Two days ago (Wednesday December 15) the Ford Government announced it would step up vaccinations and testing. Socially distancing? Hardly at all, the only change being that events of more than 1000 attendees will be reduced to 50 percent capacity. Yesterday the independent Ontario Science Table argued that, with cases of the Omicron variant doubling every 2.2 days, the government’s approach is totally inadequate and a circuit breaker is needed immediately.
The Government’s only response so far is that Health Minister Christine Elliot’s Press Secretary Alexandra Hilkene opined that the Science Table didn’t take into account the impact of the measures announced on Wednesday. Alexandra Hilkene, as her LinkedIn page shows, is a twenty-something with a degree in English literature from McGill. Her argument seems specious because crowds of fewer than 1000 can easily become (super)spreader events and because immunity from boosters doesn’t become effective for another two weeks. By then a lot of spreading will have occurred.
The Same Old Song
We’ve heard this story many times before. The Science Table, representing Ontario’s top health experts makes a recommendation, the Ford Government ignores them, and when the dire forecasts come to pass, the Government reverses course, and Ford apologizes.
Ford’s refusal to take the Science Table seriously now is of a piece with his Government’s attacks on and defunding of research in its first year in office. I posted the details back in May 2019.
Here is my third attack message.
I’m Sandford Borins, a proud Ontarian. I’ve lived here most of my life and I’m a retired Professor of Management at the University of Toronto.
I’m deeply concerned about the Ford Government disrespecting and defunding science and research. On his first day in office, Ford fired Ontario’s chief scientist and he quickly terminated the basic income pilot project. His government then cut funding for research on health, artificial intelligence, gambling addiction, and even economic development.
In the pandemic, Ford has often ignored the recommendations of the leading epidemiologists on the Science Table. When their forecasts come to pass, he then apologizes and reverses course.
On June 2, we’ll have an opportunity to reassert the importance of science and research. Let’s vote strategically to replace Doug Ford.