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Opinion
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Coronavirus

Please Advise! Who Gets the Coronavirus Booby Prize?

Among premiers it’s a tight race. Pallister? Ford? Or app-solutely Kenney?

Steve Burgess 24 Nov 2020 | TheTyee.ca

Steve Burgess writes about politics and culture for The Tyee. Find his previous articles here.

[Editor’s note: Steve Burgess is an accredited spin doctor with a Ph.D in Centrifugal Rhetoric from the University of SASE, situated on the lovely campus of PO Box 7650, Cayman Islands. In this space he dispenses PR advice to the rich and famous, the troubled and well-heeled, the wealthy and gullible.]

Dear Dr. Steve,

Whom do you think is chiefly responsible for the recent spikes in COVID-19 cases?

Signed,

Outraged

Dear Outraged,

Rosemary Barton. No doubt about it. The CBC journalist and host recently interviewed Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, suggesting that his COVID-19 response plan seems to be coming up short as cases and deaths soar in the Keystone Province.

Replied Pallister: “Rosemary... Rosemary... Rosemary... Rosemary, to be fair you haven't come up with a single idea in this interview that would have made this plan work better.”

Boom. Mic drop. If you're so smart, Rosemary Barton, why haven't you been doing my job while I tootle off to my little villa in Costa Rica on the regular? Manitobans who voted for Barton have got to feel pretty disappointed right now.

Pallister may be onto a winning tactic here. Reporters are far less likely to ask about say, budget deficits, if the answer will be “Well, Hanomansing, I don't see you instituting any new sales taxes, so put a sock in it.”

It's a nice variation on Trump’s “Media-are-the-enemy-of-the-people” spiel. Not only are the mainstream press fake news, they’re also failing to pass a net-zero emissions plan or introduce new banking regulations.

COVID-19 has killed 1.4 million people. Less seriously, it has been brutal in exposing the failings of politicians and halfwits (insert your own Venn diagram here). The race to find the most inept crisis manager has seen several Canadian premiers vying for the brown ribbon.

Pallister, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Ontario’s Doug Ford have all been stumbling and bumbling down the track to claim the booby prize. Pallister was looking strong with his CBC interview, but this week Ford made a bold move for the lead by extending the tenure of Dr. David Williams as Ontario's chief medical officer.

For those unfamiliar with Williams, let's just say John Fluevog will not be designing any shoes for the guy.

Williams has previously pointed the finger of blame at health-care workers themselves, suggesting that nurses and other frontline staff may be catching COVID-19 at a higher rate because they are being careless in their off hours.

To be fair, Ford has cleared the low, nay subterranean, bar set by the likes of Donald Trump in that Ford has acknowledged the seriousness of the pandemic and scolded the deniers. Even Kenney has paid some lip service to the problem.

Unfortunately you can still see those lips since Kenney had refused to institute a provincial mask mandate.

Kenney has offered a textbook case in prioritizing ideology over practicality.

His made-in-Alberta contact tracer app, intended as a triumphant middle finger to Justin Trudeau's tyrannical national version, has been roughly as effective as a raccoon with its head stuck in a peanut butter jar. So far the Alberta app has tracked 19 COVID cases in the province, which has 13,000 infected people. If you played Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkey that badly you'd get bounced from Susie's birthday party.

Of course all these Canadian COVID clowns are just chasing the Pagliacci of pandemic denial, Donald Trump. A pioneer in blame-shifting, Trump once accused doctors and health-care workers of ginning up the pandemic to line their pockets. Thanks to COVID, Trump told a campaign rally, “Doctors get more money, hospitals get more money.”

Of course Trump thinks COVID-19 is just another grift, just as he probably thinks everyone cheats at golf, thinks Belgium is a city and thinks about dating their own daughters.

Perhaps if Trump had scored big on some mail-order COVID bleach scheme he would be content to stop the recounts and go home.

“By the way, on Nov. 4, you won't hear about it anymore,” Trump told a North Carolina crowd last month. The more optimistic among us thought he might be referring to himself. Either way, no luck.

But at least his days are numbered. Imagine if he'd won. We'd all be drinking bleach for one reason or another.  [Tyee]

Read more: Coronavirus

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