Category Archives: #cdnpoli

Vax Pass

Vax passport, BC, COVID-19
The QR Code for this Page

I am in the midst of being the Campaign Chair (a silly title if there ever there was one) for the Peoples Party of Canada candidate in Victoria, John Randal Phipps. Which is my excuse for not blogging much.

The single issue in this campaign is the Vax Passport set to be introduced in BC tomorrow. This is a particularly obnoxious idea. Basically, it is a rule that people have to show proof of vaccination (and I use that term loosely) in order to access pubs, restaurants, sporting events, gyms and so on.

It has nothing whatsoever to do with health. Rather, it is a means to coerce and punish the unvaccinated. Which is nuts simply because the vaxxed are able to be infected and transmit the virus but are less likely to know they actually have the damn thing.

Here is the Israeli Ministry of Health on its version of the Vax Pass:

My own bet is that the BC Vax Passport, despite our superabundance of Karens, will fail in a matter of weeks. First off, of the 5 million or so British Columbians less than 1.5 million have applied for their vax passport. That leaves 3.5 million without papers. Second, while there may very well be enforcement at large venues, I can’t imagine a lot of very close to the edge pubs and restaurants showing a Gestapo like diligence in checking their potential patrons at the door. While the restaurants were packed tonight with people enjoying their “last suppers”, after about a week of 25% houses, the hospitality industry is going to get very slack. (And, amusingly, the BC Government has given fast food places and cafes an exemption for dining in without alcohol for 30 minutes or less. The MickyD’s exemption. They really are just making shit up.)

I have two bright kids, one a coder, one a designer, working away at my own, private Vax Pass App. It will look quite a bit like the BC Gov’t app – when that is available – and it will feature a QR code (see above, took three clicks) leading to a web page with something like.

I’m Good…Thanks


Good Service gets great Tips

At a guess, in a couple of weeks, that will be more than enough to gain entry to most of the smaller venues – if those venues ask at all.

Never underestimate the power of human laziness when people are asked to do a silly thing which will cost them money.



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Surf’s Up

4th Delta Wave building in BC

4th wave incoming.

British Columbia has a vax rate over 80% for first jabs with second jabs catching up fast. We also have exponential growth in “case” numbers and hospitalizations and admissions to the ICU are rising as well.

Our Health Minister and Public Health Officer have called a press conference tomorrow where, I expect, they will announce some restrictions – almost certainly travel restrictions, earlier bar closings and, perhaps, a return of the indoor mask mandate.

They will also probably have some unkind words for the unvaccinated although I would be very surprised if any form of vax passport was introduced.

While these measures will be pitched as public health responses to the 4th Delta wave they are, in fact, political responses to a fearful population a vocal portion of which is demanding “action”. The population is fearful because, it turns out that even a successful vaccination program, and BC has many shots in arms, does not actually stop COVID. While this may be blamed on the unvaccinated, the evidence from Israel and Gibraltar and Iceland suggests even high levels of vaccination, while helpful as to outcome, does not stop the Delta 4th wave.

I suspect Dr. Bonnie Henry already knew this. Minister Dix is a smart guy and likely knew this was coming. But the vax was oversold as immunizing when it isn’t. For the fearful, the vax was “the solution”. Now that it turns out to be pretty much a therapeutic rather than a sterilizing vaccine the fearful feel even more vulnerable. Which, in turn means they are advocating for restrictions, the harsher the better. Which is what, I suspect, Dix and Henry will be responding to tomorrow. (Remember, Henry did not impose BC’s first mask mandate, it was imposed by the government at the request of the BC Retail Council – public health had very little to do with it.)

Frightened people demand solutions, the more draconian the better. Politicians have to deal with those demands. The new school year is around the corner, the COVIDians – double vaxxed for safety and masking even without the mandate – are petrified that the Delta variant will kill them. They want the government to back up their fear with the traditional “strict measures”.

