It is time for me to add some more to my Journal of ye Plague Year, now spreading into two years. Daniel Dafoe’s Great Plague of London lasted about eighteen months and killed a quarter of the population of London. The Great Plague of Toronto seems that it will last about eighteen months as well. It will kill about one or two per thousand, mostly in the final few months.
In Canada Covid will settle down after about eighteen months. By that time we will have most people vaccinated. The vaccies we have are proving very effective against Covid and its aggressive variants.
The great plague of 1665 did not just happen in London. It is thought that the Bubonic plague was really one 400 year long plague. It kept popping up all over the world from 1331 until about 1750 and no one is sure why it ended.
Covid is happening all over the world. It will be cleaned up in a few months in the wealthy countries, after one last run at us. It will be going on in the rest of the world for at least two more years.
That it will cause fewer fatalities than Bubonic and probably the ‘Spanish Flu’ of 1920 is because of advances in medical science, sanitation, and nutrition. But as with all pandemics, the lands which suffer least will be those with a competent government serving the common good. There just has to be the will to implement the basic quarantine measures which have been studied since ancient times.
Alas, what is fairly consistent since ancient times is that most governments are not very competent and not committed to the common welfare. Dafoe’s London was hit far harder by Bubonic than the large cities on the continent because government just threw up its hands and walked out. King Charlie moved his court to Oxford and waited it out.
Writing a generation after the event, Dafoe asked why on earth was not a single “Lazar House”, or quarantine shed, opened in the city? Could not the Aldermen of London have had a better idea than to just nail people into their houses and wait until the plague had cleared or until they all died of thirst and starvation? Surely it could have been organized to bring food and water to the confined people?
There was never any revolt by the people of London and of other big cites in Britain. The survivors were so exhausted at the end of it that they just wanted to get on with life. At that time England had recently gone through its civil wars and were not eager for any new revolutions.
The world is now a much less harsh place. Infectious diseases no longer cause such dramatic reductions in population. However, pandemics can still cause a lot of social and economic disruption because they cannot simply be ignored. More precisely, ruling elites cannot get away with ignoring them, pretending they are nothing.
Something which needs to be understood about covid is that, while it is the worst we have had in a century, it is really pretty mild. If we look at it as a test run for a serious pandemic, most of the world has failed the test miserably. If something as bad as the MERS or SARS viruses were able to get out of control, we would be looking at outright economic and social collapse.
An important point consistently overlooked about these diseases is that their most harmful effect is not in killing people, often those who are already retired or with reduced economic “productivity” due to prior medical conditions. They seem to never really go away for a large portion of their victims, permanently reducing their value to society. As with war, you can just bury the dead but you have to support the crippled for life.
Many commentators have made the observation that the real pandemic is of bad government. This phenomenon has been seen throughout history. Plagues have stopped dead at the borders of well run cities and kingdoms while depopulating the lands around them.
Several good quality academic studies have used Canada as a model to illustrate this point with our present pandemic. In Canada, we can see the dichotomy between the provinces which did public health right, and those which did not. We can even see differences between local governments which did a more competent job, even when they had to defy higher government levels.
The #covidiot6 hashtag is now trending on twitter. It refers to the six larger Canadian provinces from Quebec west, who simply did not try to implement a #covidzero strategy. That is, a suppression of the virus as was done successfully by those countries which tried. Instead they adopted the “mitigation” strategy, as though this were the flu.
The covidiot6 were governed by parties pretty much spanning the political spectrum, which is somewhat limited in Canada. But the worst performances have been from the most doctrinaire conservative governments; ones heavily influenced by the libertarian nonsense. The same nonsense is behind the “pandemic is a hoax” and “break out of the lockdown” agitation.
I have said enough about the real motives of libertarians in previous postings about covid. They are of an extreme belief system propagated by business interests who believe that the social breakdown that would inevitably follow a collapse of government would benefit them. They are not interested in its social effects. Thus they also believe that the social effects of covid are of no importance and it must not be allowed to interfere with profit taking.
The two biggest Covidiot Canada governments are in Alberta, where I am from, and in Ontario, where I live. Both now have the most out of control covid infestations. Both are looking at the collapse of their hospitals which will lead to a skyrocketing mortality rate. Both are now in very deep hot water.
The Ford government in Ontario seems likely to fall. They have been pretty good over the past year at running their “reality show” which has convinced most of the public they are doing the best they can. Something has happened in the past few days. Their illusion machine has failed. They are seen as what they are; corrupt, incompetent fanatics.
Ford in particular has always been a neighbourhood blowhard and bully. His act has been to use only those covid measures which cost little and do not inconvenience those who put him in office. He refused help from the Federal government to set up a test and trace system. He has sat on federal money intended to set up various ‘mitigation’ programs and seems to be planning to apply it to the provincial debt.
Ford has tried to blame the Federal and even foreign governments for the results of his malfeasance. Especially, for failing to provide enough vaccines while his government sits on a stockpile of vaccines. His rhetoric has gone to the level of promising to put firecrackers up the “ying yangs” of unspecified federal and foreign officials.
This nonsense is unlikely to get anything for Ontario and seems mostly for show, to create a drama of fighting for “the little guy” for the limited conservative support base. It certainly leaves a poor impression of the province and even the country to foreign governments and vaccine company executives.
Ford has blamed the public for not signing up for vaccinations, while people find it impossible to book appointments through a very confusing and fragmented system. Vaccination centres are shutting down for lack of supply while vaccines sit on the shelves. The public is not buying Ford’s blame shifting nonsense anymore.
