Let’s go down the rabbit hole with the Conservative leadership race

“’Curiouser and curiouser!’ cried Alice” – Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Today’s Conservative Party of Canada is a curious movement. Even curiouser are its leadership race and its upcoming pair of television debates – French on Wednesday, English on Thursday.

The debates, to be broadcast from Toronto, may be the only opportunities for national audiences to take the measure of the four candidates who are vying to take on Justin Trudeau in the next federal election. Voting by ranked preferential ballot is to take place in August.

Will the hard lessons of the pandemic be lost in the preoccupation with recovery?

Political and public attention is shifting from stopping COVID-19 to the delicate and uncertain challenge of recovering from it – to returning daily life to something close to what it was pre-pandemic and to getting the economy firing on all cylinders again.

In British Columbia, for-profit nursing homes spend $10,000 less per patient for care than non-profit homes.

Last week, Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government gave itself the power to take over temporary management of long-term care homes that are unable to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.

One might ask why Ontario waited so long. British Columbia, which has been more successful in holding off the coronavirus, made the same move six weeks earlier.

Urgent: Forget the expense, screw the profits. Fix long-term care!

Forest Heights Long-Term Care Centre in Kitchener, a for-profit nursing home, is at the epicentre of the COVID-19 crisis in Ontario’s Waterloo Region. As of last Thursday night, 45 Forest Hill patients had died.

That was 45 of 98 deaths in the region, which encompasses the cities of Cambridge and Waterloo, as well as Kitchener. To put it another way, one nursing home was responsible for 45 out of 79 deaths in all the long-term care (LTC) homes in the three cities.

Why for-profit nursing homes are especially dangerous in a pandemic

Public officials in Canada, as in other countries, are turning their attention from self-isolation, social distancing and keeping businesses shuttered to strategies for a cautious reopening of society.

They see a flattening in the curve of new cases of COVID-19. They feel growing pressure from cooped-up families, from 7 million unemployed workers and from business owners to let the country return to normal.

A pandemic lesson: Make long-term care part of the public hospital system

“In Canada, we shouldn’t have soldiers taking care of seniors. In the weeks and months to come, we will all have to ask tough questions about how it came to this.” – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, April 23, 2020.

Questions are good. Answers would be better.

Will COVID-19 really change behaviour in the world of a “new normal?”

Some day the coronavirus crisis will play itself out – and when that day comes, the world will be not be same, or so we are told. There will be a “new normal.” Everything will change, presumably for the good.

As an optimist, I would love to believe these seers. As a skeptic, I wonder. Will the COVID-19 pandemic, horrible as it is, really change human nature or behaviour?

Now is the time to get ready for next time – for the next pandemic

It is one thing to be caught by surprise by a fast-moving virus, as most of the world was by COVID-19. It is quite another, and more serious, thing to be woefully unprepared to deal with such a crisis when it does occur.

Canada, like the United States, was taken was by surprise, although neither should have been. The Washington Post reported last week that the Trump administration received formal notification on Jan. 3 of the outbreak of the coronavirus in China. Within days, warnings from U.S. spy agencies were being included in the President’s Daily Brief.

Nothing else registers when the news is all pandemic all day

Who is, or was, Joe Biden?

The question is not entirely rhetorical. Just a month ago, Biden – Barack Obama’s vice-president – was the talk of every town. On March 3, he won a majority of Super Tuesday delegates and, building on momentum generated in South Carolina three days earlier, was poised to claim the Democratic nomination and challenge Donald Trump for the White House.

Justin Trudeau political legacy is riding on the outcome of the war against COVID-19

Canadian history is full of what historians like to call “defining moments” – events or decisions that put their stamp on the country and help to secure the legacy, for better or worse, of the government of the day.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his minority Liberal government face one of those defining moments as they, along with their provincial partners, struggle to keep Canadians safe from the COVID-19 pandemic. The outcome of the struggle, which no one can yet predict, will inevitably colour history’s verdict on this Trudeau government.

Opinion-Policy Nexus is a forum of opinion and commentary on topics related to public opinion and public policy. Views expressed in any blog entry are those of the author and do not reflect LISPOP's positions.


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