People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier, former Newfoundland and Labrador premier Brian Peckford, and eight others contended citizens’ mobility charter rights were violated, but the case was dismissed because the restrictions are no longer in place.
The Canadian Federal Court of Appeal dismissed as “moot” a legal challenge initiated against the federal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over its COVID jab travel mandates that banned the vaccine free from travel.
The legal challenge was initiated by People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier, former Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador Brian Peckford, and eight others who said Trudeau’s mandates violated one’s mobility charter rights.
In a judgment issued November 9, Justice George R. Locke of the appeals court, on behalf of two other judges, ruled that the case was “moot for lack of live controversy” as the COVID travel jab mandates are no longer in effect.
“For the foregoing reasons, I would dismiss all of the present appeals,” the judge wrote.
Bernier and Peckford’s lawyers had argued that their case had merit, despite the travel COVID jab mandates being gone, as they could be reintroduced at a moment’s notice.
The appeals court did note that while COVID travel vaccine mandates may be reintroduced in the future, this was “highly speculative.”
Bernier, who was a strong supporter of the Freedom Convoy and did not get the COVID shots, said he was “very disappointed” in the court ruling but vowed to continue the fight against the “unjust” mandates.
“I am very disappointed but not at all surprised by this decision considering the types of slanted questions and comments that the judges made during our hearing a month ago,” Bernier wrote November 9 on X (formerly Twitter).
“I will speak to my colleague Brian Peckford and the other appellants to determine our next step. I will continue to do everything I can to fight these unjust travel mandates and make sure they are never implemented again.”
In February 2022, Bernier, along with Peckford, and eight others filed a court challenge to COVID mandates in place at the time that banned the vaccine-free from air travel. Bernier and Peckford had the help of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF).
The legal challenge made headlines as Peckford is the last living signatory to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which came into force in 1982.
In November 2021, the Trudeau government introduced COVID jab travel mandates, which remained in place until June 2022.
In October 2022, the Canadian federal court ruled Bernier and Peckford’s and the others court case as “Moot” in light of the federal government dropping COVID mandates in the same month.
Later, in April 2023, Bernier and Peckford, with the help of the JCCF, along with the others in the case filed an appeal in the “mootness” ruling.
JCCF said case was important as COVID travel jab mandates were a ‘Egregious infringement of Canadians’ mobility rights’
Last month, the Federal Court of Appeal in Ottawa heard Bernier and Peckford’s and the others’ court case. JCCF president John Carpay noted at the time that the case was important as well as unique.
“There has never been a more egregious infringement of Canadians’ mobility rights than what occurred due to the unconstitutional and unlawful travel vaccine mandates,” Carpay observed.
“For the Federal Court to find that it is not in the public interest to determine whether the Federal Government acted lawfully in prohibiting 5 million Canadians from flying across the country and internationally to see family members is a grave injustice that the Federal Court of Appeal ought to remedy.”
In September 2022, Bernier thanked all Canadian “freedom fighters” who protested against COVID mandates of all kinds after a federal travel jab mandate for air travel was dropped.
Bernier, who is a former MP and cabinet minister with the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) before creating the PPC in 2018, was one of the most outspoken politicians against the COVID mandates. He would frequently criticize his former party for not speaking out against the mandates.
Eventually, the CPC under its new leader Pierre Poilievre, but after the mandates had been lifted, began to speak out against Trudeau’s mandates.
A recent bill championed by Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) leader Pierre Poilievre that would have given Canadians back their “bodily autonomy” by banning future jab mandates was voted down yesterday Trudeau’s Liberals and all other parties rejected it.
In October 2021, Trudeau announced unprecedented COVID-19 jab mandates for all federal workers and those in the transportation sector and said the unjabbed would no longer be able to travel by air, boat, or train both domestically and internationally.
This policy resulted in thousands losing their jobs or being placed on leave for non-compliance. It also trapped “unvaccinated” Canadians in the country.
During the so-called COVID pandemic, Trudeau referred to those who chose not to get the experimental COVID shots as terrible people.
