Editorials - Aug. 11, 2023
A closer look
A group of top medical officials are calling for a federal inquiry into Canada’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At issue for the more than a dozen physicians and health advocates who published a set of editorials and analysis papers in the British Medical Journal was “devastation in long-term care homes, to vaccine hoarding, to higher death rates among lower-income communities”.
When the virus hit, Canada’s initial response was swift and seemed to be effective, but it wasn’t long before our complex healthcare system, which varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, became overwhelmed. Long-term care facilities suffered the greatest with the most-vulnerable populations and little preparation for the overworked staff.
An inquiry into the response seems like the only way to ensure that we are prepared to protect these communities for the next threat.
Also at issue is the number of people who fell for disinformation. Perhaps an inquiry could offer some insight into how a strong communication system and an integrated pandemic response among all of the provinces could have helped politicians combat voters’ distrust of the government and public health as the mask mandates and vaccine policies dragged on month after month.
One thing is certain - the public is not going to put up with another wave of this pandemic, let alone be ready for another novel virus to hit on a global scale. A better plan has to be ready before the next one. – DS
The path forward
Well, what now? Well, they’ve released the betting odds on the women most likely to be Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s next squeeze, so, we have that to mull over. But, really... what now?
Trudeau and his wife of 18 years, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, decided to separate. Such a high-profile marriage (remember their steamy photo shoot for Vogue?) has resulted in an equally high-profile split. Aside from making a little dough betting on Trudeau’s next love interest (there doesn’t seem to be as much action on Sophie’s choice for a new beau - sexist), what does it mean for Canadians?
To some, Trudeau is among the most reviled Prime Ministers in our history (he has inspired a crude, yet popular flag) and many have asked if it’s time the Liberal Party move on. What impact will the Trudeaus’ split have on the 2025 federal election? Will the personal turmoil serve to humanize Trudeau to voters? Will it go the other way (see, even his wife can’t stand him)? Will he be encouraged to take a step back and spend more time with his children? Will he dig his heels in and throw himself even further into politics? Will he make way for a new leader?
The uncertainty of it all, not just for Trudeau, but for Canada, begs that we take notice. Trudeau is only the second Prime Minister to split with his spouse while in the top job (he wasn’t even the first Trudeau to do it) and people handle these situations in a number of ways.
How Trudeau and, frankly, his political opponents will navigate the next two years remains to be seen. Figuring that out might be more of a longshot than Madonna (+5000) dating Trudeau. – SL
If your child accidentally ingested laundry detergent, and your local emergency room was closed temporarily (or permanently) for budgetary reasons, you could try reassuring your frightened offspring by telling them about the Ontario government’s commitment to frugal financial stewardship on the way to the next nearest hospital. See if it helps.
It won’t, at least, not in the same way an emergency room physician and nursing team would if they were available to respond to your child’s emergency situation. But they aren’t always available, and the blame for this gap in essential care rests squarely on the shoulders of the P.C. government and its unwavering vision of how budgeted money should be spent, whether that vision be wise, unwise, or otherwise.
A report from the Financial Accountability Office (FAO) of Ontario released last week says the provincial government spent around $7 billion less than planned this fiscal year, with healthcare seeing a reduction of about $1.6 billion. Other sectors spent less than anticipated, but healthcare experienced the largest cut due to reductions in COVID-19 testing, vaccination efforts, hospital operation and home care.
The opposition parties have criticized the underspending for its impact on services, while the government counters that the FAO’s views do not accurately represent actual spending. For years, emergency rooms throughout Ontario have faced rotating closures due to staffing shortages. Rather than providing necessary resources and adequate funding, the government is actively choosing to spend less on healthcare than even it had previously said it was going to spend in the 2023 budget.
Rural Ontarians deserve timely access to healthcare and operational, well-equipped ERs. Instead, local families are being told to carefully schedule all emergency situations to occur during the work week and for children to develop a taste and tolerance for laundry detergent. – SBS