Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave a press briefing from his front doorstep on Tuesday.
It was the familiar message: Ottawa is doing everything in its power to protect Canadians. Frontline workers are heroes. Yes things are tough, but if we can hang on just a few more months, things will look much brighter. Oh, and there’s a new loan program on the way: we may not be able to get vaccines as promised, but we can always go deeper into debt.
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It was meant to be reassuring, and Lord knows Canadians need reassurance. But in the 12 months since COVID-19 appeared, the vast majority of Canadians have done what they’ve been asked, made the adjustments and endured the discomforts. It’s governments that have come up short against a virus that has infected 100 million people worldwide and killed 2.2 million.
At both federal and provincial levels administrations have proved to be ill-prepared, ill-informed, poorly coordinated, slow off the mark and erratic in their efforts. Stockpiles of protective masks were allowed to expire and not replaced. An early warning system for pandemics was shut down. Canada’s ability to develop and manufacture vaccines was left to wither. Pharmaceutical policies discouraged research and development.