Much like Dickens’ Tale of Two Cities, Canada and Australia are experiencing, ‘the best of times, the worst of times, the age of wisdom, and the age of foolishness’.
Yet, it is not my word you have to take for it, it’s Stephen Harper’s.
On Friday, President Trump became the first president ever to attend the annual March for Life.
During the gathering, which attracts hundreds of thousands of people every year to Washington D.C., Trump told the crowd, “We’re here for a very simple reason—to defend the right of every child, born and unborn, to fulfill their God-given potential.”
In his historic speech, Trump lashed out at Virginia Governor, Ralph Northam who infamously claimed that women and their doctors should have the right to extremely “late-term abortions,” and even killing children immediately after birth.
Trump also reminded the audience that he had nominated two pro-life judges to the Supreme Court in his first term—Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.
Across the Western world, populism is on the rise.
After years of misrule by the elites, more and more people are waking up to how severely the system has been rigged against working class Canadians.
We can see it all around us.
In many nations, conservative parties are finding new success by embracing many elements of populism, particularly on issues like immigration, renewing the meaning of citizenship, and uniting people around patriotism, rather than identity politics.
Additionally, the most successful conservatives have combined a focus balancing budgets with an aspirational abundance mentality, giving people hope that a vote for a conservative candidate would give them the opportunity to achieve a new level of financial freedom and security in an increasingly uncertain world.
We hear many of the same forces propelling populism at work in Canada, with clear majorities of Canadians saying they feel the system is rigged against them, feel society is broken, and oppose the large immigration increases being brought in by the Trudeau Liberals.
With the rising power of alternative media, and a conservative base that is becoming more prominent among working class people, the potential is there for a political re-alignment in Canada.
And a leadership bid by Pierre Poilievre could have been a key part of turning that potential into reality.
Poilievre had managed to effectively win over much of the Conservative base with his tough, combative approach, while also not taking positions that would have rendered him unelectable. He was forging a new political style, someone who is resolutely conservative, opposes Trudeau, fights back against the biased media, utilizes social media effectively, while also ensuring the Conservative Party remains open to all Canadians.
It’s a tough tightrope to walk, but Poilievre was successfully walking it.
But now, with his announcement that he won’t run, his unique approach will be lost, at least this time around.
Of course, we can imagine that Peter MacKay and Erin O’Toole will end up being able to walk the same tightrope effectively.
Yet, based on the reaction to Poilievre’s announcement, it’s clear that many people feel something significant has changed for the worse.
As we know, whoever the Conservatives run will get demonized as “far-right”. As I note in the Tweet below, they’re already starting up against MacKay:
The establishment press will let someone run as a “moderate conservative” until the actual election, then they’ll demonize the sh*t out of them.
That means any Conservative leader will end up having to fight back strong against the establishment media if they hope to win, and that also means they need the strong and resolute support of the Conservative base behind them.
Poilievre’s communication skills and tough approach showed that he could achieve that, and you can tell that many people worry that skill set has been lost with his departure from the race.
The six people who authorities suspected had coronavirus after displaying symptoms of a respiratory virus have all tested negative for the deadly disease, says Quebec’s health department.
The six people, who were kept at undisclosed hospitals in Montreal and Quebec City, were believed to potentially be infected as they had recently travelled to China, CTV reports.
The six negative results mean that the virus, which has already made its way to the United States, has not come to Canada. Quebec officials say they are keeping a watchful eye on the spread of the disease.
The news comes along with a statement from Canada’s chief medical officer, who stated that Canada’s chances of having a coronavirus outbreak remain low, especially after China’s complete shutdown of landmarks, entire cities, public transportation, and holidays.
Dr. Theresa Tam’s comments come on the heels of China’s announcement that there are 830 confirmed cases with 26 confirmed deaths. That figure is expected to rise.
While the coronavirus is currently not a public health emergency, as per the World Health Organization, it’s not impossible that a novel disease could get out of hand in a hurry. I’m writing this article because, amidst all the coverage of the Wuhan virus which has quarantined 35 million and counting, I watched Contagion, thus spooking me out tenfold.
