Twenty-two million human beings have had COVID-19 as I type this, and 788,000 have already perished. Those numbers will be higher by the time you read these words. So wear a mask, wash your hands, and mind your social distance from others. Listen to the scientists and give the COVID deniers what they deserve — your scorn.
One other thing. Keep a sharp eye on your freedoms. Democracy may soon be added to that gruesome list of the pandemic’s victims.
Several countries have already had key institutions undermined by the COVID-19 pandemic, or its political manipulation. As a result, civil and constitutional rights, like the freedoms of assembly and expression, have been diluted if not cancelled outright — all in the name of fighting the deadly virus. Those rights may or may not be restored.
Let’s run through a list of governments eroding democracy under cover of pandemic — and don’t be surprised to find Canada in there, edging towards membership.
HUNGARY. There, it is beginning to look like a state of permanent emergency. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has completely neutered parliament, after his majority party used the pandemic to grant him the power to suspend existing laws, and all elections and referendums. Under the Anti-Coronavirus Act, journalists may now get up to five years in jail for disseminating false information during a pandemic — i.e., criticizing the government. The conclusion is inescapable. Orbán is no longer a PM, he is a dictator.
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