JONESIE: That time Ron Cannan actually said something | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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JONESIE: That time Ron Cannan actually said something



It should surprise no one that the interior of B.C. — and Kelowna more specifically — would be at the forefront of AntiVa.

The first anti-mask, anti-vaccine, anti-Bonnie Henry rallies in B.C. started in Stuart Park and have continued ever since. Their numbers are usually small and they’re easy to dismiss because they’re a bunch of crackpots and they’ve jumbled their muddied thinking about everything in society with the pandemic to produce a cesspool of thoughts and conclusions they desperately want and need the rest of us to subscribe to.

But for every placard-waving dipstick I give the finger to on Saturday mornings, there’s a hundred more flooding social media and an untold number of skeptics. How many? Vaccination rates would suggest the numbers are far higher than I would have expected. Some areas of the region remain as low as 68%, meaning 32% are at least somewhat hesitant about the vaccine for unknown reasons.

The surest sign of this growing movement can be found in some of Kelowna’s politicians — current and former. We’ve said enough about Renee Merrifield, the rookie-MLA, wannabe B.C. Liberal Party leader and her comments, questions and criticisms of the pandemic response while she was somehow — inexplicably — made health critic in the middle of a pandemic. So ridiculous were some of her actions and statements, the party had to pull all shadow positions from leadership candidates just to get her out of there.

And now there’s former Conservative Party MP and presumably future Kelowna City Council candidate Ron Cannan. He penned a column in the increasingly antiva-friendly Kelowna Now to sow fear, doubt and conspiracies about vaccines, Dr. Henry, the media and anything else his meandering mind managed to encounter.

No, I’m not sharing the link. I'll spare you his 2,250 words to say this: More politicians should write columns. Seriously. It’s like test-driving a car. Had we the chance to hear the wheezing, groaning and sputtering of actual thoughts forming before he ever got on the ballot, he might have been saved from the most banal career of any politician I know.

He draws on personal experiences, “nearly two decades” of being a backbench MP and “having worked in the media industry for several years” — what a funny way to say he sold advertising — to enlighten us all on this question, ostensibly posed by another of those Kelowna Now readers: "If a doctor in BC has research information on COVID vaccination that is different from Public Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and/or Health Minister Hon. Adrian Dix, why are they not allowed to share this information with their patients and the public (media) without the threat of losing their medical licence?"

Why Ron felt he had anything to offer on this subject — which is flawed from the outset — is well beyond me. He goes on a rambling expedition of his own life and perceived slights over the years to suggest there’s a conspiracy to silence doctors. The answer is actually very simple and one Ron knows and has followed his entire political career. It’s the reason he shut up and raised his hand every time Stephen Harper and his party told him to and never once questioned his own government. It’s because he is part of that government and to criticize creates doubt and dissension. And there’s far less public health risk toeing a party line than there is using your position as a physician to create doubt about our health regime.

Throughout the entire column, he never mentions a single doctor this has happened to so I’ll help him out. There’s a very small handful including a doctor in Lytton who was so strongly against the vaccine and public health orders, he reported adverse effects well beyond what any actual clinical study showed. Then he started hanging posters against the vaccine in health offices. And convinced a bunch of his Indigenous patients they shouldn’t take it.

All doctors can, do and have a duty to report adverse effects. That’s not controversial. But if a doctor is taking his own ideologies and anecdotal evidence that run counter to actual evidence into his examination room, that’s certainly worthy of investigation by his peers. And if that same doctor then tries to juice up his views by spreading them beyond his own examination room — that’s a big problem.

But Cannan’s “open mind” and “research and a little critical thinking” (I’d suggest a little more critical thinking) instead points the finger at the College of Physicians and Surgeons — which he misunderstands entirely — and its perfectly legitimate response to his question, again as some sort of conspiracy and not an accepted practice everywhere, to form his conclusion: "This all seems like a very convenient way for Health Minister Hon. Adrian Dix and the government to “muzzle” doctors in BC.”

I don’t pretend to know a lot about the finer details of these things. Some of the doctors he references do have legitimate criticisms of our response to the pandemic, the science behind the medicine and the social science behind a pandemic response. That’s great. We should have knowledgeable dissent in the scientific and medical communities. That’s how it’s done and how it gets better.

But that isn’t Ron Cannan. His biases are laid as bare as his soft-headed thinking, straight out of the Harper government, which he references several times. He gets his shots in at "the media”, a la Harper, which he contends is so beholden to the Liberal Party of Canada and its Local Journalism Initiative funding, that the entire breadth of its members is conspiring to help with the muzzling. It’s disingenuous, ridiculous and petty.

Cannan even manages to escape the greatest of his hypocrisy when he cites criticism about Harper’s government for muzzling scientists. He uses this to say: "Well folks, how do you think the media and the present government are doing on both of these fronts today?” as if he just dunked on their critics, instead of scoring on his own goal.

Harper’s government — Cannan’s Conservatives — were indeed famous for muzzling scientists in the government employ. When researchers with Parks Canada finally found the wreckage of ships The Erebus and The Terror, Harper wouldn’t let them tell anyone because he wanted the credit for himself.

Where was all your courageous truth-telling then, Ron? Those muzzles fit pretty tight, don’t they?

No need to wonder why Interior Okanagan residents are increasingly opposed to health measures and buying into the conspiracies when they have Merrifield, Cannan and Kelowna Now feeding it to them.

— Marshall Jones is the Managing Editor of

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