It will be interesting to see which way BC jumps. Will it continue along the path to more complete re-opening even at the risk of a rise in “cases” – as Alberta has done – or will it start the mask mandate/travel restriction regime again? Politically, this is a question of whether the government values fear over freedom. From a public health perspective there does not seem to be much that will stop the Delta 4th wave – at least anything which is open for public discussion.

I suspect fear is going to win tomorrow. I hope it doesn’t, but the fearful are a very motivated bunch. I hope that Dr. Henry stops short of re-imposing masks but, even more, I hope she takes a moment to remind people to take a walk in the sun, eat well, lose a bit of weight and rely on their vaccines, their natural immunity and the systems which support it.

The 4th Delta wave is upon us. I suspect the vast majority of us will be just fine.

UPDATE: I was wrong. Fear did not win this round. The only significant announcement was a vax requirement for people working in LTC facilities. While I doubt this will make much difference there is a logic driven rather than fear driven reason for such a mandate.

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Apparently Justin Trudeau thinks that the best use of the nation’s time as we head into a Delta driven 4th wave of COVID is to have an election. Okay, I never thought he had any judgement and an election call at the moment would confirm that but here we are.

There are huge issues facing Canada. Unfettered immigration, useless but expensive carbon taxes, deficits to 2070, price inflation, real estate markets which have put housing in the luxury goods category, a stalled First Nations reconciliation process, the collapse of any number of energy projects, increased homelessness, opioid deaths, a health care system which seems incapable of dealing with even a fairly mild pandemic, senior care in a shambles where our elderly died in droves as much from neglect as COVID and on and on.

Judging from the Liberals activities in the run up to the election, while those issues get the occasional nod, the strategy seems to be to spend lots of money in seats the Libs either hold or would like to win. As to substance, the Libs seem very committed to “doing something” about climate change, keeping immigration levels up over 400,000 per year and not being racist. Unfortunately, this is also pretty much the substantive position of the Conservative Party. The CPC’s big selling point is getting rid of Justin and his gender balanced Cabinet of flakes.

No doubt, over the course of a campaign, these positions will be “fleshed out” but there’s where the two main parties stand going into the election. There may be issues surrounding COVID vax mandates for federal employees and for institutions (read banks) which are federally regulated. The current polling suggest Canadians like authoritarian measures to defeat the virus which is why Trudeau floated the mandate and why we have not heard a word against it from the Conservatives.

The paid for media and the CBC – but I repeat myself – will cover the election like a horse race. Polls will be taken and breathlessly reported. A leaders’ debate will be held and performances will be compared. The NDP and the Green Party will be taken seriously for a few weeks. The Bloc will be ignored simply because it does not run outside Quebec.

The consensus position, tacitly agreed upon by the major parties and the major media is that despite COVID and deficits and slow economic activity there is very little need for significant change. The big question being whether Trudeau will gain a majority or if O’Toole can hold him to a minority.

You will notice I do not mention Max Bernier or the Peoples’ Party. I don’t because the PPC plays outside the consensus. The PPC and its supporters think that significant change is absolutely required and that issues like the deficit, immigration, economic development, First Nations policy, housing and health care need new thinking. (I also don’t mention the Maverick Party but will discuss it in a subsequent post.)

The mainstream parties and their captive media will be running in a consensus election fought lightly in a couple of dozen urban ridings in BC and Ontario. Outside those ridings Max and the PPC will be addressing real problems and offering real solutions.

Will it matter? In terms of seats and outcomes, while I would be delighted to see the PPC win a few seats, the real target for the PPC is the national and regional popular vote. Yes, I do know that does not matter electorally. After all, the CPC won the popular vote in the last federal election. (My own sense is that the Maverick Party has some chance of winning seats in Alberta and Saskatchewan which will be discussed in that subsequent post.)

Max and the PPC need to crack the 5% barrier this time out. If they can do that and Max can win in Beauce, they will have sent a huge message to the CPC. That message is important. Now, if Max and the PPC manage to cut through and beat the Greens – not an unrealistic goal – the message that there are real problems which need real solutions will go mainstream whether the gatekeepers like it or not.

