Coronavirus: Canada and BC Governments’ “Steady” Handling is Working

“Steady”. In any critical time of war, steady guidance and steady leadership is key to easing citizens’ anxiety, keeping the concerned population informed of how/where the battle is being waged, outlining the path to victory ..and, hopefully, letting us know when progress is made.

And I believe, in the current World War against the Coronavirus, the Canadian and BC governments, their officials and, most of all, front line workers are doing a fairly good … if not perfect … job of not only developing/carrying out the plan of attack, but revealing victories/failings, providing daily updates of casualties/losses and encouraging us to stay the course.

Steady.

And the numbers show that, in Canada, the battle plan is working.

As of Sunday, there were 6,320 reported coronavirus cases in Canada, 65 deaths.

Sad, of course, but keep in mind, the world-wide (officially reported) numbers are: 705,000 infected; 34,000 deaths.

Canada is doing better than most in combatting corona.

And the fight … supported by millions of Canadians practicing physical distancing, frequently washing hands and the drastic closing of bars, restaurants, shops and gatherings … should soon flatten the curve and start us back on the long road to recovery.

Steady.

We have certainly done much better than our southern neighbour, where the picture is horrific: 140,000 reported infections; 2,400 dead. And latest estimates say the death toll could reach 200,000.

Hard to believe … actually with Donald Trump, maybe not … that the US President told his nation only weeks ago … on Feb 14:  “We have a very small number of people in the country, right now, with it. It’s like around 12. Many of them are getting better. Some are fully recovered already. So we’re in very good shape.”

Nope.

And on Feb 25 Trump said: “You may ask about the coronavirus, which is very well under control in our country. We have very few people with it, and the people that have it are … getting better. They’re all getting better. … As far as what we’re doing with the new virus, I think that we’re doing a great job.”

Nope.

The US figures are the LARGEST number of reported coronavirus infections on the globe … MORE than China (82,000), Italy (94,000), Spain (85,000) … and because of their late entry into the battle, their peak till could be months, away.

And if you’re bored stuck at home and want a good laugh to relieve your stress, there’s a whole list of Trump’s stupidity … so far … on coronavirus alone: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/17/trump-dissed-coronavirus-pandemic-worry-now-claims-he-warned-about-it.html.

Canadians should be grateful that OUR nation’s leader … despite whatever other faults/criticisms people may have … has not so blatantly under-estimated, misled, deceived, lied to and taken our citizens for fools when making statements on the coronavirus crisis.

In fact, PM Justin Trudeau’s on-air public daily briefings have been very steady, reassuring: announcing new programs/policies/funding to combat the impact of the war; reaching out to calm/comfort virtually every group in society; urging Canadians to help fight/stop the spread of the virus and, taking lots of questions from journalists.

Steady.

Of course, as a journalist, I have found some of the questions too accepting/unchallenging and some of the responses from the PM and federal cabinet ministers etc. to be just that: “responses” … but not total “answers” revealing the full story. Ahhh! Politicians!

Nor am I suggesting there aren’t aspects of the whole coronavirus file that can’t be questioned, criticized or challenged … even now to some extent … but the REAL analysis/push for that can take place after the war has been won.

And at least I don’t get the sense that much of the fight here against the devastating virus has been badly mishandled or downright chaotic.

And the briefings that are being held are without anyone ranting, making obviously stupid and/or false statements, lying, hurling insults at premiers, or demeaning and debasing the media and reporters.

Or …. as Trump did Saturday … adding to the fright by revealing in the morning he could possibly announce “some time today” a full quarantine of the states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut … before, by evening the same day, dropping the idea!

Imagine the angst, confusion, inter-state financial/commercial/family concerns/reactions his wild statement caused for millions of Americans … before he backed down.

Not steady.

And speaking of briefings, it should be said: the BC government has also done a fairly good job disseminating information, assistance and attacking the virus as well.

