Raymond J. de Souza: Government overreach on COVID measures has been about power — not the pandemic
It’s a very ancient infection to which state agents are prone and for which no effective cure has been developed
I have raised the issue of government overreach in relation to vaccine mandates. Respectful readers have asked whether that gives comfort to those who oppose the vaccines themselves. Is favouring vaccination but blanching at punitive vaccine mandates too fine a line? Might it discourage people from getting vaccinated?
That may be the case. I further concede that, alongside reasonable arguments against overreach from thoughtful people with genuine concerns, there are some crackpots.
It is possible that overreach may hamper vaccination, too
Recent developments have suggested that such overreach is not a bug, but a feature. Not a reluctantly embraced necessary evil, but malice aforethought. What if the point was no longer containment of the pandemic but to extend the reach of the state, pure and simple?
Consider four examples. For nearly six months, Dr. Bonnie Henry simply abolished religious liberty in British Columbia. Her edict permitted people to meet for an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in the church basement, but that same number of people could not meet in the much larger church to pray. It wasn’t about regulating meetings but banning worship.
When the matter was brought before the courts, the judge shrugged his shoulders.
This month in Edmonton, Justice A. W. Germain sentenced the pastor of a small church and his brother for violating public health orders with manifest contumacy, handing down tens of thousands of dollars in fines based on what courts had done in Ontario.