, 12.26.2021 12:23 PM

My latest: governments, naughty list

In political life, certain things are predictable.

Predictable things include: elections. Also: votes. And: speeches. Almost always: scandals.

Out here in the real world, there are predictable things, as well. There are too many to list.

But ever since Jesus was a little fella (literally), people have gathered to celebrate Christmas. And: Hanukkah. And: Kwanza. And: Festivus.

It’s predictable. At this time of year, people want to get together more than any other time of year. You can set your watch by it. (Again, literally.)

During a deadly global pandemic, with a Satanic variant disrupting countless lives, it’s hard to predict stuff (eg. Omicron). But people wanting to see friends and family in the month of December?

Has your family’s Christmas been impacted because someone has, or is suspected of having, COVID?

That’s as predictable as you can get. Which, ipso facto, raises one question, now being raised on many lips:

Why weren’t governments better prepared?

Because, let’s face it, they weren’t.

This year, Santa wasn’t being lobbied for Cabbage Patch Kids, Furbys, Tickle Me Elmos, or Nintendo Entertainment Systems.

Nope: this year’s must-have Yuletide item was a rapid antigen test. That’s what we all wanted under the tree, this year.

But forget finding one, particularly if you live in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario or Quebec. In those provinces, rapid antigen tests — the quickie COVID-19 tests that you can do on your own — were harder to find than toilet paper in a pandemic.

It’s not like Canadian governments didn’t have them, either. The federal government claimed it had sent 80 million tests to the provinces. The provinces, meanwhile, issued lots of statements insisting the feds had delayed or bungled distributing the tests.

Ontario, for one, said it had distributed 50 million of the tests throughout the province — including, incredibly, at liquor stores — but good luck finding anyone who actually got one. First Nations communities in Northern Ontario reported having to drive 400-plus kilometres to find a test, maybe, in far-away Thunder Bay.

Quebec witnessed massive lineups at pharmacies. In Alberta, people reported visiting multiple distribution sites, none of which had any left. Nova Scotia ran out.

In B.C., the government withheld tests, targeting places with COVID outbreaks, and wasted precious time breaking packages of tests into smaller kits.

It was no surprise, then, that rapid antigen tests starting popping up on Amazon and eBay, where scumbags were charging — and getting — hundreds of dollars for tests they’d earlier obtained for free.

The Angus Reid Institute did a poll about it all, and found two-thirds of Canadians wanted the tests free and universal. And more than a quarter of the country said they wanted to find a rapid test. But couldn’t.

Not surprisingly, about half of the poll’s respondents said their province had done a poor job distributing the tests.

(This writer’s personal favourite, however, was Manitoba: the geniuses running that province decided to distribute KN95 masks — another hot item in the 2021 holiday season — at liquor stores and casinos. Winners: slots-addicted alcoholics! Losers: Manitoba children!)

It’s right there on the calendar, Canadian political folks: December. We have an abundance of holidays in that month, when people want to — need to — get together with loved ones.

And you screwed that up — with test kits, with masks, with boosters.

All of this was predictable, Canadian governments. And your failure is therefore unforgivable.

Enjoy the coal you’ll be getting in your stockings.

— Kinsella was Chief of Staff to a federal Liberal Minister of Health


  1. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    Governments are top-heavy with underperforming upper echelon bureaucrats. Add to that basically incompetent ministers who are politically shuffled from one ministry to another as soon as they START to develop some ministerial expertise. That’s precisely why the upper level public service in Ottawa and across the country is basically nothing short of a sad and pathetic joke. At least they match the ability of your average PM and premier.

    Meanwhile, too bad the ever predictable feds didn’t send 26 million wrongly into my bank accounts. In short, we elect and then get the governments we so richly deserve…now, pass the booze. Happy New Year!

  2. Sean says:

    Emergency / Disaster / Crisis Management in Canada is a joke. With what we have now, we’d be better off just lighting billions of dollars on fire. The people who wind up doing this stuff often have no qualifications or aptitude to do anything but drop buzzwords at conferences and draw up silly flow charts that no one remembers. It is the used car dealership of the public service. The purpose is not to actually manage emergencies / disasters etc… the purpose is to drown out anyone asking serious questions so that the problems are easier to ignore.

  3. Phil in London says:

    Hope everyone has had a peaceful holiday season in my world that means Merry Christmas but to all others the best of the season.

    Also in my world the government mismanagement has been a clusterfuck beyond my wildest expectations. Yes Omicron has been an asshole this holiday season but rapid testing has been a disaster throughout. These things could have been distributed at modest cost say $5 as early as this time last year. Just having a sense of demand would have had them more adequately prepared for a massive rollout before Christmas 2021.

    Boosters – it’s been two years almost of bragging about how many shots have been secured and how many we’d be able to administer and donate and neither the booster rollout or sending excess to Africa have been anything better than F minus (f for fuckup)

    Let’s not forget flattening the curve so we could ready the hospitals. Two years out we’re still being told to not spread this shit because the hospitals will be overwhelmed. When the hell is healthcare going to be ready 2039?

    I ask when the fuck will someone in government do ANYTHING right? When will they just be honest with us that they are unsure and when will they quit treating us like the children we are and give us things like rapid test as first defense without worrying we will screw it up?

    They worried we could do more harm wearing masks at one point.

    People I know to have participated in briefings about Omicron provided by health officials have heard these officials stress that while it is possible omicron IS going to be less severe they worry we sheep are liable to willingly get infected and worry we are as stupid as they.

    I don’t have answers but I’ve been hoping for over a year that they get something right.

    Merry Christmas to all but the politicians. They can all go direct to hell!

  4. Joel Lorimer says:

    Not sure Kn95 are made for children. Sure never seen one on kid.

  5. SuburbanGuy says:

    Let’s be clear here, they don’t want a lot of rapid tests out there because it allows unvaxxed to prove “I’m not sick, so you have no reason to keep me out”. You don’t want the dirty untermenschen having reasons to mix with the good people.

  6. Steve T says:

    Completely agree with your assessment of the Manitoba approach to distributing masks. What a total joke.
    I imagine the rationale, however twisted, was that these are crown corporations for which the government has more control. But exactly to your point – who is the audience? People who drink and people who gamble. Not so much the elderly and vulnerable who actually need the masks.

  7. Gloriosus et Liber says:

    “ (This writer’s personal favourite, however, was Manitoba: the geniuses running that province decided to distribute KN95 masks — another hot item in the 2021 holiday season — at liquor stores and casinos. Winners: slots-addicted alcoholics! Losers: Manitoba children!)”

    Yes, what a disaster. First, they made the announcement before masks were delivered. Then, when they did arrive, they had expired dates on the, but the government said it was a misprint (hmmm…), then they roll this out the time of year that liquor stores are already busy selling libations to the festive! Let’s make an already busy place during a pandemic even busier! Add to that there are many people who can’t or shouldn’t go to a liquor store (minors, recovering alcoholics and addicts, etc.), it didn’t take a room full of geniuses to figure out this was dumb.

    And we could never get rapid antigen tests readily here.

    And they aren’t vaccinating kids in schools.

    These guys are lucky we don’t live in an important province, otherwise they would be the ones talked about on national newscasts.

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