I’m certainly not going to sit here and tell you to believe everything the government tells you. That would be silly. Governments lie a lot, and for all kinds of reasons. What I will do, however, is encourage you to use your brains to figure out when it’s ok to take them at their word and when maybe a bit of skepticism might be healthy.
In this case, for instance, it’s fairly obvious what’s going on. People need to quarantine at times. There are rules that say so, and for good reason. But since not everyone has a large, country estate in which they can properly isolate if needed, various levels of government are taking steps to figure out where those folks who don’t can go. They’re doing this by finding space in places like hotels, because where better to put them than somewhere with beds, showers, laundry and kitchen facilities on site? It all makes perfect sense.
What doesn’t make perfect sense is how we go from something as logical as this to oh my god, they’re rounding up Canadians like it’s the 1940s all over again! And yet, here we are.
Canadians will not be forced into COVID-19 internment or containment camps, a spokesperson for Health Minister Patty Hajdu said Tuesday — taking aim at a disinformation campaign that has been circulating on social media for weeks.
The claim that the federal government is preparing to forcibly intern Canadians is patently false, the spokesperson said.
The federal government has announced funding for voluntary quarantine sites for some of the country’s homeless and has made plans to expand self-isolation capacity for returning international travellers without suitable places to go, but Canadians will not be compelled to leave their homes for so-called COVID “camps.”
“The answer is no, we’re not building containment or internment camps,” the spokesperson told CBC News.
CBC News has received dozens of emails from people who fear that the federal government might soon force them into camps as COVID-19 continues to spread.
“I heard there were FEMA camps across the province,” one person wrote to CBC — again using the name of a U.S. federal department. “Did you order tear gas and guillotines?”
(The Department of National Defence is looking to buy tear gas for a Saskatchewan-based facility — exclusively for training purposes.)
“They brought up the internment camps in the Ontario legislature … for the first time in my life I am afraid of my government. Never in my wildest dreams would I think I would be asking this question in Canada,” another email said.
“Mr. Prime Minister are you preparing to put us in internment camps?” asked another. “Will these internment camps also be used to persecute & jail Christians and other undesirables?”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday that he had to personally reassure a young woman during a recent virtual meeting that his government will not remove people from their homes to put them in containment facilities.
By the way, should I have known that Randy Hillier is this much of a kook?
Independent Ontario MPP Randy Hillier, a vocal anti-masker who has likened the current pandemic to a bad flu season, has been warning his eastern Ontario constituents that the federal government is preparing to establish these “camps” for COVID patients.
In a recent exchange at Queen’s Park, Hillier pressed the provincial Progressive Conservative government to detail what it knows about Ottawa’s supposed plan to detain people.
“I ask this government if people should prepare for internment camps,” Hillier asked during question period on Oct. 7.
“Your government must be in negotiations and aware of these plans to potentially detain and isolate citizens and residents of our country and our province,” Hillier said in the provincial legislature on Oct. 9.
“Where will these camps be built, how many people will be detained, and for what reason, for what reasons can people be kept in these isolation camps?”
In a subsequent email to his online followers, Hillier said “the expansion of isolation/quarantine camps in Canada is something of concern.”
Social media has its place in the world. It can do a lot of good. But much like government, there are times when it is absolutely teeming with bullshit. The best way to deal with this is to treat it the same way you should be treating the government and everything else. Use your brain. You don’t always have to react to things immediately. It’s ok to take some time, take a breath and think about what you’re seeing and hearing. Now and then a conspiracy is real, but there are absolutely not hidden agendas lurking around every corner. Try to relax.