, 11.30.2020 08:41 AM

My latest in the Sun: the vanishing vaccine

Politics is all about symbols. Ask Jimmy Carter.

Remember him? He was one of the very few one-term presidents. Usually, presidents get elected for two terms. It’s pretty hard to be defeated after just one.

Carter, a Democrat, was defeated in 1980 by something that happened in 1979. Forty-one years ago this month, a gang of jihadist Iranian students stormed the US Embassy and seized 52 American citizens and diplomats who worked there. They were held hostage for 444 days.

Four hundred and forty-four interminable days. Every night on the news, on every broadcast, newsreaders would somberly remind millions of Americans  that it was day whatever of the Iranian hostage crisis. It happened night after night after night. The networks even had special graphics made up for it.

And it all ended Jimmy Carter‘s presidency. The hostages were only released at the precise moment that his Republican challenger, Ronald Reagan, was sworn in as President of the United States.

In politics, it’s never one thing that kills you. It’s an accumulation of things – notably, an accumulation of bad luck. The Iranian hostage crisis was like that.

So is the growing vaccine scandal in Canada. It doesn’t have a name yet, but it is growing.

The scandal, as everyone knows by now (or should), is this: our allies are going to start vaccinating their citizens in a matter of days.

The British have more than 1000 vaccination locations that will be operating seven days a week across Great Britain, starting next week. Two weeks after that, the Americans will commence vaccinating millions of their citizens every single month.

The Germans and other allies, too, will kickstart massive vaccination programs in the month of December.

In Canada, none of that is going to be happening. In fact, in Canada, the federal government can’t even tell us when we will be receiving a life-saving anti-COVID 19 jab.

A deal with China fell through in May. A plan to build a National Research Council vaccine manufacturing facility in Quebec was also a spectacular failure.

And, now, we have now learned that the federal government has no Plan B. We are in line, reportedly, behind 2.5 billion other people in other nations. They will receive the vaccine first. Not us.

December 2020: that is when Justin Trudeau may start to see a political doomsday clock clicking down on him, and his government.

In that month, Canadians will start to see some thing that no amount of cheery Trudeau morning spin will obscure: citizens in other countries receiving the vaccine. With each passing day, with each snippet of footage showing relieved  folks resuming normal lives, Justin Trudeau‘s reelection prospects will start to shrink. Dramatically.

For the past four years,  Trudeau  has greatly benefited from comparisons to US president Donald Trump. On ethics, on race relations, on just about any issue, Trump has always managed to make Trudeau look good.

That is no longer the case. Whatever his failings, Trump and his administration instituted Operation Warp Speed: a massive and integrated effort to get vaccines delivered to state governments. And from there, into the arms of American healthcare workers and the most vulnerable.

If he has any legacy at all, it will be that: Donald Trump actually delivered the vaccine to Americans pretty quickly. So did Boris Johnson in Britain and Angela Merkel in Germany.

Justin Trudeau? He has indisputably and spectacularly dropped the ball. He had months to develop and implement a plan to ensure the Canadians receive the same vaccines that our allies are going to be getting, at the same time. He failed.

Is this Justin Trudeau‘s Jimmy Carter moment? We shall see.

He has survived many other scandals – the Aga Khan scandal, the SNC-Lavalin scandal, the WE charity scandal. He has had more lives than a cat.

But his nine lives may be running out. His luck may be running out.

Ask Jimmy Carter, he’ll tell you: when really bad news is repeated night after night after night, it’s someone else writing your political epitaph.

Justin Trudeau‘s failure to get a vaccine for Canadians may well be his.

[Warren Kinsella is a former Chief of Staff to a federal Liberal Minister of Health.]

34 Comments

    • TamTami says:

      Dan, with respect. At the end of the article it says this “The company expects to be able to produce a total of 20 million doses by the end of 2020 and between 500 million and 1 billion doses throughout 2021.”

      It’s a 2 dosage vaccine. 20 million divided by 2 = 10 million. Those dosages are for world wide distribution.

      If Canada gets 1/4 of them, that’s 2.5 million dosages across Canada. It’s a small drop in the bucket, it’s a start but it’s not going to be much help initially.

    • Fred J Pertanson says:

      Yeah, “not at the back of the line”. But pretty damned close to the back of the line.

    • Peter says:

      Trudeau has done a fine job. Conservatives need to stop trying to exploit this health crisis for political advantage.

      • the real Sean says:

        Liberals are exploiting this health crisis by using it to pretend that Justin suddenly became competent in March 2020. They should stop wheeling him out to make announcements. Everyone knows this crisis is actually being managed by doctors, lawyers and bureaucrats. In the absence of leadership, this is the best Canada can do.

      • Peter,

        I don’t know about you, but I want to know what happened with the so-called China deal. Were those negotiations serious or was Beijing merely stringing along an exceptionally gullible Prime Minister? And if they were serious, is it the Meng thing that got the Chinese to pull the plug and leave Canada with nothing? By the by, they are damned lucky that Trudeau is PM, otherwise any other PM would have cancelled Meng’s alleged two Canadian mansions and thrown her sorry ass in jail where she belongs. It should have been tit for tat from Day One. As soon as China snatched the Two Michaels, it should have been nuclear hardball on the part of Ottawa, given the conditions those two men have to endure. But No, this PM let it pass. Is anyone surprised?

