Rocky View County councillor and former reeve Greg Boehlke has joined the “End the Lockdowns” caucus – a national coalition that includes several Canadian politicians who are protesting government restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I had an email conversation with [Airdrie-East MLA Angela Pitt], and I am in complete agreement with it, so I joined up,” Boehlke said.
The End the Lockdowns caucus is part of a group called Liberty Coalition Canada (LCC). According to LCC's website, the focus of the coalition is centred on “seek[ing] to provide formal challenges to current COVID-19 policies" with an emphasis on challenging governments' use of province-wide lockdowns and stay-at-home orders to combat the spread of COVID-19.
The LCC’s site also stated the caucus was formed in response to what it claims are “unprecedented mass violations of Canadians’ Charter Rights from government across the country.” Other politicians who have joined the caucus include Pitt, Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes, People’s Party of Canada leader Maxime Bernier, and Ontario-based MP Derek Sloan.
Joining the caucus, according to Boehlke, was a move to help bring to light that many people have struggled due to the restrictions put in place provincially and federally.
He said he feels ongoing economic restrictions have not been working and claims provincial and federal governments are not following “real science” in their response to COVID-19.
“I know there will be a lot of people who will disagree with it – this is a very high-pitched area to delve into,” he said.
As an example of lockdowns not effectively preventing the spread of COVID-19, Boehlke brought up Texas and Florida, which have been free of economic restrictions for much of the pandemic.
“They never really did close down, and there are fewer active cases of COVID-19 in those places combined than there is in the state of New York, which locked everybody down,” he said. “I am not making light of the fact that there is a virus, but unfortunately we have mishandled things – especially in seniors’ facilities.”
As of Feb. 18, Texas – a state of approximately 20 million people – had reported 2.58 million cases of COVID-19 and 41,650 deaths, according to statistics on worldometers.info. Florida, with a population of roughly 21.5 million, had reported 1.9 million cases and more than 29,000 deaths. The state of New York, with a population of 19.45 million people, had reported 1.6 million cases and more than 46,000 deaths, as of Feb. 18.
Boehlke also said he feels requiring people to wear masks is a way of keeping people afraid of the virus.
“Masks, for the most part, are a joke,” he said. “They don’t do anything and there is no proven science there. My doctor said the medical value is zero.”
He added he is a firm believer that people who do not feel well should stay home and get better, while those who are not sick should be allowed to resume working.
Disputing Boehlke’s argument, epidemiologists have stated COVID-19 is transmissible even by asymptomatic patients. According to a December 2020 article published by The BMJ – a peer-reviewed academic journal focusing on medical research – a study indicated 17 to 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections are asymptomatic, meaning the person who passed the virus on was not exhibiting any symptoms. The same journal article indicated 49 per cent of people initially defined as asymptomatic go on to develop symptoms later.
“Viral culture studies suggest that people with SARS-CoV-2 can become infectious one to two days before the onset of symptoms and continue to be infectious up to seven days thereafter; viable virus is relatively short lived,” the journal states.
Editor's note: Information that contradicts some of Boehlke's comments has been added to this story, since its initial submission