This week in Canada held some actual promise.
Not empty promises from politicians that they are “losing sleep over long-term care facilities” or “will not rest until every Canadian is vaccinated” or, in perhaps the weirdest example, Conservative leader Erin O’Toole’s Twitter video promise to move Justin Trudeau’s office to an outhouse when he is no longer Prime Minister (his social media manager is apparently a 7-year-old boy whose associates surely assured him he “nailed it”, then got back to trash talking each other in Fortnite).
I mean, actual promise.
Two more Covid vaccines have now been approved by Health Canada. One from AstraZeneca (which sounds, to me, like a company from space) and a comparable vaccine from India (which is not very nearby. But closer than space.) This brings the total number of approved vaccines up to four, with the Pfizer and Moderna previously approved vaccines still making their way to Canada, apparently aboard the Titanic. And Johnson & Johnson is also on the verge of getting a vaccine approved. Though with Johnson and Johnson’s pending lawsuits, we’ll want to be extra careful that their vaccine doesn’t cause a worse terminal illness than Covid.
So, there IS light at the end of this dark pandemic tunnel. The problem is, that tunnel’s length seems a lot longer in Canada than in other countries, and differs greatly in different parts of Canada. Especially in my home province of Ontario where the Premier’s leadership style can best be described as “Biff” from ‘Back to The Future’.
However even at the national level, where retired General Rick Hillier has been put in charge of distribution, things have been decidedly un-military like in their precision. This of course is largely due to unexpected delays in getting the vaccine from other countries, but it doesn’t help that communication has been confusing and often contradictory.
General Hillier said that everyone who is working on the vaccine distribution is “working furiously” this week, which seems like a bad way to work with delicate medical vaccines. Unless of course, those vaccines haven’t arrived yet, which makes working with them at all, technically, impossible. Now, if someone were to say that Canadians are waiting furiously, well, that would make sense. Canadians excel at waiting. But it’s getting to the point where, I hate to say this but, there are going to start being some letters written. Letters that are written furiously. Especially from Ontarians where senior citizens can’t even register to get the vaccine until March 15 (an ominous date if you’re familiar with Roman history) for no good reason other than Biff didn’t realize this would be an important part of the vaccine rollout process. Heck even Alberta is ahead of Ontario in vaccine distribution at this point and Alberta’s Premier, while not quite Biff, could certainly pass for Joe Pesci (in Home Alone, not Goodfellas)
The frustration of Canadians waiting for vaccines and clear communication on when each of us might reasonably expect our turn is boiling over just as the prospect of actually dealing with this pandemic scientifically is forming. So what we need now is someone, or a group of someones, to take over distribution in an efficient, non-political and non-bullshit manner.
I’m talking of course about a mother.
The kind of mother that can throw a party for dozens of kids, from toddlers to teenagers (and honestly can’t wait to do so again). The kind of mother who can delegate duties to kids and her spouse (and his arsehole friends) that are immediately obeyed out of respect (and fear). The kind of mother who can prepare a vast quantity of food and snacks, and serve/distribute pieces of ice cream cake on a hot summer day, to a seemingly endless number of party participants, some of whom seem to have shown up only at cake time (but you let them in because they brought a birthday present) The kind of mother like my wife Nancy, whom we are so fortunate to have in our household and who so, SO deserves to be freed from the prison-like schedule that this pandemic has turned households into, for moms more than any other group. With all due respect to everyone who is currently working on vaccine distribution (furiously or otherwise) no one works harder than moms. And no other group has had their working lives turned upside down, threatened, or outright obliterated more than moms forced to stay home with young children over the course of this pandemic.
Simply put, moms don’t have time to deal with bullshit. Especially moms of babies who are dealing with, among other things, actual shit. If we had a group of moms in charge of vaccine distribution in Canada right now, not only do I believe that vaccine distribution would be scheduled more equitably and efficiently but there’s a good chance they would have already figured out how to make the actual vaccines IN Canada by now. Either by constructing commercial labs or simply rolling up their sleeves and baking up batches in their own kitchens if necessary, because that’s what moms do. And they’d probably figure out a way to do it in delicious cupcake form with sprinkles instead of frozen needles too.
I’m only half kidding about this.
Stay-at-home moms are heroically keeping our households together while we have to continue keeping individual households apart. No group is more motivated to getting everyone vaccinated than they are (and arguably no one mother is more motivated than my wife Nancy). If our leaders borrowed a page from a mother’s daily playbook, they may discover some valuable lessons in how to get things done. Instead of just talking about why they haven’t been done yet.