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New Year, New Failures

I was hoping to start the year off writing about something else.  By now, I figured, the premiers would have grown a bit, and maybe dismal failure would no longer be on offer in the New Year.  This was hopelessly naive of me.

We don't live in the sort of world where the capacity to grow is something our leaders posses, no matter the circumstances.

So here we are again.  Instead of growth from our leaders, we get things like Quebec Premier Francois Legault giving credit to a two-day-old curfew for a drop in COVID cases.  This boasting, when we know it takes a week—often two!—for the effects of public health restrictions to show up in case numbers.

Not the sort of thing that gives a lot of confidence in a leader.  But, really, when you think about it there's nothing particularly confidence building about any sort of boasting these days.  But anyway.

This is all from the same government that imposed an overnight curfew over the weekend.  Not because of the direct effects, to be clear, but rather because it will be a shock to the civic body.  Putting cops front and centre and forcing people to stay home overnight will get the message through to us all these months living under a pandemic has not.

The consequences of this are not ideal.  Putting enforcement discretion in the hands of the police is going just swimmingly after this first handful of days.

Already we have reports of essential workers — otherwise exempted by the curfew — being given tickets for being out after curfew, despite carrying letters from their employers saying they were working late shifts and therefore permitted to be out.  Another woman had police demand to go through her lunch bag after they pulled her over on the way to work in the early hours.

It's the start of the police impunity the government has opened the door to.

It's of course worse.  While we're all locked away construction is going forward, manufacturing and food processing are all still running at full capacity, with no new restrictions.  They were asked if they could put off non-essential projects, but they were not told.  Schools are still open for in-person teaching, with new mask requirements, despite substandard ventilation and plenty of evidence schools are driving transmission.

And now Ontario is following our lead into the abyss.  Well, sort of.  Premier Doug Ford's government has imposed an all-day stay-at-home order.  The trouble here is figuring out what that order means.  No one seems to know, because not even the premier seems to know.  "I hear there's confusion.  There's no confusion," Ford said Wednesday.

In trying to clear up this confusion that does not exist, the Ontario government put out a short FAQ to answer questions like, What is an essential trip?  Well: "The Government of Ontario cannot determine what is essential for every person in this province, each with their own unique circumstances and regional considerations.  That said, we have provided broad categories that people should consider before leaving their home: food, health-care services, including medication, exercise, or work, where someone's job cannot be done at home."

Got it?  Good.

So here too, the police have been given broad discretionary powers to decide whether your trip outside the house falls under one of those broad categories.  Categories that will surely be applied no matter what your race or class might be, right?  Right?  (They will not.)  The even more fun part is that while in Quebec, the curfew is well defined, 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., in Ontario it's whenever and wherever the cops (and bylaw, and workplace inspectors) feel like it.  Neat!

So, looking around now can I see that we have used all this time well, since things turned upside down last March?  That we have learned things?  That we have come to a better place after all these months of struggle?

No.  Absolutely not.  The only thing we have learned is how woeful and blockheaded our provincial leadership is.

We are lead by oafs and donkeys.  Men whose ignorance is only outstripped by their arrogance.

I'm angry, sure.  Livid even.  But most, I'm demoralized.

Thousands of live have been lost.  Thousands more have been broken.  Countless thousands are without jobs, security, or a place to live.

All because of the sacks of rotting tripe we call the premiers.  They have made sure this suffering continues, only to then put the boot down on us all.

Things are worse now than ever before, because of them.  And even now, even after all of this, we are once again asked to just do our par.

We have done our part for so long, and are still doing our part.  Day after day.  Our part is being done, and still we are asked to do more by our dimmest bulbs.

So here we are again.  Writing and reading about COVID failures.  I'm tired, exhausted, by the constant dismal drumbeat.  While we are still led by these men, things will not get better.

Welcome to 2021.  Happy New Year!

Photo Credit: Radio-Canada

The views, opinions and positions expressed by columnists and contributors are the author’s alone. They do not inherently or expressly reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of our publication.

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