Good morning, my name is Janice Konan. I must say, for me, the National Citizens Inquiry has been quite the journey. At the beginning, my focal point and priority for becoming a commissioner were to ensure as complete an analysis as possible into the impacts of the COVID-19 response on the diverse aspects of our Canadian society. In particular, this was important for our children, our faith, our God-given entrenched freedom, and the democratic principles that have contributed to the blessing of this great nation from coast to coast.
More specifically, to examine how the government's response to COVID affected vulnerable and marginalized populations and communities. After listening to the testimony of 305 Canadians, recognizing and accommodating the hundreds of other voices willing to testify, I realized the picture being painted was much deeper, all more devastating and divisive, and the response from our public institutions on every Canadian far more destructive. It soon became clear that Canada was not the society I had known during my lifetime. I was privileged to be born into a Canada that made sense in both mind and soul. But now, having been exposed to the testimony of hundreds of Canadians with respect to the government response to COVID, I have been introduced to a new sinister dimension, one that no longer reflects the values, but beliefs and freedoms of my generation.
It is within this backdrop that the conclusions and recommendations made by the Commissioners are so critical. The juncture Canadians face in moving forward must include exposing the forces that willingly subscribed to destroying our beloved country from the inside out. Indeed, what we witnessed during COVID was so contrary to Western ideals. Sadly, the institutional arm unleashing what took place in 2020 has not stopped forwarding their lawless agenda, even though those responsible are now being exposed. Government overreach and intrusion are destroying the lives of ordinary Canadians, becoming the unspoken mantra under the surface of what we refer to as governing institutions. This mindset to oppress the masses, to destroy the spirit that has made Canada the envy of the world, continues.
One example that stands out was the decision to callously declare some businesses non-essential, even when it was the lifeline for the people involved in that particular endeavor. Some of those mom-and-pop businesses deemed non-essential and thus forced to close during COVID are still receiving hefty tax assessments that reflect the tax assessments pre-COVID. Try telling any of the tax-collecting institutions in this country there was no income during the COVID years.
What about the business owners who lost everything because an unelected official with the stroke of a pen deemed one's life work unnecessary? The entrepreneurial spirit, the backbone of this country, sanctioned by the stroke of a pen, while corporate entities and government money-makers open for business.
Witnesses testified of the abuses they face for believing differently or taking a different stance. Many families are still divided, even the most common-sense thinking was discarded for health mandates. One example is the mandate to wear a mask into a restaurant, with the ability to take it off once seated, as if COVID was prevented from joining us at the table. Or our children forced to wear the same mask all day, even though it is obvious even to the neediest a clean mask.
Unions vacated their legal responsibility and duties to their members. Post-secondary institutions and health authorities, publicly funded institutions, including schools and the judiciary, closed. Ordinary citizens had no avenue open to them to obtain justice, and the negative effects on students are still being felt today. After being forced to sit in a room in front of a screen, isolated from their friends and social networks for hours on end, it's no wonder the unlearned mentality has become so entrenched within the K-12 system.
And then there are the many whose young lives had become so disrupted that they went to a place from which there was no return. My question: how many suicides are too many before we, as a populace, say enough?
As well, curfews were imposed on the citizenry, where one could suffer the wrath of the state for venturing outdoors after 8:00 pm. Ontario and Quebec set up provincial roadblocks. The Maritimes, in particular, imposed the strictest, most contradictory rules, violating the very essence of mobility rights established in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Government permission needed to be granted before a citizen from away could enter these provinces, even when these same citizens own property therein.
For the first time ever, Canada needed papers. Canadians needed papers to travel within their own country. Our cell phones were tracked by nameless health authorities for no apparent reason, as if the good citizens of this country were hardened criminals.
Canadians across this country mocked, publicly shamed, and called unacceptable and disparaging names by the Prime Minister, by policing authorities, by faceless and nameless bureaucrats, by the media funded with Canadians' tax dollars, and governance institutions that are legislated to uphold the law.
Individual rights were stomped on; Canadians from all walks of life were denied the right to life, liberty, and security. We witnessed shameful abuses against ordinary citizens by police forces during the Freedom Convoy.