      • Ross MacDonald says:

        Peter, seriously did you read the article and who the journalist is? A wel educated, experienced Liberal Strategist, U of T Law alumni and educator. Who’s own father was a top CDN Dr with a bkgd in dealing with this type of crisis. This requires no CPC or opposition spin, but you’re spinning yourself in denial. Trudeau failed here.

  1. RKJ says:

    Na,… is Stephen Harper’s and Brian Mulroney’s fault. We can wait and watch for the CBC to bring on yet another panel pointing blame in that direction.

    Justin would much rather play “mister dress-up” in India and travel the world seeking a UN security council seat than do the hard work here in Canada.

  2. Ken Newman says:

    Dont kid yourself. People in Eastern Canada will vote for Trudeau no matter what. We have seen this happen a year ago, what makes you think it will be different now?? Only Western Canadians have the good sense to see through this pathetic Moron, and not vote for him. Too bad the East was not as observant

    • Ken,

      How people vote is but a symptom of the real problem and it’s called group-think. Pretty much everybody is either a Liberal in this region or a Conservative in that region, etc. That’s why Canadian federalism is such a pathetic joke. People continually suspend their critical mental faculties as soon as it’s their guy or gal doing the BS and roast the other side at every given opportunity even when it’s not fair to roast ’em. We’ve become as politically inept as south of the border.

      • RKJ says:

        and, eastern Canadians were ready to change their vote but Andrew Scheer simply blew it. Eastern Canadians went back to home base, regardless of the consequences. Now, Jagmeet is not ready in any way to push an election. Canadians will bear the consequences.

  3. the real Sean says:

    Justin will set up 12 months of deliver-ology classes. Cross country consultations will be held to determine whether or not the vaccine is feminist. Canadians will never be vaccinated because their is no national consensus. Justin will apologize to the virus because treatment is politically incorrect. They’ll call the election on a rip roaring platform of “Erin O’Toole might have once talked to a person who might have had an opinion about abortion.”

  4. Lee Anne says:

    At what point does this morph from utter incompetence to gross criminal negligence on the part of the PM and his underlings? He and Hajdu have blood on their hands. People have died as a direct resulted their mismanagement. I still remember her telling Canadians in February that Canada was at low risk for the virus and not a week later advising is to stock up on essentials to hunker down.
    Surely there had to be qualified federal level officials that they could have relied on make sound expeditious vaccine procurement decisions? Or did Justin kick back sipping bong water in his cottage back in April and decided he could totally do this on his own? Only Trudeau would be dumb enough to partner with a country that is holding Canadians hostage and think that they’d play by the rules.

  5. Yet Another Calgarian says:

    I see Freeland just promised us what works out to 10 vaccine doses for each Canadian.

    At 2 doses required per Canadian yet more proof these people can’t handle basic math never mind actual governing.

    Unless of course they end up donating 8 of those 10 doses to China I suppose.

  6. Derek Pearce says:

    Well we should have a crown corporation to produce licensed vaccines which the Tories once back in lower can then privatize at a deep discount and let be shut down lol. Is Justin incompetent? You bet. Are the Tories incoherent on this? For sure.

  7. Gilbert says:

    Prime Minister was a fool to trust the Chinese. They don’t care that his father had a good relationship with them.

    It’s true that he’s survived many scandals, but it’s really time for Canadians to say that this is enough. It hasn’t been reported too much in the media, but the prime minister was recently pranked by some Russians. The prime minister thought he was talking to Greta Thunberg. Incredibly, he failed to notice that she didn’t have a Swedish accent, and she didn’t sound like a young girl. It’s really funny.

  8. joe long says:

    In May 2020, Justin Trudeau proudly announced the government would be spending many millions on new vaccine production facilities that would be up and running by the summer.

    What happened?

    Where are they?

  9. Nick M. says:

    I don’t think it is too much to ask for the PM to make a speech in parliament on the state of the vaccines.

    Canadians deserve to have the government be straight with us.

    Having an obscure minister say one thing and a leak say another thing doesn’t build confidence.

  10. Rob says:

    Vaccination Vacillation

  11. Those who think that various vaccines will be the be-all, end-all, against COVID-19 are likely due for a rude awakening further down the road. That’s my sense of it. Maybe right, maybe not. We’ll see what happens, to quote TheGreatDecombobulator.

  12. Gilbert says:

    I agree that the virus won’t solve everything. Viruses mutate, so there will be future ones.

  13. Gilbert says:

    I meant the vaccine…

  14. Montrealaise says:

    What makes it even worse is that he actually met Greta Thunberg in person when she came to Canada last year and had a meeting with her, so he knows her voice. And he still didn’t realize it wasn’t her on the phone?

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