There are really two elections coming up: the Tweedledum and Tweedledee, paid for media, horse race and a vote on whether Canada is a serious country.

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Perhaps not my finest writing but the Lulu girls tossing paint on an East End Vancouver church were revolting examples of ignorance.

However, apparently, calling them “skanks” triggered the Twitter hate patrol. I appealed, the above is a screenshot of Twitter rejecting the appeal. I like Twitter mainly for the tweets of a bunch of people involved in the junior mining industry so I have removed the tweet.

But this is a great example of just how dangerous rules surrounding “hateful conduct” are. Because there is no precise definition of “hateful conduct” pretty much any mildly insulting speech can fall into the bucket. It is completely arbitrary.

Now mothers the world over have admonished their children with “If you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything.” Which is idiocy. Political conversation ranges from compliment to invective. It is in the nature of that conversation to say harsh things both as to their truth and for effect.

The Twitter “hateful conduct” wheeze essentially puts users on notice that if they insult or disparage some identifiable person they may lose access to their account or lose their account altogether. Of course, it is only Twitter and life goes on.

Unfortunately, our Liberal government wants to effectively criminalize a variant of the “hateful conduct” rule. Bill C-36 proposes to include in the Canadian Human Rights Act this:

13 (1) It is a discriminatory practice to communicate or cause to be communicated hate speech by means of the Internet or other means of telecommunication in a context in which the hate speech is likely to foment detestation or vilification of an individual or group of individuals on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination.

It tries to narrow the grounds a bit a little further on:

Definition of hate speech(9) 

In this section, hate speech means the content of a communication that expresses detestation or vilification of an individual or group of individuals on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination.

Clarification – hate speech(10) 

For greater certainty, the content of a communication does not express detestation or vilification, for the purposes of subsection (9), solely because it expresses mere dislike or disdain or it discredits, humiliates, hurts or offends.

Now, I suspect that my Tweet would not fall afoul of this language but that would not be a bar to an an a complaint being filed.

And the Libs are very keen on the idea of anonymous accusations:

Non-disclosure of identity — Commission(8) 

The Commission may deal with a complaint in relation to a discriminatory practice described in section 13 without disclosing, to the person against whom the complaint was filed or to any other person, the identity of the alleged victim, the individual or group of individuals who has filed the complaint or any individual who has given evidence or assisted the Commission in any way in dealing with the complaint, if the Commission considers that there is a real and substantial risk that any of those individuals will be subjected to threats, intimidation or discrimination.

At the moment, C-36 looks pretty much dead in the water simply because the Libs seem to want this Parliament to die and hold an election. But if they win it will certainly be back.

Of course, if it passes, anonymous denunciations can go both ways. The gender critical ladies are certainly the butt of a lot of internet hatred. So are Jews whenever Gaza heats up.

Attempts to police speech, particularly political speech almost always end badly.

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Losing the Thread

Driving past the gas station today Regular is $1.67 a litre. At the grocery store some perfectly ordinary eggs were $8.00 a dozen. Butter is $6.50 when not on sale.

On Canada Day some addled youth decided it would be a good idea to toss the statue of Captain Cook into the Inner Harbour. I rather doubt they had any idea who the great explorer and cartographer was, but he looked very 18th century and that was enough.

Over seven hundred people died during last weeks’ heat wave with around five hundred of those deaths attributed to the heat. Ambulance wait times went to over three hours.

Various polls suggest that Justin Trudeau is within sight of a majority were a federal election to be held now.

The remarkable thing about all of these little snippets of news is that they seem to be regarded as business as usual. Being taxed by an inflation rate which is well into the double digits does not cut through the COVID hype. Vandalism and arson purportedly in rage over residential school deaths which we have known about for decades attracts very little comment – though many First Nations people are not very happy that reservation churches which have served their communities for years are being burnt. People seem to shrug off the heat wave deaths and ambulance delays.

I expect very little from government at any level. A reasonably sound currency, a degree of public order and emergency services which can deal with the inevitable surges in demand.

