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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 – Rising from the Ashes (part 1)

We will emerge from the current surreal situation.

We have voluntarily given up our freedoms on the advice of the medical community in order to slow the spread of a communicable virus. What is galling is that the predicted exponential increases in COVID-19 cases has not taken place. We have had a very large number of cases (and deaths) added to the totals due to virus outbreaks in long-term care facilities which were predictable and preventable.
A few days ago, we were advised that deaths in long-term care facilities represented about 50% of the COVID-19 deaths reported. That is horrific and getting rapidly worse as new instances in care homes are reported each day.

What is the proportion today? 55% ... 60% ... or higher?

It makes a huge difference in trying to assess the risks to the general population. Both the reported number of cases and number of deaths are artificially high when assessing the risks to the multitude in self-isolation.

Including statistics for vulnerable and unprotected people unable to self-isolate and social distance is misleading at best. At the very least, those numbers should be segregated in assessing the effect that social isolation is having on COVID-19 spread. The currently published figures are dishonest.

We have effectively shut down our economic engines putting millions of people in economic peril.

Political leaders recognize this is an acute problem and are trying to offset some of the harm. They cannot succeed for more than a brief period. Too many people fall outside support programs. We cannot increase the numbers living in poverty without serious social and economic consequences.
We have little choice but to restart our economic engines and develop systems that allow free enterprise to thrive as never before.

It is imperative that we destroy the chains that hinder resource development -- ensure that Canada becomes energy self-sufficient  -- and builds the primary and secondary refineries, smelters, foundries, packing plants and processing plants to create meaningful work for our people and maintain our standard of living.
Our federal government has been fixated on becoming a player on the world stage, but Canada is still a minor league player on the economic front.

We have the potential to become an economic powerhouse but have not created the climate for prosperity. Our focus has to shift to internal development of our resources, infrastructure, and workforce in order for us to prosper.

We have deluded ourselves into believing we can shift to clean energy, that we can improve the world through urging change in other nations, that we are changing to a knowledge driven economy, and that Canada does not have a unique character and identity in a brave new borderless world -- all of which are intellectual exercises in daydreaming.

The COVID-19 crises has brought it all to a jarring halt. 

We have finite borders to protect. We have a unique society that has come together to support one another without prejudice or discrimination. We are recognizing our failures and fears without flinching, determined to learn from our mistakes and do better.

Our dalliance with ideology left us vulnerable, and that has to be remedied.
The world and our place therein are changing, but we are not facing rebellion and coup d'état. We are undergoing gradual shifts and adaptation that will take place over decades.

Our challenge is to manage the shifts to minimize adverse effects on our nation and its people.

We cannot be coerced or driven to make changes quickly particularly when sudden changes threaten our economic and social security. That attempt has crashed and burned.

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


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