Early days in the coronavirus war: Was Trudeau AWOL?

Written By Howard Rotberg, Posted on June 3, 2020

Hindsight, they say, is 20-20.  But without a clear understanding of the facts we can never understand the lessons of history. A look back at the early days of  what was then called the Wuhan Virus (until the name was changed by those afraid to offend the offender) is therefore important.  We start with the fact that CTV News reported that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday, January 31st that Canadians remained at a “low risk” of contracting the deadly coronavirus that had global health organizations on high alert.

Recall that on January 29, President Trump created the Coronavirus Task Force, a 12-person interagency Coronavirus Task Force led by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.  

At the end of January, after failure to take action all month, the WHO finally declared a “Public Health Emergency” over virus.

“Canada has, unfortunately, very recent experiences with a virus of this type,” said Trudeau in Montreal. “Our experience with SARS in 2003 meant that we created protocols and a system that is handling the concerns around this threat very, very well. That’s why the threat to Canadians remains low here in Canada.”

And with that error in judgment, Trudeau readied himself for an eight-day trip abroad to Africa and Germany (later extended to eleven days), with his new Minister of Foreign  Affairs Francois-Philippe Champagne, to solicit votes in favour of the United Nations appointing Canada to a two-year temporary post on the U.N. Security Council.  The UNSC is not the most reputable or successful arena of international activity.  There are five permanent members: ChinaFranceRussian Federationthe United Kingdom, and the United States, and ten non-permanent members elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly  For the temporary seats, one of which Canada is seeking, there is less power than the permanent seats, which have veto power.  The veto has been used by the permanent members a total of 293 times.

On February 6th, Trudeau headed to Ethiopia where the African Union was meeting, followed by a trip to Senegal, and to Kuwait to visit Canadian troops that had just been ordered out of Iraq by the Iraqi government.   After that there was an official visit to Germany to take in a security conference in Munich.

By February, we learn of the death of the whistle-blower Dr. Li Wenliang who passed away from the virus after being forced by the Chinese Government to recant his earlier warnings about the disease.

It must be said that Trudeau had received bad advice from Health Minister Hadju and Dr. Theresa Tam right up to the date of the trip.   The issue is whether Trudeau should have recognized that leadership in the battle against coronavirus was more essential than the trip to Africa and Europe, especially since most experts feel that Canada’s chances are not that high.

In January, Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, said there would be cases of COVID-19, but “it’s going to be rare.”

All through January and well into February, Health Minister Patty Hajdu and other federal ministers reassured Canadians that the risk of getting the coronavirus in Canada was low, even after the first few cases arose in the country. 

However, given the spread of the virus from China into Italy by the beginning of February, we must ask of Trudeau, “what did he know and when did he know it?”  Or can we infer that his  mind was focused on the upcoming trip which was more exciting that steering Canada through a hard-to-understand virus?  Can we infer that his vote-getting mission required certain Canadian “quid pro quo” benefits given in return for supporting Canada’s desire to get one of the temporary seats at the UNSC?   Let’s examine the timeline.

On February. 9, Global Affairs Canada announced that: “To support China’s ongoing response to the outbreak, Canada has deployed approximately 16 tonnes of personal protective equipment, such as clothing, face shields, masks, goggles and gloves to the country since February 4, 2020.”

University of Ottawa epidemiologist Amir Attaran was surprised to learn of this supernumerary gift.  He is quoted in The Globe and Mail: “It was absolutely certain in early February that we would need this equipment,” he said. “This decision went beyond altruism into high negligence and incompetence because Canada did not, and does not, have surplus equipment to spare.” 

Canada’s first case was identified on January 25th and by the time shipments started going out  to China we already had 5 confirmed cases.    And so we see that our international “virtue-signalling”, at the cost of giving away much-needed medical supplies, happened before Trudeau’s trip and continued while he was in Africa.

Mistaken priorities indeed.  From the collapse of the oil industry to the imposition of a carbon tax in a coronavirus-caused recession, it seemed that Trudeau had strange priorities.  On the diplomatic front, why was Trudeau gifting anything to China, when China was holding two Canadians in jail, without charges, without legal advice,  who are probably being tortured?  One is a businessman and the other a former diplomatic now employed by the international Crisis Group, a diplomatic consultancy.  The Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, have now been in jail for over a year.

