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Daily Briefing: ONE YEAR LATER: CANADIANS STILL IN AN ACUTE STATE OF CRISIS (February 11, 2021)

In U.S. backyard: How China embedded itself in Canada:  Cleo Paskal, Sunday Guardian, Jan. 2, 2021 Canada has been making headlines in India recently, and not in a good way. There were Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s statements about the farmer issue, seen in New Delhi as interference in internal affairs.
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Table Of Contents:

Tasha Kheiriddin: Canadians deserve a COVID election, because this crisis isn’t going away soon: Tasha Kheiriddin, National Post, Feb. 9, 2021

“Is it time for a change of government? Will the opposition smell enough blood to trigger an election this spring, possibly in the form of a budget non-confidence vote?”

As the polar vortex tightens its grip, the temperature isn’t the only thing dropping across the country. So is faith in the federal government’s management of the COVID-19 vaccine roll out. According to the latest poll by Abacus Research, the number of Canadians who think the federal government has done a good to excellent job on ordering vaccines has declined by 15 per cent since early January. Meanwhile, Nanos Research found that one in two Canadians do not believe Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promise that we’ll be vaccinated by September.

Not surprisingly, this has put a chill on Liberal party fortunes, with the party now polling neck-and-neck with the Conservatives for voter intention at 32 and 31 per cent, respectively.

So, is it time for a change of government? Will the opposition smell enough blood to trigger an election this spring, possibly in the form of a budget non-confidence vote?

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole was asked the question earlier this week, and he dismissed the idea. “I don’t think (the election) should be held as we’re trying to deal with the second wave of pandemic, when there’s curfews not far from me at night in Quebec. We need the vaccines.” He added that the next election “should be at a time when the country is not in this acute state of crisis.


Diane Francis: Made-in-Canada vaccine announcement was little more than smoke and mirrors: Diane Francis, Financial Post, Feb. 4, 2021

“It will likely take at least two years by the time the Canadian-first vaccine will roll off.” 

This week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced two deals designed to produce COVID-19 vaccines on Canadian soil by the end of the year. But even that timeline — which won’t see Canadian-produced vaccines until well after the government’s self-imposed deadline of having enough doses to vaccinate the entire population by September — is unlikely to be met, according to an expert with many years’ experience in the industry.

One deal he announced is with Novavax, a vaccine manufacturer that says it will produce vaccines at a National Research Council (NRC) facility in Montreal. But the facility has not yet been built, nor has the manufacturing process been certified for safety, or even licensed by Health Canada.


Mintz: We need to up our COVID game: Jack M. Mintz, Financial Post, Feb. 5, 2021

“Intensive testing enables economies to open up as people can return to work and school. Vaccinations establish the herd immunity that can ultimately end the pandemic. On these two scores, Canada is vastly under-performing.”

It is a year now since we learned that COVID was taking root, with 294 deaths in China and 14,000 infections worldwide. When it comes to health performance and our recession, how well is Canada doing? Let’s look at some cold, hard statistics.

In terms of economic growth, Canada is subpar. The IMF estimates our economic growth was -5.5 per cent last year, compared with -4.9 per cent for all advanced countries. (Last Friday’s Statistics Canada report pegs GDP growth at a slightly better -5.1 per cent). The United States, our natural comparison country, is at -3.4 per cent. A commodity-based economy might be expected to have a deeper recession than the typical advanced country. But Australia is in many ways similar to us, and its decline was only -2.9 per cent.

Moderna delivers zero doses of vaccine this week, Canada’s stockpile falls below 250,000…


John Robson: Smug Liberal government is too incompetent to get vaccination right: John Robson, National Post, Feb 9, 2021

You may think we have a vaccination crisis in this country. And if you’re not a paid or volunteer Liberal flak you may think it’s about health not PR. But it’s really a crisis of government competence. The reason they can’t vaccinate is they can’t do much of anything.
 
For instance buy sidearms or ships for the armed forces. Get guns away from criminals or tell criminals from law-abiding citizens. Decide when to lock us down or explain why. Deliver a budget or explain why they haven’t. Balance the books. Fix health wait lists. Maintain infrastructure. Be transparent.
 
As someone observed on Twitter, it isn’t surprising that a government that takes 15 years not to purchase a military sidearm struggles to vaccinate. I can’t quote it because of the now quasi-obligatory vulgarity in our overlapping crisis of manners. But consider two headlines from last Wednesday’s Post: “Made-in-Canada vaccines won’t be ready until end of the year” and “More delays expected for navy’s new fleet”. Six pages and apparently worlds apart. But connected by a combination of ineptitude and smugness.

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For Further Reference:

Kelly McParland: Not only have the Liberals failed us on obtaining vaccines, they won’t even be honest about it:  Kelly McParland, National Post, Feb. 5, 2021 — It’s a scientific principle that when a vacuum is created, other forces rush to fill it. The same applies to politics, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is paying the price.
 
China and Russia ‘aggressively’ targeting Canadians, CSIS director warns:  Stewart Bell, Global News, Feb. 9, 2021 — Canada’s intelligence chief warned Canadians on Tuesday that they are being “aggressively” targeted by hostile foreign governments seeking political, economic and military advantage.
 
As Germany and France dither, Canada among group of English-speaking nations confronting China:  Gideon Rackman, Financial Post, Feb. 9, 2021 — As a general rule, it is a good idea to be wary of people who bang on about the “Anglosphere.” In Britain, it is an idea that has a strong whiff of imperial and Second World War nostalgia about it. The notion harks back to Winston Churchill, who wrote a four-volume.
 
Conrad Black: Canada must retaliate over Biden’s ill-considered Keystone decision: Conrad Black, National Post, Feb. 6, 2021 — Canada absolutely has to retaliate for the outrageous and cavalier cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline.
 
Covid-19 Vaccine Promises Fall Short for Many Doctors, Elderly in Europe:  Eric Sylvers, Patricia Kowsmann, and William Boston, WSJ, Feb. 7, 2021 — Eugenio Del Rio, a 77-year-old writer, leaves his Madrid apartment only to shop for food and take an occasional stroll as he awaits his turn to get the coronavirus vaccine. The wait is getting longer and longer.

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