The citizens held in jail for over 600 days without justice being served, peaceful demonstrators arrested for exercising their constitutional rights and freedoms, church services disrupted by police, and ministers of the good news gospel arrested. And, most egregious to my own heart, the RCMP using track dogs to hunt down churchgoers for holding church in the wilderness. Where were these police officers' conscience? And where was the legal right to refuse work that violated one's conscience and convictions in these real-life examples?
At the same time, doctors, nurses, and surgeons were publicly penalized, with many being ostracized by colleges and physicians losing their ability to practice medicine for publicly standing up for their patients' health and well-being. Ironically, they were forced to violate their own sense of right and wrong. When was there ever a time in the history of Canada where religious and medical exemptions were not permitted?
And an employment insurance program fully funded by employers and employees and not by the government was permitted to justify the refusal of claims from applicants who chose not to take the COVID shot, labeling their actions as misconduct.
As if this isn't enough, family members could not see their loved ones in their last moments of life in hospitals and long-term seniors' facilities, and these people were left to die alone. And the administrators and medical practitioners responsible in these health institutions believed this to be acceptable, is deplorable.
I could go on and on about the atrocities that we experienced in Canada during COVID. But let me say this: at the end of the day, Canadians were conned into believing governments could do no harm. Newspapers and mainstream media were handsomely paid from our hard-earned tax dollars to promote the government narrative, which was essentially propaganda and lies to make us comply with contradictory mandates that violated our constitutional rights and freedoms. But now, because of the National Citizens Inquiry, we know differently. We have heard from the experts, the scholars, the professionals, the many hardworking Canadians who bravely took the stand under oath to expose the corruption and deception that we were all subjected to.
Each and every one of the witnesses shared their story so that the people of this country could once again be proud of the heritage and constitutional ideals that can only be found in Western democracies. And each witness, in their own way, bravely stood in the gap against the oppression and destruction that those in high places had destined for the populace.
The Bible calls us moral ineptitude as spiritual wickedness in high places. The question though is, where do we go from here? Do we now allow the health authorities to order us to wear masks again, as the hospitals and long-term seniors' facilities have started to do in Ontario? Or do we, as a nation, join hands together as neighbors, caring about one another, who will not stand idly by and watch our public institutions attempt once again to destroy the very democratic principles and ideals that have made Canada the greatest nation among the nations?
We are a nation founded upon the supremacy of God and the rule of law. We are a country whose Constitution recognizes citizens' rights and freedoms and authorizes these same citizens to stand in righteousness when publicly funded institutions attempt to trample over their rights as free men and free women.
We have freedom of expression, for example, which is the cornerstone of a functioning democratic society. We enjoy the presumption of innocence. We have the right to believe according to one's conscience. As a free people rejoicing in life, not just the mechanics of life. It is obvious that Canada stands at a crossroads, but the direction forward is dependent upon each and every one of us as proud Canadians standing unified with the fervent belief that Canada is still worth fighting for. That while we may have been duped for a season, the light that has now shone on the failed experiment that governments leveled against the populace, you and I.
The time has come for questions to be asked and answered with accountability and justice as the outcome. My highest desire for this exercise is to assure renewed hopefulness for our society going forward, to eliminate the way for the Canada that we should be, a shining star economically, intellectually, and spiritually.
We, as a nation, have such vast potential to move forward confidently and positively, rather than backward fearfully and negatively. And we can rely on the base that established this nation, a Christian foundation wherein every soul understands that loving God with all our hearts, soul, mind, and strength and loving one another are still the greatest commandments.
In closing, the shortest verse in the Bible states, "Jesus wept." But like the Israelites who sat by the rivers of Babylon weeping about the freedoms they once knew, Canadians have wept long enough. Now is the time to arise, stand, and ensure the conversation that started with the Freedom Convoy and the National Citizens Inquiry continues until justice and good governance in this country called Canada is restored.
My congratulations and thanks to every single witness, to every single supporter, and to every single donor who made this historic moment come to fruition. God bless you all, and God bless Canada. Thank you.