OTTAWA, ON (May 14, 2020): As lockdown measures continue to grip much of the country and Canada lags other jurisdictions on many aspects of its COVID-19 response, a group of concerned Canadian thought leaders has penned an open letter to the Prime Minister, urging the federal government to achieve a better balance in protecting both the health and prosperity of Canadians.

The letter, which can be read on the Macdonald-Laurier Institute’s website, reflects the opinions of a diverse group of two-dozen Canadian leaders in business, health care, finance, the professions, natural resources, manufacturing, information technology, academia, public policy, and the not-for-profit sector.

The signatories include Brian Lee Crowley, Managing Director of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute; David Zitner, MD and Founding Director of Medical Informatics at Dalhousie University; Shawn Whatley, MD and former president of the Ontario Medical Association; Brian Ferguson, a professor of health economics at the University of Guelph; Micheline Brunet McDougall, founding President of BMA Strategic Research; Raheel Raza, President of Muslims Facing Tomorrow; Rob Wildeboer, Executive Chairman of Martinrea International; John Adams, Chairman of the Board of the Best Medicines Coalition, and many others of diverse ages, ethnicities, religions, political backgrounds and regions.

To read the full text of the letter and the full list of signatories please click here.

The key messages in the letter include:

  • The assumption that there is an opposition between the health and economic well-being of Canadians in the response to COVID-19 has been deeply mistaken.
  • The lockdown was not only excessive, but the time it bought us has been too often squandered.
  • Governments are neglecting the cost of the lockdown measured in terms of Canadians' health while exaggerating the benefits in terms of flattening the curve of COVID-19 infections.
  • In addition to the health cost of the lockdown, the economic cost can be described as “the deepest and most rapid loss of jobs, savings and income in the history of Canada” and is disproportionate to the lockdown's health benefits.
  • Claims that government policy is based on the "best expert advice" are highly exaggerated, given the diversity of expert advice. Governments must accept that there is no perfect solution, only different trade-offs and the results of their policy choices are their responsibility, not those of their expert advisors.
  • It is time to get the balance right. “The government must trust and empower Canadians to move prudently back to something approaching normal by giving us clear, non-technical statements of the best available information on which to base our decisions and then allowing and indeed encouraging us to take responsibility for ourselves and get back to work.”

For more information, read the full letter here. Media are invited to contact:

Brett Byers
Communications and Digital Media Manager
613-482-8327 x105

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