Daily information sessions, featuring Premier John Horgan and/or Health Minister Adrian Dix, other ministers and health officials are broadcast live and have provided valuable updates, statistics, announcements of new programs and progress fighting the disease and its impact on British Columbians.

Steady.

And it is starting to work.

In BC, with our population of 5 million, there were 884 infections reported; 17 deaths as of Saturday.

Washington state, our closest US neighbour, with a population of 7.5 million, sadly has suffered 4,100 cases; 189 dead.

The coronavirus fight is not a contest: it is a war … and every casualty is a tragedy. But the figures do show that BC is faring better in the battle so far.

And it does help that Canadian federal and provincial governments … elected officials and bureaucrats, front line workers … and most citizens are all fighting the battle together against the virus … not sniping, under-cutting or attacking each other.

With steady leadership at the top … we will win.

It depends on all of us whether that will happen sooner … or later.

Harv Oberfeld

(Get free First Alerts to all new postings on this BC-based blog by following @harveyoberfeld on Twitter. No spam … just First Alerts to new topics.)

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117 Responses to Coronavirus: Canada and BC Governments’ “Steady” Handling is Working

  1. DBW says:

    OK, I am going to sort of agree with Jay here. (That actually shouldn’t be too surprising 13. I reread my comments and I still have no idea why the criticism of me.)

    Yesterday, Trump was asked about his “nobody saw this coming” remarks so who dropped the ball. That is the kind of question that is unnecessary. If it isn’t time to be blaming China, then it isn’t the time to be blaming Trump. Focus on solving the problem.

    But this is where I disagree with Jay. And I said this earlier. Trump is just as culpable for creating this messy, antagonistic situation as anybody. For three years he has played loose with the truth called the press “enemy of the people” when challenged on his “lies”. And Trump revels in the confrontation. So in a time of real crisis nobody can truly know what to believe., nobody feels unified. After 9/11 Bush had an approval rating of 90%. Trump is excited because his reached 50%.

    Keeping on Harvey’s topic it is not as ugly here as it is down there for whatever reason

    I listened to a CBC interview with Andrew Scheer a couple of days ago. His basic points: We need to solve this problem now. The government is doing its best. We will advise when we see areas that need addressing. We will get back to the partisan debates between conservatism and liberalism after this is over. I still wouldn’t vote for him but high praise for his comments.

    And that brings me to my last thought. What will we look like after this is all over. My fingers crossed but I see hope that we learn to work together in Ottawa and Victoria and also in our own communities. And I hope we don’t see more isolationist policies internationally where we stop trusting our allies and not just China.

    (Response: I like Scheer’s handling of the current situation … because his position is very close to my own! 🙂 He realizes the Opposition has an important role to play … making sure the government operates within the laws and its legitimate powers … BUT directing energies right now to fighting off the killer virus and supporting the war against it. The rest … maybe the best from all of us political junkies’ point of view .. analysing what could have been done better, where the government went wrong or overstepped its powers etc. … can/will come later, when Canadians will be ready to focus more on that and, frankly, when the Opposition parties can score more political points as well! h.o)

  2. G. Barry Stewart says:

    Gilbert says, “the USA got about four times more tourists last year than Canada did. With this knowledge, the number of cases in the US compared to Canada is not so surprising.”

    If Gilbert’s numbers are correct: with a 1:10 population difference and a 1:4 tourism difference… I’d say Canada saw a LOT more tourists, per capita, than the USA in 2019. Still, I don’t think those are the stats that count. (January-to-March 2020 stats might.)

    What will be interesting to track, going forward, is the COVID-19 impact in California, compared to Canada. California’s population (though way more dense) is only a little larger than Canada’s, at close to 40 million. California is among the leading states in clamping down on social distancing and unnecessary travel.

  3. G. Barry Stewart says:

    Regarding Nanaimo’s Harmac mill and the specialized pulp they make for the medical industry: I’ll go out on a fairly strong limb and deduce that Harmac is supplying 3M with the product they need for their masks and gowns… though the article doesn’t reveal that detail.

