STUDIN: Stop Canada from quietly going to the gallows

Yes, there’s a pandemic, but Canada is already in the throes of six(!) national crises of system — all existential in any combination.  Of these national crises, the pandemic is now the minor one.

Crisis One is the public health crisis. Beyond COVID, it comprises all the illnesses, mental and physical alike, that have arisen in our population during the pandemic, or that have been neglected due to the obsession with COVID.

Crisis Two is our world-historical economic crisis. Effective unemployment today approaches 20%. Thousands of businesses have disappeared. Fiscal resources are ever-diminishing at all levels of government. The American border is closed. Interprovincial borders compromise Canada’s internal market.

Crisis Three is the education crisis. There are thousands of kids across Canada now out of formal schooling.

Crisis Four concerns national unity. The post-pandemic West is vexed – Alberta in particular.

Crisis Five is institutional. Parliament and the provincial legislatures have been ineffective in checking governments operating in emergency mode. Our media institutions have nearly collapsed, leaving the national information space to be colonized – and Canada’s democratic feedback mechanisms run – by American social-media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Crisis Six is international. Canada’s position is weak and vassalized.

Let’s stop presuming that simple mask-wearing and passive obedience to lockdowns — substituting for thinking — will “right the machine.”

A well-intentioned health official calling for lockdown has few gears. He knows nothing of education systems, how businesses operate, federalism, institution-building or geopolitical danger.

It takes a century to build public school systems of the quality we’ve enjoyed in Canada. It takes six months of passivity and non-thinking to allow these systems to be destabilized beyond repair.

Whatever stories we tell ourselves, many children trained for multiple years in “virtual schools” and the thousands of improvised, unregulated pods we’ve allowed to pop up across the country won’t be prepared for the wicked real-world awaiting them a decade hence.

A business owner forced to close for no reason other than the incuriosity of authorities declaring lockdown cannot be said to be part of a national “recovery” if she scrambles desperately for any job available to maintain dignity. Such “ousted” former business owners now number in the thousands in Canada.

Behind them stand distressed families, ex-employees, supply chains and years of toil and treasure.

Canada’s a great country and a great society.

Let’s not go to the gallows lightly. A bright 21st century awaits.

But it requires real thinking, courageous moves, and massive mobilization. Let’s scrap the pious theatre, avoid repeating huge mistakes of policy, and get moving.