On January 10, Dominic Cardy was on CBC Info AM calling parents concerned about their children “militants” and spreading misinformation about COVID-19. These views need to be challenged, especially given the province’s increasingly bungled COVID response.
First was his claim that children do not get sick from omicron. He said this while there were two children in New Brunswick hospitals with COVID. I am sure it is incredibly painful for those parents to hear that their experience isn’t valid, and this should not be coming from the minister of education. Despite my personal feelings on this, hospitalization data across the world has shown that this simply isn’t true.
Secondly, he continues to claim that omicron is mild with absolutely no data to support that. Omicron has been shown to be milder than delta, yes, but that doesn’t matter much when the transmission rate is this high. The health care system in New Brunswick cannot support these volumes. A chronically underfunded health care system has led to emergency rooms struggling to maintain service or facing complete closure even before the pandemic.
This brings me to my third point, where Cardy said that children are not out of school for their safety, but rather to protect the health care system. My children did not sign up to prop up a system that they had no say in the destruction of. They are nine, seven, and five and do not deserve to hear the minister of education say that it is their job to protect the system.
Finally, Cardy continues to state that there is conflicting data on the use of HEPA filtration, despite the science community stating otherwise. Instead, he is spending tax money on a study to see if improved ventilation will help keep our schools safe. As a taxpayer, I am disappointed to see my money being used for this when there is evidence readily available.
Furthermore, New Brunswick continues to face a decline in the quality of data available. Citizens are now tracking the dashboard and creating their own graphics with the incomplete data we are being given just to provide something to those who are relying on this data to make their own risk assessments. We should not be responsible to volunteer our time to do this work when there are people on the government’s payroll who can.
Beyond that, it is incredibly insulting to be described as “militant” for simply advocating for better air quality for our schools. If the minister can’t handle some grumpy comments from parents online, perhaps he should remove himself from the role. He has yet to provide any evidence supporting his claims, and it is unfair to be referred to like that when all we want is our children to be safe.
At the very least, the parents of New Brunswick feel like the minister owes us an apology, and we would appreciate your help in calling for one.
Haley Jones is an Oromocto-based mother of three children. She studies health administration at Athabasca University.