Here is the clearest possible example we can find of the reason why there is so much cognitive dissonance that occurs every time a Conservative politician opens his or her mouth in Ontario. Yesterday, the COVID-19 data summaries for Ontario were truly frightening:
• 1478 new cases and 21 deaths
• Toronto had 356 cases, and Peel hit a record 572 cases
• 63% increase in hospitalizations
Now read those numbers over again, very carefully.
Today Ontario reached a new record of 1855 cases.
This data is factually correct. As is the data in the Auditor General’s Annual Report that criticized the Ford government’s inadequate response to the pandemic. Factually correct.
Now, here is what the Premier and his minions said to The People of Ontario yesterday: “We are flattening the curve,” using reports from the burgeoningly obese and inefficient “Science Table” as proof of their success. “Provincial Health reports that cases appear to be flattening.”
Even with a modicum of literacy and mathematics skills, a perfectly ordinary person can look at the data, compare that to the Premier’s spin marketing and realize that reality is off the charts here. The government is lying to us. The curve is NOT flattening.
Ontario needs to know exactly who composes the bulky membership of that “Science Table” and who exactly is issuing those “Provincial Health” Reports. According to Bonnie Lysyk (MBA, FCPA, FCA, LPA), our Auditor General, the provincial response to COVID-19 has been anything but open, transparent and accurate. The Premier sputters and lies in response, the Minister of Health feigns indignation and lies in response. But neither tells the truth or accepts responsibility.
This is not confined to Ontario. Yesterday in Quebec, Premier Legault told the bald-faced lie that “the COVID fight is almost over because we have the vaccine.” The fight is just beginning, you COVIDIOT, and the vaccine won’t be available to most Canadians until at least the summer of 2021. Joyeux Noel.
When the lying liars tell us that accurate reports are lies, that a record setting rise in caseloads and hospitalizations appears to be a flattening of the curve, and the fight is almost over when our opponent appears to be getting stronger, it’s time to change the diapers.
Over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, the term “herd immunity” has become a part of our vocabulary. That was based on the ill-founded hope that if enough people got exposed to COVID-19, the general population might develop an immunity to the virus.
And while herd immunity may be a distant dream, herd stupidity is flourishing. It was on full display in Toronto recently as groups of anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers, Q-Anon conspiracists, evangelical extremists, MAGA cap deplorables, freedom rally revolutionaries, and the curious public joined the owner of Adamson’s BBQ as he protested his right to violate Ontario’s pandemic health guidelines restricting indoor dining.
As scatologists have noted, that the moment after a dog drops a piece of excrement on your lawn, carrion flies appear out of nowhere to congregate for the feast. So it is with the Adamson BBQ “freedom” protest, and the scent spread like wildfire on social media. We don’t have to go to the US and watch Thanksgiving and Black Friday crowds to see clear examples of herd stupidity. We have our own outstanding examples right here in Toronto the Good.
Ontario’s Auditor General, Bonnie Lysyk, issued her Annual Report today and it was extremely critical of the Ontario government’s handling of the COVID-19 response.
Before I go into the details, note that almost every one of the AG’s concerns had been highlighted on my old Twitter account, prior to switching back to my blog. Mr. Ford’s summer campaign tour was a waste of time and money while Long Term Care was in a crisis, Christine Elliot was called upon to resign several times between March and November, and Dr. Williams was generally considered to be inadequate in his role.
So Ms. Lysyk’s scathing report should have come as a surprise to no one. But Mr. Ford and Ms. Elliot reacted with predicable outrage when their incompetence was put on full public display. The misogynistic Mr. Ford told the Auditor General to “stay in her lane,” and Ms. Elliot claimed that the report was filled with inaccuracies. To which The Auditor General calmly reminded both of them that all data in the report was “vetted for factual accuracy.”
The Conservative denial and spin machine went into full doublespeak and tried to shoot the messenger. But the report stands on its own merit as an indictment of a government that gave the same attention to their COVID-19 response as they gave to licence plates and gas pump stickers. The shiny appearance of efficiency that failed in both function and message.
The problem with their COVID-failure is that people died. Ford and Elliot, and their Central Command Table didn’t get the job done, and now they are trying to defend their incompetence by attacking the Auditor General. It’s like watching Trump deny responsibility and reality for all of his sins of omission and commission.
For those who missed the full report, the best summary came out of Canadian Press on November 25, 2020, included here:
“Among other things, auditor general Bonnie Lysyk said that Ontario’s measures were “slower and more reactive relative to most other provinces.”
Here are five highlights from the auditor general’s report.