The emergency services issue is probably the most easily fixed. Yes, having more para-medics is part of the solution but planning a reponse to these sorts of surge emergencies which tries to avoid the need for an ambulance in the first place is important too. Most of the dead were old, in many cases, very old. It should not be impossible to identify those older people and have a plan for these sorts of emergencies. Something as simple as a “Helpful Neighbour” program on a voluntary basis would be a good first step.

Restoring public order is more complicated. First, you have to have the political will to actually take on the problem. As we saw a couple of years ago, when it comes to people purporting to act on behalf of First Nations/environmental causes that will is absent. But even if the politicians decided that enough was enough there needs to be an investigation and an understanding of how the “spontaneous” vandalism and arson and blockades are driven. That is going to require rooting around in the activist community which will be, to say the least, difficult. The people who are actually creating the public disorder pay close attention to operational and communications security. Suffice to say this stuff is not being organized on a Facebook page.

Restoring order is also going to require a look at who benefits from disorder. To take an example: was it co-incidence that the sad fact of the Kamloops residential school graveyard came up just as the inquiry into Canada’s Winnipeg Lab’s connection to the Wuhan virology lab was heating up? The fact of there being a graveyard had been know for decades. The ground radar was being used to determine the boundaries so a new fence could be built. Yet, somehow, the number of bodies became headline news. I suspect, but cannot prove, that this was no accident. Public order will be restored when disorder is no longer in anyone’s interest.

Inflation is more complicated still. First off, the Liberal government and the Bank of Canada seem skeptical that there is any inflation worth mentioning and, if there is, seem convinced that it will be transitory. Second, the Liberals seem to think that with interest rates at record lows, borrowing lots of money makes a ton of sense. Third, the tools available to reduce inflation are all politically painful: reducing deficit spending means saying “no” to program and benefit expansion. Raising interest rates, even a little, would increase the cost of the government’s debt and the debt which Canadians have taken on in buckets during COVID. Plus, there is a federal election coming and no government wants to even tap on the brakes at the risk of losing votes.

In the past, inflation was largely self correcting. At a certain point the government would no longer find buyers for its bonds and would have to raise interest rates until it could. That brake has, to a degree, disappeared now that the Bank of Canada has decided to purchase government debt in apparently unlimited amounts.

The Modern Monetary Theory people will think this printing is a very good thing. I suspect it isn’t. What it creates is asset and price inflation. The $6.50 butter becomes $9.00 and the $1.67 gas becomes $3.00. But wages and salaries and even government benefits, are unlikely to keep pace. This clobbers the benefits, working and middle classes.

At the moment virtually all the Western economies are printing money fast and that means that the Canadian dollar is holding its value relative to other currencies. How long that will be the case remains to be seen. Similarly, interest rates are crawling along at less than 1%. Will that continue? I doubt it.

Bubbles burst. Eventually the dislocations caused by too much money in the marketplace will disturb and then dis-combobulate the system and the inflation will have to be squeezed from that system.

Politically, printing money is much more satisfactory than raising revenue and decreasing expenditures. There will be no action at all taken on inflation before the next federal election and it is not obvious that there will be any taken after. It is not obvious that Trudeau or his Cabinet have the foggiest idea that any of this is a problem. Nor, frankly, is it clear that O’Toole and the CPC would be much better.

The ideas of a stable currency, public order and good emergency services are beginning to sound a bit antique, quaint as it were. However, I suspect we’ll miss them when they’re gone.


Heat Wave

As my readers know I live on Vancouver Island right by the ocean. Normally, it is too cool to be comfortable having the evening g&t on the deck. Well, yesterday and today and very possibly tomorrow it will be way too hot.

The thing about heat waves is that they bring out the climatistas ready to ascribe weather to climate change. On #bcpoli Twitter it is a dead heat between the unscientific “I will wear a mask until there is no COVID anywhere on Earth” people and the people who insist that the present heat wave “proves” global warming. Well it doesn’t.

What we are in the grips of is a jet stream excursion. A big loop of hot air is sitting on top of us. It is practically the definition of “weather”. Three weeks ago Victoria set an all time record for coldest June day in the middle of a series of anomalously cold days. This too was “weather”.

