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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 – The War We Lost


There is no doubt that nations worldwide, including Canada, lost the war on containing coronavirus.

Most nations, including all western countries, chose an unproven, never-tested business closure and population containment model instead of a more traditional approach.

We wreaked havoc in the small business sector and tossed millions of employees on an unemployed heap. We demanded that healthy people self-isolate (quarantine).

We had no detailed plan. There was no effort to anticipate how coronavirus might spread or where we were most vulnerable.  

No one thought about the vulnerability of the residents of communal living such as personal care homes, senior’s residences, university dorms, jails and prisons, to name just some. Thousands were infected, and many died as a result.

Governments recognized that we needed to keep some workers on the job to maintain minimal public services and ensure access to food, water and essential supplies. No plan was made to protect these essential workers from infection or minimize their infection of others.

We allowed international travel and thereby left a door open to importing the virus and its variants from all over the world. Despite federal government protestations, we have imported every virus variant from a wide array of nations from coast to coast in Canada. Our porous borders are on record every day under reports of virus variants in every province and territory.

Not one political jurisdiction in Canada has managed to contain coronavirus spread or recognized its failures and tried alternative means of controlling the virus.

No Canadian government has provided the public with information on common and inexpensive methods of boosting personal immune efficiency with vitamins, minerals and other supplements.

We lost every battle and the containment war. Every province and territory has had claimed its health care system is overwhelmed. Elective surgeries and some critical procedures were postponed due to COVID-19 patients taking up all physical and medical resources.

It is disgusting and frightening that none of our medical and political leaders are turning their attention to rebuilding our health care systems to address the backlog of postponed procedures and long waiting lists.

The health care systems in place failed us. Considering government spending on health care, that is unacceptable. Every government has excuses for why its health care system is not working as it should, but none offer solutions. We need to scrap systems that fail to respond to our needs and build something better. The blame game is over.

In 2019, total health expenditure in Canada was expected to reach $265.5 billion, or $7,064 per person. It is anticipated that, overall, health spending represented 11.5% of Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP). Inflation has pushed those numbers up, and COVID-19 has pushed spending well over projections for 2020 – 21.

The fat cats at the top, medical and political, have enjoyed freedom from accountability for too long. They need to step up and fix the system they are responsible for or get out of office.

Rearranging the existing personnel and facilities again is not acceptable. We need to introduce a private provider alternative and a model that recognizes and adequately pays the nurses and technicians who carry the bulk of the patient care load. Paying ICU doctors $400 an hour and ICU nurses $45 is ludicrous. The nurses are on high alert for their entire 8 or 12-hour shift.

The arrival of coronavirus vaccines has rescued the politicians. The COVID-19 crisis will pass soon. We have to keep their feet to the fire and insist they fix the health care systems that failed us.

We do not know when the next epidemic will hit, but we know that we are not prepared, and thousands more may die as a result. That is a dereliction of duty that has become normal for politicians and health care officials.


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


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