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.
I know! I am going to sound like a grumpy old man. Maybe that is because I am. I have been scratching my head in wonderment at the Taylor Swift phenomena. Is she an Incredible song writer, composer, and performer? I really don’t know! A discussion for another time? But probably not. At my age […]
Don’t build it! At least, Not In My Back Yard ! I acted as an advisor in the sale of a beautifully natural, 14-acre urban waterfront estate. Existing zoning allowed for the development of 30 to 35 single-family homes, which after road dedication would leave very little green space. I did not think that was […]
We were visiting Glasgow (literally that Dear Green Place in Gaelic) to see where my father was born, grew up, and went to University. Fortunately for me, my cousin John from Australia had just visited and had met with historians, Bruce Downie and Norry Wilson. So, we too arranged to meet them in the Govanhill […]
Vienna on top again. This week both Monocle Magazine and The Economist unveiled their quality of life / most liveable city indexes. There are differences in the way each publication sets its index. So it is even more impressive that once again, Vienna tops both lists. I am a bit lazy today so rather than […]
Many Viennese went from hot bedding to superblocks overnight. Could they even imagine an apartment complex 1000 metres long built along two streets with even more massive landscaped courtyards? Could they conceive of 1400 apartment units built to house 5000 people on 56,000 square metres or 38 acres of land. Or a vertical build-out that […]
Vienna had been a poor city even before the First World War. “Normal” housing arrangements meant six to eight people sharing one room and a kitchen. Then, in early 1919, just after the Armistice, the cost of living tripled in two months. Bed lodgers could no longer afford their 8-hours a day in a shared […]