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Declaration of a Peaceful Revolution

Randall Denley: Doug Ford tells Ontario he’s scared, then refuses to say what’s scaring him

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Although far lower than the worst case prediction, Ontario’s numbers are high compared to what we have seen previously. There is no disputing that. It’s less clear what more the government can do about it. That’s the scary part.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford was on hand as health-care technicians prepare syringes of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for front-line health-care workers at a UHN (University Health Network) clinic at the MaRS building on Thursday January 7, 2021. Photo by Jack Boland/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

Since the pandemic began, governments have maintained the illusion that they can control COVID -19. It’s a nice idea, but slowing the pace of infection has always been a more realistic goal. The Ford government seems to have already concluded that the lockdown in place now is ineffective, although it knows that it would take two weeks to see any positive results, and we’ve just hit that mark now.

Adding a curfew would seem to offer little likelihood of a better result unless one thinks that most COVID transmission takes place after 8 p.m. Imposing a curfew is what a government does when it has run out of useful ideas but still wants to be seen to do something.

Rationally, it would make more sense to zero in on geographic areas and workplace where transmission is highest. We keep hearing about transmission in warehousing, food processing and transportation, but they are all deemed essential, so remain open.

If Ford’s next lockdown doesn’t close some so-called essential workplaces, it will be meaningless. Supply chain disruptions are a real issue, but maybe manufacturing and distribution should be shut down for at least a couple of weeks.

At least that approach would be rational, which is a little more than one can say about the snap decision to keep elementary schools closed for an additional two weeks. It seems that infection numbers in children have increased considerably while they were out of school. The solution is to keep them out of school longer.

Ford’s media event Friday was worse than useless. Telling people you’re scared does not help them or instil confidence, especially when you hold back the fear-inducing information. One would have thought the premier would realize that by now.

Randall Denley is an Ottawa political commentator, author and former Ontario PC candidate. Contact him at randalldenley1@gmail.com

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