Monday, April 19, 2021

The Frying Pan

In Ontario, we are now in the frying pan. The Ford government has tried to turn down the heat. But they have refused to take the pan off the stove. The Toronto Star's editorial page points to the Fordian lack of focus:

Public health experts have been warning of something like this since at least mid-February, and the alarms got louder and louder with every passing week. Yet the government kept doing the least it thought it could get away with, until Premier Doug Ford himself admitted on Friday that “we’re losing the battle” and imposed even tighter restrictions.

More to the point, it’s now clear Ontario has no effective plan to deal with the actual sources of the third wave — so-called hotspot areas and big workplaces that have seen outbreaks involving hundreds of people.

The government recognizes the problem, at least in words. On Friday, Ford said the province plans to increase vaccine doses going to those hotspots by 25 per cent, although as usual details on how that will be done were scant.

But if, as the premier said, 80 per cent of COVID cases are coming from just 20 per cent of the province, why not send a much greater share of available vaccines to those areas? Like, say, 80 per cent? Ford called what’s happening in those hard-hit areas an “inferno” — so why not turn the fire hoses directly on the heart of the blaze?

Of course, that would mean diverting limited vaccine supplies away from other regions. It would be politically hard to tell those regions they must wait, that their 60- and 70-year-olds won’t get their jabs as quickly as promised.

But it would be the right thing to do if the province is serious about choking off the third wave. There’s no point in telling everyone to stay home when the pandemic is being fuelled by people who have to leave home simply to feed their families.

All of this is obvious; even the government acknowledges the reality. It just doesn’t have a coherent plan to do anything about it.

Such a plan would pay some people in the hardest-hit workplaces to stay home until the COVID numbers stop rising. That would be cheaper than shutting down the entire province.

And, of course, paid sick leave. It’s incomprehensible that Ford is still digging in his heels on that, fobbing off critics on a federal program that falls far short of what’s needed. The premier needs to come to his senses on that.

But that kind of policy is anathema to conservatives. Ford is caught in a box of his own making. And he can't find a way out of it.



The Disaffected Lib said...

The WaPo op-ed calling for Ford's immediate resignation is still at the top of reader favourites.

Toby said...

One of the puzzles that keeps circulating my mind like a bad song is about the effect of the free trade agreements. The halls of power seem to be swarming with corporate lobbyists. Several of our governments have been throwing money at big, successful corporations who proceed to indulge executive bonuses and share returns. Care for corporate welfare indulges the rich more than those barely eking by. Do the trade agreements mandate choices that are counter productive when fighting a pandemic? Yes, we can point to penny pinching our health and welfare programs. But are there sub plots actually built into the trade deals that make it nearly impossible to see to the safety of Canadian citizens?

Owen Gray said...

The trade deals were but together by people who knew the cost of everything but the value of nothing, Toby. Globalization was driven by one imperative -- the lowest cost of production. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it's that you get what you pay for -- or what you don't pay for.

Owen Gray said...

I got back a short time ago from receiving my first dose of the Moderna vaccine, Mound. My wife gets her first dose a week from today. I have mobility issues, so she attended the clinic with me. We were impressed with the way things worked.

The whole process -- organized by our local health care unit -- was well organized and short. The medical people know what they're doing. Ford's problem has been that he hasn't listened to them.