TORONTO - Suddenly, or so it seems, we are no longer talking about vaccines. That is not entirely true - we are talking about mandates and the relative effectiveness or futility of vaccinations. For two years, as a willing public we have trusted our political-administrative and medical-scientific leadership to make the right choices. We complied.
In the last two weeks that trust has snapped.
For context, everyone in our organization has been triple vaxxed. Equally, it has tried, assiduously, to provide information and balanced reporting and/or analysis of Covid-19 related initiatives from around the world. For reference, we built our own mathematical chart focusing on rates of infection, recovery, hospitalization, incidence of ICU care and, regrettably, fatalities. Obviously, we relied on the quality and frequency of reporting by the competent authorities.
That quality, coherence and consistency, sadly, was so erratic that it came to a crashing halt when “people stopped believing”, in mid-November, with the surprising arrival of Omicron. None of the medical scientists who governments and TV networks had been putting in front of a microphone to explain Covi-19 and its variants seemed to know what was happening.
The focus shifted from people who might have been infected to the ability of the hospital system to oversee the sick and the dying. The underlying implication was that to keep the system functional, we the sick needed to stop getting sick.
Finally, the head of the Ontario Science Table, on air, announced that the effectiveness of the vaccines had been reduced to 14% by Omicron. Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer, throwing up his hands, said we would just have to learn to “live with Covid”. USA Courts have ordered Pfizer to reveal the anticipated consequences of its vaccines in three months NOT in the 75 years of secrecy it had requested.
In British Columbia, the number of deaths - 2,224 - attributed to drug overdose last year was just barely lower than the number attributed to a connection with Covid – 2,747 (and, consistent with the national average, about half due to age and comorbidities). In Ontario, schools resembled revolving doors, opened and closed according to the whim of arguably the most distracted Education Minister in recent memory. School Boards stopped revealing both attendance records and results of Covid testing.
To suggest that the confidence level of the public has been slipping would be a severe understatement. To make matters worse, advisors with low-grade political acumen have convinced their leaders in Ottawa and Toronto that vilification and demonization of critics is somehow a winning strategic replacement for giving the facts, while they “spend time on the slopes” instead.
Enter the truck convoys. Irrespective of people’s views regarding their motivations and support from wherever, they have disrupted the norms for “acceptable” forms of protest. As of yesterday, the “authorities” were still immersed in the blame game: it is someone else’s jurisdiction “foreign interference”, they say, right wing racist occupiers, and so on.
It took a private citizen to ask for a Court injunction to spur local authorities to clear the Ambassador bridge and liberate the commercial blockade that was preventing about $400 million of two-way commercial trade from moving freely. It took an “expression of concern” from a foreign leader - President Biden - to prod our authorities into action. No one is talking about the necessity of mandates anymore. Ontario has now implemented emergency provisions allowing it to hire an additional 1,800 police officer “who will issue traffic tickets”, according to a municipal employee in Toronto.
Meanwhile, Academics and security experts are condemning the [in]actions of senior levels of government with epithets characterized by words like hypocritical and irresponsible.
Communications experts working for the governments are busy trying to undermine the reputation of the organizers as “illegal”, “racist”, “antisemites”. They may be all of the above, but no one has proven that to be true. One thing is certain, “they” and “their” organizational abilities appear to have gained the upper hand, if one looks at the spread of “the movement” nationally and internationally.
The first members of its leadership are slowly emerging: a Metis Canadian woman, a Jewish Canadian man, a former member of the Canadian Military, an Italo-Canadian College professor, a former Intelligence officer. Has anyone reached out to them?
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