The pandemic has revealed the weaknesses in healthcare systems around the world, not only those in Canada. Different countries share many of the same problems, the most evident being the conditions at and the understaffing of nursing homes, which have led to thousands of unnecessary hospitalizations and deaths over the past several months due to Covid-19. This has contributed to other problems such as shortages in personal protective equipment (“PPE”), hospital beds, intensive care units, respirators, medications required for intubation, the number of healthcare professionals needed to be able to manage a public health crisis, and critical delays in the treatment of other serious health problems. Even France and Italy, have been overwhelmed over the past several months despite being ranked first and second respectively by the World Health Organization for overall quality and accessibility of healthcare. Canada ranks 30th and the US, 37th. https://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/best-healthcare-in-the-world/
In Issue 8, it was suggested that countries will be judged on Coronavirus response based on preparedness for this predictable event. Some countries were ready but most were not. It now seems that final judgement will come down to the effectiveness of crisis management. Many countries have done well but others are failing, most notably the United States, Russia, and Brazil. The lack of preparedness at the outset caused global economic shutdown and required countries to pour billions of dollars / Euros / Pounds / Yen went into rapidly constructed stimulus programs to mitigate the devastating impact of the shutdowns, quarantines, & isolation strategies. Pandemic management failures will extend the economic crisis longer than otherwise would be necessary. Getting economies functioning as quickly as possible is crucial, opening too early will bring a “second [and more devastating] wave” of economic hardship as businesses are forced to close again due to uncontrollable Covid resurgence.
According to the latest figures presented to MPs, as of June 10 the federal government has committed to spend more than $5.8 billion on a series of health and safety measures such as medical supplies and research; as well as more than $153 billion on direct financial aid such as the wage subsidy, and other emergency financial benefit programs for Canadians, businesses and various sectors.https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/3-months-97-000-covid-19-cases-and-billions-spent-pm-says-more-help-to-come-1.4979577
It should now be evident that one of the basic obligations of any society is to have a robust public health system built not only to handle the probable resurgence in Covid-19 cases and but also any other health crises without having to severely restrict personal freedoms and shut down economies. The Federal Government response to Covid-19 measured in dollars is about C$160 billion; Québec is forecasting a 2020-2021 budget deficit of about C$15.0 billion and since it had been in a surplus position the last several years the cost of the pandemic is closer to C$17.5 billion; it is expected that Ontario’s budget deficit will double to over C$40 billion indicating that its response will cost C$20 billion. All of this money has been shovelled out the door with little debate or oversight and will generate waste and the opportunity for administrative, corporate, and personal corruption. I have no argument with the necessity for most of this spending given the current context but I can’t help but think that if these funds had been carefully invested to build heath care and economic resilience before this inevitable pandemic, there would not have been the need to put money into a myriad of programs that invite waste.
In this and in previous issues I have made the case that we need to develop independence when its comes to food production, energy, and control of water resources. It is also critical to have healthy industries that can produce the medical necessities including pharmaceuticals. Other critical industries are more difficult to delineate but should include:
There are some industries that are critical by destination. We need roofs over our heads and places to work and shop, so real estate is critical. However some inputs are not critical It may be nice to enjoy an Italian-made kitchens but there are domestic options.
Examples of things that are not critical:
The delineation of critical industries requires much more research and consideration and will be a topic for a future issue. In the meantime the same reminders: Shop local, support local businesses, buy from local farms, and support local artisans and manufacturers. As always, wash your hands, practice social distancing, hydrate, and exercise.
Lisbon’s seven hills and waterfront make it visually spectacular. The second oldest capital in Europe, the city has energy. Busy streets and squares, full restaurants, and vibrant night life – the city pulsates. And, the population seems young. All signs of a city on the rise? Earthquake A 1755 earthquake destroyed 85% of the city […]
People living on the street have come to symbolize the global housing crisis but they are only the tip of the iceberg. While the examples of Finland and Houston demonstrate a focussed plan pursued diligently can resolve the housing situation for the chronically homeless, addressing the affordable housing problem is much more complex. Defining Affordability […]
I love to dance. This is not something new for me. I can’t remember when I didn’t like to move to the music. My first memories of watching others dance come from my childhood in Cape Breton where I would watch the adults square dance. Then, there were the step dancers who would often accompany […]
Kings Cross, once a thriving industrial and transport centre in London, was effectively closed off to the public by the end of the 20th century. Then in 1996, the decision was made to move the British terminus for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link from Waterloo to St-Pancras. The landowner saw a re-development opportunity for […]
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A Visit from Saint Nicholas A Poem by Jonathan Potter – December 2022 ‘Twas the first mask-free Christmas, when all through the stores The vaccinated children were spewing their spores;The shoppers were eagerly starting to riotAs the introverts longed for some quarantine quiet. The public healthcare workers were tracing the pathOf the flu and RSV, […]