Canada no longer ‘strong and free,’ says Newsfirst opinion columnist Robert Vairo

I can not see clearly because there is just too much misinformation about vaccines out there. When was the last time you heard someone say factually, definitively, without any doubt, the efficiency of the AstraZeneca vaccine?

62%, 72% or 76% after the first dose? You have heard that several countries have stopped using it because of blood clot formation in some vaccinated. South Africa stopped as well because it found AstraZeneca was not effective against its variant.

In the end, no matter how little its efficacy, especially against the South African variant, nor its negative effects on some, the less likely variants will be a problem. Even with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, at only 72% efficacy, U of T’s Dr. Noah Ivers writes “the virus will still have less opportunity to jump from host to host, replicating and potentially mutating” and preventing serious illness.

All said and done, we do have a vaccine, after only one year!

And late last week came news that oh so generous US President Biden, is sending Canada one and half million of these AstraZeneca vaccines out of the 50 million stock piled in the US. But the fact remains, AstraZeneca vaccine is still undergoing clinical trials in the US. So, our dear friend and closest ally has not even approved it. Compare it to gifting an item to a ‘friend’ because he has plenty more, in the event that it becomes safe to use. Some friend.

But what is most disheartening, is the fact that our inexperienced folks in government have failed us, failed to procure sufficient life saving Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, and now going begging for some vaccines, any vaccines from the US. I never thought in my lifetime that my Canada would go begging, begging for vaccines. First to India, now the US.

So much for “Canada is back” – Justin Trudeau 2015. So much for Canadian sovereignty. We are allowing Russia and China to stake claim in our Canadian arctic, and now we are on our knees for vaccines. Whenever I hear the national anthem before a hockey game, (hopefully sung as a pre game requirement and not the singer’s self glorification) I wonder about the lyrics, Canada “strong and free”. We are not strong. In fact, we are likely at the weakest point in our history. And we are not free. We have to rely on others for our survival.

52% of Canadians believe Canada is “broken” (Ipsos). If you need to ask why, let me list the reasons.

The National Post recently wrote an excellent piece on Canada’s failures. “We’re an energy superpower that can’t build a dam or a pipeline. A champion of reconciliation where Indigenous people are poisoned by their own drinking water. A self-proclaimed “honest broker” in world affairs that can’t get its phone calls returned by foreign leaders.” We can not properly equip our military, (WW2 revolvers that jam and have injured the shooter) We can’t even renovate a house, 24 Sussex, usually home of a prime minister, nor build a pipeline within our own borders let alone crossing somebody else’s border.

Bombardier, Canada’s major transportation company can’t build reliable LRT’S (Light Rail Transit) in Alberta, and the contract for street cars in Toronto ended in court. And now Chevron has quit the LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) project in BC, because of continuous opposition from indigenous tribes.

Poor Canada. So rich in resources that could fund green energy development, but can’t get to first base and losing billions monthly because of it. All Canadians lose.

The Americans don’t like, or want our pipelines but they sure love our natural gas. Alberta’s Tourmaline, Canada’s biggest natural gas producer was ready for the Texas polar vortex, shipping (via pipelines) millions of extra cubic feet of gas to southern states including during their February deep freeze.

Will you listen to China’s ambassador to Canada! Better still, let’s not listen to this arrogant bully and send him back to Beijing after giving Canada an ultimatum to “cooperate with China or else”.

The good news, we have some very good Canadians. Have you done something for someone during this pandemic? Thank you to you who has regularly called a socially restricted neighbour or friend. That fellow who cleared the snow off health workers’ vehicles at the Saint-Jérôme hospital this past winter, thank you. The nine-year-old from West Vancouver who raised $6,400 to buy granola bars and electrolyte drinks for workers at Lions Gate Hospital. And many more of you who deliver groceries to immobile seniors, restaurants and corporations who donate. Thank you.

And to all of you who are kind, care, and do something for others, a big warm virtual hug.

That’s What I’m Thinking.

Robert Vairo