Thursday, June 1, 2023

Why We're Not Keeping Kids Safe from Covid

I mentioned a bit about McKinnon and Co. in footnote to a recent post on health care privatization, but these threads need a wider audience. I can't verify any of this, but it all comes with legitimate links and images from the documents. Long story short, Canada put economic recovery and in particular getting women back to work, over children's health and safety. To get women working, they needed them to believe that their kids would be safe in schools and daycares.

First, from Anneke (a bit tidied up for comprehension):

So, remember when I said the Special Advisory Committee on Covid-19 was “the force behind our Canadian pro-infection train?" Well, now I think the "Industry Strategy Council" established by @ISED_CA in May, 2020 was the force that drove them all. Here's the who, what & why… 
On May 8, 2020, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science & Economic Development announced that this new council will serve as “advisory board to assess the scope and depth of Covid-19’s impact on industries and inform government about specific sectoral pressures.” Industry Strategy Council Meetings were held June 8-Sept 15, 2020 where members shared experiences and heard from ministers/industry about hard hit sectors including transportation, air travel, tourism/hospitality, retail and oil and gas, and worked on positioning Canada for "economic recovery." 
And @GovCanHealth only attended two meetings, the 1st to provide "an epidemiological overview of the pandemic and public health approach for restarting the economy" and the 2nd to "present health indicators to guide PHOs in monitoring & preparing for Covid-19 resurgence scenarios as the Canadian economy reopens." Whereas McKinsey & Co attended exactly three Industry Strategy Council meetings. The 1st to provide "supporting materials highlighting economic responses to Covid-19 across the globe," the 2nd to show "health measures other countries have taken as they re-open their economies." At the 3rd meeting, McKinsey & Co "presented economic recovery scenario modelling for the advanced manufacturing, agri-food, health and biosciences sectors" and "international approaches to understand sectoral pressures and cross-sector strategic directions." All meetings are here.  
After "extensive consultations with stakeholders representing over 1000 businesses, academic institutions, associations, community organizations, Indigenous communities and youth groups across sectors and Canada," the Economic Strategy Council released this 132 page report. These words from "Key Findings": 
"Sectors such as tourism and hospitality, aerospace and air transport, and oil and gas have endured the most negative impacts from the Covid-19 crisis. Without a strong recovery in our resources sector, Canada's economic recovery will be impaired. . . . In addition, while retail has shown signs of recovery, it was also heavily affected by containment measures and remains highly sensitive should there be further implementation of such measures." 
Okay, now brace yourselves, because here comes the weaponization of gender inequality and impact of pandemic measures on minority/marginalized groups, in order to justify the need to restore the hardest hit sectors and get those people back to work and kids back in school ASAP: 
"Women, youth, Indigenous peoples and new Canadians are disproportionately impacted. . . . They're overrepresented in retail, hospitality and tourism sectors are among the most severely hit. . . . Limited ability to work remotely . . . in these sectors has restricted options for ongoing labour activity." 
And a double down on women:
"Covid-19 has resulted in significant gendered impacts and threatens to wipe out decades of progress on gender equality. Women have lost their livelihoods at much higher rates, with 1.5 million women in Canada losing their jobs in the 1st two months of the pandemic." 
One more:
"Given hardest-hit sectors employ these groups (e.g. youth in tourism & service sectors), a slower recovery could leave them even further behind. For example, in April, women's workforce participation dropped to 55%, for the first time in over 30 years, threatening decades of progress." 
Okay, now we've got to get women working!: "School and daycare closures have also put increased childcare burdens on parents, but more so on women, negatively impacting their participation in the workforce." 
But the dilemma: 
"The reliable opening of schools and daycares should allow for a return-to-work, but high degree of uncertainty about duration and severity of a second wave of Covid-19, coupled with limitation of timely testing and results has put many working mothers in an untenable situation." 
Quick segue re: testing: "Engaging with the private sector can expand the opportunities for test deployment and increase capacity. Doing so will allow us to increase our efforts to reduce the risk of transmission while accelerating economic activity." And eventually RATs were widely available to Canadian businesses through programs like this one, while for a long time, these tests (like PCRs) were inaccessible to families and schools. Got to keep transmission under wraps and get those women working (problem solved!). 
Back to the report: "The pandemic has highlighted structural weaknesses and persistent inequalities and focused policy attention will be required to facilitate a full return to labour market. Our goal . . . founded on principles of diversity and inclusivity depends on full participation of all Canadians." 
Okay, like many of you, I'm thinking about all the Public Health/Government officials--including the SAC on Covid-19--who have furthered the goals of the Economic Strategy Council and their stakeholders over the last 3 years. But in B.C particularly, there's one that stands out for me, and that's Reka Gustafson. Why? Well, here's what I believe to be a very telling excerpt from her October 13, 2020 presentation to BCCDC staff:

