The Line does a Q&A with the The Line — the other one. And folks, it gets really weird, really quick

This week, the other The Line — one of the primary organizers of anti-mask protests around the country — was barred from Facebook, perhaps by JFK's REAL killers.

The Line Canada, a self-described civil-rights organization combating lockdowns and mandatory face masking, began only this summer. It is holding weekly protests at Toronto’s Yonge-Dundas Square and creating affiliate groups across the country and abroad. Already it claims to have an email-list following of 140,000 people. And, this week, it was shut out of Facebook for violations of its community standards. The Line is one of this country's major organizers for anti-mask rallies, and a source of COVID-19 misinformation. Jen Gerson, co-founder of The Line (this one) spoke with The Line Canada's (the other one) executive director George Roche. It was intended to be a playful chat — our only common link is that we’re both new and both called ourselves The Line, but yikes. Things got strange.

This interview has been edited and condensed for length, repetition, and clarity. Abandon hope, all ye who read on.

JG: Okay. So right off the bat, let's start with a little problem with the fact that your organization and my organization have the same name. I think that's just a coincidence. But can you tell me a little bit about what your name is and how you came up with that name?

GF: Well, when you look at the logo, you'll notice there's an O and then a vein slash through the O. The O represents that we stand against oppression. And the slash stands for we don't like the blood being spilled from it. We stand against oppression, and we are against people dying because of it.

JG: So we have very different mandates. I'm a journalistic outfit and I would say to say you're an advocacy outlet, or a protest organization, is that safe to say?

GF: We're listed with the civil rights organizations. This movement is meant to defend the integrity and uphold the integrity of human rights on all levels, including the Charter. 

JG: So I would like to note, for the record — and this is, you know, just for the purposes of clarification — you guys launched your organization or started your website, I believe, about a week and a half after we launched The Line. Because when I was looking at names for The Line, you guys didn't come up. 

GF: We're 27 weeks old now. 

JG: Ok, so we (The Line) launched on July 27. And I believe that your website domains were registered on August 9, I believe? 

GF: We started in early July, as a matter of fact, getting our ducks in a row… That was an unceasing process, in terms of setting up so I do believe there was a registration on August 9th, you could be accurate. 

JG: The point I'm trying to make is that the name is coincidental. So let's start with what you guys believe. What is it that you believe? 

GF: We believe that our government should not be dictating to us. We believe that our society, for 200 years, has never had to talk about human rights and generally has not thought to show any concern toward human rights being tossed aside and replaced with draconian ideology, Orwellian thinking, as we're seeing today. 

JG: So which human rights in particular? And is it safe to say that this is my response to COVID? 

GF: Yes, what we're seeing is many breaches of the Human Rights Code based on the legal reorganization under the guise of health and safety. Without any scientific basis, businesses being closed down, with no real scientific evidence to support why that is. We've noticed that the W.H.O. (World Health Organization) is backpedaling now in that they're denouncing the lockdowns. We already said many times, weeks ago, that the lockdowns were ineffective and suddenly we're seeing the people who are leading the world in health information, agreeing with us. 

(Fact check: the World Health Organization did not argue that lockdowns were ineffective. It clarified its position to note that long-term lockdowns were sometimes necessary, but not sustainable in the long term. See:)

JG: So is it just lockdowns that you are opposing? 

GF: …Whether they were or they don't wear masks in certain places, the various contradictions that have been popularly noticed and notable. You know, you can go to a church or a Walmart but you can't sit in a theatre. You can pack an airplane with a bunch of people in masks sitting six inches apart, but you can't can't go to the theatre to watch a family show or a concert… They don't add up. They don't make sense, and they support the claim there are obvious scientific issues that are being ignored. Hence, the so-called censorship, which I believe is collaboration more than censorship. 

