You know what? Gonna do a little thread about this. (May not be little.)

A lot of the pandemic is going to be analyzed through a lens of partisan blame. Did Liberals screw up in Ottawa? (Yes.) Did premiers screw up in their provinces? (Also yes.)

But that's the wrong lens.
The failures at the political leadership level are actually symptoms of two broader failures. I'm not excusing them and I'm certainly not denying them, but the failures in elected leadership are symptoms of two broader problems.

The first problem: blindness to history.
As soon as it became clear that something was very wrong in Wuhan, when they shut the city down and blocked the roads, I began talking with Canadian public-health experts. I wrote some articles on the record, of course, but I also talked to a ton more people off-record.
This was part of my necessary pre-pandemic journalism work: I had a decent knowledge base to start but I had to get myself up to speed. And one theme in those conversations that came up over and over was "Don't worry, we had SARS, we're better prepared than anyone."

Actually ...
That's 100 per cent a failure to know your history. I guess we now know with reasonable precision how long after an emergency the sense of urgency will last. It's about 15 years. We should probably write that down somewhere and remember it for next time.

Onto the next failure!
The second failure, and I think it's the bigger one, overlaps with a failure to know history. It's very much related. But I think it's distinct enough to be worth mentioning separately: a major failure in Canada during this pandemic, and in general, is a failure of imagination.
We all have a degree of normalcy bias to contend with. I'm not immune, far from it. But the major reason it's always impossible to get anyone thinking about the very real risks this country faces, and how to prepare for them, is that most Canadians can't imagine any problems.
Planning for emergencies means having the ability to imagine things that can go wrong and how you'd respond to them. You need to really take a hard look at your very comfortable and happy life and assess the risks to it, and then figure out a plan to address those risks.
This applies to governments on a macro-scale: this is why we field trained and equipped armed forces in peacetime, it's why we buy PPE in advance, it's why we have spare hospital beds, it's why we stockpile spare parts for critical infrastructure ... wait ... we do that, right?
It also applies to all of us on a personal scale: I have an emergency kit in my car and keep some spare food at home because I can imagine scenarios where that might be useful. I don't EXPECT those scenarios, but I can imagine them. And I take modest steps to mitigate the risk.
We, as Canadians, at the macro scale and the personal scale, are really, really, REALLY fucking bad at this.

I think there's three reasons why.
The first is simple: Canada is the luckiest country in the world. We are rich, safe, well-fed, well-protected, and don't even face the risks of natural disaster or military threat that many other advanced peer countries face.

We're spoiled, basically. And that's good! Mostly!
The second is more a function of human nature than any specific to the Canadian experience: imagining the unpleasant things we should prepare for is, well, unpleasant. It's a bit like sitting down to write your will or plan a funeral. It's VERY easy to ignore or put off.
But I think the third reason is the real problem: even if you can overcome the first two problems, we run into this — we are cheap and don't want to spend the money on preparing, even modestly, for possible future scenarios. So we basically ignore them.
Again, this is macro and personal. We dramatically underfund our military. We all know that. It's just objective reality. So we can do two things: spend the money to correct that, or engage in a shared mass delusion that it's OK because no danger exists.

We chose Door #2.
The military is one example, health care is another. We have run our hospitals beyond 100-per-cent capacity for decades. We know this is a terrible idea. It's just objective facts, again. No one disputes this.

But new hospitals and more staff is expensive. So we ignore the risk.
There's a degree of self-delusion here, of willful blindness. We ignore these problems because we'd feel irresponsible if we acknowledged them and did nothing. So we all work very hard to pretend they aren't there. It's a pan-Canadian group effort.
That's why weirdos like me, who've been writing about this stuff for years, are, well weirdos. Canadians would much rather view guys like me as cranks and nutters ranting on about things that aren't going to happen than spend the billions needed to harden our defences.
But like I said, this isn't just a macro failure. I bet a lot of the people agreeing with my thread here don't have enough supplies in their house to comfortably endure a one-week emergency, or enough savings on hand to stay afloat in case of a sudden economic shock.
I'm not suggesting any individual have a survival bunker under six feet of concrete with supplies to feed 40 for a year. I'm not suggesting you have $100,000 in savings. I'm not saying we should have an army of half a million, or dozens of spare hospitals sitting idle.
I am saying that we should at least fund our critical services — military and health — to the level where they aren't consistently OVERburdened, as they currently are. When normal peacetime operations are beyond your capacity, you've got a major, major problem.
As for us all as individuals, obviously, circumstances vary. I get that, I'm a realist. But you should all be able to at least consider your situation, assess your risks and ask what, if anything, you're able to do. Even small things matter.
But mainly, I'm going to suggest something that NONE of you are going to want to do. I'm going to ask you to stop putting all the blame for this on the same politicians you'd blame for anything anyway. That's boring and unhelpful.

I'm asking you to consider the two key failures.
1. We did not learn from our own history, and adapt to the lessons it should have taught us.

2. We did not dare imagine things that are unpleasant to think about, and worse, collectively convinced ourselves that they were impossible and unworthy of serious thought.

OK. Thanks!
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