    If that’s the case, then Trump won’t have a twig to stand on when Trudeau or Chrystia Freeland tell Harmac to “shut ‘er down.” (That order would follow many hours of diplomatic back-and-forth, but would be our ultimate 2-by-4 to the U.S. head of state.)

    The “secret sauce” of Harmac’s process is Western Red Cedar, which BC has an abundance of. Not quite an exclusive supply — but this is no time for Washington State or Oregon mills (or any others in the world) to start experimenting, to match what Harmac has perfected. And if American mills came looking for our raw cedar logs, we could shut down those channels as well.

    I understand Trump’s desire to look out for “America First” — but if bananas (for a crazy example) were found to be the antidote for COVID-19… what would Trump do? Tropical countries would have him over a barrel and he’d have to “show appreciation” to any who agreed to trade with him.

    You trade when you have an abundance of ‘X’ and you want some ‘Y’ that another country has an abundance of. If you try and stiff your trading partner, you get ‘0’.

    My whole post falls in a heap, if Harmac isn’t 3M’s supplier of pulp — but if I’m right, Trump and his son-in-law are about to find out what crow tastes like.

    Ah, the internet! https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/what-does-crow-taste-like

    (Response: The real question is … if Trump’s blockade of shipments to Canada exacts a toll on us … whether Trudeau has the backbone to deal with it. There is a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two countries that if the US invokes Presidential powers in an emergency, Canadian and US officials WILL work together to mitigate and coordinate a JOINT North American policies. Clearly this has not happened. If Trudeau does nothing, he will only show his/Canada’s weakness …and when dealing with a bully, that is not a good thing. h.o)

  4. Marge says:

    Guess what? I was right. PM Ineffective is only going to talk to Trump. No retaliation whatsoever. Read this in the Sun:

    “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he plans to talk to U.S. President Donald Trump about White House orders to Minnesota-based 3M to stop exporting its surgical-grade face masks.

    Trudeau says he is not looking at measures that are retaliatory or punitive.”

    Ineffective and incompetent at its best. And giving way tons of material to China, brilliant move on his mark wouldn’t you say guys? LOL at the dunce we have at the top. Do you think Harper would have made such a stupid mistake? And Trudeau didn’t even get those Canadians released from jail in exchange for the “kindness” of free help. We are not impressed at all.

    (Response: Actually Yes, I do think Harper would have made that same stupid mistake … and more. I have not forgotten (have you?) what a weak position Harper took in the American steel/aluminum dispute and during the NAFTA2 negotiations. Having said that .. I hope that Trudeau is only playing it coy right now …talking softly until he speaks directly to Trump ..but then, if nothing is accomplished, WILL indeed take retaliatory action .. even if diplomatically continuing to deny Canada is actually retaliating. At least, I’m hoping! h.o)

  5. 13 says:

    Trudeau/backbone unlikely. His leasing a warehouse in China to amass supplies leads me to believe That Trudeau is positioning Canada to be at best neutral in the backlash and at worst an ally of China.
    What about the USMC?
    If it turns out that Trump is looking after Americans because the situation is as bad as everyone has pointed out and Canada stops supply to 3m then who has acted in bad faith
    Trudeau and backbone Ill be chuckling over that for a long time

  6. E. Lynne McQuillan says:

    CREEMCQ

    Yes, BMCQ is my husband, most of the time he is a very nice man, that is unless he has been abused by members of this blog which is when he immediately seeks out a safe space.

    Some of you that actually care about the truth might find the attached National Post opinion piece interesting, those of you that simply want to hate the U.S. and it’s leadership can just scroll on by as you normally do. Please, it is most important you read the comments at the bottom of the page, it tells a lot about what Canadians really think .

    https://nationalpost.com/opinion/np-view-on-covid-19-chinas-lies-allowed-the-coronavirus-outbreak-to-spread?video_autoplay=true.

    I continually tell BMCQ he is wasting his time trying to make any headway with 90% of those that post on this blog and now here I am doing exactly the same thing, crazy.

