Sometimes good ethics is good policy

I admit it I am chomping at the bit to get Coronavirus vaccine. I missed my first appointment, I don’t want to admit my second one coming up soon.

Yet, I also know, no one is safe until we’re all safe. Some of us (not many) are starting to see that rushing the vaccines into as many arms as possible is not the only issue. It is important, but is it overwhelmingly important?

Or is this a time for us to support  the equitable distribution of vaccines and investments to strengthen global health systems. Not just in Manitoba. Not just in Canada. But around the world. Are Canadian seniors really more valuable or important than seniors in Kenya? Or Afghanistan? When you think about it is there really any reason everyone in Canada who wants a vaccine should get one before hardly anyone in poorer countries gets one? No politician can suggest this is an issue. Of course ‘our side’ is more important than every other side.  Any politician who did not solemnly acknowledge this would be committing political suicide.

But not only that. Besides  doing the right thing, the moral thing, what is smart? According to Lindsay Glassco, writing in the Winnipeg Free Press, the smart thing might be to share! What if the smart thing is to do what the Golden rule says we should? Do unto others as we would have them do unto us? Glassco put it this way:

“Emotionally, that can be difficult to do. Many of us want our opportunity to be vaccinated to come up sooner rather than later, but the life we all want to return to – with healthy supply chains, trade and travel – will be out of reach until we get this virus under control globally. A fair, equitable global response is our only answer. Instead of focusing on the vaccination race with other wealthy countries, we need to recognize that we’re all losing until the whole team crosses the finish line.”


In fairness to Canada, we have actually done quite a lot to share our good fortune. COVAX is an international program where some countries have agreed to share with less well-off countries. As Glassco said,

“Canada is now one of the largest contributors to COVAX, having recently pledged $75 million to the program on top of what it had already previously committed. To date, the Canadian government has mobilized more than $2 billion in its global COVID-19 response.”


I don’t know about you, but I am pretty proud of that. Canada is doing something significant. Maybe it could do even more; I don’t know. But it is doing something good. I suspect my Member of Parliament will criticize the Liberal government for its lavish spending on third world countries. I won’t. I like it.

Lindsay Glassco said it as well as it could be said,

“Canadians’ support of an equitable pandemic response is our defining moment to live our values and build back a better world for generations to come. No one is safe until we are all safe.”


Should Canada be a good Samaritan or the Pharisee?

Sometimes good ethics is good policy.

Leave a Reply