Contagion, a 2011 movie starring Matt Damon about an unknown virus that starts in China thanks to bat droppings and creeps its infected hands across the globe, paints a horrifying picture of what can happen when scientists aren’t able to keep up with a disease. (An eerily similar situation to what’s going on now, though fairly easy to predict granted China’s history with diseases.)
And while we are still nowhere close to pandemic levels, it’s still important to know what to do in a situation where the virus has landed in your country and is potentially making its way through your neighbourhood.
Before delving in, though, I want to say: do not panic, this is a hypothetical article about a very specific scenario—one that humanity has gotten pretty good at curbing. With that said: here are 10 steps you should take to minimize your chances of contracting a novel virus if things were to get that bad.
*Note, I am NOT a medical professional. These suggestions are a collection of several health websites throughout the web.
1. Protective masks
In some densely populated Asian countries, it’s not uncommon to see citizens wearing white medical masks on their faces, and in the videos circulating online of Wuhan, you’ll be quick to see just about everyone wearing one. This is because protective masks, while not fool-proof, can decrease your chances of breathing in air-borne projectiles through coughs or sneezes—if applied properly.
Professor of molecular Jonathan Bell at the University of Nottingham has said: “In one well-controlled study in a hospital setting, the face mask was as good at preventing influenza infection as a purpose-made respirator.” So strap up!
2. Washing your hands/avoid touching your face
One of the best things anyone can do to stop the spread of diseases is thoroughly washing your hands with soap and warm water. In times of real strife, it’s advised by the CDC that you wash your hands.:
- Before, during, and after preparing food
- Before eating food
- Before and after caring for someone at home who is sick with vomiting or diarrhea
- Before and after treating a cut or wound
- After using the toilet
- After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
- After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
- After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
- After handling pet food or pet treats
- After touching garbage
While that may seem obsessive, take this as an example: “In developing countries, childhood mortality rates related to respiratory and diarrheal diseases can be reduced by introducing simple behavioural changes, such as handwashing with soap. This simple action can reduce the rate of mortality from these diseases by almost 50 percent.”
All of this is hand-in-hand with not touching your face. The average person touches their face 23 times an hour. Avoid scratching or rubbing your face or nose with your hands, unless recently washed.
3. Avoid public transportation
Public transportation is a notorious playground for bacteria and diseases to make their way.
The combination of hoards of people, all tightly packed in tubes and all touching the same handles and doors is not ideal when avoiding an illness. But, there are a few steps you can take to make the ride a bit easier on you:
- Don’t feel the need to be polite. Don’t sit next to anyone sick. If someone that you suspect is sick sits next to you, move. There’s no need to take a risk
- Take a “seat check” before sitting down. Obviously, avoid visibly dirty seats.
- Again, the golden rule: wash your hands immediately after getting off the bus. Especially if you touched any straps, poles, belts, or other surfaces.
- Hand sanitizer aplenty, if you don’t have any way to wash your hands.
4. Glove etiquette
Gloves, though they do need to be changed fairly frequently, are a highly effective way to avoid bodily fluids. Saliva, the main culprit, can be spread easily via coughs and sneezes into hands, and then on to public transport. This is why the sleeve sneeze, or the “vampire sneeze,” is another great method to avoid getting others ill.
Other, more obvious bodily fluids to avoid include blood, vomit, urine, and feces, which all pose a higher risk of cross-contamination.
Pro tip: Avoid wearing gloves while preparing food. While this may seem like a good idea, it may actually make the odds of cross-contamination more likely. This is why many professional kitchens will opt for frequent washing rather than gloves.
5. “Extra steps”
The little things go a long way, whether it’s precautions or bacteria. There are several little things that can make a big difference, including alcohol wipes for cell phone screens. Cell phones are an often overlooked way of spreading bacteria. Avoid voice calls on your cell phone unless you’ve got a way to disinfect your screen first.
Other things you can do if you’re particularly vigilant are avoiding the handling of cash, and not allowing others to handle your debit card.
These suggested steps are still a bit further ahead in the future than the state we are currently in with coronavirus, and let’s hope we don’t ever need them. The last few notable public health crises’, (Ebola, Zika, H1N1) did do significant damage in given regions, but were all eventually contained and are all no longer considered public health risks and are now at what is considered “normal” levels.