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The Hill Update - March 11

Dean discusses yet another misconduct allegation in the Canadian military and how the Liberal government is once again denying knowledge and trying to cover it up. He also discusses the decision by NACI to delay the second shot of the Pfizer vaccine. His guest is Marlyn Gladu, the MP from Sarnia-Lambton who explains what is going on with the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline issue.

We start with a report of another alleged attempt at a cover-up by the federal government.

This time it’s about attempting to cover-up sexual misconduct allegations by threatening a whistleblower. The whistleblower is Lieutenant Commander Raymond Trotter, a 21-year veteran of the Royal Canadian Navy.

Trotter was approached by a female subordinate on Feb. 3. She shared her story with him about sexual misconduct perpetrated against her by then-interim Chief of the Defense Staff, Admiral Art McDonald. Admiral McDonald voluntarily stepped down at the end of February as he was to be investigated for what at the time were called “unspecific allegations.”

Based on the threatening phone calls from private numbers, this certainly looks to be some sort of a coordinated campaign to threaten and silence a sexual misconduct whistleblower.

We now know what those allegations are.

Upon attempting to report the allegations to the proper authorities, Lieutenant Commander Trotter seems to have been given the runaround at first. Eventually the allegations made it to senior bureaucrats and senior government officials.

Shortly after reporting the inappropriate conduct, Trotter received a call from a blocked number. The person on the other side of the phone identified themselves as a “senior Canadian Forces officer.”

Trotter was told that if he were to cooperate with the House of Commons’ defence committee – a committee currently investigating allegations of misconduct in the military – that his military career would be over.

The next day Trotter got another phone call from a private number.

This time, the person identified themselves as a “senior member of the Canadian government.” This person also told Lieutenant Commander Trotter that the information he would be providing to the defence committee would be detrimental to his future in the Canadian Forces. Again, this is all happening as the defense committee is currently investigating allegations of misconduct in the military relating to former chief of the defense staff, General Jonathan Vance.

Based on the threatening phone calls from private numbers, this certainly looks to be some sort of a coordinated campaign to threaten and silence a sexual misconduct whistleblower.

Who is behind this? We’ll have to wait and see.

Members of Parliament on the defence committee will hopefully get to the bottom of it. But what’s most important to remember, is that our country asks a lot of the Canadian women who serve in our Armed Forces. In return, our country has a duty to protect those who have sworn an oath to protect all of us.

To anonymously threaten a member of the Canadian Armed Forces to secure their silence is a clear and concerning abuse of power. The facts need to come out, and when they do, I’ll share them with you here.

On another issue...

As many of you know, there are now five COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada.

One of those is made by Pfizer.

What came to light in the beginning of this week was that Pfizer was not consulted prior to the recommendation by NACI – the National Advisory Committee on Immunization – to extend the advised time between the first shot and second shot from three weeks to four months.

NACI’s recommendation actually sets a new precedent in the delay between doses and goes against the schedules of other countries around the world. Cole Pinnow, Pfizer Canada’s President, said that this plan goes against Pfizer’s guidance for optimal, safe, and effective use of the vaccine. He said that the National Advisory Committee on Immunization did not contact Pfizer before it recommended changing delaying the second dose from three weeks to four months after the first shot – and that this recommendation ‘creates concern, confusion, and potentially, hesitancy.’

He goes on to say that “all of the research to date is with patients that have received doses 21 days apart” and that “NACI is the only advisory body guiding a federal government in the world to recommend that doses be permitted up to four months apart”

The opposition Conservatives have stated that they want the government to succeed in getting COVID-19 vaccines to Canadians, but, like the President of Pfizer, they’re concerned that the Liberal government’s inability to explain their decision-making could lead to further vaccine hesitancy. Also, when asked about whether partial immunity from a four-month delayed second dose creates the conditions for vaccine-resistant strains to emerge, experts expressed concerns.

At this time, the Liberal government has yet to tell Canadians how they plan to prevent this in our country, given that their new advice is not backed by data.

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