The Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has been severely criticized by conservative politicians including even my own Member of Parliament, Ted Falk, for suggesting that we should take advantage of the Covid-19 crisis to reset our economy and make it fairer. To conservatives, who by definition love the status quo because it has allowed them and their cronies to prosper, they ask ‘why change what is perfect?’ Any contrary suggestions are viewed by them with deep suspicion for it can only mean those nasty liberals and socialists want to use Covid-19 as an excuse to take over the economy.
Here is a statement by Trudeau that triggered hysteria from my political representative. It was a statement by our Prime Minster Justin Trudeau as follows:
“This pandemic has provided an opportunity for a reset…This is our chance to accelerate our pre-pandemic efforts to reimagine economic systems.”
Here is the response of my fear filled Member of Parliament to such a suggestion:
“For Justin Trudeau, COVID-19 is an opportunity to impose his radical “reset” agenda. Mr. Trudeau’s speech seemed a clear indication that Canada was on board with whatever the UN was recommending… Justin Trudeau’s consistent willingness to sell out Canadian sovereignty to unelected UN bureaucrats should be a cause for great concern for all Canadians. With our economy in tatters, it is almost unfathomable the level of delusion it would take to think that following the UN’s lead into some sort of global eco-socialist utopia is the answer to our economic woes—unless of course, you’re Justin Trudeau.”
Falk of course dredges up old tropes that the Conservatives in the US see as dastardly. We could ignore that, but there is a larger question here that should be addressed. Are the economy and social system so great that they cannot be improved upon? Let’s take a look how others besides comfortable white businessmen, like Ted Falk are doing.
First, and most important, is the stunning impact of Covid-19 on seniors in long-term care facilities. For now, I will look at Manitoba, but the issues occur everywhere in Canada. In fact, I want to look at one main facility—the Maples—a privately owned and operated facility in Winnipeg. It was the scene of a horrific outbreak of Covid-19 that shocked our province. In a private long-term care facility of about 200 residents, in November of 2020 the outbreak led to the severely short-staffed facility asking Health Manitoba for help to deal with the critical outbreak. At first that call went unheeded. That led to 56 residents dying before it was adequately dealt with. That is more than 25% of their residents who lived there! In fact, at one time 8 residents died in 48 hours! 26 died in 28 days! For years in Manitoba the care of senior’s has been outsourced to companies like Revera Inc., the private operator of the Maples, to presumably save on costs so that the province could avoid increases in funding for about a decade. Does that really save money? Is it worth the savings if they are real?
Then there are indigenous people in Manitoba. The indigenous people in Canada are typically the ones hardest hit by any widespread catastrophe. Canadians have come to expect that.
The chief and council of Pauingassi First Nation shut down their band operations, closed schools, prohibited public gatherings and required residents to stay home after they declared an outbreak of COVID-19 earlier last month. The small and remote First Nations community has less than 500 people living on the reserve. Recently almost a quarter of them, 118 people, tested positive for covid-19. After they tested positive many of them had to leave for Winnipeg where they could get treatment unavailable on the reserve.
This shows what has been happening in northern Manitoba as during the past few weeks regularly more than 50% of the new covid-19 cases were discovered on northern First Nation reserves even though only 10% of Manitoba’s total population is indigenous! As of February 19, 2021, 2/3rds of Manitoba’s total Covid-19 sufferers were indigenous. As well 1/3rd of Manitoba’s Covid-19 patients in Manitoba were indigenous and 1/3rd of Manitoba’s patients with the most severe effects in Intensive Care Units were indigenous.
Why is that? Probably the cause of this disparity is that so many indigenous people are poor in comparison to average Manitobans. As a result, they have less access to quality care and live in housing that is frequently severely overcrowded. In Manitoba, there is almost a 20-year difference between the average age of people who die from Covid-19 that are indigenous and those who are not. Indigenous people die younger from Covid-19 and in comparison to non-indigenous people, they die in droves.
Yet at the same time 2/3rd of Manitoba First Nation communities were Covid-19 free. Imagine what would happen if more contracted it. In my opinion the reason so many are Covid-19 free is that they are so remote. If they were not so remote more of them would have Covid-19 and then inevitably, the consequences would be disastrous in each of those communities. These are troubling statistics and point to some serious inequities in Canadian society. Inequities that smug politicians like my Parliamentarian Ted Falk are loath to notice. He is worried instead about the UN leading us to eco-socialism thanks to our leftie Prime Minister.