    BMCQ is away and he seems to be having trouble using his smart phone so I hope you do not mind that I have jumped in for him.

    God I hope I am not off topic as my husband so often is.

    (Response: Actually, something you seem to miss is that when anyone posts on this blog, they are speaking …. not to just those who regularly write in … but to thousands of people in BC, across Canada and even in other countries (I do hear from some occasionally) who read Keeping it Real regularly as well as quite a number of people in the media, government and political parties in BC and federally. And believe me, the quality of the discussions (with judicious editing! 🙂 ) has impressed … and I like to think does count … so no one’s efforts are just banging their heads against the wall. h.o.)

  7. e.a.f. says:

    13. Am of the opinion trump looks after trump

    It is Oregon and China who are sending NT state equipment. Some where in the dark reaches of trumps mind there may well be a little voice going every dead New Yorker is one less vote for the Dems

    Just turned off tv. Too much sewage eminating from the orange oaf. Just turn off the sound and watch the body language

    During this pandemic Moscow Mitch is busy figuring out which ultra conservative judges to place. Trump is in trouble. There are still govt department investigating him and Deuchabank and it’s not looking good for trump. His 16 resorts are closed. He laid off 1500 workers and he didn’t pay the court its $50k a month rent for the property his golf course sits on in Palm county

    The mega Corp which loaned Jared hundreds of millions for his failing real estate firm is trying to get its hands on some of that $2 trillion bail out package. They’re trying a get around

  8. e.a.f. says:

    There is no steady in the USA
    In Canada One could say Scheers last days have been his best
    Even Ford is doing a decent job and I expect the very best he can. There is a side shot of Ford after doing what I believe to be a presser. He had run his whole hand doe his face and remained on the Lowe part of his face. The image it sent to me was one of a man who had done the best he could have and was worried it might not have been good enough
    I’m not a Conservative fan and didn’t like Ford. However I and a number of other leftists and centrists find no fault with his work or his version of steady on. Ford has risen to the occasion. Trump has not
    The USA is in chaos. For such a large rich country there is no one who can lead it. It’s all petty politics. Republicans states received equipment they didn’t ask for and others not getting what they need from their own gov. China is doing the smart thing. Sharing with Italy aand NY state. Xi is a lot smarter than trump. About all we hear is lies from trump. Yesterday CNN was fact checking trumps speech. Lies lies lies. Then they’d play his previous performances

  9. 13 says:

    Very nice to hear from Mrs MCQ.
    I share your concern that your husband is bashing his brains out trying to convince many on this blog that there is a whole world of facts, truths, common sense, that PCSJWs do not want us to accept.
    Of all of the bizarre comments posted the one on April 1 at 1010 “the economy will not be ruined”stuff like that must truly dishearten people like your husband. A comment like that illustrates the blind left wing ideology that permeates the blogosphere.
    Personally I cant imagine the drive your husband has in constantly providing sound information , always factual, seldom tainted with any frustration. I guess Harveys response should lift yours and your husbands spirits. Its true that the blog is read by far more people than the few that contribute.
    Lets all hope that China is not given a pass on this.

  10. Gilbert says:

    I appreciate BCMQ’s posts and agree with most of his views. I know that most Canadians are not on the right, so it can be very tough, but we must persevere.

  11. DBW says:

    I know 13 is trying to be kind to BMCQ but I find this rather insulting.

    “I share your concern that your husband is bashing his brains out trying to convince many on this blog that there is a whole world of facts, truths, common sense, that PCSJWs do not want us to accept.”

    Remember Kellyanne Conway and “alternative facts”. She was pilloried for it but I knew exactly what she meant. People can look at the same set of facts and come away with entirely different conclusions based on a whole range of reasons. Jay and I looked at Trump’s speech about theft. He viewed it as a medical person and understood what he was TRYING to say. Even when Jay gave me more context, I still saw it as a bumbling attempt to float a conspiracy theory. And guess what. WE ARE BOTH RIGHT.

