Adversity builds character. It also tests it. In this historic moment that is changing how we live our daily lives, we have seen how some people rise to the occasion.
Gray Ridge Egg Farms donated 108,000 eggs (600 cartons), distributed by 12 egg farmers, to communities from St. Marys to Niagara Falls. The University of Guelph donated 10,000 medical masks, collected from labs across campus, to local public health workers. Walkerton maple syrup producers Jim and Donna Fischer donated 300 bottles of maple syrup to their local food bank.
Local grocery stores offered delivery services to the elderly and distilleries quickly found ways to switch from making vodka to alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Bauer, the hockey equipment manufacturer, quickly retooled to make plastic face shields. A U.S. pillow maker stopped producing pillows and in three days turned his plant into a mask manufacturer, making 10,000 masks a day. People across the country began calling their elderly neighbours, running their errands and buying their groceries.
Not everyone, however, rises to the occasion. There are three actions that so far stand out as events that should not have happened and we shouldn’t forget them.
First, some governments have made it a strategy to not let a crisis go to waste, meaning it is an opportunity to sneak partisan projects into plans of salvation. The Canadian Liberal government appeared to be no different. It used the coronavirus crisis to table an emergency bill that would allow it to tax, borrow and spend at will for two years and without parliamentary approval. In a time when the elderly and sick are at risk of dying until research scientists find a necessary treatment and vaccine, our government made a mad dash for unprecedented power. Conservative leader Andrew Scheer called it an “attempted undemocratic power grab.” The debate in the empty-looking House of Commons (social distancing required that most MPs stay home) went on for hours on Tuesday, March 24. Finally, at 3:20 a.m. on early Wednesday morning as Canadians slept, an agreement was reached by all parties. The final resolution gave the Liberal government six months of emergency spending and included an opposition-controlled committee that can call back parliament on 48-hours notice if the government abuses its power. Was the initial demand for a two-year dictatorship necessary? Was it just reckless behaviour?
Secondly, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) knew about the virus infecting Wuhan (pop. 11 million) in China in late November and kept it a secret for six weeks. Then it lied about the infection rates. We still don’t know the real number of infected in China. We should suspect the veracity of anyone, including our own government officials, who takes China at its word.
The CCP refused to allow American scientists into the country, even though they would have been there on humanitarian grounds to investigate. Those within Wuhan were able to inform the foreign press (before they were kicked out of China) that crematoria in Wuhan by late January were burning bodies 24 hours a day, seven days a week. By March, the CCP suggested the U.S. military planted the virus in China, in spite of reporting to the contrary from Chinese nationals and their own physicians, who were “either silenced or put in isolation,” charged U.S. national security advisor Robert O’Brien.
How many sinister actions do we need to hear about the Chinese Communist Party before we realize it is our enemy and an enemy of its own people? From selling organs of prisoners to imprisoning political opponents to stealing intellectual property and bribing politicians everywhere, the CCP has a long history of evil. The most recent coverup and lies about the coronavirus could be the most universally grotesque case of negligence by one country in our time.
Lastly, in desperation for masks and other medical supplies, at least 60 countries stopped companies within their own borders from sending medical equipment abroad but it was the Chinese Communist Party that started the panic and went further.
Although, it was reported that the United States refused to allow the 3M company to sell masks to Canada, that was distorted reporting. Florida couldn’t buy 3M masks because their distributors were selling them to the highest bidders, sometimes by as much as 10 times the price. Facing a blast of heat, the company president said 3M was working with their distributors to recitfy the problem and agreed to sell 3M masks to the United States, Canada and Mexico. Unfortunately, one its factories is in China and all masks made there remained in China at the outset of the outbreak and the practice of barring exports from China continued for some time.
The Chinese Communist Party actually blocked medical supplies from going to Canada, the United States and other countries. A ship headed for the United States, with necessary medical supplies paid for and contracted by U.S. companies, was already at sea when it was ordered back to port. Terry Glavin reported in the National Post on April 2 that the Canadian company Medicom produces three-million medical masks a day at its Shanghai factory but was prohibited from exporting them from China to Canada. Some countries reported that medical supplies coming from China were defective and unusable.
There are many things we will learn from this pandemic. We will discover new heroes and those who redeem themselves. There will be the selfless and the self-serving. There will be those who go the extra mile and there will be toxic, stinking villains.
Reach Patrick Meagher at firstname.lastname@example.org