Aug 5 • 22M

'Court Documents Reveal Canada's Travel Ban Had No Scientific Basis'

My conversation with journalist Rupa Subramanya on her reporting for Common Sense

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If you follow my Substack, you know that over the past six months I have frequently covered the vaccine mandates in Canada. I’ve been raising questions about the scientific rationale for these mandates — and this week we got some answers.

My guest on today’s podcast published new reporting at Bari Weiss’s Substack, Common Sense, in a piece titled “Court Documents Reveal Canada’s Travel Ban Had No Scientific Basis.”

Rupa Subramanya is a columnist for the National Post. Her reporting received international attention earlier this year when she published a piece on the trucker convoy, also for Bari Weiss, titled “What the truckers want.”

Rupa Subramanya is my guest — today on Lean Out. Transcript to come for paid subscribers tomorrow.

Lean Out requested comment from Jennifer Little and Transport Canada.

Transport Canada provided me with the following statement:

The safety and security of Canada’s transportation system is Transport Canada’s top priority. The department’s COVID Response and Recovery Team was established in June 2021, and acts as a focal point for the coordination of Transport Canada’s multimodal efforts to mitigate and recover from the effects of COVID-19 on the transportation network, its users, and employees.

The term “multimodal” refers to working across the modes of transportation, as opposed to one mode in particular. Transport Canada has a number of mode-specific branches, including those responsible for surface transportation, marine transportation, and aviation. The COVID Response and Recovery Team works closely with, and coordinates across modes on COVID-19-related initiatives. 

The COVID Response and Recovery Team coordinated and provided guidance and support in the development and implementation of Transport Canada’s efforts with respect to the federal requirement to be vaccinated in order to board a plane, train, or vessel in Canada, which was suspended in June 2022. In doing so, the team worked very closely with key federal departments such as the Public Health Agency of Canada, Health Canada, and the Canada Border Services Agency.

Prior to the establishment of the COVID Response and Recovery Team, Transport Canada had been responding to the different COVID-19 challenges through the different modal teams. The extraordinary workload, and complexity and evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated the establishment of a team to act as a focal point for coordination, hence the creation of the CRT in June 2021.

The COVID Response and Recovery Team relies on the public health guidance of federal health partners, notably the Public Health Agency of Canada, to inform its policy work. The COVID Response and Recovery Team continues to be the focal point within Transport Canada for ongoing efforts related to Canada’s response to COVID-19.

The vaccine mandate in the transportation sector limited the risk of COVID-19 transmission and infection, helped keep Canada’s transportation sector, including travellers and employees, safe and secure, and allowed for essential domestic and international travel and the transportation of essential goods.

Vaccination is one of the most effective tools to reduce the risk of COVID-19 for Canadians, which is why the Government of Canada continues to take action to ensure as many Canadians as possible get vaccinated.

The Government of Canada will continue to evaluate measures and will not hesitate to make adjustments based on the latest public health advice and science to keep Canadians and the transportation system safe and secure.

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