Canada's State of Paralysis

So as this state of emergency goes on and on my frustration, disappointment and disbelief only grows. I don't know how emergency powers that destroy people lives and livelihoods have been allowed to continue for this long. I fully support state of emergencies that exist for 30 days. I could even be persuaded for a one time extension of equal length, but you cannot call yourself a functioning democracy if you can suspend people's personal rights and freedoms for months on end.

Too many people have had their own businesses and legitimate sources of income taken away. Not everyone, thank god, wants to live on the public dole or be buried in debt.  They want to create jobs, build wealth for themselves and their communities. In doing so, they submit to market forces to determine their success.

Government and public health do have a role to play in this pandemic and their leadership is essential. Warn people of the dangers to health, encourage responsible behaviour and if necessary shut down parts of the economy under direct control. They should not, however, be able to shut down private concerns for extended periods. That is up to the public to decide. If upon, listening to public health you choose not to patronize a business that is your call. I am sure that many businesses will find it difficult to survive in this current environment, but the ones who demonstrate they are doing all they can to protect their customers, can thrive.  Any that show blatant disregard - should be shut down.

The argument I hear is that if we let people decide they will make unhealthy choices and we can't let that happen with this virus. The actions of individuals have an impact on the collective. That is why I support temporary state of emergency orders. They buy the government time it needs to learn more, build necessary infrastructure and prepare for when orders are lifted.  This time is precious and should not be squandered by inaction that occurs when timelines are continually extended. I have been gobsmacked by how lock downs extensions have been done as a matter of course, and not given the respect and gravity they deserve.

The scope of state emergency orders and the length of time they are kept in place do say a lot about a  society. Sweden opted for a partial lock down  in part, because there is strong mutual trust between the government and the people.  While many have said their approach is wrong, it is far too early to condemn a plan that was made for the long haul.  Ironic how one of the most socialist countries on the planet, allowed private enterprise to remain open because they trust their citizens to do the right thing.

Now let's look closer to home and our neighbours to the south. As a dual citizen of Canada and United States, I have always taken keen interest in the differences between the countries I love.  The pandemic has only amplified the contrast in values. America's entrepreneurial spirit and work ethic are on full display. They did shut down their private businesses, but for much shorter time periods than in Canada, and they have a higher number of per capita deaths.  In Canada, this is viewed as dangerous, but even in states ruled by Democrats, they know the importance of work and self-reliance. Not so, here in Canada. Before the pandemic Canada's per capita productivity rates have lagged behind the industrious Americans. This gap will only grow. Who would want a private sector job in Canada now or risk their life savings opening up a restaurant or cafe? Best to leave that to Tim's or some other deep pocketed corporation who can survive a bad year.  Americans protest this attack on Main Street and shout "we want to work ".  Canadians mock them.

When Conrad Black suggested that Canada should open up the economy he was pilloried by many on the left, for being out of touch and that he is only looking to make his deep pockets deeper. If anything, Mr. Black is going against his own interests because the response to this pandemic will  make the rich, richer.  The pain of this shut has been felt most by the poor and women, the very people liberals purportedly care about. Yet, when it comes to pushing that we should get back to work - not a peep is heard by the left, only scorn. Their main solution is to throw more printed money at the problem which fuels greater inequity and hampers future government's ability to fund needed social programs.

Thankfully, Alberta is finally seeing the light and is ending its state of emergency orders and this economic chemo response.  Many frightened Canadians call this reckless. In the U.S., where the desire for liberty reigns supreme, leaders pushing to open up the economy are labelled populists. In play it safe, stay home Canada, when a politician goes against the grain to say we need to get back to work, we should call it what it really is - leadership. 

Gregory Cawsey

Public #onted is a JUSTCAWS... Podcast