The warmists are not deterred. “Well, over all the “weather” is getting hotter because of climate change.” “The jet stream is behaving eccentrically because the Arctic is getting warmer and that’s climate change.” And then they add their policy prescription d’jour – Save Old Growth, Raise the carbon tax, Stop LNG exports and so on.

The brutal narcissism of the climate crusaders is touching. The problem and its solution are all about them. Other than the Pacific North West, the rest of the world is normal to cold. The Eastern US has been wet and cool, South America is freezing, Australia and New Zealand are experiencing an early ferociously cold winter, summer snow is falling in Scandinavia. The fact the major factor in the northern and jet stream’s preignitions is the level of solar activity is borne out by the general coolness of 2021. Guess what, the Sun is very quiet at the moment which is historically linked to cooling rather than warming.

But, for fun, let’s propose that the climate change fanatics are right and there is a direct link between CO2 and the present heat wave – not one of their favoured solutions will make the slightest difference. We could all walk to hug the trees and it would not matter.

Here’s why:

“During the Congress, air pollution returned to Beijing with a vengeance, hitting the highest levels since January 2019, as the economy hummed out of the pandemic. Steel, cement, and heavy manufacturing, predominantly backed by coal power, boosted China’s carbon dioxide emissions 4 percent in the second half of 2020 compared to the same pre-pandemic period the year before. At the same time, the goals in the country’s 14th Five-Year Plan on energy intensity, carbon intensity, and renewables were hazy as well, little more than vague commitments to tackle carbon dioxide emissions.

Coal remains at the heart of China’s flourishing economy. In 2019, 58 percent of the country’s total energy consumption came from coal, which helps explain why China accounts for 28 percent of all global CO2 emissions. And China continues to build coal-fired power plants at a rate that outpaces the rest of the world combined. In 2020, China brought 38.4 gigawatts of new coal-fired power into operation, more than three times what was brought on line everywhere else. (Yale Environment 360)

A generous estimate of Canada’s total contribution to CO2 emissions is about 1.8% of the global total.

The rush to climate arms in the face of the heat wave comes, I suspect, from the same well of narcissism which prompted a pro-masker to tweet, “I’m going to keep wearing my mask because it shows I care about you.” Why not just get a smiley face button? It would allow you to signal your virtue and have exactly the same effect on the virus or climate change as doing nothing at all.

(Yes, I know, Twitter is a swamp and a time suck – but it is way too hot to go out.)

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Canada Day

I have never much liked Canada Day. Oh, the fireworks were a blast but an awful lot of the celebration seemed to me to be less about love of country and more about feeling smug. Last year the celebrations were virtual due to COVID, this year they are to be muted because unmarked graves have been found at the sites of residential schools. Apparently we are to have a day of reflection.

It is precisely this sort of moral preening which put me off Canada Day. I hate to say it but we’ve all known about the residential schools and their failings for decades. “Discovering” the graves of children who went there is horrific but, again, we knew that children died in those schools. But this year we are supposed to “reflect” on this fact.

This is typically Canadian. We’re going to reflect on the fact of the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of children while, essentially ignoring the current, awful conditions on many First Nations reserves.

If this country had any leadership at all, the Prime Minister, the leaders of the Opposition Parties and all of the Provincial Premiers would sit down and figure out how to, in the next year, get potable water to every First Nations reserve in Canada. Never mind the cost. Just get this basic thing done

Reflect on history all you want but start addressing the basic needs of First Nation Canadians as a matter of urgent, national, priority.


One Size fits All

Lauchie Reid: Hyacinths and Thistles. All images courtesy of the artist.

I got into a Twitter fight last night with a person – I think female but can’t tell for sure – who tweeted that she did not want to be in crowded indoor spaces with the unvaccinated and that they should stay outside like smokers.

I suspect we will hear a lot of this sort of thing over the next few months as COVID wanes and the vaccinated become a majority because it is not enough to be “protected”, the vaccinated seem to need to be isolated from the unvaccinated. Thus the call for vaccine passports and vaccinated only events.