In 2021, Trudeau said Canadians “vehemently opposed to vaccination” do “not believe in science,” are “often misogynists, often racists,” and even questioned whether Canada should continue to “tolerate these people.”
Witnessing the Media’s Covid Coverage from the Inside
From the Brownstone Institute
If right-leaning outlets wanted my words and left-leaning ones did not, my Occam’s razor landed on ideology as the explanatory factor. So-called progressive media had a story to uphold and rejected any plot twist that threatened the cohesion of its narrative.
In the movie An Education, the main character gets sidetracked from her studies by a smooth-talking art dealer who turns out to be a criminal—and married. Our protagonist learns more from that experience than from all the medieval literature books she cracked open before. I have similar feelings about my own education. While I’ve been earning my living as a writer for the past 29 years, it’s only during the Covid era that I learned what the writing business is really about.
I wear two hats in my professional life: medical writer, creating materials for doctors and the healthcare industry, and feature-article journalist for consumer magazines. It wasn’t until Covid that I began pitching essays and op-eds for publication.
I started with a piece called “A Tale of Two Pandemic Cities,” which grew out of my short trip to Amsterdam and Stockholm in the summer of 2020, when the European Union opened its doors to “well-behaved” countries like Canada. The Covid hysteria in my country had made me desperate to visit more balanced parts of the world, and my trip didn’t disappoint. The article found a home at a Canadian outlet called Healthy Debate, though the editor asked me to temper my enthusiasm for the Swedish strategy with an acknowledgement of its risks. Happy to find a legit publisher for my first Covid piece, I capitulated, sort of. (You can judge for yourself.)
Thus began a feverish outpouring of essays, each one motivated by the same bewildered questions: What the hell is happening to the world, and why? Has everyone else gone mad, or is it me? I had written a few controversial articles throughout my career, but never before had I held a “dissenting view” about an issue that affected the whole world—or felt such an urgent need to express it.
The Great Divide
I quickly learned that certain news outlets were less open to my pieces than others. Salon, fuggedaboutit. Spiked Online, bull’s eye on the first try. Washington Post, not a chance. Wall Street Journal, a couple of “close, but no cigar” efforts and then finally a yes. It boiled down to this: the further left a publication leaned, the less likely it would publish my pieces (or even respond to my inquiries). I’m sure a statistician could write an equation to capture the trend.
So why the radio silence from left-wing publications? I doubted I was tripping their “Covid disinformation” radars, as my pieces had less to do with scientific facts than with social philosophy: the balance between safety and freedom, the perils of top-down collectivism, the abuse of the precautionary principle, that sort of thing. If right-leaning outlets wanted my words and left-leaning ones did not, my Occam’s razor landed on ideology as the explanatory factor. So-called progressive media had a story to uphold and rejected any plot twist that threatened the cohesion of its narrative. (Not that right-wing media behaved much differently. Such is the age of advocacy journalism.)
Most nerve-wracking of all were the publishers who accepted my articles but, like that first Healthy Debate editor, insisted I make substantive changes. Should I concede or push back? I did a bit of both. The most important thing, I told myself, was to make people reflect on the topsy-turvy policies that had freeze-framed the world. If I had to soften a few sentences to get the word out, so be it. I have the utmost respect for writers who refuse to yield on such matters, but 29 years of paying the bills from my writing have tipped my internal compass toward pragmatism.
I did stand my ground with an article on the mask wars. My thesis was that the endless and pointless disputes on social media—masks work, no they don’t, yes they do, no they don’t—had less to do with science than with worldview: irrespective of the data, social collectivists would find a way to defend masks, while my freedom-first compatriots would never countenance a perma-masked world.
One editor agreed to publish the piece if I mentioned that some studies favor masking, but I argued that quoting studies would undercut my central argument: that the forces powering the mask wars have little to do with how well they block viruses. He wouldn’t budge, so we parted ways and I found a more congenial home for the piece at the Ottawa Citizen.
