March 22, 2020

VANCOUVER – Following the public release of an official letter from Royal Columbian Hospital’s Head of Medicine, the BC Ecosocialist Party is calling for a shutdown of all non-essential businesses in BC. “The head of one of the most prestigious hospitals in BC has stated that our rate of doubling in Covid-19 cases is the same as that of Italy and that if the provincial government does not direct more mandatory business and facility closures, and begin more intensive education and enforcement of social distancing, ‘a catastrophic number of unnecessary deaths' will result,” stated Alannah New-Small, a party spokesperson. The letter, endorsed by senior physicians across the province, stated categorically that the province’s current policy of permitting non-essential businesses to operate will lead to hundreds, if not thousands of additional deaths.

This morning, Ontario's Conservative Premier, Doug Ford, ordered all non-essential stores and services to close as of Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. as a result of the pandemic. "It is unbelievable" said New-Small "that the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario is doing a better job of putting people's health and safety ahead of business interests during this pandemic than Horgan's BC NDP. But people will die because this government has negligently failed to enforce social distancing and refused to close businesses soon enough,” New-Small continued.

Now Is Not the Time to Stop Questioning Authority Figures

“Respecting expertise,” added party chairperson Jennifer Neilson, “involves respecting all experts and looking for an expert consensus, not cherry-picking experts. We believe our chief medical health officer, Bonnie Henry, is wrong about something but we believe that not because of armchair diagnosis but because she does not appear to be reflecting the consensus of BC’s doctors and nurses on the ground.”

The BC Ecosocialist Party has already been questioning the decisions of Henry following her medically-inexplicable decision to re-open industrial work camps throughout Northern BC and lift the cap on large gatherings for their mess halls and canteens. “We hold Dr. Henry in high esteem for her past work and appreciate that her immediate superior, Adrian Dix, has a strong track record at managing the limited resources of our health care system. But a major epidemic is not the time to cease questioning authority. Now is the time that opposition politicians ask the tough questions no one else will.”