The logic of this seems to rest on the idea that the “vaccine” is not 100% effective in preventing infection or transmission of COVID. What it does confer, apparently, is a reduction in the severity of the symptoms of COVID in the event that the vaccinated person is unlucky enough to catch the virus. You can see the problem, essentially a vaccinated person may be at the same risk for infection as an unvaccinated person and at the same risk of transmitting the bug as an unvaccinated person.

Now, frankly, I don’t think we have enough data one way or another on the vaccine’s efficacy in preventing infection or transmission – the early data seem pretty encouraging on the vaccine’s reducing the severity of the COVID symptoms and the mortality numbers are falling encouragingly. But separating the vaccinated from the unvaccinated is not at all obvious based on what we know so far.

My Twitter gal did not like that position at all and was eventually reduced to calling me “selfish” for not a) getting jabbed, b) for suggesting that there was no logic in separating people who could be infected and who could transmit the virus but who had the prospect of a better outcome if they did from people who could be infected and who could transmit the virus and only had a 99.9% chance of full recovery.

The COVID conversation usually comes down to people’s perception of the risk COVID presents. The vast majority of people who contract COVID feel badly for a few days and are done. Death from COVID is largely confined to people over 80 with one or more co-morbidities. At a clinical level doctors are becoming much, much better at treating the symptoms of COVID. This is not contested information. The daily statistics show much better outcomes for hospitalized patients. Even the “variants of concern” do not seem to have increased the lethality of COVID.

So a risk calculus with respect to the vaccine needs to begin with assessing an individual’s likelihood of a fatal outcome if he or she were to contract COVID. A 99.9 percent survival rate if you are under 80 and are not significantly compromised is a reassuring place to start. Does it make sense to take a new and untested vaccine to improve those odds? (And before we get into the weeds on testing, the vaccines all are being used based on an Emergency Use Approval which is not at all the same as the full testing which drugs typically undergo. That testing is ongoing and will be completed in late 2022 or early 2023.)

As I have consistently written about COVID, you have to manage your own situation which means being aware of and assessing what your life holds by way of risk. First off, do you live in an area with high rates of infection? Do you interact with strangers on a regular and continuous basis? What is your general health status? Do you get outdoor exercise? Individuals can assess these factors for themselves.

Against your personal risk profile when you are looking at “the jab” you would normally take the advice of the medical community which, in turn, would rely on the peer reviewed results of the drug testing the jab is undergoing. But those results are not yet available. Even the mid-term effects of mRNA based vaccines are more a matter of conjecture than evidence.

So the calculation is not so straightforward. As I happily say when asked, “Not yet, I’m in the control group.”

Which brings us back to “selfish”. I assess my personal risk of contracting – much less dying from – COVID as very close to zero which has meant I have been in no hurry to get jabbed. But my Twitter pal seems to think that is selfish. Somehow, my not being jabbed is going to…what? Make her jab less effective? Nope. Destroy herd immunity? No, at worse it may reduce herd immunity infinitesimally but there is very little evidence either way. Prevent her from feeling confident in enclosed crowded spaces? Maybe, but not at all my problem. Prevent the great re-opening? Possibly. The re-opening is a political decision and various politicians have come up with various metrics – case numbers, outbreaks, hospitalizations, first jab percentages, full jab percentages – to give the appearance of science to a purely political decision. Again, not my problem and not part of any rational, personal, risk calculation.

I suspect that the woman on Twitter was, in fact, driven by the very basic human tendency to want others to do what you are doing. When people are terrified, and COVID and the mass media have scared the Hell out of people, they want the security of the group. When the politicians, media and public health officers all say, “Everybody needs to get the jab,” it is much easier to go along with the crowd. Part of going along with the crowd is trying to herd dissenters into the ranks of the righteous. If they won’t be herded then, well, they’ll have to be ostracized.

The good news is that, as COVID fades, so will the zealous. As the threat recedes the urgency of the group think will diminish. As normal returns, attempts to separate the vaccinated sheep from the unvaccinated goats will lose their moral force.