The process of pitching counternarrative essays, while arduous at times, led me to a smorgasbord of lesser-known, high-quality publications I never would have discovered otherwise. Topping the list was the glorious UnHerd, a UK news and opinion website with such daring thinkers as Mary Harrington and Kathleen Stock on its roster of contributors. The US-based Tablet magazine offered consistently fresh takes on Covid and never took the easy road in its analyses. In its pages I found one of the most powerful Covid essays I have ever read. The author, Ann Bauer (no relation), teased out the common threads between the “settled science” about the virus and the litany of quack theories about autism, which fed into her son’s death by suicide.
Then there was Quillette, whose contempt for the sacred cows of wokeism gave me a special thrill. True confession: I blew my chances with Quillette and it’s my own damned fault. Like many working writers, I sometimes pitch a piece to more than one outlet at the same time, a practice known as simultaneous submissions. This goes against protocol—we’re supposed to wait until an editor declines our pitch before approaching the next one—but the reality is that many editors never respond. With the deck thus stacked against us, we writers sometimes push the envelope, figuring the odds of getting multiple acceptances (and thus pissing off editors) are low enough to take the risk.
On this particular occasion, I submitted an article called “Lessons from my Half-Vaxxed Daughter” to three publications. Medpage Today responded right away, and I accepted their offer to publish it. (This was while Marty Makary, the dissident-lite physician who called out people’s distorted perception of Covid risk in mainstream media, led the editorial team.) A few hours later, Quillette’s Canadian editor sent me a slightly reworked version of my piece and told me when he planned to run it. I had no choice but to proffer a red-faced apology and admit I had already placed the article elsewhere. He never responded to my email or to a follow-up mea culpa a few weeks later—and has ignored everything I’ve submitted since then. I guess I’ll have to wait until he retires.
Earlier this year, Brownstone Institute published my book Blindsight Is 2020, which critiques the pandemic response through the lens of 46 dissident thinkers. By all standards a moderate book, it stays clear of any “conspiratorial” speculations about the origins of the pandemic or the political response to it. Instead, it focuses on the philosophical and ethical issues that kept me awake at night during the peak Covid years—the same themes I explore in my essays, but in greater depth. I wrote the book not just for “my team,” but for those who vehemently opposed my views—perhaps especially for them. I didn’t expect to change their minds as much as to help them understand why some of us objected so strenuously to the policies they cheered on.
After the book came out, a few podcasters invited me to their shows. I appeared on a Libertarian Institute podcast in which the host puffed on his hand-rolled cigarettes while we talked. I spoke to an amiable ex-con podcaster who made it his mission to share Ayn Rand’s ideas with the world. I bonded with Rupa Subramanya—a brilliant Canadian conservative journalist and podcaster featured in my book—over the Freedom Convoy we had both supported.
All told I’ve appeared on 22 podcasts to date, each of them hosted by a right-leaning or libertarian host. Crickets from the left. Not one to accept defeat, I’ve begun reaching out to left-leaning podcasters on my own. Perhaps one day I’ll hear back from them.
Covid media, like so much else in modern life, has become hopelessly fractured: the tall, left-facing trees dominate the landscape, telling the story of a deadly virus that we “did the best we could” to manage. Below the tree canopy lies the tangle of weeds that sway in the wind, whispering songs of freedom and warning against the totalitarian impulses that all too readily emerge during crises. While I’ll continue to throw my essays at those unyielding trees, the messy underbrush is where I’ve found my journalistic home.
Texas sues Pfizer for allegedly lying about COVID shot efficacy rate, trying to censor jab critics
Ken Paxton, Texas Attorney General
‘The facts are clear. Pfizer did not tell the truth about their COVID-19 vaccines,’ Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton
Texas Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton on Thursday announced a lawsuit against Pfizer for allegedly misrepresenting the efficacy of their COVID-19 shots and attempting to squelch public criticism of the experimental drug. Pfizer responded, stating the company “has no higher priority than the safety and effectiveness of its treatments and vaccines” and believes Paxton’s “case has no merit.”
Paxton filed the 54-page complaint with the District Court of Lubbock County, Texas in a bid to “hold Pfizer responsible for its scheme of serial misrepresentations and deceptive trade practices” in violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
“The facts are clear. Pfizer did not tell the truth about their COVID-19 vaccines,” the attorney general said in a November 30 press release announcing the lawsuit.
