Today, as Canada marks the “grim milestone” of 10,000 COVID-19 deaths, I admit that I’m conflicted and almost certainly confused by the COVID-19 responses. I was, still am a bit, surprised by the second wave ~ apparently I shouldn’t be; apparently we were warned but we ~ the Big WE that includes e.g. Prime Minister Trudeau, Premier Ford and Health Ministers Hajdu and Elliott …
… and their colleagues in other provinces, especially in didn’t do all (most? many? some?) of the things we could have done. We went through the lockdown stages and then some of us ~ including us here in Ottawa ~ had to step back because some of us, including some politicians, may have acted irresponsibly. Happy to be able, again, to mingle with friends, we crowded into some popular bars; we had big family gatherings ~ and I have to ‘fess up; five of us gathered at my son’s home for Thanksgiving dinner, only four of the five were “family,” one was a friend. Premier Ford asked us, for our own good, to please not do that; we (and, experts say, too many others) ignored his advice. I’m happy to report that we’re all still fine. We gathered again, just the other night, the same four “family” plus two (different) friends, in our home for a dinner. All six of us are in regular, close contact ~ we are part of our “safe circles” of up to about ten people.
My wife and I were out, a few nights ago at a nice (but chilly) patio in downtown Ottawa for dinner, we happened to meet two old friends there; we shared a table. I admit that was reckless but the wait staff took all our temperatures before they let us on to the heated patio and we and our friends trust each other to not, knowingly, be out and about if we have the virus.
Some of our neighbourhood, independent restaurants are trying to keep their business alive, by investing in powerful (and expensive) outdoor heaters and nice, open air, gas fires, but, as I was walking to an appointment yesterday, I noticed that another of our favourite restaurants has closed, for good.
Personally, we both hope that our neighbourhood pubs and restaurants will have a good supply of heaters and gas fires and awnings because we are a bit nervous about going indoors with too many strangers. My wife really misses her fitness club where she was very satisfied with the cleaning and social distancing ~ but I admit that I’m a bit less nervous about her safety now that they are closed. As I walk in our downtown neighbourhood I am saddened and worried to see that more and more small shops, almost all independent shops and restaurants, have closed their doors. We know that our most favourite little restaurant must move to smaller premises because the owners just cannot keep paying the rent.
I want us all to be safe, but I also want small, independent shops and restaurants to survive. Small business, independent business is what really drives the economy. Yes, Justin Trudeau’s rich friends on Bay Street who employ workers represented by Justin Trudeau’s influential friends in Big Labour matter, but almost every sensible economist will confirm that small business matters more. I’m not too worried about my wife’s health club ~ it’s part of a big chain; they’ll bounce back; I’m not two worried about the two very nearby “resto-pubs” that we frequent, they are both parts of chains and they will survive, too; but I don’t want chains and franchises to be the only choices we have left. I want us all to follow the rules but telling us that we cannot share Thanksgiving with our small family was “a bridge too far” for me … I admit that. Telling me that I should not meet my son, just because we have different homes, is, I admit, advice I am unwilling to follow.
I understand that the public health puritans want us to lockdown Canada until there is a vaccine ~ until next summer, in effect. I suspect that might be the best way to contain the spread of this virus. But it may also be the course of action that is most economically and socially destructive; we may beat the virus but lose everything else that matters.
I admit that I don’t trust the national government at all. I assert, based on the evidence, that Justin Trudeau and Patty Hajdu failed Canada … failed miserably and have the blood of thousands on their hands because they bungled almost everything. When we compare Canada to countries of similar GDP and population, other than the USA, we see the extent of the failure …
… Canada has had an order of magnitude more deaths (that chart is logarithmic) than Australia which closed its borders very early on … while the imbecilic Justin Trudeau and Patty Hajdu were telling us that closing borders didn’t work and those of us who wanted it were racists. They were politically self-serving, virtue-signally nincompoops who need to be tossed on to history’s trash heap as soon as possible.
I also admit that I’m a political partisan who believes, again on the evidence, that Justin Trudeau is the second worst prime minister in Canada’s 150+ years history; only Pierre Trudeau did more harm.
I think that Premier Doug Ford has done a pretty good job in Ontario. I understand that some experts warned that the second wave would come in the fall, along with flu season, but I think that the move to Stage 3 was not premature. It was, I believe, justified on social and economic grounds. I admit to being nervous, on those same social and economic grounds, about forcing some urban regions back to a modified Stage 2, but I also admit that I cannot see a clear path to safety that doesn’t require us to limit how we socialize with strangers. The rules are difficult. I admit that I find some of them impossible. I am worried, a lot, about the health of my community … because that has a direct impact on me and my family. But I am also worried about the social and economic impact of public health measures on my community because they have a dierct impact on everyone’s future.