    Nobody on here has a monopoly on the truth. That is part of the reason I participate here. What is the point for someone like me going to an NDP type site and nodding away listening to my version of the truth. Why go to a site like BC Proud on facebook where any attempt at disagreeing (and I did once) and being told to get my head out of my ass and stop drinking the koolaid.

    And as much as some here like to play the victim and that 90% of the posters are raging SJWs the truth is much different. I quickly scanned the comments. (Fun thing to do when you are cooped up) As I write 109 comments by 27 different people. It’s hard to group people but I thought

    14 defended Trump and/or criticized Trudeau
    11 criticized Trump
    2 hard to say

    I won’t swear to that but it looks pretty balanced. And for the record one of the 14 was insulting to our host and another agreed with the person while telling Harvey to watch more Fox. LOL

    Anyway, Harvey thanks for allowing us to post in.

  12. G. Barry Stewart says:

    E. Lynne MQ says: “God I hope I am not off topic as my husband so often is.”

    Thanks for the laugh!

    On a different note: Thank God for scientists!

    I was listening to CBC Radio (love it!) this afternoon, when Quirks and Quarks’ Bob McDonald talked to an assistant professor from Western University in London, Ontario.

    Steven Barr said research is being done to disable the spikes on the corona by attacking the protein in them — or by creating a vaccine that makes us immune to the protein, so it won’t be able to attach to our cells. It’s sort of like cutting the spikes off the burrs that cling to our socks… or making our socks act like teflon.

    Brilliant AHA! moment — but now the heavy lifting and testing has to be done.

    The work is being advanced by scientists around the world and Barr added that once the architecture is built, it can be rolled out to attack future corona viruses.

    In the meantime, we can do our best, to stop the spread of the virus.

    (Response: As I wrote in an earlier piece, the media/internet are playing a vital role in providing information/entertainment/distractions Canadians deal with the virus, self-isolating and just staying home an awful lot! And I think, by and large, the media has done a VERY GOOD job in this regard … especially under the current working circumstances. I, of course am terribly disappointed with the CBC’s abandonment of local stations/communities/coverage just when our smaller areas need it most. But Newsworld is doing a very good job in bringing Canadians LOTS of coverage of unfolding events, statistics, advice …. if we could only get their anchors to STOP STEPPING OVER THE BEGINNINGS OF SO MANY EVENTS … including statements by the Prime Minister and Premiers, even though they often get minutes of advance notice when they are about to occur!!!! In BC, in my opinion, Global and CTV (and CKNW radio too) are also covering the crisis well, especially given the physical/technical and health constraints under which they are now operating. And readers will know I have previously written about how important I believe “gravitas” is in media coverage, especially during disasters and crises, and I must say Keith Baldrey of my old alma mater Global, is fulfilling that role very well: lots of knowledge, reporting experience and a reassuring air of “steadiness” clearly showing. h.o)

  13. Gilbert says:

    I completely agree with Marge. Stephen Harper would not have given away tonnes of medical supplies to China. Surely everyone agrees that Stephen Harper is cery clever and absolutely not a fan of communist regimes. Pierre Trudeau never encouraged his son to go into politics. I think we know why.

  14. DBW says:

    As we reach crunch time according to Dr. Henry, I found this article pertinent to your topic.

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/grenier-provincial-federal-cooperation-1.5521531

    Forget for a moment how well Canada will come out of this crisis based on how well we prepared. Forget for a moment how competent Trudeau or Kenney or Ford or Horgan/Dix/Henry have been in preparing us for this crunch.

    Canada, for whatever reason – our system of government, our Canadian personality, whatever – is strongly united. Our leaders have convinced the vast majority of us to do what is necessary to beat this. Provinces sharing equipment. Ford vowing never to break ranks with the federal government. Freeland calling Ford her therapist.

    Steady.

