As controversy continues to swirl over rookie Conservative MP and leadership hopeful Derek Sloan’s recent attack on Hong Kong-born chief public health officer Theresa Tam — and specifically, his Youtube musings over whether she “works for Canada or China,” which he now insists was a rhetorical question — Ricochet contributor Justin Kong points out that his “comments don’t exist in a vacuum.”
In fact, he writes, “they are part of a larger current of thought that seeks to reshape and reduce the COVID-19 narrative to the culpability of China, Chinese people and those who look Asian” — one that, he suggests, feeds into an overarching bid by “the ruling classes … to shift the blame for current crises from neoliberalism, corruption and state failure to a ‘state enemy.’”
There are, he notes, “many matters for which China, like other states, should be criticized … but it would be a mistake to blame China for the damage that COVID-19 has caused across the world” — and while he agrees that “now, and in the future, we should work towards a full accounting of how events transpired,” such a review “must not be undermined by insinuations that China ‘allowed’ this to happen or that COVID-19 is mainly China’s fault.”
Not only do such “narratives … form the strategic thrust of the Republican Party,” Kong argues, but “Sloan’s remarks” may be “but a test balloon” for Canadian conservatives as well.
“The earlier we can see how public opinion is being manufactured to suit the interests of the ruling elites at the cost of the majority of people, the better off we will all be,” he concludes.
Elsewhere on the site, Alex Nguyen highlights a new push by grassroots settlement organizations across Canada to make sure that the new federal emergency benefits aren’t “lost in translation” by rolling out guides aimed at helping those who ‘face difficulties accessing them due to language barriers.”
In one instance, he notes, volunteers for a “Vancouver-based youth-led” group that serves the local Vietnamese diaspora “recalled putting in a two-week marathon to prepare for the April 6 launch of the CERB application,” while “B.C.-based settlement organization MOSAIC’s Health Navigator initiative uses international medical graduates — who have the knowledge but lack a Canadian licence to practise — to guide newcomers through medical information over the phone.”
Those involved in the projects, he writes, “view their translation efforts as a step in community-building,” which can be critical during this pandemic-imposed period of separation.
Meanwhile, Ricochet contributor Ethan Cox declares Postmedia writer John Ivison “the worst person on the internet” for a recent column warning that “Trudeau’s lavish handouts risk turning workers into welfare slackers,” which, he notes, was published on the National Day of Mourning for workers killed on the job.
“People’s lives mean nothing, public health advice means nothing,” Cox offers as a summary of Ivison’s logic.
“The only thing that matters is leaving workers so desperate they’ll accept unsafe working conditions and shit wages, grateful for the largesse.”
The column also triggered a rebuttal from Passage’s Taylor Scollon, who suggests that the current public health crisis “is a difficult period for the welfare-haters,” as it “has highlighted not only the necessity of a robust welfare state to care for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged, but also its critical role in protecting all of us.”
His hoped-for takeaway: “It should be clear by now that none of us are immune to the harsh turns of fate. We are all just one accident (or pandemic) away from losing everything that appeared secure yesterday.”
Speaking of the pandemic-imposed pause in all but essential business and services, Press Progress profiles the “strange and mysterious group organizing anti-lockdown protests across Canada”: The Free North Patriots, who, as per PP, are linked to a Scarborough-based “private security agency that sells special bracelets to block 5G signals.”
Finally, Rabble president emeritus Duncan Cameron makes the case for “converting dying retail spaces” — specifically, the “strip malls and … shopping centres, now subject to the crisis in brick-and-mortar retail that began with the explosion of online shopping and has only accelerated with the imposed economic shutdown” — into “vibrant community housing” through a joint effort between the federal government and “civic administrations” across Canada.
On that note, it’s time to check in on the right-of-centre side of the activist media circuit, where Rebel Media’s petition drive to “fire Tam” is in full swing, although still a few thousand short of its 50K signature target.
Undaunted — or, knowing him, very possibly inspired — by the less-than-server-crashing turnout, Rebel commander Ezra Levant has been doing his best to keep up the pressure to remove “Justin Trudeau’s handpicked public health officer.”
Earlier this week, he posted a clip from Outbreak, a 2010 National Film Board documentary in which Tam, he writes, “makes the case for mandatory quarantine of some individuals during a pandemic, going so far as to advocate for ‘tracking’ people through ‘bracelets,’” an assertion that he says “raises troubling questions.”
Also on the case: Alberta Rebel Sheila Gunn Reid went public with new documents that, she alleges, “reveal the Public Health Agency of Canada led by Dr. Theresa Tam knew explicitly that there was person to person spread of the coronavirus in China as early as January 15, 2020.”
Why, she wonders, “did it take the Liberals two full months after receiving that information to slow the flow of 20,000 arrivals from China per week to Canadian airports,” and “why did Theresa Tam not do anything about it?”
Also on Levant’s China-centric radar this week: An “insane attack” by “Trudeau’s CBC” on the Epoch Times for allegedly promoting the widespread but unproven conspiracy theory that the virus itself was originally created as a biological weapon, which Levant describes as “shameful” and “full of lies.”
“While they definitely come from their own point of view, the Epoch Times are very accurate and responsible journalists — I’ve never seen anything they’ve published been undone by claims of factual inaccuracy,” Levant notes.
“And if they are exuberant in their criticism of China, well, let’s call that a welcome antidote to the pro-China insanity in our establishment, from the top down,” while CBC News “won’t hold Trudeau or Hajdu or Tam accountable,” but will “go after a grassroots Chinese newspaper.”
That’s all for this week, but check back next Friday for all the latest news, views and musings from the unabashedly opinionated margins of the mediasphere.