Former premier Peckford vs pandemic narrative

Former Newfoundland and Labrador premier, Brian Peckford, speaks out in a three-part series on the pandemic response, calling into question the safety, efficacy, wisdom and legality of measures taken by governments, medical authorities and media. The result: Dubious decisions in the face of better alternatives coerced group think has squashed.

By Lee Harding, published by the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, January 12, 2022

Part One: Pandemic policy

Brian Peckford, Newfoundland and Labrador’s premier from 1979 to 1989, believes a false consensus on coronavirus has been manufactured by selective coverage and censorship courtesy of Big Tech and mainstream media.

Former Newfoundland Premier Brian Peckford says pandemic responses by governments and medical authorities are unconstitutional and misguided and disregard relevant facts and research.

Peckford, premier from 1979 to 1989 is the last living First Minister present for negotiations prior to the adoption of the 1982 Constitution. He says the threshold required to override constitutional rights has not been met during the pandemic.

Section One of the Charter says, “The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.”

Lockdowns and vaccine passports exceed “reasonable limits” and have never been “demonstrably justified,” according to Peckford. He says rights to work, travel, receive equal treatment under the law, and freedoms of worship and assembly have been unduly trampled.

“You have a 99 per cent recovery rate from this virus…That’s hardly a threat to the state or a war or insurrection. So I take the view that this is totally inapplicable to our present circumstance,” Peckford said in an interview.

“You should have to do a cost benefit analysis or some other study. And that’s not being done right now. At all. No government in Canada has done a cost benefit analysis. There’s been independent cost benefit analysis that shows that the cure is worse than the disease.”

An analysis by Simon Fraser University economist Dr. Douglas Allen published in April 2021 estimated the cost-benefit ratio of lockdowns in terms of life-years was between 3.6 and 282. His conclusion, based on econometric analysis informed by 80 studies, led him to conclude that “it is possible lockdown will go down as one of the greatest peacetime policy failures in Canada’s history.”

It’s just part of “mountains and mountains of evidence” that’s been disregarded, Peckford said.

“This has all been ignored. And my argument is that I think this is inoperative in law. This government in British Columbia and the governments across Canada, they knew or they ought to have known,” said Peckford.

The former premier is at ease about remaining unvaccinated as breakthrough cases and hospitalizations for the vaccinated continue.

“So what’s the whole point of getting vaccinated if you’re going to get it again? [They] said oh, it just reduces how bad you get it. Oh, yeah? Well, how come there’s all these hospitalizations?” asked Peckford.

“It’s gonna flatten the curve in a week or two. Here we are two years in… even the most ardent pro-vaccine on COVID would have to acknowledge that this has gone on an awful lot longer than anybody thought… You’ve changed your tune so many times. And so one has to wonder what is going on?”

Peckford’s skepticism is especially high for the Pfizer shot due to the company’s track record. It paid the largest fine in U.S. history in a $2.3 billion plea deal after federal prosecutors pressed charges for mis-promoting medicines and paying kickbacks to complaint doctors. It paid $142.1 million to settle racketeering fraud charges for marketing the drug Neurontin. Pfizer also paid $75 million to settle a lawsuit for using an experimental antibiotic called Trovan on children without parental consent.

“So this is the people who are promoting a vaccine for which they have no liability whatsoever. Where’s the credibility to even trust Pfizer?” Peckford asked.

“The Canadian COVID [Care] Alliance has just done a 52-page-review of the first six months of Pfizer’s clinical trials which they were forced to release by the court… ‘More harm than good’ is the title of the study [which] was reviewed by experts like Dr. Byram Bridle of University of Guelph and by Dr. Steve Pelech of the University of British Columbia.”

The study reports that in Pfizer’s clinical trials, 21,926 people received the vaccine and 21,921 received a placebo. According to Pfizer, after two months, the vaccine caused a 91 percent reduction of COVID-19 cases. However, more sicknesses and deaths were reported in the vaccine recipient group, making the absolute risk reduction just 0.84 percent.

As the vaccine was developed, animal trials were skipped, the timeline crunched, and then a trial was conducted on the healthy. Although 95 per cent of people who died with COVID-19 have had at least one co-morbidity (and four on average), only 21 per cent of those in the trial had pre-existing conditions. Those aged 75 years and up compose 85 percent of COVID deaths, but only 4.4 per cent of those in the trial.

The data itself has been called into question. The reduction in cases was only among those tested afterwards, something fully at the discretion of the investigator. However, the study acknowledged that suspected cases (due to symptoms but not tested) equaled 1,594 in the inoculated group and 1,816 in the placebo group. Moreover, investigators identified 5,241 adverse events among the inoculated vs 1,311 in the placebo group – a 300 per cent difference.

