The Canadian Government announced a ban on all visitors from the Ebola infected African countries. Not a period of restricted movement or even a quarantine, but an outright ban on entry to Canada. How could an otherwise more than rational Country undertake measure not justified by facts on the ground?
The rational provided, of course, focuses upon protecting Canadian citizens. Suspension of commonsense or fact based reasoning seems justified “to protect Canadian citizens”. Hmmm.
This reasoning is not just a Canadian phenomena. It is politicians’ reasoning and would be expected to happen in the US far more often than Canada. Politicians, however, can be found anywhere.
So why care?
The “protect the citizens” argument is worthy, but at what expense. The primary role of government is protecting its citizens but to what extents is a government justified in providing this protection? We normal hear about surrendering individual privacy rights but those coming from Ebola infected countries are not Canadian citizens and in theory do not have Canadian rights. So what else?
Governments have a duty to demonstrate “fact based” decisions as much as possible. This type of behavior should inspire further confidence in government decisions and encourage the population, in general, to adopt fact based reasoning for themselves. For Governments to shun fact based reasoning is to encourage citizens to respond to fear or to ignore genuine threats.
US Congressional demagogues have demonstrated all too frequently the worst of possible public image. Some members have predicted the invasion of ISIS via the Mexican border. Others now have suggested that travelers infected with Ebola will choose crossing the Mexico-US border as a way to avoid airport detection. What should we expect of the average citizen if their elected leaders think this way?
This Canadian decision may seem in the best interest of Canadian citizens but is quite the opposite. The decision sends the wrong message and in no way guarantees protections from Ebola.
I wonder where the Canadian scientific community was in making this decision?