Liberals Fail to Protect Canadians in Quarantine

Canadians have been outraged to hear about the two women who were victims of sexual assault and intimidation while undergoing their mandatory quarantines.

One woman, in Quebec, had a fellow traveler enter her hotel room, refuse to leave and try to force himself on her, sexually. Security failed to arrive in a timely manner and, after being taken to hospital, she was forced to return to the scene of her assault to continue her quarantine.

Another woman, in Ontario, had a Quarantine Screening Officer claim she was in violation of her quarantine, try to extort cash from her and then sexually assault her when she refused.

These are horrible occurrences, and my thoughts and prayers are with those women and their families.

These incidents also further call into question the execution of this flawed program.

The new mandatory quarantine rules put in place by the Liberal Government are confusing and burdensome.

Ever changing rules and poor communications have left Canadians—many of whom need to travel for legitimate reasons—frustrated, confused and scared.

The Liberal government has been planning hotel quarantines for seven months. Seven months of planning and they couldn’t even ensure something as basic as ensuring the physical safety of those staying there.

There were already deeply troubling reports about these “government approved” quarantine hotels before these terrible incidents.

Reports of locks removed from doors—which allowed the perpetrator to enter the room in the first incident.

People unable to communicate their location to their loved ones.

(That’s assuming they can actually get through to book a hotel in the first place—most people agree the government hotline is an exercise in futility.)

Now this.

Isolating vulnerable people in an unsafe environment is an unthinkable abdication of responsibility, and to have Canadians victimized by the very people hired to keep them safe is an unacceptable failure.

To make matters worse, during question period last week, Ministers Patty Hajdu and Chrystia Freeland seemed to imply that it was these women’s own fault they were assaulted because they chose to travel. That is unconscionable.

As a result, Canada’s Conservatives have called on the Liberal Government to halt mandatory hotel quarantines until the government can investigate and provide assurances that they have rectified the situation. (Foreseeing many problems with their approach, I had initially called on the Liberals to reverse this requirement back on February 2nd).

These latest incidents are (just) two glaring examples of the trauma inflicted on Canadians by government overreach and mismanagement over the past year.

While we must, of course, take steps to protect those vulnerable to the virus, those steps should be measured and targeted.

I think it is fair to say that if governments didn’t insist on pursuing quarantines and lockdowns—a course of action being increasingly called into question by experts—neither of these terrible incidents would have occurred.

Ultimately, the responsibility for this latest terrible situation falls squarely on the shoulders of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Health Minister Patty Hajdu.

Their job was and remains keeping Canadians safe.

They failed.