Several well-educated social media users have repeatedly condemned some members of the BC press gallery in recent years for allegedly shielding the NDP government from criticism over its COVID-19 policies.
It happened again this weekend after City News reporter Liza Yuzda blocked a former UBC postdoctoral fellow seeking coverage of her group’s human rights complaint.
Lena Patsa filed her complaint with the BC Human Rights Tribunal on behalf of a “class of individuals who have been identified as being at increased risk of severe COVID-19 based on a variety of factors.”
These factors include age, comorbidities, underlying conditions, current/previous medical history, and eligibility for vaccination.
Patsa’s complaint alleges that discrimination has occurred on the grounds of physical disability in services and employment, which are prohibited by articles 8 and 13 of the Human Rights Code.
The Provincial Office of Health Office, BC Center for Disease Control, Provincial Health Services Authority, Vancouver Coastal Health, Fraser Health, BC Children’s Hospital, Providence Healthcare, and the Ministry of Health are the respondents.
Patsa claims that she filed the complaint in response to public messages, guidance and policies that contradict federal guidance and the established scientific consensus that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is airborne.
She contends that this constitutes “disinformation that directly and/or indirectly enables and/or is used to justify/enact policies and decisions that are discriminatory towards Class Members as defined herein.”
For each respondent, list specific instances of alleged misinformation. (See the Twitter thread at the end of this article.)
For the Provincial Health Office, for example, he cites a comment by Dr. Bonnie Henry at a briefing about the virus’s inability to become airborne and travel long distances.
Patsa also mentions one of Henry’s comments that “there is no evidence that having a child wear a mask all day makes a difference in terms of transmission.”
Additionally, Patsa cites Henry’s comment at a 2021 conference that “children are not amplifiers in schools”.
As a result, Patsa alleges, the defendants are directly endangering the lives and health of high-risk individuals who are members of the group.
Furthermore, he claims that this makes managing daily life and risk of infection extremely difficult, if not impossible, for those without means.
That is why it alleges that the defendants’ actions “indirectly enable discrimination” by serving as a basis for denying accommodations under the BC Human Rights Code. As an example, he cites the ban on the use of N95 respirators in long-term care facilities.
None of Patsa’s allegations have been proven in court.
Postdoc versus reporter
Through Twitter, Patsa expressed her perplexity at the fact that the media did not cover her complaint, which was filed at the end of March.
This came after Human Rights Commissioner Kasari Govender wrote a letter on March 16 to Henry stating that the decision to lift the province-wide mask mandate discriminated against immunocompromised people.
Later in the same thread, Patsa accused the 4th Estate of happily reiterating the “science-denying gaslighting thrown out by the PHO+ gang.”
On Twitter, Yuzda responded that she had assumed Patsa’s original tweet was from “another troll threatening her with the Nuremberg rule over COVID-19 vaccines.”
“The reason to quickly mute or block is because the evil is overwhelming,” Yuzda stated. “Two years of covering covid has caused an avalanche. And just when I thought it was calming down, you did an excellent job with this avalanche.”
You can read Patsa’s initial Twitter thread about the complaint below.