Sunday, April 04, 2021

The Vaccination Rollout In Canada Is Being Botched - Deliberately

As a third wave of COVID is about to clobber Canada, I want to talk a bit about why this is completely unnecessary, and likely as not has more to do with politics than it does anything else. 

Since Canada has no capacity of its own to produce vaccines, especially not something as sophisticated as the Pfizer mRNA vaccine, the Federal Government took the step of over-procuring - basically signing contracts for far more than we actually need with multiple vendors, and hoping that enough would come in from each of them to be useful.  More or less, that plan has worked out fairly well.  There have been hiccups resulting from production capacity problems in Europe, and more recently some squawking from European states over exports, but nothing insurmountable. 

The point being that vaccines are here, and they are being distributed to the provinces. 

So, why is it being so painfully slow to get vaccines into people's arms?  

For all that Premiers like Doug Ford are protesting that it's a supply issue, they aren't anywhere near at capacity for delivering vaccines. Not when they have several days' supply in storage, and they aren't even delivering the number that they claim they could. Similarly, in Alberta, the government is "rolling it out", but it's coming in painfully slow dribbles, with eligibility tightly controlled, and outlets like pharmacies restricted to a very small number doses each day. 

Clearly this isn't a supply issue - not when Ontario is sitting on a large number of doses, and not when Alberta is playing games with distribution.  

This is pure partisan politics being played out.

Conservative premiers - especially Kenney, Ford, Moe, and Pallister - seem to be doing their level best to screw up the response to COVID.  Half-baked "lockdowns", or in Alberta, an outright refusal to enforce their own public health guidance all contribute to a muddled handling of the pandemic.  An over-eagerness to "reopen" things has ultimately led to a cycle of locking down then unlocking as the waves of the virus move through the population. There's no good reason for this approach.  It was abundantly clear from the get-go that if you want to contain a pandemic, you don't play around with half measures.  

Basically, it all boils down to the conservative movement having nursed its hatred for both Liberals and in particular Trudeau for decades.  Kenney's quip about Justin Trudeau summarizes the sneering hatred the CPC and its allied parties hold for Trudeau:  "He has the political depth of a finger bowl". Yet, Trudeau took down Harper in 2015, and held on again in 2019. For a movement dominated by people who still love to bring up the 1980 NEP policy as a major grievance, being beaten repeatedly by the son of the man who wrote that policy has to sting. 

The conservatives in Canada have decided that they have the perfect 'catch-22' in the COVID pandemic.  If Trudeau invokes federal powers under the Emergencies Act to deal with the pandemic, they get to scream blue murder about heavy-handedness, and overreach.  If he doesn't, they accuse him of "failing" because the vaccines aren't rolling out fast enough for Canadians.  (or they'll complain that we paid too much, or whatever)

It's pretty transparent, really.  The Federal CPC and NDP have been yammering away about "Trudeau planning an early election" since February in their fundraising.  Meanwhile, their allies in the provinces are happily bungling the rollout while trying to blame it all on Trudeau

They're playing politics with people's lives. As the third wave of COVID starts to emerge, Canadians should be absolutely livid with their provincial governments for this.  

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