My Twitter friend will have to find something else to be indignant about.

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Top Men!

Glen Reynolds over at Instapundit points to a story in Medical Express entitled “The dream team: Scientists find drug duo that may cure COVID-19 together“. Yes please and all that but what struck me was this paragraph:

“Although several vaccines have recently become available, making significant strides towards preventing COVID-19, what about the treatment of those who already have the infection? Vaccines aren’t 100% effective, highlighting the need—now more than ever—for effective antiviral therapeutics. Moreover, some people can’t receive vaccines due to health issues, and new variants of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, that can penetrate vaccine-conferred immunity, are being reported, indicating that we need to think beyond prevention.” Medical Express

It is pretty clear from this article that the team has been at work for a while though it is not clear when they started.

I would have thought that as soon as COVID-19 was a thing – say March 2020 – there would have been dozens of teams all over the world looking for treatments. (There were, by the way: lots of clinicians were developing treatment protocols involving HCQ, ivermectin, various anti-biotics and other drugs. But these treatment protocols were under reported if not outright censored in the mainstream and social media.)

I have always had a mental image of researchers, medical scientists, public health officials, health ministries, hospital administrators, world health people, the Center for Disease Control and a myriad of other agencies quietly working in the background to prepare for the next, great, health/disease challenge. Ready to isolate the bug, test treatment protocols based on clinical experience, develop isolation and containment strategies based on the epidemiological characteristics of the illness.

I also had a naïve view of the ability of politicians to step up. While the clinical and research side of COVID was the province of doctors and researchers, the overall response to the virus was a matter for political leadership. People in positions of political power certainly need to lean on experts but they also have to allocate resources, examine alternatives, make decisions based on limited information.

Very little of this actually happened.

The first response of most of our political class was to doggedly claim to be following the science, turn day to day decision making over to “public health experts”, follow the guidance of the WHO and the CDC – guidance which was, to be charitable, inconsistent – and to largely avoid questioning the experts. (Trump seemed to make some attempt to raise questions but made little headway in the face of his own public health bureaucracy.)

“Wipe everything” (which the CDC now concedes is pointless because the virus is rarely, if ever, transmitted by contact, “wash your hands” (good advice at any time), “social distance” (hilarious when in effect outdoors where there is next to no transmission), “walk this way” in the essential grocery and liquor stores, “wear a mask”, “wear two masks”, “stay home” (logical for two weeks, insane for six months), “curfew” (no known benefit, Quebec ended up being under curfew for five months), “no indoor dining” (despite next to no evidence that restaurants were significant sources of infection), “don’t travel” (with a vast list of exceptions), “don’t gather outdoors” (unless BLM protest)” (ignoring entirely that the virus rarely spreads outdoors): it was all COVID theatre and, to paraphrase Dr. Bonnie Henry, “There’s no science to it.”

What the politicians did was simply to panic. They abdicated their responsibility to lead to “experts” who seemed to all be reading from the same “mass lockdown, masks everywhere, hang on for the vaccine, there is no treatment” script.

The key political failure was the acceptance of the “there is no treatment” story. Back in February/March 2020 there were suggestions that there might well be treatments of some sort. HCQ was trotted out and, partially because Trump mentioned it and partially because of very badly designed studies, dismissed. The very idea of a COVID treatment regime was, essentially, made illegal in Canada and much of the United States.

The idea of boosting immunity with things like Vitamin D and C and a good long walk every day did not come up at most of the Public Health Officer’s briefings across Canada. And, again, not very well done studies were cited showing that “Vitamin D does not cure COVID”. A claim which was not being made. A healthy immune system, to which Vitamin D can contribute, most certainly does cure COVID in the vast majority of cases.

Citing privacy concerns, public health officials were unwilling to give many details as to who was dying of or with COVID. Age, co-morbidities, race, and the socio-economic status of the dying were disclosed reluctantly and long after the fact.

