Dec. 2, 2020

Dictatorship is infectious – the coronavirus fiasco

 I understand that novel coronavirus is a serious threat to everyone and a particular threat to those with other ailments, including diminished immunity and deterioration due to aging. 380,000 infections and more than 12,000 deaths show that action to protect the public is required. That does not condone or endorse the actions taken by our governments. Their colossal failures overwhelm their intent. 

Turning to dictatorship to limit the spread of the virus is wrong. Forcing the closure of all facilities not deemed essential by the governing authorities is not compatible with democracy and a free and open society. There is no supportive evidence that closure of facilities can contain a communicable disease.

Quarantining healthy members of a population to contain a virus has no history or supportive evidence. In the past we have quarantined people with symptoms of infection and those who have been exposed to a communicable disease. Governments embarked on a breach of our constitutional rights and freedoms without valid justification.

We were told that the virus spreads exponentially which is not true. After 10 months, 1% or 1,003 people of every 100,000 in population has been infected. We were told that the virus was lethal, but over 96% of Canadians infected with COVID-19 recover, and that recovery rate includes the horrific loss of life in personal care facilities.

Our federal government dismantled the Health Canada team that had predicted previous virus outbreaks in advance and was world-renowned for its abilities. We allowed stockpiles of personal protective equipment to expire without replenishment and were caught without vital supplies when they were desperately needed.

We failed to consider the upheaval of people laid off due to coronavirus closures and their desperate financial struggles when incomes were suddenly cut off. It took many months before the first income replacement programs were available.

We failed to consider the tens of thousands of hourly workers who could not afford to miss a day without pay and went to work feeling ill as they had no other choice. Many are employed in the essential commercial, industrial and public sectors. Without sick leave to protect incomes they continued to commute and work creating an incubator for virus spread.

Belated efforts to provide sick leave for COVID-19 illness or time off is too little far too late. The damage has been done and no degree of closures and strict quarantine can offset the community infections already in place.

Under experimental dictatorship, governments cannot admit mistakes. The only way forward is to strengthen arbitrary regulations and control. Despite the failure of quarantine and closures to limit virus spread, we have embarked on repeating the failure with bullying, fines, policing, and shaming in an effort to shift blame from governments to the people they failed to protect.

Tens of thousands of people laid off due to facility closures are resentful. Students who worked part-time to offset tuition fees and expenses find jobs filled with laid-off workers and are resentful. Hourly workers who have to risk exposure to infections in their workplace are resentful.

The ranks of people who are angry, resentful, frightened and insecure have grown much faster than the virus spread. Politicians cannot understand why they do not have unquestioned support for their latest edicts are unfit for office. Their promises to protect us from the virus have turned out to be nonsense. Our fears, inconvenience, isolation, loneliness and uncertainty have been in vain. 

Now that pharmaceutical manufacturers have announced successful trials of potential coronavirus vaccines, our governments cannot admit they do not know when vaccines will be available for Canadians. They are stuck with statements that they have contracted for multiple millions of vaccine doses but have no concrete plans for dealing with arrival and distribution. That does not assuage public uncertainty.

Our federal government is glibly insulting. It insists we will be able to vaccinate three million people in early 2021. We have no idea when vaccines will arrive or will be distributed. We are told that we will be able to vaccinate the majority of Canadians by fall. The federal fondness for building skyscrapers in the air without foundations is tiresome.

Governments are behaving as if they have some secret information that enables them to deal with virus containment and is too complex for us to understand. The only thing unprecedented in our current situation is the arrogance and dictatorship of elected, allegedly democratic governments. The federal government wrecked the economy and now has to undertake repairs. That is historic only in the sense that no previous government has been that malicious or stupid.