It’s now 2022, two years into the Covid-19 pandemic, and officialdom is still in chaos. The primary lesson learned is being ignored i.e. the falsity that lockdowns across the board actually accomplish the intended objective of saving lives. The WHO preached against the practice based on history but Canada seemed intent on following China’s draconian lead even to the extent of idiotic curfews in Quebec. We know lockdowns cause major strains on families and play havoc with the economy; and we know they are futile since jurisdictions that didn’t lock down have mortality rates no worse than Canada and some lower, Sweden for example at 1.2% compared to 1.5% for Canada.

One might ask why are we into this lockdown insanity right now in spite of the facts?  In my opinion, apart from the politics, it’s for one reason only, the paucity of ICUs in our hospitals. Canada ranks 10th in the listing of OECD countries with only 10 ICU’s/100K population; the US is in top place with 35 which says something about their 2-tiered healthcare system; they do have Medicare for seniors and Medicaid for the handicapped that few Canadians seem to realize when bragging about our system. Our medical teams have been quite loud about the ICU problem and pushed for lockdowns even though there’s no evidence that the practice reduces hospitalizations. Despite this governments at all levels accede to the pressure so the perception is created that they are taking useful action. It’s all purely political but at the same time authoritarian and that’s dangerous; after all this isn’t communist China.

So given the ICU situation do we know how we got here? We should if we pay attention to recent history. If we go back to the Chretien government of the 90’s we see that the budget was balanced by way of huge health transfer cutbacks to the Provinces, many billions of dollars that have never been put back into the system. Premiers have been decrying that but Trudeau hasn’t listened; his answer to the pandemic was to borrow over $400 billion and write cheques on that borrowed money paying people to stay home and not work in support of harmful, useless lockdowns. Muddleheadedly, under Chrystia Freeland’s direction, this is still happening; and we definitely need to get unshackled from this policy.

But there’s a big “what-if” in my mind because if only a small portion of that wasted money had been put towards ICU creation we wouldn’t be facing this dilemma. I’m told that setting up an ICU costs between $25-30,000, three times the cost of regular beds; and given that hospital construction doesn’t happen overnight the way through this in the short term in my view would have been the development of ICU portables. Doing this would have created thousands of jobs and could have doubled our ICU count by now. Canada is well endowed with industrial expertise in this area; ATCO trailers for example are found in forestry, mining and oil patch camps across the country as well as add-ons to schools. It’s still not too late for such action but what a pity so much money went and is still going down the toilet.

People are fed up; they’re sick of sleeping with one eye open; the catastrophism has to end. The portmanteau that best describes what we’ve been through is “fear-mongering”; and it brings to mind FDR’s philosophy when implementing his “New Deal” job creation projects during the Great Depression when he said to Americans, “the only thing we should fear is fear itself”, indeed!

Ron P. Alton