There was an interesting article by the Editor in this newspaper a short while ago regarding vaccines, and how Canada had ordered almost 10 times the amount it needs, thereby depriving countries in the global south from getting what they need. As was pointed out, you can’t do that. This pandemic is global, and denying vaccines to other countries means that mutations will surface in these countries that will eventually spread to us all.
Regarding actually receiving vaccines, I don’t know about you, but I am getting tired of hearing Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole go on and on about us not getting vaccines when we need them. The problem could have been at least partly solved if we still had Connaught Laboratories, a publically owned Canadian company that played a major role in the eradication of smallpox, as well as developing polio vaccines and penicillin. As a publically owned facility, it was able to take on risks that the private sector wouldn’t. The problem is that O’Toole’s predecessor, Brian Mulroney, went on a free market privatization frenzy in the 80’s, and sold off Connaught Laboratories to the private sector. What remains of it now is owned by a French conglomerate. Keeping Connaught Laboratories in the public realm would have avoided many of the problems with buying what we need from overseas, and being subject to long supply chains and supply companies that find that they suddenly have other priorities.
You can’t help but wonder where we would be now if his government hadn’t done that, but then, Mulroney was just following the Conservative Party mantra of privatization, because, in their opinion, the private sector can do it better and cheaper. I’m still waiting for examples of where that has actually worked.
Speaking of Conservatives, I see in an article in the same newspaper edition where Jim Bertram, having eschewed voting for Conservatives, at least provincially, still clings to his view of those of us on the Left, as shown in his article “The Cost of Magical Thinking”. Just like Mr. Van Dam before him, he perpetrates the myth that the Left would tax what he calls “the rich”, like doctors, lawyers, and home builders. Where do they get this stuff? I can’t say what the NDP will do, as I’m not aware of their policies, but I can definitely tell you that the Greens have set their sights higher than that, as pointed out in my previous letter. It is counterproductive to apply extra taxes to this level of earning. That would stifle innovation.
The parties on the “Left” cannot be characterised as being the same. You just have to watch what is happening with the NDP government in British Columbia. A lot of what they are doing would make Conservatives proud, yet they are still viewed as being on the Left. Possibly on policy, but certainly not on implementation. You only have to look at their support of the massively anti-environment Site “C” dam, the giving of huge tax breaks and subsidies to the like of LNG Canada, (who are fracking areas larger than the Tar Sands), supporting the building of the TMX pipeline, (trampling over Indigenous rights in the process), and allowing the logging of old growth forests. None of this sounds much like the “Left” to me.
A while ago, I had a Conservative friend of mine looking for another party to support, as he was unhappy with the choice of the Conservative Party leader. We chatted off and on about the Greens for several weeks, and almost every time we discussed things, I would get from him, “you remember that I am a Conservative.” The discussions were amicable, but he couldn’t get around that that was how he saw himself. We gave up in the end, mostly because he couldn’t visualize that another way was possible. I suspect that the problem was that I was taking him out of his comfort zone, but we aren’t going to be able to move forward if we cling to outmoded thoughts and processes. We have to reimagine society and our relationship to nature and this planet. We owe that to our grandchildren.
Colin Creasey, Kemptville