Why weren’t the symptomatic tested or counted as cases as it was in the real world? The report of a whistleblower published in the British Medical Journal claimed that Ventavia, one of the companies hired by Pfizer to conduct the trials, falsified data, mislabeled specimens, unblinded participants and failed to follow up and test participants who reported symptoms. Although several other employees backed up the report, neither Pfizer nor the FDA investigated, and Pfizer even hired Ventavia to conduct four more trials.

How safe and effective is that?

For the original version of this article, see the publisher’s website here

Part Two: Solutions

The pandemic response has been misguided and contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, says former Newfoundland premier Brian Peckford. The sole living First Minister from the constitutional negotiations in 1981-82 believes lockdowns and vaccine passports were unconstitutional, and focused protection and alternative treatments deserved consideration.

Peckford believes in the Great Barrington Declaration , which he paraphrases as “Focus your attention on the vulnerable and let the rest of people go to work.”

More than 49,000 Canadians have endorsed the declaration, as have over 902,000 people worldwide, including 15,000 medical and public health scientists and 45,000 medical practitioners. The three initial signatories in October 2020 included Jay Bhattacharya, a professor at Stanford University Medical School and witness in the Justice Centre case against Manitoba lockdowns.

The declaration states that “The most compassionate approach that balances the risks and benefits of reaching herd immunity, is to allow those who are at minimal risk of death to live their lives normally to build up immunity to the virus through natural infection, while better protecting those who are at highest risk.”

Peckford says this option was unduly rejected.

“We now know that Dr. Fauci and Francis Collins and others in the highest hierarchy of the American government tried to discredit those three world class epidemiologists who were the first to sign their names to the Barrington Declaration saying that there’s a better way of doing this, that you’re going about it all wrong,” Peckford said.

Unfortunately, Canada has had its own versions of coerced group think.

Dr. Charles Hoffe of Lytton B.C. came under fire from the College of Physicians and Surgeons for causing vaccine hesitancy after he reported adverse reactions in some patients after their COVID-19 vaccines. Peckford, who joined Dr. Hoffe at an event in Victoria December 9 on the 75th Anniversary of the Nuremberg doctors’ trial, says Hoffe was within his rights.

“He is one of the most decent…guys that you’d ever meet anywhere in the world. And he was just doing his work. He was just expressing a view which he should be allowed to express in a free and democratic society and not be cajoled and coerced as he is now by the College of Physicians and Surgeons. This is a scandal. This is awful,” Peckford said.

“We’re not in Russia or China – or are we – for the College of Physicians and Surgeons to come down on that man like they did?”

Peckford, who opines on his blog Peckford42, says better alternatives to the Canadian approach are playing out all over the world.

“Everybody knows about Florida. Everybody knows about Sweden. Everybody should know about the state in India of 230 million people where they brought kits for early treatment around to every door.”

Uttar Pradesh sent its residents home kits consisting of Paracetamol tablets, Vitamin C, Multivitamin, Zinc, Vitamin D3, ten 12 mg tablets of ivermectin, and ten 100 mg tablets of Doxycycline. On August 25, it reported only 22 new cases despite a vaccination rate of only 5%. Neighbouring Kerala had 20 per cent vaccination, yet suffered 31,445 new cases that day in a population of only 35 million.

“This is a scandal. This is governments of Canada completely ignoring early treatments, even vitamin D… Dr. Peter McCullough in Texas has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, and all the work that he’s done, that he could reduce hospitalizations by up to 85%,” Peckford says. 

McCullough’s protocols have been used by some doctors in Greece, Italy, southern France, South America, India, and East Asia. It includes Vitamins D and C, plus zinc and quercetin, either hydroxychloroquine or ivermectin, azithromycin to treat secondary bacterial infections, steroids, and anticoagulants to prevent blood clots. Sometimes monoclonal antibodies from recovered Covid patients and the anti-gout drug colchicine are included.

By contrast, Canadian medical authorities have condemned the use of hydroxychloroquine and ivermectin for coronavirus (even though the former was used successfully against SARS-CoV-1 in 2002-2004). In mid-2021, McMaster University ran a trial in Brazil using ivermectin. Ivermectin patients were found 9 per cent less likely to have symptoms progress and 18 per cent less likely to die. However, the trial was so small the findings were declared statistically insignificant.

Peckford believes governments and authorities have selectively presented information to back the decision they have made.

“That data is all available. If they [provincial governments] didn’t know, they ought to know. If they didn’t know they’re incompetent. And if they did know, they’re breaking the law. They had an obligation in [court challenges to lockdowns] to give the judge the best information they had, and they didn’t. They only gave the information they wanted to give them. So that’s a complete and utter abdication of their responsibilities as elected people for the people of British Columbia. And the same way in Manitoba.”