Heck, here's Reka Gustafson's whole transcribed presentation, complete with not so thinly disguised eugenics and a reiteration of words from Industry Strategy Council's report regarding adverse effects of pandemic measures (while knowing all about the harms of Long Covid).
One last thing. Under "Acknowledgements," there is this: "The Council would like to recognize Ex-Officio Members, Chief Science Advisor, Dr. Mona Nemer and Deputy Minister, Simon Kennedy, for their valued contributions and insights throughout the span of the Council's work." Suddenly it all makes sense, doesn’t it? The reason why there hasn’t been another report on Covid-19 and children after July, 2020. Since it was the Minister of Innovation, Science & Economic Development that asked our @SciChefCan and her task force to complete this one
And perhaps it provides a little window into why there was no updated information about Long Covid and children in Nemer’s December, 2022 PCC Framework for Action report too. By the way, for good measure I went through every one of these peer reviewed articles regarding kids and Long Covid, and there was only one conducted in Canada. This one from Manitoba published in Dec/2022 to be exact. Why is that @SciChefCan? Since, as per three years ago, in your July, 2020 report on Covid-19 and children, you and your task force concluded “that there is an urgency to fill the large knowledge gap on the pathophysiology of C19 in children through focused research.” 

In fact, here’s the full statement regarding the urgent need for more Children and Covid-19 research from this July, 2020 report by Canada’s Chief Science Advisor and her task force. (And now we know that any prevalence studies or systematic observations that ensued made for some decision-based evidence-making!): 

And then there’s this opposing research focus from a July, 2020 report--that let’s not forget was commissioned by Canada’s Innovation, Science & Economics Development Ministry who also oversaw Industry Strategy Council. Canadian researchers sure grabbed hold of this! Must have been a lot of incentives.
Proof is in the results of this Google Scholar search. After typing in “youth mental health and Covid-19 in Canada,” 20+ pages of published articles pop up all essentially concluding that pandemic measures are far more harmful for children/youth/adolescents than Covid-19. 
This is the sad crux of it all: From Diego Bassani
"Acknowledging the role of children and schools in viral transmission seriously limits policy to options to address the major barrier to economic recovery: getting racialized women back to exploitative work. Solution: ignore the first and carry on with the second."
And the brazen COI that permeates intertwined government offices including the Office of Chief Science Advisor of Canada: 
It’s a glaring COI that the Fed Ministry who created the “Industry Strategy Council” tasked w/economic recovery was very same one who commissioned Chief Science Advisor Nemer’s July/20 C19 & Children report. But what does that make CSA Nemer? Complicit? Complacent? Hands tied?

Then Nicolas Smit added, 

It gets even worse. Through an ongoing FOIR to the Ministry of Labour, I learned that bureaucratic hurdles were in place actively preventing the MOL from investigating or speaking out about workplace Covid deaths and injuries that resulted from known government negligence. I was told over the phone and by email by MOL officials that despite the MOL knowing that countless preventable workplace deaths and injuries occurred as a result of the government purposely keeping the 100,000 elastomeric respirators locked up plus violating worker’s right to know what PPE was safe and available, there is nothing the MOL can do. They said since the government PPE policies that were systematically violated and led to those preventable deaths came from the Ministry of Health not the MOL, they are unable to do a single thing to help including ensure that workers' right to know is respected. 

This February 2021 news article shows how the only thing MOL inspectors could do was QUIETLY let hospitals experiencing PPE shortages leading to deadly outbreaks know that upgrading workers to elastomeric respirators would keep them better protected and end being an end to PPE shortages. 

Unless someone can convince MPPs to expose this bureaucracy and have these deaths and injuries investigated, Doug Ford and other government officials involved in the wrongdoing will never be able to be held accountable and victims plus grieving families will never be able to have Justice in criminal or civil courts. There are great politicians like @MatthewGreenNDP @kristynwongtam that have been made aware of this wrongdoing and have done great work speaking about these kinds of things in the past, but without others helping me to push them to let workers and their grieving families know what occurred, this bureaucracy will only get worse and will be repeated in future waves and pandemics since MPs and MPPs don’t like publicly mentioning this ongoing scandal. 

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