Ottawa, November 2, 2022 – A citizens group, chaired by Preston Manning, announced plans for a National Citizens Inquiry (NCI) into Canada’s response to COVID-19 in Ottawa today.
Canada’s federal, provincial, and municipal governments’ responses to COVID-19 were of an unprecedented nature and magnitude. The policy, legal, economic and health authority interventions into the lives of Canadian families, businesses and communities were, and to great extent remain, significant.
These interventions impacted the physical and mental health, civil liberties, fundamental freedoms, livelihoods, and overall social and economic wellbeing of all Canadians. The social impacts, business bankruptcies, delayed healthcare and avoidable deaths due to lockdowns, restrictions, and mandates have been profound. The fracturing of families and communities, and the erosion of fundamental Charter rights merits a thorough and comprehensive investigation.
“The magnitude of these interventions demands a comprehensive, transparent, and objective inquiry into the appropriateness and efficacy of the measures imposed,” said Manning, a former Federal leader. “We need to determine what worked and what didn’t and identify how we can respond better in the future.”
Normally such inquiries would be commissioned by governments under the provisions of the federal or provincial Inquiries Acts. However, commissioning an Inquiry whose primary purpose is to investigate governmental response would mean that governments would be investigating themselves. In the eyes of many Canadians, such a commission would lack the necessary credibility and integrity to have confidence that a proper investigation had taken place. Hence the need and desire for a citizen-led Inquiry.
It is also being recognized that in a healthy and functioning democracy, citizens need to be more actively involved in contributing to and monitoring the actions of government.
“Many Canadians have expressed a desire to see such an Inquiry conducted. And more are expected to do so by signing a petition posted at nationalcitizensinquiry.ca,” said Manning. “Over 11,000 Canadians have already signed the petition, and thousands more are signing each day.”
“A federally incorporated not-for-profit company – Citizens Inquiry Canada – has been established to receive and disburse funds needed to finance the Inquiry. A website is under development – nationalcitizensinquiry.ca – where information on the Inquiry will be available including location and dates for the inquiry, and eventually a record of the testimony and Commissioners’ recommendations.”
“Visitors to the Inquiry website,” said Manning, “will be invited to sign the Petition in support of the Inquiry, suggest the names of potential Commissioners for the Inquiry in whom they have confidence in their expertise and independence, and to donate to help finance the Inquiry. Since announcing this initiative, we have seen it resonate strongly from coast-to-coast: 10,000 Canadians have already signed the petition.”
It is anticipated that the inquiry will be launched in early 2023. Manning expects public hearings of two to three days each will be held in cities across the country, providing the opportunity for both virtual and in-person participation.
Ordinary citizens and experts in various disciplines, medical, legal, social, and constitutional will be invited to testify as to the impacts of the measures implemented by governments in the last two and a half years.
“The inquiry will examine the consequences on public and personal health, rights and freedoms, on specific demographic groups such as the aged and our children, and the economy. Those testifying before the Inquiry will also be asked for recommendations for how Canada’s response in matters as this could be better managed in the future.” A final Summary Hearing will be held in Ottawa, expected by the end of March 2023, with the Inquiry Commissioners issuing a report shortly thereafter containing their observations and recommendations.
You can watch the press release online below