For the original version of this article, see the publisher’s website here

Part Three: Big Tech / Media to blame

Brian Peckford, Newfoundland and Labrador’s premier from 1979 to 1989, believes a false consensus on coronavirus has been manufactured by selective coverage and censorship courtesy of Big Tech and mainstream media.

“Big Tech are Facebook and Twitter who have had the power to shut people down because they don’t agree with their point of view. That’s very undemocratic,” Peckford said in an interview.

Peckford cites attacks on the October 2020 Great Barrington Declaration as one example. Here, three well-qualified medical experts called for “focused protection” of the vulnerable and an end to lockdowns for everyone else, only to have their view dismissed as fringe. 

The Wall Street Journal editorial “How Fauci and Collins Shut Down Covid Debate” says the media played a pivotal role. Dr. Collins told the Washington Post the declaration represented “a fringe component of epidemiology” and “not mainstream science. It’s dangerous.” But this was hardly the case, as the December 2021 editorial pointed out.

Big Tech was little help. On February 4, 2021, Facebook removed the page of the Great Barrington Declaration, for unspecified violations of “community standards” only to restore it again a week later. In an article for Sp!ked online, two of the declaration’s authors, Martin Kulldorff and Jay Bhattacharya, called it another example of “ostensibly progressive technocrats enthusiastically censoring scientific discussion and debate.” 

The pioneer of mRNA vaccines, Dr. Robert Malone, has become a strong critic of the mRNA vaccines manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna for COVID-19. Despite his credentials Dr. Malone was permanently banned from Twitter in December 2021 and lost 500,000 followers on the platform.

Peckford says the censorship is an organized effort. “Someone in the western world is not getting all the information that they should be getting because it’s being suppressed by this Trusted News Initiative,” he said.

The TNI launched in 2019. That July the Global Conference for Media Freedom held in London, England as a joint effort of the UK and Canadian governments. There, then BBC Director-General Tony Hall announced, “Last month I convened, behind closed doors, a Trusted News Summit at the BBC, which brought together global tech platforms and publishers. The goal was to arrive at a practical set of actions we can take together, right now, to tackle the rise of misinformation and bias.”

On September 9, 2019, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation announced its participation in the global “Trusted News Charter.” By then Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Twitter, AFP, Reuters, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, and the European Broadcasting Union were also on board.

 On March 27, 2020, the CBC announced, “Starting today, partners in the Trusted News Initiative will alert each other to disinformation about coronavirus, including ‘imposter content’ purporting to come from trusted sources. Such content will be reviewed promptly to ensure that disinformation is not republished.”

The “trusted sources” were usually heads of governmental medical bodies or the World Health Organization. Contrary views were stifled. Besides this, an examination by MintPress of 30,000 grants by the Gates Foundation showed $319 million had been given to media outlets. 

Peckford believes sponsorship skews coverage, and that Canada’s federal tax credit for approved media from 2019 through 2024 is one more example.

“And the other thing with the media is in Canada, they got $600 million worth of money from the federal government. When you get money from the government, you’re not going to be as objective as you would be without having that money,” Peckford said.

Another federal media grant program was launched in 2018 through Canadian Heritage. More than 160 reporting positions across Canada are sponsored through the Local Journalism Initiative, which will receive a total of $50 million over five years. 

Peter Jackson, whose work for The Telegram is sponsored by the LJI took a shot at Peckford in article reposted in the Toronto Star. In “The anti-vaxxer is a person in your neighbourhood,” Jackson wrote, “Former Newfoundland premier Brian Peckford runs a blog from his home in British Columbia that’s awash in anti-scientific conspiracies and medical misinformation. 

“The theme throughout is one of truth being oppressed by a cabal of government and corporations.” 

Peckford declined to speak to Jackson except to say he believed the validity of ivermectin was not just propaganda. But he told this author the “conspiracy theory” label didn’t surprise him.

“That’s the normal corner that they go in when somebody is not agreeing with their point of view. They’ll attack you. They don’t want to deal with the evidence that I presented on my blog over and over again for the last year and a half, data from reputable scientists all over the world,” the former premier said of his WordPress blog Peckford42.

“So, it’s not a conspiracy theory. But they like them too because those two words really trigger negativity in the minds of people and the Toronto Star knows that.”

As for “truth being oppressed,” Peckford believes it’s happening.

“Government is actually getting so big and so in bed with Big Pharma and [Big] Tech that it’s not even funny.”

For the original version of this article, see the publisher’s website here

All three parts in this series were written by Lee Harding, a Research Associate with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

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