Back in March, Canada's chief medical officer Teresa Tam received an honorary degree from B.C.'s Simon Fraser University.
It happened right in the middle of a mismanaged pandemic, which started off with her agency — the Public Health Agency of Canada — throwing out a warehouse full of improperly rotated gowns and masks in Saskatchewan and allowing Justin Trudeau to send Canada's strategic stockpile of medical PPE to China. What followed in the nearly year-and-a-half since were flip flops, contradictions and walk-backs. Tam first advised Canadians not to wear masks only to reverse herself days later, and referred to criticism of China for its handling of the coronavirus and lack of transparency regarding the origin and timing of the outbreak as "stigmatization" of an ethnic group.
I wanted to know how the person in charge of Canada's lacklustre pandemic response received this award. I filed an access to information request, and the documents returned to me suggest that it was Tam's own agency that nominated her for the honorary degree.
The first three pages of the documents appear to be an email from the Public Health Agency to SFU, thanking them for "accepting" Tam's nomination.
While Canadians could not hold graduations, weddings, funerals, Christmas or Easter, government staff at PHAC were making sure their well paid boss’s ego was appropriately stroked.
Part of the pitch for Tam’s honorary degree, prepared by Government of Canada staff, included bashing former Conservative, now independent, MP Derek Sloan and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney for criticising her handling of the pandemic. It read:
In April 2020, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, and Ontario MP Derek Sloan publicly criticized Tam and the WHO for trusting information from China early on – MP Sloan in particular criticized her motives. The Trudeau government quickly defended Tam, who responded that she and the WHO were working as best they could with the information provided. She also cautioned against stigmatizing any cultural or ethnic group as counterproductive to pandemic response efforts.”
A Chinese government-led cover up of a potential leak of the COVID-19 virus from a lab in Wuhan is now a mainstream theory about the virus's origin, though in the pitch for her degree, Tam writes that concerns about that probable scenario were "counterproductive to pandemic response efforts.
There are several redactions in these documents about who was paid what during the convocation ceremony where the honorary degree was issued. We are appealing. This is public information, and a public event, and there is no reason any of this should remain secret.
But appeals are expensive and time consuming. If you would like to support our efforts to hold the government and agencies accountable for what happens behind closed doors, please donate today at RebelInvestigates.com.