I don’t think most of this can be blamed on the public health officials. They had their jobs to do and, to a greater or lesser degree, managed to do them. They are hired to apply current best practices – often mandated on a world wide basis by the WHO – to the situation before them. Public Health officials are not expected to be imaginative nor innovative.

Imagination, leadership, thinking outside the proverbial box is what we elect politicians for.

A smart Premier or even a clever Prime Minister, after the first shock of the arrival of COVID, would have immediately found creative people to think clearly about, “What else can we do?” In a matter of a week or two, along with driving vaccine research, a full scale treatment research effort would have been organized. Everything from clinical protocols – which clinicians were constantly innovating – to drug treatments to immune system boosting and health optimization would be on the table. And those efforts would have been supported and discussed by the politicians pushing them.

About the only politically innovative thing we saw in Canada was the Maritime bubble where the Maritime provinces essentially closed themselves off from the world New Zealand style. (I don’t think it will make much difference in the long run but it certainly was different from the rest of Canada.)

Leadership is about considering options. It is also, critically, about creating options to consider. Not a single political leader in Canada and very few in the United States created a single option to the relentless “lockdown, wait for the vax there is no treatment” story.

Which cost tens of thousands of deaths, the destruction of 100,000s of businesses, a general decline in mental health and trillions of dollars in debt.

Top men!


And…We’re done

Which is not to say “It’s over.”

BC is re-opening in stages based upon the percentage of the population who have had first doses of the “vaccine” (I use quotes as it is not at all obvious that the mRNA injections are vaccines in the traditional sense of that term. This is not a knock, rather it is an indication that some caution is warrented.) Indoor dining started lasst night, the mandatory masks indoors in public order is expected to end July 1, travel restrictions are being eased are are rules about gatherings.

The COVID numbers are dropping with only 289 new “cases” (ie. positive test results) in the province yesterday. Only 6 on Vancouver Island where I live. Hospitalizations, cases in the ICU and deaths are all down.

These improvements are being credited to the vaccine despite the fact that only a tiny percentage of British Columbians (less than 5%) have had the required two doses. Arguably, a single dose strategy, while it does not confer 100% protection, is good enough to bend the infection curve. [The past month of warming, sunny, weather might have had something to do with this as it did last year when there were no vaccinations and COVID virtually disappeared.)

Predictably there are plenty of people on Twitter and in the MSM who are worried that this is too soon. There is an active claque who want COVID-Zero before even thinking of re-opening. Against that view are people looking at states in the US like Texas and Florida which are wide open and back in business.

Politically, and a good deal of the response to COVID is political, public acceptence of restrictions has been eroding quickly. The vaccinated can see no reason not to get on with their lives, the hesitant and outright rejectionists, are looking at falling case numbers and assessing their own risk more aggressively.

For restrictions to work there has to be public buy-in. Back in March 2020, when COVID was new and terrifying, restrictions simply structured the response of a public already staying at home and avoiding other people. As we understood the virus better, realized that it was far from lethal for a large part of the population and began to understand how it was transmitted, people were more willing to lead semi-normal lives. (This was particularily true for people who had been keeping up with the rapidly changing “science”. Knowing that outdoor transmission was extremely unlikely was useful, knowing that the virus was only very, very rarely transmitted by contact with inanimate objects was useful. Taking onboard the fact that the virus was airborne was both worrying and actionable.)

“The jab” simply accelerated the return to a more normal life. People who had even a single shot were less afraid. And the public was more than able to recognize that if the jab worked the need for restrictions and mask mandates faded. Otherwise, what was the point of the jab?

You do not have to presume a conspiracy to note that a great deal of the public COVID reaction was grounded in fear rather than fact. The public at large seemed to believe that the virus was deadlier than it is and more infectious than it has turned out to be. Terrified the public wanted lockdowns, masks, business closures and travel restrictions. Once that fear began to fade because of falling “case” numbers and rising jab rates the public support for restrictions began to slip.

The BC Government recognized that the fear was over. Re-opening was going to happen whether the government permitted it or not. The official “re-opening plan” is largely a recognition of this reality rather than a public health document.

We’re done.

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