Two Former Premiers Attempting To Legitimize COVID-Conspiracy And Anti-Vaccine Movement

After Former Newfoundland and British Columbia premiers Brian Peckford and William Vander Zalm contributed speeches at an anti-vaccine rally, we looked at the interviews and articles put out by each pushing conspiracy theories and disinformation.

Canadian Anti Hate Network

On the gray stone steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery, the former premier of Newfoundland and Labrador took his place in front of a microphone. Long since stepped down from the office, Brian Peckford now calls BC home. 

Occasionally sought for comment by various media outlets, since leaving the public sector he has worked as a lobbyist and more recently has been developing his skills as a blogger. Running a small website, hosted on a free platform, Peckford offers his views on a variety of subjects. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the blog has served as a repository of anti-vaccine articles and reposts. 

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Appearing at the invitation of longtime BC magazine turned vaccine conspiracy bullhorn titled “Common Ground,” Peckford, a key figure in the 1982 Kitchen Accord which led to the adoption of the Canadian Charter of Rights And Freedoms, quickly condemned public health measures in his adopted home and other provinces.

“This is starting to take a bit of courage now,” he said standing in front of the crowd, saying that he is disappointed about the actions taking place on Canadian soil. 

“I just read today that Saskatchewan public health emergency includes phrases that mean they can go to your door. They can take your house, they can take your livestock, they can take you.”

On Peckford’s website, a boilerplate WordPress skinned personal blog, he pushes various strains of disinformation, dubious reposts of others’ writing, and links to studies of varying legitimacy and stages of peer review.  

“I was at the event, invited by Common Ground founder Joseph Roberts, to support the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Nuremberg Code, reflecting a period when a lot of hate, supported by a lot of independent scholars, took place,” Peckford said in response to a request for comment.

He adds that he was also there to highlight that this year is the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Patriation agreement leading to the Constitution Act of 1982 and the creation of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

“I am the only living first minister who was at that conference.”


Two Premiers In A Pod


The appearance of Peckford is troubling. Not due to criticism of the government’s response to COVID-19, which can and should be encouraged, but the authority that figures like this lend to a movement mired in baseless conspiracy. 

As a contributor to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Peckford’s view carries more weight than any other in this field. 

“I believe most of the actions of Governments regarding the covid virus are unconstitutional violating the Charter especially Sections 2, 6, 7 and 15,” he told the Canadian Anti-Hate Network in an email. 

While unable to attend the Nuremberg anniversary event in person, another former premier also made sure his words were heard. William Vander Zalm, who served as a councillor, mayor, MLA, cabinet minister, and eventually premier of British Columbia, resigned in disgrace after it was found he had violated his own conflict of interest rules during the sale of his home and theme park. 

Read by a friend of the absent premier at the event, the letter allegedly authored by Vander Zalm outlines his fear of encroaching communism. 

“The lesson here is too long have we taken our freedom for granted and by the use of fear and coercion it can be taken away from us overnight,” the letter reads. “By accepting some, we will lose it all. It’s the only way the population growth control globalists can establish a Communist Global Government.”

It’s unknown exactly what this “Communist Global Government” would look like to Vander Zalm. 

Historically, concepts of global governance and globalism have been used as antisemitic dog whistles, a code to signal to those in the know, but meant to obscure the true meaning and maintain plausible deniability by laundering it in language that seems inoffensive or harmless. 

Many of the sentiments in the letter were echoed in a recent interview with conspiracy-laden, far-right media outlet Press For Truth

The Canadian Anti-Hate Network has been unable to reach William Vander Zalm for comment.

Sitting down with Press for Truth’s host Dan Dicks in Vander Zalm’s home, the two echoed off one another a series of statements about encroaching world government. Dick’s show has long been a place for a variety of fringe figures, including white nationalists, to air out their views.  

“I’ve been asking questions for several years,” the former premier told the interviewer. 

This is a fact Dicks is keenly aware of since he previously interviewed Vander Zalm in 2013. Titled “Exposing The Global Elite,” Vander Zalm jumps from issue to issue, including the claim that “I couldn’t blow my nose without it being some big controversy” being created by the media, before complaining how sports had been made into the new state religion, another BC premier’s trip to the secretive Bilderberg conference, and even a brief mention of chemtrails. 

The most recent interview, however, focused on the most pressing issue of the day -- COVID-19. 

“Some people are upset and more so every day, with the fact that We’re beginning to think maybe there’s some other program, there’s a different endgame,” he said about the response to the virus. Adding later, “The only other end game I see is someone trying to establish a reset.” 

Invoking phrase used by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as well as the name of a conference held by the World Economic Forum called “The Great Reset,” the term has been distorted by those who feel that COVID is an orchestrated ruse to quickly launder sweeping reforms and increased government control.

“I think the end game is fascism, maybe communism. I think communism, in my opinion, is the most likely route they want to go because it came out of China,” Vander Zalm said. “They have a different type of communism there, it’s not like Stalin used to have. It’s different. They’re playing it a little bit smarter from a communistic standpoint.”

He also adds that he is not aware “whether it escaped, others say it was let out, others say it’s a bioweapon.”

The master plan falls somewhere between the mass distribution of hidden and dubious vaccine ingredients, increased government control, and open borders. 

“Somebody bigger than the politicians is organizing this very effectively someplace.”

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