Last week ended badly for Prime Minister Trudeau, where in a desperate attempt to reassure Canadians that the COVID vaccine will arrive on schedule; he took the risky step of specifying that Canada would have six million doses by March 31 and everyone in Canada vaccinated by September. Media reaction over the weekend was unanimous – Canada has lost confidence that Trudeau can deliver on his vaccine promises.
It is a rare Saturday morning when Canada’s four major newspapers are in sync on any issue but that was the case this weekend.
Polling says Canadians blame Liberals
In the Sun newspapers, one-time Liberal strategist Warren Kinsella wrote, “The magnitude of Justin Trudeau’s incompetence is now plainly seen by all. A Campaign Research poll released last week found that 52 per cent of Canadians blame Trudeau’s government for Canada’s appalling vaccine rollout. Only 15 per cent blamed the provinces. Any politician who has knocked on doors during an election knows that voters aren’t very knowledgeable about the division of powers in the Constitution. They get confused by that stuff. But this year, they know who deserves to be indicted in the metastasizing vaccine scandal.
Star calls for release of contract details
The normally Liberal-friendly Toronto Star complained about Trudeau’s reluctance to reveal details of the contracts the government has signed with Pfizer and Moderna. “We should know more about those contracts. The U.S., European Union and Israel have all released some details of their agreements with manufacturers, despite confidentiality provisions, and Canada should do the same. Are there, for example, any penalties for failing to meet delivery targets? This is indeed the winter of our pandemic discontent. Canadians have sacrificed much for many months, and they rightly expect their leaders to get it right. If the Trudeau government keeps stumbling on this front there will be hell to pay — and the government will deserve it.”
Delays will result in unnecessary deaths
Andrew Coyne wrote in the Globe and Mail, “It’s all a distraction. The problems of the Canadian vaccination program do not stem from the failure of the Trudeau government to secure an adequate supply of vaccines from domestic sources, but from its failure to secure an adequate supply from anywhere – “adequate” measured not only in volume but in timeliness, using the only yardstick we have: the experience of other countries. Perhaps things will pick up in the months to come. But by then, alas, a lot of people will be dead, who might otherwise have lived.”
PM ‘congenitally incapable” of sharing info
The national Post’s Kelly McParland also zeroed in on the government’s reluctance to reveal details of the vaccine contracts. “Trudeau’s Liberals created a vacuum with regard to the COVID-19 virus with their consistent reluctance to level with Canadians. The prime minister seems congenitally incapable of sharing information, despite all the many pledges of openness he’s offered through the years, and his handling of the COVID pandemic has been consistent with that reluctance.”
Global News reported that in Trudeau’s Thursday teleconference with Canada’s Premiers they pressed him for details of the contracts but he would not provide any new information. Instead, he asked the premiers to do some public relations on his behalf. He asked premiers to tell their constituents what he’s been saying publicly: that weekly disruptions in supplies are to be expected, but that he has been assured by the CEOs of both Pfizer and Moderna that they will meet their contractual obligations to Canada to provide a combined 6 million doses by the end of March.
Trudeau has insisted that confidentiality agreements prevent him from releasing details of the contracts with vaccine although as Sun columnists Lorrie Goldstein tweeted today That the EU negotiated with Astra Zenica an agreement to release a redacted version of the contract, albeit with details on delivery schedules and prices blacked out.. The US has similarly released one of its contracts with Pfizer.