How Canada's politicians and health officials repeatedly blew their credibility

Trudeau, Tam, Hajdu, and others in the government repeatedly said the virus was "low-risk," would be "contained," and opposed border closures.

Spencer Fernando Winnipeg MB

We keep hearing from arrogant politicians and public officials about how they are "disappointed" people "aren’t listening to them."

The constant blame of the public ignores how those same officials are responsible for having blown their credibility, and they did so in some quite different ways.

There are two main ways to lose credibility:

The first – and more recoverable – is to make a series of tactical errors. The second – and more damaging – is to pick the wrong strategy and stick with it.

Over the past year, Canada’s politicians and health officials have done both. To begin with, there were errors from the start.

Trudeau, Tam, Hajdu, and others in the government repeatedly said the virus was "low-risk," would be "contained," and opposed border closures.

Advice on social distancing and masks repeatedly changed. And – in what was the biggest initial instance of credibility being shattered – we all remember how the advice to "stay home, save lives," was put on temporary hold for BLM rallies, with health officials even going so far as to say, "racism was as big a threat as the virus."

For millions of people, that was the moment at which they stopped listening, and who can blame them?

Hypocrisy reigned.

Individually, those mistakes were perhaps forgivable – especially at the beginning when knowledge of the virus and best practices to mitigate it were still at their early stages.

However, those mistakes continued.

Once again, the borders to India & Pakistan were left open, allowing people to travel from overseas into Canada, while Canadians were locked down here at home.

Borders were only closed once it was too late. Bit by bit, each of these things ate away at the credibility of those in charge. But there was something more. And that brings us to the second way to blow credibility.

The wrong strategy.

From the beginning, political correctness, rather than a true analysis of reality, has driven the response in Canada.

Common-sense advice that could have made Canadians more resilient – such as distributing Vitamin D, warning about obesity (the second highest risk factor for negative covid outcomes), pushing for people to get outdoors, keeping gyms open, and focusing efforts on the most vulnerable at care homes rather than draconian lockdowns of everyone – was ignored.

The opposite took place, with measures taken that devastated the economy, made people less healthy, deepened the mental health crisis, and centralized government power.

People watched this happen, saw the hypocrisy, saw the damage that was being done, and rightly concluded that those in charge did not know what they were doing.

That is how credibility was squandered in multiple ways, and after all of that nobody should be surprised people are not listening now.


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