The auditor general’s report said that Ontario’s command structure had become “overly cumbersome” and was not led by public health experts. The report said that the province’s Health Command Table ballooned from 21 members to 90 participants, and now 500 people are involved. The meetings themselves were confusing, with the auditor general finding that all communication was by teleconference until July 14 – four months into the pandemic – when a switch was made to video conference.
2. Outside consultation process took up valuable time
Lysyk’s report also said that Premier Doug Ford’s government had to hire an external consultant to create a new government structure to address the public health crisis.
Although the province declared an emergency on March 17, the auditor general said it took weeks for the consultant’s approach to be implemented, with the first meeting of the Central Co-ordination Table held on April 11. The report said the consultants were needed because of significant changeover in leadership in Ontario’s Provincial Emergency Management Office, outdated emergency plans and a lack of sufficient staff.
3. A failure to learn from the past
Lysyk said key lessons from the SARS outbreak of 2003 were not implemented by the time COVID-19 hit Ontario. For example, the final report from the SARS Commission said that taking decisive action early was the most important lesson from that outbreak. The auditor general’s report said that instead it saw delays, conflicts, and confusion in the provincial government’s decision-making in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
4, Ontario’s chief medical officer of health could have done more
The report found that Dr. David Williams, the province’s top public health doctor, did not fully exercise his powers under the Health Protection and Promotion Act to respond to COVID-19. The auditor general said Williams did not issue directives to local medical officers of health to ensure public health units responded consistently to the COVID-19 pandemic, and he didn’t issue directives on their behalf. The auditor general noted that in May, 34 local medical officers of health jointly prepared and signed a document stating there needed to be more direction and regional consistency.
5. Regional approach is too independent and confusing
Ontario’s auditor general found that public health in other provinces, like British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec were “simply more organized.” The report said that variations in management and operations among Ontario’s public health units contributed to fragmentation and inconsistencies across the province. It also noted that public health reforms recommended 15 years ago by the SARS Commission had not been fully acted on and that Ontario’s 34 public health units were still operating independently with best practices still not being shared as of the report’s release.“
Thank you Canadian Press for that reporting, and thank you Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk for the accuracy of your report. Now we just need a government that will truly work “For The People” – time to put your big boy pants on and pay the piper, Doug. The way I see it.
We all woke up this morning to the good news that the outgoing president of the Disunited States of America has finally allowed the formal transition to begin for a legitimate President named Joseph R. Biden along with his Vice-President, Kamala J. Harris. Took long enough but, as Leonard Cohen sings, “Democracy is coming to the USA!”
And while there is still bad news out there about the millions of COVIDIOT carrion flies travelling across country to feast on turkey carrion for this Unthanksgiving long weekend, there is good news in many neighbourhoods.
As wiser elders have often said, “We cannot appreciate the warmth of the light until we have emerged from the cold darkness,” So it is with the good news.
The good news in our lockdown neighbourhood is that we have mostly wonderful neighbours. Granted, we also have a challenged family with their attack dogs and multiple idling cars, and neglected property, but in perspective it means nothing, We have in abundance good neighbours with happy pets, respectful conversations, shared stories, and loving helpful children.
After a recent hospital visit, I found multiple containers of the most delicious meals imaginable on my front porch. The note said: “In my culture, the respected Elder is to be treated like a King,”
When a philandering and failed NY real estate “mogul” began to muse about becoming the President of the United States, all of the storm warning flags should have gone up. When we saw how the arrogant reality TV “star” ran his board, we should have closed the beaches. But when he began to promote conspiracy birther theories about the 44th President of the United States, we should have boarded up the windows and left town. And left him behind.
From his full page attacks on the innocent Central Park Five to the Pizzagate Pedophile Ring, he openly revealed his true character and the depth of his intelligence as if shallowness and stupidity were traits to be admired. And the shallow and the stupid bought it hook, line, and sinker.
The truth decay spread rampantly through social media and complicit corporate media. It spead through conspiracy operatives like Steve Bannon and Roger Stone and infected all who could not see the little man behind the curtain. In Canada, it spread through the Conservative Party of Canada, through the provincial Conservatives, through the Wexiters, through the Yellow Vesters, through the “Freedom Rally” #COVIDIOTS, through the religious wrong and the evangelical illiterate.
There is no easy treatment for this truth decay. Even normal tooth decay treatment by fluoride would get the conspiracy theorists out screaming about a government conspiracy to poison our drinking water. No, this truth decay is going to require intense conversion therapy for the brain to make the transition from stupidity to a modicum of intelligence. Gravity works.
With almost 50% of Americans and 30% of Canadians infected by truth decay, it bodes well for the future of education. Forget the 3R’s of Rage, Rant, and Reject the facts. Let’s move forward in 2021 with the 3E’s: lessons in Ecology, Economics and Ethics will be a good curriculum for 2021.