    (Response: Steady! I have been very impressed with the understanding, readiness and co-operation Canadians are witnessing from leaders and politicians of all parties and governments across Canada … unlike the political sniping, divisions, accusations, insults, competition and even undercutting by outbidding the world is watching unfold in the US. Lord of the Flies come to life! As for the populations, it’s much the same: in Canada, the very vast majority of people ARE following the guidelines, the self-distancing, isolation and commercial lockdowns … even where violations are NOT so far criminal offences. Dr Teresa Tam, Canada’s chief medical health officer, said it best the other day …” We are Canadian. We want to do the right thing and it’s our nature to support our community”. h.o)

  15. helena handcart says:

    I appreciate the True Believers “bashing their brains out” trying to show us infidels the shining path.
    Really! Anyone trying to change someone else’s views on a topic like “Trump” with their own set of facts is delusional.
    I see it in more simple terms. HO tosses a hand grenade into the room, then we all have a robust exchange of our own biases. A few insults are exchanged, then we all wait for the next topic.
    I never agree with BMCQ. His hyperbole (and capitalization) irritates me more than it should, but this blog would be poorer without him. I hope that he keeps going. I respect his passion and tenacity. I would really like to see more sensible analysis of the topics. Links to Breitbart etc. are not very entertaining. Constant references to “spineless” politicians are a bit stale and repetitive.
    I’m still feeling very confident that our federal and provincial governments are doing a splendid job of keeping us safe. I’ve never washed my hands so much. They are as soft as a baby’s bum. Keep safe everyone and keep away from me!

    (Response” Hand grenade??? And here I thought my blog pieces were pensive, revealing, entertaining and informative gems evoking transformational consideration … and opinion altering, entertaining discussions! And also policy-changing inputs….especially the next one! (Not bad for a retirement hobby.) h.o)

  16. max avelli says:

    G. Barry Stewart nailed it, when he wrote:

    “Regarding Nanaimo’s Harmac mill and the specialized pulp they make for the medical industry: I’ll go out on a fairly strong limb and deduce that Harmac is supplying 3M with the product they need for their masks and gowns… though the article doesn’t reveal that detail.”

    This just up at the Mob and Gail:

    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-vancouver-island-pulp-mill-supplies-materials-for-medical-protective/

    (Response: If the federal government can’t get anywhere with Trump and is afraid to retaliate to avoid an even greater Trump backlash … surely there is no law REQUIRING Canadian companies to sell or ship any products to the US. It would be a true officially unsanctioned “people’s power” retaliation! h.o)

  17. Gilbert says:

    If Barack Obama were still the president of the USA, would the number of coronavirus cases there be much lower than it is today? Would it even be lower? Would he have stopped flights from China and Europe as quickly as President Trump? If the numbers were similar, would people on the left take pride in the significantly lower numbers from Canada?

    It’s a mistake to say that the numbers should directly correlate to the populations of particular countries. Let me illustrate based on the latest numbers I could find. I’ll compare a few neighbouring countries.

    Hungary and Austria have similar populations. Hungary’s is just a little higher. However, Hungary has only 744 cases and Austria has 12,085!

    India has about seven times as many people as Pakistan. But India has 4,314 cases and Pakistan has 3,277!

    Brazil has almost five times the population of Argentina. Brazil has 11,281 and Argentina 1,554.

    Spain has almost five times the population of Portugal. Spain has 135,032 and Portugal has only 11,278.

    Panama has almost the same population as Costa Rica. The difference is less than one million. Though Costa Rica has more people, it has fewer cases. Panama has 1,988 and Costa Rica has only 454.

    The Czech Republic has a little more than twice the population of Slovakia. However, the Czech Republic has 4,591 and Slovakia has only 534.

    Germany has a little more than twice the population of Poland. Let’s compare the numbers. Germany has 100,132 and Poland only has 4,201!

    Let’s finish with Iran and Iraq. Iran has a little more than twice the population of Iraq. However, Iran has 60,500 and Iraq has only 961.

    My point is that it’s very difficult to evaluate how well countries have managed the coronavirus by simply looking at the number of cases.

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