Is Trudeau playing politics with the COVID-19 vaccine?

OPINION

BY VIDYA GOPAUL

Is Justin Trudeau, the Canadian Prime Minister, playing politics with the COVID-19 vaccine? We are below twenty on the world list of effective and serious distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine to our population. Canada is doing worst among the G7 countries in herd vaccination, even though it is among the richest countries. Countries like the UAE and Israel are doing extremely well in making sure their citizens are vaccinated.

Even Hazel McCallion, the former mayor of the City of Mississauga, has expressed concern regarding the handling of the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. So why is Canada lagging so badly behind compared to the rest of the world?

Many Canadians and all the Premiers of our provinces have expressed disappointment of some form towards Trudeau for not being transparent about the purchase and the contract of the vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer. Trudeau argues that if he shows the contract, it will be a breach of the contract. So what is he hiding from us?

If he refuses to give a straight answer to a simple question, then how are Canadians supposed to find the answer to anything? For that reason, there was a headline recently that stated, “Canadians get answers from India that they can’t get from their own prime minister.” It referred to the fact the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, said he would do his best to acquire AstraZeneca vaccines for Canada.

Canada is literally begging for help from other countries, despite being one of the richest countries in the world. It is really setting a bad image and showing how incompetent the Canadian government is on the world stage. Trudeau also keeps saying that, at the moment, the country is short of vaccines, but in the coming months, they will have “millions of doses” for Canadians, and by Sep. 2021, all Canadians who want the vaccine will have them.

One argument has been that since Canada does not produce its own vaccines, it relies heavily on the countries that produce them. But there are countries which do not produce their own vaccines, and yet, they are way ahead of Canada in vaccinating their citizens.

So why is the slowdown now, and why are they looking to ramp up in the coming months instead of addressing the problem now? Does this have anything to do with Trudeau planning for an election in the coming months? There is a budget to be released soon, and if that budget is not approved in the House of Commons by the MPs of all political parties, then it will automatically trigger an election in Canada.

 If every Canadian is inoculated before an election, then perhaps he may think he will not be elected once again as PM. Since he is already six years in his mandate as PM, and second year as minority PM, most likely Canadians would want to have a new PM. Normally the average years in office of any Canadian PM is about seven to-nine, and any minority government in Canada lasts only about two years.

Therefore, his possible planning could be this: start slow with the vaccination program and then ramp up during the spring — then produce a budget that will be in his favour, or at least favourable to Canadians, and present it in the House of Commons. If it is passed, then he still will be PM, and then a call for a snap election will lead to a hopeful majority — that is what his aim is, looking at all the other provincial elections last year.

 If the budget does not pass, then he will say, “Look, the opposition really wants a election. But since Canadians love my budget, then give me a majority mandate so that I can complete the vaccination program since my government is already deeply involved in it.”

It seems that Canadians will probably look at the situation and decide, “Why take a chance on a different government, whereas the current Liberal government is already involved in that program?” Hence, Trudeau may just win a majority government. As of a few weeks ago, Trudeau said that he would like to be PM for a few more years, and with that goal in mind, he is still chasing the dream of getting a majority government. He is doing everything possible he can to achieve that goal.

Thus, he is coming with a budget that will appease the majority of the Canadians and taunting the opposition parties not to challenge it. I just had a glimpse of that budget in the news ,and it shows that he is appealing to women, mothers and the middle class. He is offering a $5,000credit per year per child. Or $20 per day per child for daycare. He is using words that are resonating with the audience, such as, “I am there for you when you need us… you don’t have to chose between food on your table and the next rent payment… my government is there to help you,” and so on.

 But he will not guarantee vaccines for Canadians. The PM that should be working for the Canadians, and not just for the Liberals. In his quest for a majority mandate, there have been so many lives lost. COVID-19 infections are increasing, and the new variants will create a third wave if the mass population is not vaccinated soon. It seems that those in charge of pandemic planning are not competent enough to secure millions of doses of vaccines, whereas the rest of the world is, including poorer countries than Canada. One day, he’ll state that India is going to help Canada.

The next, it’s the U.S. Tomorrow, it’s someone else. He just cannot give the public a straight simple answer. Trudeau’s first priority should be to save Canadian lives — and not chase a majority mandate.

(The writer is a freelance journalist , Canada. The views are personal)

About the author

Asia Metro Editor

Surjit Singh Flora
editor@asiametro.ca

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