Unfortunately, misinformation is everywhere in 2020.
And unfortunately, some of that misinformation made it into a public meeting of Niagara-on-the-Lake council last week thanks to some of our elected officials.
While we understand Couns. Wendy Cheropita and Sandra O’Connor have the best interests of the community at heart, it is worrisome to hear them advocating in favour of debunked conspiracy theories.
Misinformation is indeed readily available on the internet. When it is passed along by our elected officials, it is deeply concerning.
In this case, NOTL was considering jumping on the bandwagon of a motion passed by Niagara Falls council, asking for more study by Health Canada on the already-debunked concerns some people have about 5G.
Holding office as an elected official is a sacred duty and trust. So, it is the responsibility of councillors to make sure they’ve fully done their homework before bringing unfounded claims to council and potentially wasting tax dollars to find out what is already widely known.
Health Canada and other expert organizations have been clear: there are no health risks associated with 5G, especially at the exposure limits set by the Canadian government. Just because wacky theories and allegations can be found on the internet doesn't mean they should be investigated (or propogated by councillors), especially when they have already been widely debunked.
We are all for tilting at windmills occasionally, but to challenge the scientific experts is to challenge the entire system — a system we are fortunate to have and be able to trust.
The problem with questioning those experts and authorities, especially when it is a respected councillor doing so, is that other people could jump on the same bandwagon. Questioning authority is to be commended, but not when it is misguided and lacks critical analysis.
We’ve seen enough of that throughout this pandemic, with people trusting YouTube videos and their own half-baked opinions instead of medical professionals with mountains of credentials.
It's also not the town's role to be expending time and energy on the health effects of 5G, when organizations like Health Canada and the World Health Organization have been so clear.
So, we ask Cheropita and O’Connor to give some sober second thought to whether they wish to in effect question the legitimacy of Heath Canada experts based largely on a YouTube video and questionable “research” sent to them.
If you’re into doing your own research, that’s fine. But explore all sides before you bring such unscientific ideas to a public setting.
A large body of research shows the concerns over 5G are unwarranted.
We sincerely wish Cheropita and O’Connor the best and respect the job they do, but we also hope they give more thought to issues that are little more than conspiracy theories before bringing them to council.
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