour round trip flight to hang out with a guy ranked #1 on People’s sexiest men in sports list?
But right now, Swifties, Canada needs you to concentrate on something more important than celebrity canoodling. Your attention needs to be on what the nation’s self-styled feminist government should be doing to protect Swift (and all women) from being “deep-faked” into online porn stars.
Because that’s exactly what happened to the multiple Grammy Award-winner last week when someone used artificial intelligence to post deep-fakes (manipulated images of bodies and faces) of her that spread like a coronavirus across the internet. Swift’s face was digitally grafted onto the body of someone engaged in sexual acts/poses in a way that was convincing enough to fool some into believing that it was Swift herself. Before they were contained, the deep-fakes were viewed by millions. The BBC reported that one single “photo” had accumulated 47 million views.
For context, a 2019 study by Deeptrace Labs identified almost 15,000 deep-fakes on streaming and porn sites — twice as many as the previous year — and concluded that 96 per cent were recreations of celebrity women. Fair to assume the fakes have continued to multiply like bunnies in spring time.
In response to the Swift images, the platform formerly known as Twitter — X — temporarily blocked searches for “Taylor Swift” as it battled to eliminate the offending depictions which still found ways to show up elsewhere.
X said it was “actively removing” the deep-fakes while taking “appropriate actions” against those spreading them.
Meta said it has “strict policies that prohibit this kind of behavior” adding that it also takes “several steps to combat the spread of AI deepfakes.”
Google Deepmind launched an initiative last summer to improve detection of AI-generated images but critics say it, too, struggles to keep up.
While the creation of images to humiliate women goes back to the puerile pre-internet writing of “for a good time call” phone numbers on the walls of men’s washrooms, the use of technology to abuse women shows how difficult it is for governments to keep pace with change. The Americans are now pondering bipartisan legislation to stop this, the Brits are boasting that such outrageousness is already covered by their Online Safety Act and Canada so far …. appears to be doing nothing.
Maybe that’s because it thinks that Section 162 of the Criminal Code, which bans the distribution or transmission of intimate images without permission of the person or people involved, has it covered.
To wit, “Everyone who knowingly publishes, distributes, transmits, sells, makes available or advertises an intimate image of a person knowing that the person depicted in the image did not give their consent to that conduct, or being reckless as to whether or not that person gave their consent to that conduct, is guilty of an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not more than five years.”
Maybe Crown prosecutors are confident they can talk judges into interpreting that legislation in a fashion that brings deep-fakes into scope. It’s not like eminent justices haven’t previously pondered legislation — or the Charter for that matter— and then “read in” words that they think should be there.
But anytime technology overrides the law, there’s a risk that the former turns the latter into an ass.
Which means there’s a real easy win here for the Justin Trudeau government which, when it comes to issues involving the internet, has so far behaved like a band of bumbling hillbillies.
The Online Streaming Act, in two versions, was far more contentious than necessary because those crafting it clearly had difficulty grasping the simple fact that the internet is neither broadcasting nor a cable network. And the Online News Act, which betrayed a complete misunderstanding of how the internet, global web giants and digital advertising work, remains in the running for Worst Legislation Ever, having cost the industry it was supposed to assist at least $100 million and helped it double down on its reputation for grubbiness.
Anticipated now in the spring after being first promised in 2019, the Online Harms Act has been rattling around the Department of Heritage consultations since 2019. Successive heritage ministers have failed to craft anything that’ll pass muster with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms so the whole bundle is now with Justice Minister Arif Virani, who replaced David Lametti last summer.
The last thing Canada needs right now is for the PMO to jump on the rescue Taylor Swift bandwagon and use deep-fakes as one more excuse to create, as it originally envisioned, a Digital Safety czar with invasive ready, fire, aim powers to order take downs of anything they find harmful or hurtful. Given its recent legal defeats linked to what appears to be a chronic inability to understand the Constitution, that could only end in yet another humiliation.
So, here’s the easy win. Amend Section 162 of the Criminal Code so that the use of deep-fakes to turn women into online porn stars against their will is clearly in scope. It’ll take just a few words. It’ll involve updating existing legislation that isn’t the slightest bit contentious. Every party will support it. It’ll make you look good. Swifties will love you.
And, best of all, it’ll actually be the right thing to do.
Peter Menzies is a senior fellow with the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, past vice-chair of the CRTC and a former newspaper publisher.
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