This is the first time in this covid calamity I have seen calls for the resignation of a government. It is past time. It is surprising and interesting that the most prominent call came from the Washington Post. This is an establishment American Newspaper, known as a blowhole for the CIA, which could mean many things, mostly not good for Canada.
There are many factions within the ruling elites of Canada and the USA. They usually have connections all over the western world. The CIA is known as an instrument for the Atlanticist or globalist faction, which has a very strong Canadian branch.
These people derive their wealth from finance and are not bothered by strict lockdowns. They are not bothered by large losses of life due to pandemics; in fact they would like to see a reduction of the earth’s population. They are not bothered by a short term economic slowdown; in fact, it can work to their advantage.
The financialists are opposed to Libertarianism and like to make trouble for such governments. Libertarianism is closely connected to nationally based industrial capitalism and conservatives governments like Ford’s. A pandemic and economic pause is a disaster for the libertarian, industrialist faction of the ruling class in Canada and elsewhere.
These people generally see covid as a merely political problem requiring a lot of theatre but no serous measures until the problem clears itself up. They are the people who have prevented anything but a weak ‘mitigation’ approach to dealing with the pandemic. The have failed to suppress “pandemic is a hoax” and “fight the lockdown” types of agitation.
People are now fed up with Ford and his senseless pseudo-lockdown measures. The snap really happened when he tried to order playgrounds closed and to give the police powers to stop and question people as to whether they had a good reason to be outside. He seems to be the last person in Ontario to have not got it that Covid is something which happens mostly indoors.
Ford reversed these measures and the immediate rage has calmed somewhat. However, it seems these kinds of measures are still being quietly enforced. In my neighbourhood signs declaring that some ‘amenities’ have been closed went up and have not been taken down. Police have driven ballplayers off these courts though they keep returning.
This crack is certain to be permanent, but what is needed now to effect change is a clear demand and some sort of leadership. The opposition parties are unlikely to provide either of these. The NDP, the official opposition party in Ontario, is posturing as usual but offers no real alternatives.
Several days ago there was fear that Doug the Thug was prepared to suspend the legislature. Such a suspension would be the last ditch defence measure against efforts to remove Ford. This still does not seem to be ruled out.
Paths to Ford’s removal would include a revolt of conservative members of provincial parliament, which has been rumoured to be smouldering underground for awhile. Like King Charles, Ford would likely try to move his government out of reach of a revolt. However, what seems to be happening is something similar to the later days of Ford’s brother’s term as mayor of Toronto; he is being bypassed and ignored.
An NDP Horwath government, by the way, would still have been among the covidiot6. As we can see by the performance of the Horgan government in British Columbia, NDP are just as incapable of standing up to special interests and pressure groups, and thus of leading an effective covid response.
Horwath called an ‘emergency’ zoom conference about the growing pandemic crisis. It became clear that all she wanted were talking points for the next election campaign. Attempts to bring forward any real ideas for immediate action were stifled.
Some non partisan political groups have held their own zoom events, most to support their old and only idea; get people to bug conservative MPPs. They cannot even do live rallies these days. They are still short on any real ideas other than for Ford to go away.
A few people are starting to think about what happens next after Ford is shoved out of the way. Some talk about the federal government intervening with the Emergencies act. That is unlikely, and unlikely to be helpful if done, given the Trudeau government’s limp wristed record on the pandemic and lack of assertiveness against the covidiot6.
Some excitable folks are talking about a ‘people’s lockdown’, meaning vigilantism against individuals and businesses not following strict isolation measures. The more sensible ideas are based on removing control of public health from politicians and putting it under a committee of experts. The ideas of how that would come about are still rather vague.
I have my own ideas of what needs to be done, and I will try to float them over the coming weeks. However, it will largely be an intellectual exercise if the public will to do something about this situation is not sustained and cannot be kept focussed. That is hard to do these days.
But that is were it is at now in Toronto, Canada, in regards to covid. We have actually done better than many developed countries, but far worse that the best efforts. All over, uprisings have been going on against asinine measures by mediocre politicians who will not get out of the way of qualified people. These are just getting started in going in passive Canada.
We are now in the crunch point. The number and severity of covid cases is at its height. The hospitals are about to collapse. The vaccines will not happen fast enough to prevent calamity. The public cannot endure iniquitous and ineffective psuedo lockdown any longer.
Ford is not throwing up his hands and walking away form the mess he has created. The province is throwing up its hands at him. The police, the public health districts, the local governments, even his own advisory councils seem to be giving up on him and whoever is giving him his ideas.
All these groups are starting to ignore him and his cabinet, to go around him, and to start to cooperate with each other. This is the way toward some kind of organizing group which can run pandemic measures in Ontario. However, it is now too late to do much.
The pandemic in Canada will decline over the summer. The Ford government is almost certainly finished. The Trudeau government likely is, too. The question is, what happens next?
Things will not go back to where they left off when covid arrived last year. The economic damage has been severe. Public trust in the existing system of government is gone.
What needs to happen is a reevaluation of the government systems of Canada which have proved so inadequate. We need to insure that properly qualified people are in charge at all times.
Perhaps this is the advantage of a pandemic that is just bad enough. It does not leave people totally exhausted and devastated, as with England after the 1665 plague. It may leave people sufficiently motivated to force a reconstruction of government so that it is capable of dealing competently in future with crises such as this pandemic.
We shall see.