Scott Moe’s reckless pandemic shenanigans are an existential threat to Saskatchewan

Pandemic | Paul Dechene | Feb. 10, 2022

Premier Scott Moe says it’s time to change our pandemic strategy. We have to start living with the virus, he says.

Which is funny, because I thought that’s what we were doing.

Those of us who have survived, that is.

On Moe’s new road forward, living with covid is indistinguishable from doing nothing. Over the objections of the medical community, he has pledged to abandon all the public health measures we implemented to limit the spread of the virus.

Great.

But if we’re going to give up on eliminating a deadly disease, is doing nothing really our best option?

Could there be some health measures that we could retain or new policy directions we could take that would save lives, reduce suffering and limit the stress on our healthcare systems?

I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest, yes.

Vaccines!!!

We know that covid vaccines are safe and effective. But as with any vaccine, how well they work is a game of percentages. And that means, protecting our community depends on getting them into as many people as possible.

And I know this might sound “mean” (boo hoo), but we need to consider policies that limit the ability of those who choose to not get vaccinated1 from being able to wantonly spread their germs everywhere.

According to infectious disease physician, associate professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan and beloved twitter doctor Alexander Wong, our proof-of-vaccination policy is a proven way to encourage people to get vaccinated while also ensuring the safety of our public spaces.

You know that proof-of-vaccination policy that Moe just tossed in the bin without warning?

“I would maintain that proof of vaccine program,” says Wong. “And I would change the definition of fully vaccinated from two doses to three doses, because that is the single most important sustainable intervention that we have to be able to get through successive surges and waves of this bloody pandemic without having our health care system get crushed over and over and over again.”

On top of that, Wong says our leadership should stop mincing words about vaccines and stop contributing to the misinformation about them.

“You don’t have to dunk on vaccines,” says Wong of Scott Moe’s vaccine messaging. “You don’t have to say stuff like, ‘Go, consider getting vaccinated.’ Like, don’t use the word ‘consider.’ That’s weak.

“Say, ‘Go get vaccinated, get boosted, that is the most important thing you can do to keep yourself, your loved ones and this province safe.”

Healthcare Needs Love

We can’t blithely drift into an eternal pandemic with Saskatchewan’s old, pre-covid healthcare system. It isn’t up to the task.

We built that system around a predictable set of endemic diseases and risks. As covid has overwhelmed our hospitals over and over and over again, it has become apparent that they can’t withstand the inevitable surges from future variants-of-concern. 

That’s why, if we’re going to let covid have the run of the place, we’re overdue for a historic investment in our healthcare system. We aren’t going to LEAN our way out of this. A ton of money needs to be invested.

And the bulk of that needs to go into staff. covid has been hell for our healthcare workers. The Saskatchewan Party’s response to this disease has been either “do nothing” or “do something half-assed and too late”, and healthcare workers have had to pick up the slack all along.

They’re tired. They’re demoralized.

No healthcare worker from outside the province is looking to Saskatchewan as a potential future home. Many of the healthcare workers already here are no doubt looking elsewhere for work.

If healthcare workers don’t want to live here, we can’t live with covid.

Failing The Test

You deal with a microscopic virus by doing science to it. And that means we need data. Like you get from testing. Which we should be doing more of. Not less.

As such, Moe’s plan to slash our PCR testing program is unfortunate, to say the least.

But beyond the science, we also need to start grappling with why everything went so wrong?

Why did our vaccine rollout and public health messaging go so poorly that Saskatchewan has among the worst vaccination rates in the country?

Why do we have foreign-funded agitators occupying our capital in the name of ending covid mandates?

How have education disruptions impacted our children? How are people going to cope with the pandemic’s emotional aftermath?

Why were we so blindsided at every turn?

These are questions for social scientists, economists, anthropologists, moral philosophers and, fuck, I hate to admit it, we might even need to get the poets on this.

In other words, we need re-invest in every aspect of our education system if we’re to learn from our mistakes and avoid another clusterfuck.

A Pattern Emerges

I could go on but the general thrust should be clear: we’re stuck in this unending health crisis because we’ve starved the public realm for generations. Our hospitals have become just-in-time procedure-dispensing factories. Our schools are overstuffed. Our universities are crumbling.

Our sidewalks are cracked and too narrow.

The great writer, Aidan Morgan, once likened covid to those Red-Cote tablets your dentist would make you chew.2 They turn the plaque on your teeth red so your dentist can better shame you into brushing more.

In the analogy, the red stains in your mouth are all the ways we’ve let our social systems rot.

Shame on us. We need to rebuild the public realm if we’re to endure society’s case of long covid.

And you should probably floss more.


1. Should go without saying but that refers to those who skip the vaccine WITHOUT A VALID MEDICAL REASON! For fucks sake. Every time you advocate for proof-of-vaccination, some shrieking asshole starts with the “My nephew’s friend is immuno-compromised and can’t get the vaccine, what about them, hunh?!? They have to stay indoors forever?!?!” Christ, obviously there’s exceptions for people with valid medical concerns, you squawking dipshit. They’re the reason we need proof of vaccination policies. THEY’RE THE PEOPLE HERD IMMUNITY PROTECTS. With a proof-of-vaccination policy, people who are immuno-compromised or have allergies to the vaccine OR ARE LITERAL BABIES can go outside. It’s really that fucking simple.

2. On the Queen City Improvement Bureau podcast.