And so, we see a troubling pattern.   The former part-time drama teacher, and blackface actor, prefers to act on the “world stage”, even if it is to neglect the nation’s health and unjustly imprisoned citizens.  Those of us who contemplate the problems with globalism are really worried.

And, it looks too much like this actor is in over his head, on a stage dominated by some totalitarian bad-actors:  His gift to China was totally inappropriate unless it had purchased the freedom of the two “Michaels”.  Then his dealings with unstable Ethiopia are subject to Ethiopia being a client state for Chinese investments and infrastructure funding.  That is why China, increasingly dominates international organizations with huge sums against which Canada cannot compete;  it, installed the Ethiopian former Marxist terrorist, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, as head of the World Health Organization, which explains the WHO toleration of Chinese mischief over the Coronvirus matter.   Adis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital city is known as “The City That China Built”.

While Trudeau wants to portray Canada as a force for virtue on the globalist stage, the record is not so clear.  Trudeau referred to Cuban dictator Fidel Castro as a “remarkable leader” and “legendary revolutionary” following the death of the former Cuban leader, who killed thousands and breached human rights and drove away a million refugees from his harsh reign.

John Ivison, writing in National Post, says that Canada has already spent $2 million dollars on its UN bid, and suggests that continuing it will cost so much that it will “likely dwarf” what it has cost so far.  Ivison correctly points out that in seeking African support for Canada, instead of other candidates Norway and Ireland, Canada will have to deal with a number of countries who do not share our values, to put it mildly:  such countries as Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo , South Sudan and Kenya, are all terrible abusers of human rights.  

We can assume that the two European candidates will sew up all the votes from Europe, leaving Canada to bargain with corrupt African dictatorships.

Back to the coronavirus.   The great Canadian essayist David Solway has written (PJ Media April 11, 2020) a scathing criticism of Canada’s actions:  “The Canadian Way of Dealing with a Pandemic: Ineffective, Clueless, and Dishonest”

Solway paints a portrait of Canada’s Chief Public Health official Theresa Tam as a feminist, gender and racism activist, too concerned with political correctness and too little knowledgeable about how to deal with the early stages of a pandemic.  He quotes Spencer Fernando’s view that “The facts are undeniable. Tam was late at every step, focused on political correctness and lecturing when the virus could have been stopped, and seemed less informed of the risk than the general public and the MPs who were asking her questions.”

Our Minister of Health, Patty Hadju, acknowledges that she was slow to react and unprepared for acting on a pandemic.  When working for the Thunder Bay health unit (after a degree in cultural anthropology) her unit was continually warned by the unit’s epidemiologist that the globe was due for a pandemic which he called “the big one.”

“I was like, ‘Oh yeah, okay, fine.’ Because there’s an arrogance to humanity that we couldn’t possibly be taken to our knees by a virus, like we know so much more than they knew a hundred years ago, right? And here we are.”

Canada was not the only country slow off the mark.  Where were the Democrats, who are supported by about 90% of mainstream media in the U.S. when it started?   They were still trying to impeach President Trump and ignored the whole problem.   When Trump ordered that no planes from China could come to the U.S. at the end of January, Democrats like Biden called him “xenophobic” and “racist” because of their stupid belief that a while male American president cannot criticize or act adversely against any country with a non-white race.   It is now clear that China was, at the very least, negligent in hiding the effects of the virus and in its operation of the Wuhan virus lab.   Perhaps it was even criminal in its actions against whistle-blower doctors and journalists and its mismanagement in the early days of the virus.

Surrounded by incompetent “experts”, failing to understand totalitarian China and Africa, misreading early clues about what was to come with a pandemic, and virtue signalling on his trips to the world stage when he should have been demonstrating “wartime” leadership at home, we Canadians voted for Trudeau again just last October – in spite of myriad ethical breaches, and signs of incompetence.  Accordingly, we are responsible for what we got and what we continue to get.  We are in a war, and when Canada needed a wartime leader, our man was AWOL, pursuing globalism instead of doing everything he could to save lives by acting early.

Howard Rotberg

One response to “Early days in the coronavirus war: Was Trudeau AWOL?”

  1. Jodie Goldberg says:

    Thank you Howard Rotberg for this eye opening truth Canadians should understand and face. If there was ever a time in history we have needed a Prime Minister with the intelligence and steadfast determination to do everything in his or her power to protect Canadians it is now; and for this we have failed badly, nationally, by electing someone who badly lacks the skills for such leadership whose self interest in the global world dominates his ego rather than taking care of Canadians.