This is part 1 in our series Report of the Covid Commission
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Preston ManningBy way of introduction, I come from a Canadian political family with 55 years experience in the political and public policy arenas; 33 of those in association with the legislature and government of the Province of Alberta and 22 in association with the Parliament of Canada. My father spent 13 years in the Canadian Senate, and I spent nine years in the Canadian House of Commons, serving three years as Leader of the Official Opposition.

By way of experience with COVID-19 and its mutations, being 80 years old I am a member of a highly vulnerable segment of the population, made more so by my family’s history of susceptibility to lung diseases. Both my paternal grandmother and my father contracted tuberculosis, and I myself have experienced numerous bouts of pneumonia over the years. Since the inception of the COVID pandemic, I have faithfully adhered to the various health protection regulations put forward by our governments. I have practiced mask-wearing and social distancing and taken the PCR test and the Rapid Antigen Test before travelling. I have been vaccinated twice with the Pfizer vaccine and have received one Pfizer booster shot.

Notwithstanding adherence to these measures, in December 2021 my wife and I came down with the Omicron variant of the virus, experiencing health effects milder than those associated with the common flu.

While the following series is fictional, the principle objective is non-fictional – to explore the likelihood that sooner or later, Canadians will demand a full-scale investigation into the management of the COVID crisis by our federal government, that any such investigation will occur despite the objections and opposition of the current Liberal-NDP Coalition, and that the findings of any such investigation may well provide additional reasons to support a future change of government at the federal level.

The telling of this fictional story provides an opportunity:

  • To identify the many unanswered questions Canadians have raised concerning the management of the COVID pandemic.
  • To imagine the voluntary testimony of public witnesses, medical and scientific experts, and government “insiders” whose advice has previously gone unheeded in seeking to answer those questions.
  • To imagine in considerable detail the conclusions, recommendations, and lessons which would result from such an investigation.

Note that the focus of the investigation described in this story is on mismanagement of the COVID crisis by the federal government. Some will rightly suggest that the provincial and large municipal governments were just as responsible for any mismanagement and that any investigation should include an examination of their policies and actions as well. Without denying the validity of this suggestion or the possibility that such a broader examination of responsibility for mismanagement may well occur in future, the following story nevertheless focuses on the mismanagement of the COVID crisis by the Government of Canada for reasons that will become clear in due course.

A desperate plea for the rational usage of ‘experts’ and ‘science’ by Michel Kelly-Gagnon
Rather than a belief in science, believe in the scientific method
The allegations for invoking the Emergencies Act were baseless by Ryan Alford
Is the NDP-Liberal coalition attempting to whitewash the inquiries?

But how, it might also be asked, would any such investigation actually come about in reality? Certainly, the current federal government would never authorize such an inquiry – for example, by appointing a Royal Commission to conduct it. And so, would not the initiation and conduct of any such investigation need to await a change of government at the federal level – by which time public concerns over the mismanagement of the COVID crisis may well have faded?

To address that question, I further imagine and describe an alternative political scenario in which mounting public unrest leads to the creation of a bottom-up “Non-Governmental Commission” with a composition and focus sufficient to gain widespread public credibility and support. A change in government at the federal level is not necessary for this scenario to unfold, though the findings of such a Commission might well contribute to such a change in the future.

So join with me then in imagining what a thorough investigation of our federal government’s mismanagement of the COVID crisis might reveal and what we might learn from such revelations to ensure that such mismanagement never occurs again. Let us do so through a fictional, futuristic description of that investigation – fictional, because it is a vehicle for presenting inconvenient truths about the management of the COVID crisis and close enough to what is possible to be thought-provoking and instructive.

Preston Manning’s long record of public service includes work as founder of the Reform Party and as a Member of Parliament.

Next: Public Unrest and the Freedom Convoy of 2022

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