(Fact check: The seemingly contradictory nature of some public-health advice has been discussed in the media. For example here and here. )

JG: We understand that there are some limits to what we usually understand to be human rights based on questions of public safety, for example, masking. I think that there's a real question about what human right is being abrogated by requiring that you wear a piece of fabric or your face. Right? 

GF: We're questioning the basis of that, the scientific basis. They haven't shown us satisfactorily that masks are going to assist people. In fact, there's more information to the contrary, that masks are detrimental, not only to the wellbeing of the human being, but their psychology. 

(Fact check: The lack of highly specific and definitive research showing the efficacy of masks among the general population is largely cited as one of the reasons that our own public-health authorities were initially slow to recommend masking. However, as more jurisdictions adopted masks around the world, data supporting their use increased. Alberta Health Services conducted a rapid review on available evidence to see if mask exemptions were supportable and found: "There is insufficient evidence to justify mask exemptions for specific populations based upon their medical condition.")

JG: I've been a critic of, for example, how public health's been communicating some of these restrictions to us. The Line has published pieces about the failure of public health to communicate restrictions in a clear and straightforward way. But surely we have to understand that we're in an environment in which the science about this stuff is going to be constantly changing and emerging, and that a lot of the recommendations we're getting from public health are likewise going to change and emerge as we get a better understanding what we're dealing with. Is there no slack in the system for that? 

GF: It begs the question that if the masks work, why the six feet? And if the six feet works, why the masks? And if they both work, why the lockdowns?

JG: I can explain that. None of these particular measures works perfectly. So the idea is that if you have five or six different measures that don't work perfectly, but work a little bit, and you combine those measures, you're going to increase effectiveness. For example, masks, no one has ever disputed that masks work 100 per cent perfectly — particularly homemade masks. But if they help reduce the spread by, say 30 per cent, that's still a pretty effective measure to put in place in addition to these other measures. 

GF: …They said that we're seeing a spike in cases. I mean, that's a narrative that was changed from deaths. So since the death counts couldn't justify the emergency measures, they have gone to cases to justify the increase in the measures. But again, what we're seeing is people who are wearing the masks are the people getting tested. So obviously the people wearing the mask, who are getting tested, are contributing to the statistics that are being used to subjugate us to the measures. 

JG: Case counts have gone up and death counts have not, so far, gone up. And generally, I think most people would attribute that to the fact that as we've become more knowledgeable about this virus, doctors have become better at treating it. And also, we've become better at preventing the spread amongst vulnerable populations. So that's all for the good. Also, it's also potentially true that the virus is becoming less deadly, in part because of a lot of different measures — possibly including use of masks — wearing might actually reduce the viral load of individuals getting and as a result, they're not, they're not getting as sick. So there's a lot of different factors as to why that could be happening. But at the same time, we also know that case counts are often a leading indicator to increased hospital and death rates. So I can also understand why the authorities might be concerned that a spike in case counts simply might precede an increase in death counts by a couple of weeks. I mean, that strikes me is reasonable, don't you think? 

GF: No.

JG: Why not?

GF: Well, if you look at what's being relied upon to acquire those case counts in the first place, which is a PCR test, which has been proven to be 90 per cent ineffective, and creating many false positives. And when you also have the survival rate of 97 and a half percent, to support the ineffective PCR test … every scientist in the world who has been oppressed from speaking, (says) that these are ineffective and not to be used to determine whether one has Coronavirus or not.

(Fact check: The diagnostic PCR test is not "90 per cent ineffective." However, there are questions about the test's accuracy. According to this discussion of test accuracy, diagnostic PCR tests may entail a false negative rate — a result that says a person does not have COVID-19 when he or she actually does carry the virus — of between 2 and about 30 per cent. This paper from Ontario Public Health suggests that while the PCR test might miss some people with the virus, the false positive rate is likely very small. What this means is that a positive COVID-19 test is almost certainly a true result; but a negative result is only very probably negative.)

