I’m alright, Jack – is a British expression used to describe those who act only in their own best interests even if assistance to others would necessitate minimal effort on their behalf. That neatly sums up the general attitude of the political class in Canada and, in particular, our Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.
It is relevant to us going into the Christmas season resplendent with centuries-old traditions of caring and sharing with and for others beyond our immediate families. It’s the time of year when we dig in purses and wallets or write cheques to charities and do our best to aid others less fortunate.
They are members of the forgotten. Many of us have commitments to volunteer and donate to charities and organizations we trust, but most do not.
We have a large swath of our population dependent on welfare, including people with disabilities, lack of education and marketable skills, and a broad range of difficulties far too general to list. Our failing is that governments, on our behalf, have created a welfare industry to help those needing assistance. It is a ridiculous government policy designed to distance politicians from the cries of our most needy. Send them off to the welfare office then and be done with it.
Welfare must be based on the principle that teaching someone to fish will ensure they never go hungry. However, such a welfare system would self-destruct, so the system churns on, ineffective, but employing a growing bureaucracy dependent on the people they fail to help. If you feel you have fallen down a rabbit hole and joined Alice in Wonderland, do not fret; you are sane. The sanity of governments is a different issue.
We have a larger segment of people, perhaps best described as the working poor. Usually, hourly paid and with only minimal benefits, they form the backbone of service industries, including those deemed essential workers. They are indispensable and mostly invisible and taken for granted, which is where our approach to COVID-19 containment failed.
Governments did not recognize that they needed to provide generous COVID-related sick leave to allow them to stay home if they or family members felt ill or suffered symptoms of COVID. Without that support, these workers will go to work irrespective of symptoms until they require hospitalization. They have done so for eons, and virus regulations will not change deeply ingrained habits.
Stay at home parents are an exception rather than the rule. Many people
considered middle class are there due to dual incomes and are fiscally insecure
in that they do not have reserves to enable them to survive an income loss of
90 days or more. Many have had their lives thrown into disarray as one or both
incomes have been lost due to shutdowns. Many survive with various COVID
related income supplements, but they have no assurance that these inadequate
programs will last.
Students are distressed to find that jobs they have traditionally used
to offset tuition and other education costs are filled by others thrown out of
their regular employment. Competition for any paying job is fierce.
Seniors recognized the dangers of isolation and loneliness decades ago
and created activity centres to provide socialization opportunities and
services and keep themselves active, engaged, and healthy. They are told
to revert to the isolation that was harming their physical and mental health
decades ago, and their efforts to heal themselves are ignored. They will
With all the propaganda we are subjected to daily, one would think that
virus regulations limiting social interactions and travel restrictions were
working when they are not. Since March 21, there
have been over seven (7) million border crossings into Canada.
Many are engaged in essential services and exempt from quarantine
regulations – truck drivers, health care workers and others involved in
essential services. While they are exempt from having to quarantine on arrival,
they are not exempt from the virus. They can be infected and spread the virus
Even more staggering is the policy on foreigners and returning Canadians
arriving by air. They are required to quarantine for 14 days at their final
destination. Thus, if an air traveler comes to an airline hub and uses a
second (and possibly a third) flight to get to a final destination, he exposes
fellow travelers and persons at airports to virus risk. Only a government can
come up something that inane.
Government response to the coronavirus threat is a series of disasters
wrapped in a catastrophe. We must not allow the same politicians to undertake
rebuilding the economy they destroyed. We have had enough of an unaccountable
Prime Minister Trudeau, aka The Artful Dodger.
He must go before he can inflict more harm and pain.
John Feldsted ... is a political commentator, consultant, and strategist. He makes his home in Winnipeg, Manitoba.