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Canada Kelly McParland: It's not about Covid. It's about health care, and Erin O'Toole should maybe take advantage

23:57  13 january  2022
23:57  13 january  2022 Source:   nationalpost.com

Erin O'Toole urges accommodations for unvaccinated Canadians amid Omicron wave

  Erin O'Toole urges accommodations for unvaccinated Canadians amid Omicron wave OTTAWA — Canadians unwilling to be vaccinated against COVID-19 should be accommodated through measures like rapid testing, Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole said Thursday as health experts warned the lightning-fast spread of the Omicron variant threatens to overwhelm hospitals. © Provided by The Canadian Press Ontario is reporting an uptick in hospitalizations and days ago made the decision to keep school-aged kids learning from home for at least two weeks, which Doug Ford's government said was to take pressure off the health-care system.

The federal Conservative party needs an issue it can use to differentiate itself from the Liberals, appeal to Canadians and confirm itself as a serious alternative government with sound ideas and attractive policies.

Toronto EMS sit in the emergency entrance at East York's Michael Garron Hospital. © Provided by National Post Toronto EMS sit in the emergency entrance at East York's Michael Garron Hospital.

Hmmmm, let’s see. Whatever could it turn to? What’s going on out there in winterland that might hold a strong appeal to a broad mass of voters? (Scratches head. Thinks real hard …)

OK, here’s a hint: HEALTH CARE! (Was that subtle enough?)

A memo must have circulated within the Ottawa pundit club, as suddenly there’s a rash of articles noticing that things aren’t as they should be in the venerated Canadian health-care system, which, until recently, we insistently assured ourselves was admired around the world.

O'Toole says he opposes Quebec's plan to 'tax and target' the unvaccinated

  O'Toole says he opposes Quebec's plan to 'tax and target' the unvaccinated OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Erin O'Toole says while he respects provincial jurisdiction, he opposes Quebec's plan "to tax and target" those who are unvaccinated against COVID-19. The Tory leader made his position known on Premier François Legault's proposal during a Facebook Liveevent late Thursday. Some of his MPs had already taken to social media to condemn the proposal as discriminatory, unethical and punishing to low-income earners. EarlierThe Tory leader made his position known on Premier François Legault's proposal during a Facebook Liveevent late Thursday. Some of his MPs had already taken to social media to condemn the proposal as discriminatory, unethical and punishing to low-income earners.

“Ready or not, a new debate about the future of health care has begun,” says the CBC. “Why Canada is shutting down while the U.S. stays open: their healthcare systems,” explains Bloomberg News. “When do we admit Canada’s health care system just isn’t working?” wonders the Globe and Mail’s Robyn Urback. This after it’s been evident for years that our system was on shaky ground. Policy Options magazine warned in March 2020 — when COVID-19 was still barely a gleam in its mother’s eye — that “Coronavirus is about to reveal how fragile our health system is.” Dr. Katharine Smart, president of the Canadian Medical Association, told the Toronto Star: “You’ve taken a system that was really kind of teetering on the edge, and you’ve pushed it over.”

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The emergence of Omicron, the failure of government efforts at all levels to get a handle on it and the prospect of another winter shuttered away indoors suffering panic attacks at every cough or sneeze seems to have concentrated minds on the undeniable fact that Canada’s health-care system needs a drastic overhaul. There aren’t enough nurses or other health-care staff, there aren’t enough beds, there’s not enough room in intensive care, we’re not equipped for surges or mass outbreaks, and years of budget pressures have left us vulnerable to unexpected events.

It’s not like we don’t spend the money . Health care spending tops provincial budget outlays. While the rate of growth varies, it goes up almost every year and has been drastically increased during the pandemic. We’re near the top in international tables of spenders, and while there are frequent proposals for efficiencies, no one seriously suggests costs can be drastically slashed.

5 Hollywood stars, which have removed 2021 extremely

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For all the spending, the system is in a constant struggle just to keep up with demand. Former Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne expressed regret in a recent interview that her government put so much emphasis on balancing the budget that health costs got severely squeezed. Yet Ontario’s Liberals borrowed so heavily over 15 years in office that the province pays more than $1 billion a month in interest costs alone, plenty enough to flood the province with beds and nurses. So where did the money go?

The answer, as so often, is that it went into election baubles and social programs that win votes but strain the budget. You can’t have pharmacare, daycare, dental care, subsidies on electricity bills and other juicy offerings when you’re already borrowing to pay the bills on existing programs. This is a lesson many provinces, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s federal Liberals, simply refuse to acknowledge. Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland says we “can’t afford not to” launch new spending, at a time we can’t cover existing bills without taking out additional loans.

A look at the latest COVID-19 developments in Canada

  A look at the latest COVID-19 developments in Canada A look at the latest COVID-19 news in Canada: — Canada's health minister says he expects the country to reach a time in the COVID-19 pandemic when provinces consider implementing a broader vaccine mandate to counter rising cases. Jean-Yves Duclos told a COVID-19 briefing on Friday that such a measure was not currently being contemplated in Canada, but his personal opinion was that the country would get there at some point. Given how fragile the health-care system is in Canada and its aging population, Duclos said he thinks that type of measure will be considered by provinces over the next weeks and months.

It’s a political opportunity and it’s there to be seized on. So where are the Tories? Conservative leader Erin O’Toole has tried, but to little avail. O’Toole seems to have trouble being heard. He’s like the two astronomers in the new Netflix film , Don’t Look Up, who try desperately to warn the world that a giant comet is hurtling straight for Earth, but can’t get people to acknowledge the great mass of oncoming death that’s clearly visible in the sky. Maybe that’s because the Tories are great at pointing out Liberal failings, but haven’t suggested much in the way of a creative alternative. With hospitals staggering under the workload, the opposition parties’ response has been to call for an emergency committee meeting where they can fire questions at the health minister.

Meetings won’t help much, especially as Canadians have largely tuned out official babble. There’s been years of talk about raising taxes, cutting costs, switching priorities, rethinking orthodoxies or embracing innovation, to little effect. Nor are voters likely to respond positively to proposals for experiments with private medicine. Imagine the reaction if the past two years had seen well-off Canadians getting easier access to tests, vaccines and hospital care while others scrambled for jabs, waited in long lines for tests, worried about vulnerable relatives and saw long-awaited medical procedures delayed. There might be a great theoretical case for it, but now’s not the time to launch it.

Health care is a provincial responsibility that gets billions of dollars from Ottawa. Seven of the 10 provinces have conservative governments. Nova Scotia’s Conservative Premier Tim Houston won an upset victory by pledging a single-minded program to bolster the province’s problem-plagued health system. “Not just here in Nova Scotia, but in all of Canada, we proved that just because there is a pandemic doesn’t mean government gets a free pass,” he said at the time.

The opening is there for O’Toole and his federal party. If they can’t drum up the ideas needed to take advantage of it, they have no one but themselves to blame.

National Post

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Tasha Kheiriddin: The unvaccinated must be deterred from harming others .
What to do about the unvaccinated? As Omicron tears through Canadian society, this public health question has become a political wedge issue. The Liberals and Conservatives have chosen sides, ramped up the rhetoric, and polarized the debate, each playing to the base they think is most likely to support their point of view. With 88 per cent of Canadians over the age of 12 fully vaccinated , the Liberals figure they’re pretty safe siding with the crowd that favours the jab. Regrettably, they have chosen the strategy of demonization. This week, Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos called on provincial governments to consider forced vaccination .

usr: 1
This is interesting!