EDITORIAL: Facts matter now more than ever

Canadians are on the receiving of a remarkable number of government edicts on how they can now live their lives.

We are being told what to do, where to go, where to stand, how far apart to stand from people, who to see, who to avoid, what stores we can enter and even what products we can buy and how many of each we’re allowed to purchase.

This is incredible. It is unprecedented.

The vast majority of Canadians believe that a lot of these rules make sense, given the circumstances. Most Canadians at least believe some of these rules make sense.

We certainly support many of the current pandemic response restrictions. We absolutely support and encourage enhanced hygiene protocols.

However, these rules always need to be revisited. Each and every day, both the public and politicians need to ask themselves if they all make sense and if they’re all definitely needed.

One way we can assess the restrictions we live under is by studying the data.

We need facts, evidence and data. As much of it as possible, in as many categories as possible.

Put it all out in the open, for everyone to see. Politicians, public health officials, medical experts, business associations and everyday Canadians will then be able to pore over this information.

The pandemic is no longer a narrow issue that can only be discussed by epidemiologists. This is a whole-of-society matter now. All voices matter and deserve representation.

Rather troublingly though, federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu denounced a report by Sun columnist Anthony Furey as “fake and dangerous news.” The writing explored data about underlying conditions in COVID-19 deaths that has been released by Alberta, but not other provinces.

The data shows that over 75% of Albertans who have tragically died of COVID-19 did so while also suffering from three or more underlying medical conditions, ranging from common ailments to the most severe.

There was nothing fake or dangerous about it. It’s just the facts. And it’s just one set of facts, one part of the conversation.

Nobody – least of all the federal health minister – should be suggesting facts shouldn’t be discussed.

We need as much of it as possible, made as widely available as possible.

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