“The COVID-19 vaccines are the miracle that wasn’t,” the complaint states. “Pfizer intentionally misrepresented the efficacy of its COVID-19 vaccine and censored persons who threatened to disseminate the truth in order to facilitate fast adoption of the product and expand its commercial opportunity.”
BREAKING:🚨 I am suing Pfizer for misrepresenting Covid-19 vaccine efficacy and conspiring to censor public discourse. pic.twitter.com/63mZ1y6FNC
— Attorney General Ken Paxton (@KenPaxtonTX) November 30, 2023
According to the lawsuit, the advertised 95% efficacy of Pfizer’s COVID jab in people without prior infection led Americans to believe that the shot “would end the coronavirus pandemic” while in reality it did not.
In fact, the lawsuit notes, “More Americans died in 2021, with Pfizer’s vaccine available, than in 2020, the first year of the pandemic.” Per the CDC, 384,536 people died with COVID-19 “listed as the underlying or contributing cause” in 2020, before the jab rollout, compared with 460,513 in 2021.
“Pfizer’s product, buoyed by the company’s misrepresentations, enriched the company enormously,” the lawsuit states. Pfizer reportedly brought in $37.8 billion in revenue from its oft-mandated mRNA shots in 2021.
“But, while Pfizer’s misrepresentations piled up, its vaccine’s performance plummeted,” the Texas lawsuit states.
The efficacy of all COVID jabs approved for use in the U.S., including Pfizer’s mRNA shot, fell significantly during 2021. Between February and October, the Pfizer jab’s reported efficacy was nearly cut in half, dropping from an estimated 86% to just 43% as calls for booster shots ramped up.
Leaked data from the Department of Defense in October 2022 showed that around 60% of older Americans hospitalized with coronavirus by August had been “fully vaccinated.” In Vermont, almost three-quarters of people who died with COVID-19 in September 2022 were vaccinated.
The lawsuit further alleges that Pfizer resorted to censorship attempts when its product failed to meet efficacy expectations.
“Pfizer labeled as ‘criminals’ those who spread facts about the vaccine. It accused them of spreading ‘misinformation,’” the lawsuit states. In November 2021, Pfizer CEO Alberto Bourla argued that people who steered others away from getting jabbed were “criminals.”
The lawsuit also alleges that Pfizer “coerced social media platforms to silence prominent truth-tellers.”
According to an installment of the “Twitter Files” by reporter Alex Berenson, Pfizer board member Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who formerly headed up the FDA, pushed Twitter to censor content expressing skepticism of the mRNA COVID shots.
Moreover, the lawsuit cited a report by journalist Lee Fang that found that the biopharmaceutical lobby group BIO “fully funded a special content moderation campaign designed by a contractor called Public Good Projects,” which worked with the social media platforms “to set content moderation rules around covid ‘misinformation.’”
Fang said BIO spent “$1,275,000 in funding for the effort, which included tools for the public to flag content on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook for moderation.” While the campaign mostly flagged actual inaccuracies, it also included “requests to label or take down content critical of vaccine passports and government mandates to require vaccination.”
On Thursday, Paxton said his office is “pursuing justice for the people of Texas, many of whom were coerced by tyrannical vaccine mandates to take a defective product sold by lies.”
Arguing that the Biden administration “weaponized the pandemic to force illegal public health decrees on the public and enrich pharmaceutical companies,” Paxton vowed to “use every tool I have to protect our citizens who were misled and harmed by Pfizer’s actions.”
In a statement to The Hill, Pfizer responded by saying it “is deeply committed to the well-being of the patients it serves and has no higher priority than the safety and effectiveness of its treatments and vaccines.”
“Since its initial authorization by FDA in December 2020, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine has been administered to more than 1.5 billion people, demonstrated a favorable safety profile in all age groups, and helped protect against severe COVID-19 outcomes, including hospitalization and death,” the drug company said. “The representations made by the company about its COVID-19 vaccine have been accurate and science-based.”
“The company believes that the state’s case has no merit and will respond to the petition in court in due course,” Pfizer added in its statement.
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