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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

FELDSTED – Points to Ponder (Part Two)

CTV NEWS: A former federal cabinet minister and doctor has begun helping out at a Markham facility for vulnerable adults that is dealing with a staffing crisis due to a COVID-19 outbreak.

Jane Philpott, a former family doctor who resigned from her position as president of the Treasury Board over the SNC-Lavalin scandal, was seen arriving at Participation House in full hospital scrubs on Easter Sunday following reports that the facility was missing more than two-thirds of its staff after many walked off the job late last week.

The facility, which provides care for 42 residents with developmental and physical disabilities, is now down to about 10 staff members from its usual compliment of 35.

This lady has a hundred times more integrity, honesty and moral courage than the Prime Minister (Justin Trudeau) who kicked her out of the caucus and party can ever hope to acquire. Ms Philpott is not afraid to get her hands dirty while doing the right thing in a dire situation. Bravo Dr. Philpot.


GLOBAL NEWS: Increasing Canada’s strategic stock of personal protective equipment (PPE) was “not a top priority,” in the years before the novel coronavirus outbreak, the country’s minister of employment, workforce development and disability inclusion said.

In an interview with The West Block’s Mercedes Stephenson, Carla Qualtrough, who served as Canada’s minister of Public Services and Procurement (PSPC) from 2017 to 2019, said during her tenure with PSPC, officials “didn’t turn our minds as much” to updating Canada’s PPE reserve despite warnings after the SARS outbreak that another pandemic could occur.

We were very focused, as you know, on defence procurement, on getting the coast guard the ships they need, on getting the navy, getting–fixing– Phoenix,” Qualtrough said.  “We had a lot on our plate as PSPC and that was not a top priority, no.”

The government was embroiled in killing naval contracts the previous government had signed in order to redirect them to party friendly contractors. That was not going well which led to false charges against Vice Admiral Mark Norman and ruination of his career. The Norman scandal has not been satisfactorily concluded.

The Phoenix pay system scandal is ongoing to this day. The horrendous costs keep mounting and there is no end in sight. The government can’t govern properly when it is up to its armpits in alligators.


I dearly wish that the personal care facility scandal did not exist, but years of inattention have come home to roost in the most horrific way. What is impossible to comprehend is why we have standards for day care centres, workers who need to be certified for employment and are paid a reasonable wage for their services, but we have no parallel system for personal care homes.

Surely seniors and people with disabilities who require assistance with ordinary daily functions are no less important than children in day care. My parents both ended their days in personal care homes and thankfully received superior care 

It is distressing that we appear to have no plans to protect these facilities from communicable diseases. Strains of flue and infections are as deadly to vulnerable people as coronavirus. Yet, people in these facilities need socialization with one another and with family members and friends. We must not punish them with prolonged isolation as that will result in serious psychological harm.

One would think that all such facilities should have separate isolation rooms equal to about 10% of their regular beds so that residents who have an infection can be separated from their peers until they have recovered. Protocols would be like the isolation rooms in a hospital – visits allowed with those visiting checked for infections and if cleared, decked out in gowns, gloves and masks to reduce risks.


HUFF POST: Both (Justin) Trudeau and (Andrew) Scheer came under fire for breaches of social distancing and stay at home regulations.

Trudeau travelled from his Ottawa home at Rideau Cottage to celebrate Easter with his family at Harrington Lake, the prime minister’s official country residence in Quebec’s Gatineau Park.

Scheer flew to Ottawa with his family (along with Elizabeth May and Carla Qualtrough) on a small government (nine passenger) jet at a time when Canadians are being told to physically distance from one another and avoid non-essential travel.

Gentlemen, we expect our leaders to follow the same rules imposed on the rest of us. Don’t tell us what we must do, exhort us to take one for the team and then ignore your own advice.

That is not the leadership we expect.


THE STAR: Environics Analytics did a cell phone survey on people who were not staying home and reported that the numbers dropped from about 32% on the February 1st weekend to 15% on the April 4th weekend. That is both good news and astonishing.
The 16% figure would include essential workers going to carry out their daily duties. Bravo to all of you who are isolating to combat coronavirus spread. There aren’t as many careless dunces as we suspected. Thank goodness for small mercies.

John Feldsted ... is a political commentator, consultant, and strategist.  He makes his home in Winnipeg, Manitoba


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