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A citizen-led inquiry into Canada’s COVID-19 response

Bruce Pardy is one of a number of witnesses who have stepped up to testify at a citizen-led inquiry into Canada’s COVID-19 response. The purpose of the citizen-funded initiative is to investigate independently what went right and what went wrong with the responses and actions to COVID-19 taken by our governments across Canada, and to look at how national crises might be better managed in future. [Learn more about the National Citizens Inquiry here].

Bruce’s testimony touched on concerns he has raised throughout the pandemic and continues to voice, including the emergence of Canada’s administrative state. Bruce addressed the notion of the public good and how many of us have bought into the premise that governments should manage society and that our officials should fix social problems. But, says Bruce, “We shouldn’t have officials deciding the public good.” When that authority is the role of the state, there’s no way to avoid a repeat of the government interventions we saw during the pandemic – and their impacts on the fundamental freedoms of Canadians – unless this premise is challenged.

Over time, and well before COVID-19, legislatures “instead of passing statutes that contain the rules are, more and more, passing statutes that delegate rule-making authority to the administration…. Now the executive branch is doing the work of the legislature,” says Bruce. What happened to the rights and freedoms contained in the Charter? What happened to our perception of how we thought our system worked? What happened to the notion of a “solid and written law” that we thought we could depend on? Bruce’s testimony covered these topics, which he has sounded the alarm on right from the get-go: 

Western liberal democracies, especially Canada, have descended into authoritarianism. COVID appears to be the reason, but this transformation has long been underway. The virus simply unleashed the gathering storm. Over time, managerial states have steadily expanded their reach into every aspect of modern life. Governments supervise behaviour and speech, mainstream media propagandize, public schools and universities indoctrinate, and professional regulators require ideological comportment. The chattering classes now demonize the ideas upon which their own civilization is based, including the sovereignty of the individual over the group, freedom of speech, and equality of treatment under the law. While we once celebrated liberties and achievements, people are now fearful, ashamed, dependent, and obedient.

The law will not protect us. The law is a product of culture, and when the culture turns, the law goes with it. ~ [Excerpt from “The first obstacle is our confidence that things won’t get worse“]

The one silver lining according to Bruce: “If we don’t like what we see, we gotta fix it.”

Go directly to the video recording of Bruce Pardy’s testimony here

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