GF:...Not only have they proven the PCR test to be ineffective, they've also proven if you know the meaning of “virus” which is Latin for poison. So somebody is going to have to explain to us why it is that (Bill) Gates and (Anthony) Fauci (the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) have 1,300 patents on the virus… 

(Fact check: They don't.)

JG: Okay, so there's no evidence that this virus has been unnaturally concocted. 

GF: There's piles of it. 

JG: That's just not credible.

GF: You're refuting the facts that I have without any facts to refute them. Anything I'm telling you right now is provable. 

JG: If you would like to send me the links to what you're talking about. 

GF: No, no, no, no. I'm not sending you anything. I'm too busy. You're gonna have to do your own research. You're not ready for me because I'm way way way past where you're talking about…

(Fact check: Given China's well-documented track record of trying to underplay both the seriousness of COVID-19 and the extent of its spread, scientific researchers did, initially, consider the possibility that the virus was manmade. Genetic evidence, however, suggests that it is, in fact, natural. )

GF: The W.H.O. themselves and the C.D.C. has reported much of what I've told you. 

JG: Let's stick with the W.H.O., then. You're claiming, to me, that the W.H.O. has proved what, exactly, with regard to virus patents? The W.H.O. is not claiming that Gates and Fauci have a patents on the virus. That's not what the W.H.O. has claimed. 

GF: No, but why would the W.H.O. claim that when their main funder is Gates. That's, like, a criminal thing. I'm going to stand up in the middle of the street and say “I'm guilty for robbing the bank”? I'm going to wait for the police? 

JG: The primary funder of the W.H.O. is the United Kingdom, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the GAVI Alliance, Germany, the UNOCHA, Japan, the European Commission, Rotary International and the National Philanthropic Trust. Actually, the top funder was the United States of America. 

GF: Previously, but it isn't anymore. 

(Fact check: The U.S. halted funding for several months back in April. A breakdown of funders to the W.H.O. is available here.)

JG: I want to get back to the question of rights here because, right from the beginning of the lockdown, I thought that this was going to be something that governments struggled with: and that's how to balance the public-health objectives in an environment of rapidly changing information, and then how they were going to balance that in a free society with restrictions on movement and ability to work. And I genuinely think that's difficult. It's a challenge. But what should public health be doing given the situation that we have?

GF: Well, I think the first question we have to ask is, who are we taking direction from? Back in April, Gates met with 400 of the Ontario mayors.

JG. But that's not that's not my question. I'm saying what do you think our public health authorities should be doing?

GF: I am addressing your question. You prematurely cut me off abundantly. Gates showed up on a Zoom call with 400 of Ontario mayors. One mayor, Bonnie Crombie, tweeted out that Gates is here to help us see us through COVID.

And I don't see a follow-up with the minutes. And that needs to be expanded upon as to what influence of non-elected official — he's not a doctor, he's not a medical or infectious disease specialist or an epidemiologist — yet he is calling our 400 Ontario mayors and telling them exactly how they are to run their communities. And then such information is now being spouted through every health official across the country who have adopted the Gates vision…

(Fact check: Bill Gates was not instructing Ontario mayors as to how they should respond to COVID-19; he was simply one of several guest speakers at a session run by the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative to discuss local responses to COVID-19.)

JG: I've honestly not been able to follow anything that you just said. Starting with this phone call with 400 mayors, the assumption that Bill Gates was directing anything — mayors don’t have the power to direct public health to do anything in Canada. That's not how our jurisdictional structure works. I literally can't. I can't follow that statement. 

GF: I didn't say that, I said influence. 

JG: The primary authority rests with public-health authorities. That's not how jurisdictional power works here, so I honestly just can't follow what you're talking about. 

GF: Well you're going to do some more research, Jen. Because once again, if we're going to be standing up in public, as we have for 27 weeks, we better be delivering information that people are believing in. Our audiences are growing, s because they're able to corroborate the information by themselves. We're the voice for for 8,000 or 10,000 people. We are the voice of facts. 

