The Road to Re­cov­ery

Policy - - In This Issue - From the Editor / L. Ian MacDon­ald

Wel­come to our is­sue on the Road to Re­cov­ery from the COVID-19 pan­demic that has in­fected more than 100,000 Cana­di­ans in the space of only a few months, with a tragic death toll of over 8,000 by the be­gin­ning of sum­mer. In the United States, there have been more than 2 mil­lion cases, and some 115,000 deaths; the high­est na­tional death toll in the world, with thou­sands more to come.

The sub­stance of our con­ver­sa­tions has many new en­tries, from so­cial dis­tanc­ing to work­ing from home, to say noth­ing of kids be­ing home from school. The eco­nomic dam­age has been dev­as­tat­ing and dis­rup­tive, as mil­lions of Cana­di­ans lost their jobs in the shut­down.

As the COVID toll de­clined and the econ­omy showed signs of re­silience, there were grounds for op­ti­mism that Canada and the world were in­deed on the early steps to re­cov­ery.

But make no mis­take, the pan­demic will have last­ing ef­fects on pub­lic and fis­cal pol­icy in Canada.

Hence our cover pack­age, on lessons learned and a look ahead.

Ge­off Norquay, who spent years as a se­nior of­fi­cial work­ing on health care and pub­lic pol­icy, looks at the epi­cen­tre of it all—the cri­sis in long-term care for se­niors, which has ac­counted for 80 per­cent of the deaths in Canada from COVID-19.

Lib­eral in­sider John Dela­court ex­am­ines the fed­eral-provin­cial man­age­ment chal­lenges of health care, a provin­cial ju­ris­dic­tion largely funded by the feds. In the LTCs alone, he notes, “the prov­inces are strug­gling to man­age this cri­sis with lim­ited help or lead­er­ship from Ottawa.” The eco­nomic re­newal will be largely in mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties which, as he also points out, are con­sti­tu­tional purviews of the prov­inces.

McGill Univer­sity’s Lau­rette Dubé writes that the pan­demic presents a trans­for­ma­tive op­por­tu­nity. As she writes in To­ward a Con­ver­gence Econ­omy: “Plan­ning the re­cov­ery and be­yond for the COVID-19 pan­demic are wo­ven in the fab­ric of modern economies and so­ci­eties, in par­tic­u­lar at the in­ter­sec­tion of health and eco­nomic sys­tems.”

Goldy Hy­der and Brian Kingston of the Busi­ness Coun­cil of Canada of­fer a re­al­is­tic out­look on the prospects for re­cov­ery. As they write: “It is in­creas­ingly ap­par­ent that Canada will ex­pe­ri­ence a multi-speed re­cov­ery with stops and starts that will af­fect dif­fer­ent sec­tors in dif­fer­ent ways.”

Pol­icy As­so­ciate Editor Lisa Van Dusen, whose work in both the U.S. and Canada has in­cluded cov­er­ing in­ter­na­tional fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions and count­less fed­eral bud­gets, looks at the in­ter­sec­tion of tech­nol­ogy, global debt and democ­racy post-pan­demic in COVID-19, Democ­racy and the Fu­ture of Work.

Nat­u­ral Re­sources Min­is­ter Sea­mus O’Re­gan makes the point that in any con­ver­sa­tion about clean en­ergy, Canada be­gins from a po­si­tion of strength, es­pe­cially in re­new­ables: “The di­ver­sity of our en­ergy sec­tor is our un­der­ly­ing strength. It is that di­ver­sity that will carry Canada through this short­term storm.”

Dal­housie Univer­sity’s Lori Turn­bull, co-win­ner of the Don­ner Prize, has a sense that the pan­demic will trig­ger a throw­back to the con­sti­tu­tional pol­i­tics of the 1980s and 90s, with in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal affairs and Char­ter pol­i­tics dom­i­nat­ing our dis­course.

Our lead for­eign affairs writer Jeremy Kins­man evokes three junc­tures of the modern age: the emer­gence of the mul­ti­lat­eral world or­der af­ter the Sec­ond World War in 1945, the end of the Cold War in 1989 and the col­lapse of mar­kets in 2008. The dif­fer­ence be­tween then and now? The Amer­i­cans were en­gaged and there was lead­er­ship in the White House.

Robin Sears looks at post-pan­demic China, and the fall, lit­er­ally and fig­u­ra­tively, of China’s masks in a way that has se­ri­ously down­graded the rep­u­ta­tion of Xi Jin­ping.

And our colum­nist Don New­man sums up with a post-pan­demic po­lit­i­cal per­spec­tive.

In Canada and the World, from her van­tage point as a thought leader and in­de­pen­dent Black se­na­tor from Nova Sco­tia, Wanda Thomas Bernard con­sid­ers the killing of Ge­orge Floyd as a cat­a­lyst for change in Col­lec­tive Rage Re­quires Col­lec­tive Ac­tion. It is a with­er­ing in­dict­ment of anti-Black racism and po­lice bru­tal­ity in Canada as well as the United States.

Fi­nally, we of­fer re­views of two ex­cel­lent books for sum­mer read­ing. James Bax­ter thor­oughly en­joyed Pro­fes­sional Heck­ler, Terry Mosher’s bi­og­ra­phy of the great po­lit­i­cal car­toon­ist Dun­can MacPher­son. What makes the bio by Ais­lin so com­pelling, Bax­ter writes, is that it reads “as if Mario Lemieux were re­count­ing the life story of Wayne Gret­zky.”

And for­mer Ma­clean’s Editor An­thony Wil­son-Smith sees many strengths in David Frum’s Trumpoca­lypse, in­clud­ing “the abil­ity to turn a neat phrase, and the dili­gence to sup­port his as­ser­tions with a moun­tain of re­search.”


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