Perhaps it’s not a topic of conversation here, but among the normies with whom I sometimes discuss politics, the point that even a slightly better than mediocre response to COVID would have gotten Trump re-elected is one that I often hear. Obviously, we have examples of absolute gross right-wing incompetence in Brazil, and whatever-wing incompetence from AMLO in Mexico, but what would an OK-but-not-great “conservative” have done? Strangely enough, we might have a bit of a clue in the Canadian province of Ontario.
You might remember Rob Ford, the drug-addled and fairly crazy Tory who was mayor of Toronto for a hot minute. If not, here’s a refresher. Well, his brother Doug, who was the brains behind the Ford operation all along (to the extent that it had brains) is now the Premier of Ontario. Ontario politics are strange — Rob and Doug Ford rose to power in formerly more liberal Toronto because of a 1998 amalgamation that added in their banjo-on-the-porch suburb to the city. And, like everywhere else, the rural parts of Ontario are red while the urban parts are blue (in US coloring, Canadian party coloring is the opposite). Note that the current mayor of Toronto is a Tory named John Tory, the most on-brand politician in the world.
Anyway, after doing fairly well for the first two waves, Ontario’s third wave is terrible. Children’s hospitals are admitting adults, and they’re building field hospitals and asking nurses from other provinces to come help out. Ford issued a one-month stay-at-home order earlier this month (later than requested by physicians, but he did it). Yesterday, he gave police the power to stop drivers and pedestrians to ask their reason for being out, risking a $C750 fine for non-compliance. He’s also creating checkpoints on the Quebec and Manitoba borders to make sure all travel into the province is essential. So, overall, he’s taking it somewhat seriously.
Still, though, he’s a fucking “conservative” at heart:
Recent data from Ontario’s Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences has shown that while the virus has devastated members of low-income, racialized communities – many of whom are essential workers – vaccines have been slow to roll out to those same communities.
But Ford again resisted calls for paid sick leave, which policy experts say would benefit essential workers.
The bottom line is that under “conservative” rule around the world you might be better or worse depending on who’s in charge, but you’re fucked if you’re an out group.
(Canadians in the audience should chime in, because the Canadian newspapers that I used to read are all paywalled to ensure that Facebook gets even more eyeballs.)