KINSELLA: Will anyone in Trudeau’s government go to jail?

The government’s failed vaccine deal with China’s dictatorship had profound consequences

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Will anyone in government go to jail?

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Because someone in government perhaps should.

The revelation, when it came, actually wasn’t much of one. The CBC’s Fifth Estate, no less, revealed the sordid, appalling truth, which my colleague Brian Lilley and others at this newspaper had long suspected.

Namely, the Trudeau government’s failed vaccine deal with China’s dictatorship had profound consequences — most notably, Canada’s acquisition of COVID-19 vaccines being delayed by many, many months.

Which, one can reasonably conclude, led to too many unnecessary hospitalizations and deaths in Canada.

“The federal government’s failed collaboration with a vaccine manufacturing company in China early in the pandemic has led to a delay of nearly two years in efforts to create a made-in-Canada COVID-19 vaccine,” wrote the CBC.

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“Government documents obtained by The Fifth Estate show that Canadian officials wasted months waiting for a proposed vaccine to arrive from China for further testing and spent millions upgrading a production facility that never made a single dose of COVID-19 vaccine.”

Lilley, and this writer, believed that the Chinese vaccine fiasco caused a critical delay of months. The CBC (amazingly) says it was two years.

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But let’s give the Trudeau government the benefit of the doubt, and say that the collapse of the CanSino deal (in March 2020) and the Trudeau Liberals’ belated acknowledgement of that (in August 2020) — and the commencement of a meagre amount of vaccinations in Canada (in December 2020) — meant a delay of only ten months.

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So, how many Canadians were killed by COVID in ten months in 2020?

More than fifteen thousand. That’s 1,500 deaths every month.

There are all kinds of variables, here. Was a death directly attributable to the coronavirus? Didn’t nations with vaccines experience greater mortality rates? Is there a direct causal link between the failed China deal and the deaths of Canadians?

That last question is the one that lawyers — and police, and coroners — will perhaps need to consider: did the Trudeau government’s vaccine failure lead to the death of Canadian citizens?

The CBC’s report, and common sense, strongly suggest the answer is “yes.” And, sure, the Trudeau regime’s negligence may not have led to thousands of needless deaths.

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But it inarguably led to some deaths. And that, then, should have legal consequences.

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In the United States, they have greater experience with governmental failures that lead to wrongful deaths.

Most notoriously, and most recently, there have been successful prosecutions of police officers — as in the murder of George Floyd — for causing death while acting in their “official” capacity.

Other examples: the former Michigan governor, and others, charged with perjury and manslaughter for their role in the lead poisoning of water in Flint, Michigan. And there have been many, many instances of what is called “public health malpractice” in the U.S., leading to prosecutions of government officials at all levels.

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In Canada, too, we have seen government officials prosecuted for failing to do their job properly. In 2000 in Walkerton, Ont., most notoriously, six people died — and about 2,000 became seriously ill — when E. Coli contaminated the local water supply.

In that case, Walkerton officials Stan Koebel was jailed for a year — and sentenced to house arrest, in Frank Koebel’s case — for their role in the contamination.

So, it’s a fair question: does the Trudeau government’s vaccine failure — and the sickness and death that needlessly resulted from that failure — rise to the level of a crime? Should someone be facing manslaughter charges?

Following this week’s revelations, it’s not an unfair question. It needs to be examined.

Will it?

— Kinsella is an Ontario lawyer

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