Normal may not be coming back for a while

I woke up this morning and saw this thread on Twitter:

Essentially, the argument goes is that what life was like pre-COVID-19 is never coming back. Governments around the world are banking on a vaccine roll out to be completed by the end of this year at the most extreme timeline. Based on current trends I find that to be dubious at best. However, it is still highly inconsistent on a global level.

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When have the doctors been wrong?

As the latest lockdown measures are about to be lifted here in Ontario, once again we are hearing from scientists and doctors that if we let our guard down, the new variant could drive us into a third lockdown this spring.

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Let’s Try This Again, Shall We?

The big news of the week is of course, the province is going to emerge from lockdown this month. At first glance, these protocols the province is describing seems to be fairly reasonable. The Premier wanted to project a sense of hope, by saying there is light coming through the clouds.

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Do we have what it takes to see us through this?

As I write this, the federal government’s vaccine procurement plan is on rocky ground. Behind schedule in obtaining vaccines, and trust is fading as to whether or not we’ll by sufficiently vaccinated by September is creeping into the national consciousness. Provincially, we are still grappling to get a fix on the second wave. Numbers are starting to come down but not after much hand wringing and incompetency on part of our provincial governments. On the ground, people are organising mass violations of COVID-19 policy.

At the beginning of this pandemic, comparisons were made to the need to mobilise our country on an effort comparable to the Second World War. In order to defeat this virus, we would need to manufacture and coordinate our efforts akin to how the greatest generation came together to defeat Nazism. Looking at ourselves now, I wonder if we would have the same fortitude to do so today. It seems our leaders are making bad calls all throughout every level of government. Which leads to misinformation and mistrust in guidelines put forward.

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Long Term Care is Doug Ford’s Walkerton

Remember back to the previous Tory government here in Ontario? They were a scrappy bunch intent on reforming government through privatisation. Why should government do it, when we can just pay someone to do it for us instead? This line of thinking ended up in one of the most tragic cases of government failure in Ontario history. Namely the Walkerton crisis.

In the end, Premier Mike Harris ended up resigning his position rather than face re-election by the public over the apparent failures of his privatisation priorities.

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No matter what, Hallmark is NOT essential…

I wrote previously about how the essentials of this pandemic are highly subjective. Check it out here.

To underscore the point, see this:

While I can appreciate the importance the arts industry is to the economic well being of the province, I question the necessity for yet another Hallmark christmas movie being filmed in Hamilton.

I can’t say I’m surprised. Clarity on essential work isn’t there. And in that void, people will continue on their business as usual. It’s hard to take the Premier seriously when he says for us all to stay at home, and yet a Hallmark movie needs to be filmed for the 2021 christmas season.

In this second wave what’s essential?

A list of FAQ’s from the Premier’s office on the Stay at Home Order

So here we are in the midst of another stay at home order from the provincial government. Apparently our numbers warrant this drastic action. So be it.

There are differences from the previous lockdown we had roughly this time last year. The first time we went into lockdown, the government issued a definitive list of what and what was not essential services. What businesses could justify staying open.

If you look above, this time it’s more of a wish washy, if you feel you’re essential then you’re essential attitude. Why this murky grey zone? The provincial conservative government, is returning to a tried and true tropism of conservatism. The rural parts of the province are so different and unique from those effete liberal elites in Toronto.

Only, I can’t for the life of me see what is so uniquely essential for Timmins that isn’t essential for Toronto. Or vice versa. In fact would that be a great litmus test to determine what is truly essential or not? What can you not live without in Toronto and Timmins? Grocery stores, hardware and building supply stores, pharmacies, gas stations etc would clearly make the list. Restaurants would be included in that list as well. Outside of that, what else would be considered essential to live?

Of course, since we are in lockdown all services would be restricted to curbside pick up, or take out. But we’ve all been doing that for so long it’s not anything shocking by now. By not putting definitions in their orders, we’re just leaving everything open to interpretation. And isn’t that how we got into this predicament in the first place?

One has to wonder how long Doug Ford has

As we wind down 2020 and look towards the new year, it’s common to wonder what the future holds for us. Especially after this year. I mean after the disaster that was 2020, it’s nowhere to go but up right? Unless I presume you’re Doug Ford.

This week, his government is being rocked on calls of hypocrisy and elitism stemming from his Finance Minister Rod Philips’ decision to vacation in St. Barts for the Christmas holidays. In the face of a stay at home instructions from his government. I won’t get into all the angles of why this is a disastrous moment for the Ford government. If you want a pretty good analysis of why there is very little room to maneuver here, I suggest you read Scott Reid’s analysis here:

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You know what would’ve been a great Christmas gift?…A Vaccine…

A quick question before you continue reading this entry. If you received a phone call this season, saying that you and your family are scheduled to receive your COVID-19 vaccine on Christmas morning, would you have drastically rescheduled your plans? Would you have cancelled opening presents with your family or Christmas Day breakfast perhaps in favour of lining up to get your shot? I know mine would.

This is all hypothetical of course. Here in Ontario vaccination centres are on a break. Because COVID-19 has to go home and isolate and see it’s family for the holidays. News is coming out that Ontario’s vaccination programs are on pause for the moment. They can’t find staff apparently to fill them due to holiday vacations.

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