The price of fear (Part 3, Canadian edition)
Anti-Trump feeling and the strong Canadian preference for social cohesion meant lockdown and vaccine skeptics north of the border faced off-the-charts pressure.
(Third in a series)
Last month, I asked your for first-person stories of the way Covid and vaccine restrictions changed your lives. One subset was particularly striking - those from readers in Canada. Australia may have had stricter rules, but I’m not sure any democratic country did more to ostracize citizens who dared to question its Covid responses.
As these emails show, Canada’s response to Covid quickly tied into the country’s complicated feelings about the United States and Donald Trump. Canadians disliked Trump even before Covid. In a January 2020 survey, only 28 percent said they trusted him to do the right thing, a lower percentage than people in Japan, Britain, Australia, or even Italy.
So once Trump’s handling of Covid became a central controversy in the epidemic, support for strict countermeasures became the norm in Canada. And Canadians pride themselves on being nicer, fairer, and less partisan than Americans. As a Canadian immigration group proclaims, Canadians value equality, respect, safety, peace, nature - and we love our hockey! (Way to roll with the stereotype!)
But that admirable ethos comes with a dark side - an unwillingness to stand up to authority and a passive-aggressive shunning of those who do. This is the right thing to do, and who are you to say it isn’t?
(For glowing *vaccinated* hearts. They don’t mean myocarditis, right?)
Canada banned Covid unvaccinated people from air travel long after it was clear both that airplanes were not a major transmission vector for Covid and that vaccines did nothing to stop transmission. Hard not to see that policy as anything other than punitive, a way to hurt people who had chosen not to be jabbed. The response to the trucker protests this winter was similarly over-the-top.
And the viciousness didn’t stop with the government. As the stories below make clear, employers and families ostracized anyone who spoke out or wouldn’t follow the rules.
(PAYWALLED FOR 72 HOURS)
(As before, stories are edited only for length and grammar)
I am a freelance writer/journalist based in Montreal.
How the lockdowns affected me.
- I lost a ton of public sector clients. I was banned from government offices, including the Courts, the Department of Defence and the Bank of Canada.
- I was not able to travel for more than 2 years, which cost me at least 4 assignments.
- ALL of my closest 100 family, friends and business associates are vaccinated.
o Not a single one resisted. This despite the fact that I laid out the warning signs and basic discrepancies in the Pfizer clinical trial documentation for everyone.
o True, I did not push hard. This for two reasons…
§ But more importantly … walking alone here in Canada for two years, was simply impossible for most people.
My oldest son would have had to quit his job, and my other son would have had to drop out of his masters program.
- I was not able to publicly write about any of my concerns or questions in any media in Canada. This despite the fact that I have been published in at least two dozen publications on other stuff.
Personally I was, and remain, ostracized by key members on my side of the family and my wife's. This is doubly hard, because while they'd probably have me back now, I can't look them in the eye, and allow them to take - and inject their kids with - what I regard as poisons.
To work or travel I had to have the vaccine.
I was asked at the vaccination centre, "did I authorize the vaccine to be given?", it was only a yes or no question. I said no. But had to add But I have no "choice" so it was ticked yes.
After getting my second shot, I was sick at home for three days, I had to sit in the dark due to light sensitivity. I have not had a day off work sick in over 12 years!
After that I had heart pain now and again for about three months. I didn't go to the doctor however.
I always used to wonder how the prisoners of war could turn their backs on the Japanese Emperor 40 years later. I understand now. No issue ever before have given me such hatred for a leader/government as this did. I'm 48 years old.
Last fall my side of the family did some outdoor family pictures. A few days later my sister texted me that the weekend was an exception but going forward they’ll be “putting some distance” between them and those around them who aren’t vaccinated. She was pregnant and their 2 year old was “too young to be vaccinated” so they just weren’t willing to take the risk.
At Thanksgiving, my sister hosted the rest of our vaccinated family. I was in the same city the whole weekend and my wife’s (unvaxxed) family and not being welcome really hit like a ton of bricks.
Christmas would have been the first time all the grandkids would have been at the grandparents on Christmas.
I asked a few weeks before if they’d be open to us testing before we come. She said they’d talk about it, but the answer ended up being still no. In January my sisters had a 60th birthday for our mom and I wasn’t even aware of it…
I’m Canadian but married to an American. In August 2020, when we went up to Canada for our yearly visit, my Aunt & Uncle LEFT THEIR HOME to protest us coming up. They lived in the house next to the house where we would be staying for our quarantine.
No one, except my grandparents in their late 80s, visited us (and, they were definitely warned against visiting the dirty Americans).
On the personal side, along with a few family members, I have also lost my 3 oldest friends in the world. One of them I have been friends with for 30 years. Unlike some of your other readers stories though, this was my choice.
One of them told me that we (collective we) had not lost any freedoms. We were under stay at home orders, businesses closed, restricted from traveling, parks closed, restaurants closed, and she said that we had not lost any freedoms.
The other had me over to HIS house during the lockdowns, and his wife told me with a straight face that people need to just stay home. With me in her kitchen, she said that people need to stay home because the government was paying them.