(Fact check: The ability to generate an audience does not corroborate the truthfulness of a claim.) 

JG: I actually do know how to corroborate information. And I know how to verify what's not accurate and what is. And what you said, and the way that you're talking, the way that you're throwing facts, and the way that you're making conclusions from those facts, to me, sounds like a pretty classic example of conspiracy theory minded thinking. You're taking isolated data points and forming an all encompassing ideology of cosmology out of the data points without putting any of those data points in context. 

GF: I'm a conspiracy analyst. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, we question the statements of known liars. ... If you know anything about conspiracy theories, that was set forth by the C.I.A. back in the John Kennedy days when he was murdered for exposing the One World Government and the different resources that would be relied upon to execute the plan that has been even written in the Rockefellers’ playbook, which is online as well. 

(Fact check: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯)

JG: So you believe in a lot of what other people would call conspiracy theories? 

GF: Well, what they call it may not be necessarily true. Just because a bunch of people believe it doesn't make it so. 

JG: That's definitely true. I presume you also believe in QAnon, yeah?

GF: I know a little bit about QAnon. I've heard a little bit about it. But I haven't done a lot of research on QAnon. My focus and information that I would share with any source has got to come from R.C.T. (Randomized Controlled Trials) and the scientific community, which is what we're basing this on. 

(Fact check: In his follow up to this interview, Roche did not share any RCT or scientific papers published in accredited scientific journals.)

GF: So far, there's been no random controlled testing on this virus. So they haven't been able to prove or isolate or purify this so-called virus. So somebody has to explain to me what kind of vaccine there is… If they haven't isolated (the virus) how are they going to test it? 

JG: They have isolated the virus. They did that several months ago. 

GF: They did?

JG: I can look that up for you. 'Research team has isolated the COVID-19 virus,' from 'A team of researchers from Sunnybrook McMaster University in the University of Toronto has isolated severe acute respiratory virus coronavirus, the agent responsible for the ongoing outbreak of COVID.' And that was back in March. 

(Fact check: The CDC has also isolated the virus and made it broadly available to the research community.)

GF: But we're not hearing anything about that today… If that test was valid and relied upon by the scientific community, we would be hearing a prevalent voice over that today. 

JG: Actually, they have been working with the isolated virus to help concoct and experiment with vaccines. There are dozens and dozens of vaccine trials that are currently in play right now.

GF: Trump just had the Coronavirus and he found another cure. Not just hydroxychloroquine but another drug.

JG: Remdesivir, I believe. This is actually goes back to the part of the reason why the fatality rates are declining, as doctors have become much better at actually treating the virus.

The problem with the treatment that Trump received is that it's experimental. And by my understanding is that it's very, very expensive. So it's not something that can necessarily be deployed in the mass scale. 

GF: He's offered it for free. It's free, it's free, you can get it for free.

(Fact check: Trump was also treated with something called monoclonal antibodies, a treatment produced by a company called Regeneron and he has, indeed, promised to provide this treatment for free. However, these drugs are still experimental, expensive to produce, and they are not yet widely available.)

JG: Trump has offered a lot of people, a lot of things, to people for free. I believe he also offered the people a wall with the border of Mexico, and that Mexico would pay for it.

GF: What's that got to do with him finding a drug that made him well?

JG: He didn't find a drug, and it goes to his credibility. So if you're using him as a primary source for anything, I've got some bad news for you. The guy lies a lot. 

GF: Well, that's subjective. But they all lie a lot as far as I'm concerned. They're all politicians. 

JG: Lots of politicians lie, but if you want Trump's record of lies, that's publicly available information. I guess you have to do the research

The Line is Canada’s last, best hope for irreverent commentary. We reject bullshit. We love lively writing. Please consider supporting us by subscribing. Follow us on Twitter @the_lineca. Fight with us on Facebook. Pitch us something: