Politics of swine flu

News Nov 06, 2009 Ancaster News

Long line-ups of panicked people, some waiting for an entire day to receive the H1N1 vaccination last week, were fuelled by a number of factors:

• News of the tragic deaths of two Ontario youngsters as a result of the H1N1 virus;

• Information about a potential shortage of H1N1 doses in the coming weeks;

• False and alarmist information circulating on the internet and media and being perpetuated as fact regarding H1N1; and

• Politics.

While it’s no surprise a pandemic of this proportion is causing a lot of uncertainty, what is most shameful is how some federal politicians are using the H1N1 situation for selfish political purposes.

On Oct. 29, Liberal Bob Rae rose in Parliament accusing the government of mismanaging the H1N1 situation. While his comments can be tempered with his role as an opposition member, Mr. Rae clearly crossed the line when he suggested the government’s handling of the situation has cost and will cost lives.

Comments like this have a dramatic effect beyond the walls of Parliament Hill, and only serve to generate unneeded panic. Mr. Rae’s accusations are clearly false and were intended more to score political points than reflect reality.

There were a number of incidents last week to prove the federal Liberals are using the H1N1 pandemic to exact political damage on the government.

Liberal Party president Alfred Apps added to the rhetoric by comparing the H1N1 controversy to the devastation of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina.

Liberal MP Hedy Fry suggested her colleagues in Ottawa should join the legions of cue jumpers and get the shot before high-risk groups because “they shake hands” numerous times a day with people.

Let’s get the facts straight here, and take the politics and panic out of the H1N1 pandemic.

First off, H1N1 has killed fewer people over the past six months than the seasonal flu kills every six days.

Between 2,000 to 8,000 people die every year from seasonal flu in Canada, including some who are otherwise healthy, and so far fewer than 100 Canadians have died from H1N1 this year.

Chief public health officer Dr. David Butler-Jones has said there will be enough vaccine to go around for everyone who wants the shot, and that Canada is ahead of the game in comparison to other countries.

“Unlike virtually every other country in the world, by Christmas we should have enough vaccines for everybody that wants it in Canada,” Dr. Butler-Jones told CBC’s Power & Politics. “But it is not all available at once.”

Dr. Butler-Jones has also stated Canada will have more vaccine per population than anywhere else in the world and is producing bulk vaccine that is serving the needs of other parts of the world as well.

Managing flu season for any government in power is like trying to hit a moving target.

Every year, seasonal flu shots are created in response to the virus that emerges. There is no way to plan ahead for a virus that mutates and changes from year to year.

So if management of the flu season is such a huge issue, why hasn’t this political debate, with all the rhetoric and accusations of incompetence, taken place in other years?

This week, Premier Dalton McGuinty suggested governments at all levels must review their response to the H1N1 pandemic. His suggestion is a fair response, and is being echoed by Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq.

The reality is no government on the planet can manage a pandemic of this magnitude perfectly, but lessons can be learned and we have no doubt improvements will be in place for the next outbreak.

It’s the cheap politics that really makes us sick.

Politics of swine flu

News Nov 06, 2009 Ancaster News

Long line-ups of panicked people, some waiting for an entire day to receive the H1N1 vaccination last week, were fuelled by a number of factors:

• News of the tragic deaths of two Ontario youngsters as a result of the H1N1 virus;

• Information about a potential shortage of H1N1 doses in the coming weeks;

• False and alarmist information circulating on the internet and media and being perpetuated as fact regarding H1N1; and

• Politics.

While it’s no surprise a pandemic of this proportion is causing a lot of uncertainty, what is most shameful is how some federal politicians are using the H1N1 situation for selfish political purposes.

On Oct. 29, Liberal Bob Rae rose in Parliament accusing the government of mismanaging the H1N1 situation. While his comments can be tempered with his role as an opposition member, Mr. Rae clearly crossed the line when he suggested the government’s handling of the situation has cost and will cost lives.

Comments like this have a dramatic effect beyond the walls of Parliament Hill, and only serve to generate unneeded panic. Mr. Rae’s accusations are clearly false and were intended more to score political points than reflect reality.

There were a number of incidents last week to prove the federal Liberals are using the H1N1 pandemic to exact political damage on the government.

Liberal Party president Alfred Apps added to the rhetoric by comparing the H1N1 controversy to the devastation of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina.

Liberal MP Hedy Fry suggested her colleagues in Ottawa should join the legions of cue jumpers and get the shot before high-risk groups because “they shake hands” numerous times a day with people.

Let’s get the facts straight here, and take the politics and panic out of the H1N1 pandemic.

First off, H1N1 has killed fewer people over the past six months than the seasonal flu kills every six days.

Between 2,000 to 8,000 people die every year from seasonal flu in Canada, including some who are otherwise healthy, and so far fewer than 100 Canadians have died from H1N1 this year.

Chief public health officer Dr. David Butler-Jones has said there will be enough vaccine to go around for everyone who wants the shot, and that Canada is ahead of the game in comparison to other countries.

“Unlike virtually every other country in the world, by Christmas we should have enough vaccines for everybody that wants it in Canada,” Dr. Butler-Jones told CBC’s Power & Politics. “But it is not all available at once.”

Dr. Butler-Jones has also stated Canada will have more vaccine per population than anywhere else in the world and is producing bulk vaccine that is serving the needs of other parts of the world as well.

Managing flu season for any government in power is like trying to hit a moving target.

Every year, seasonal flu shots are created in response to the virus that emerges. There is no way to plan ahead for a virus that mutates and changes from year to year.

So if management of the flu season is such a huge issue, why hasn’t this political debate, with all the rhetoric and accusations of incompetence, taken place in other years?

This week, Premier Dalton McGuinty suggested governments at all levels must review their response to the H1N1 pandemic. His suggestion is a fair response, and is being echoed by Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq.

The reality is no government on the planet can manage a pandemic of this magnitude perfectly, but lessons can be learned and we have no doubt improvements will be in place for the next outbreak.

It’s the cheap politics that really makes us sick.

Politics of swine flu

News Nov 06, 2009 Ancaster News

Long line-ups of panicked people, some waiting for an entire day to receive the H1N1 vaccination last week, were fuelled by a number of factors:

• News of the tragic deaths of two Ontario youngsters as a result of the H1N1 virus;

• Information about a potential shortage of H1N1 doses in the coming weeks;

• False and alarmist information circulating on the internet and media and being perpetuated as fact regarding H1N1; and

• Politics.

While it’s no surprise a pandemic of this proportion is causing a lot of uncertainty, what is most shameful is how some federal politicians are using the H1N1 situation for selfish political purposes.

On Oct. 29, Liberal Bob Rae rose in Parliament accusing the government of mismanaging the H1N1 situation. While his comments can be tempered with his role as an opposition member, Mr. Rae clearly crossed the line when he suggested the government’s handling of the situation has cost and will cost lives.

Comments like this have a dramatic effect beyond the walls of Parliament Hill, and only serve to generate unneeded panic. Mr. Rae’s accusations are clearly false and were intended more to score political points than reflect reality.

There were a number of incidents last week to prove the federal Liberals are using the H1N1 pandemic to exact political damage on the government.

Liberal Party president Alfred Apps added to the rhetoric by comparing the H1N1 controversy to the devastation of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina.

Liberal MP Hedy Fry suggested her colleagues in Ottawa should join the legions of cue jumpers and get the shot before high-risk groups because “they shake hands” numerous times a day with people.

Let’s get the facts straight here, and take the politics and panic out of the H1N1 pandemic.

First off, H1N1 has killed fewer people over the past six months than the seasonal flu kills every six days.

Between 2,000 to 8,000 people die every year from seasonal flu in Canada, including some who are otherwise healthy, and so far fewer than 100 Canadians have died from H1N1 this year.

Chief public health officer Dr. David Butler-Jones has said there will be enough vaccine to go around for everyone who wants the shot, and that Canada is ahead of the game in comparison to other countries.

“Unlike virtually every other country in the world, by Christmas we should have enough vaccines for everybody that wants it in Canada,” Dr. Butler-Jones told CBC’s Power & Politics. “But it is not all available at once.”

Dr. Butler-Jones has also stated Canada will have more vaccine per population than anywhere else in the world and is producing bulk vaccine that is serving the needs of other parts of the world as well.

Managing flu season for any government in power is like trying to hit a moving target.

Every year, seasonal flu shots are created in response to the virus that emerges. There is no way to plan ahead for a virus that mutates and changes from year to year.

So if management of the flu season is such a huge issue, why hasn’t this political debate, with all the rhetoric and accusations of incompetence, taken place in other years?

This week, Premier Dalton McGuinty suggested governments at all levels must review their response to the H1N1 pandemic. His suggestion is a fair response, and is being echoed by Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq.

The reality is no government on the planet can manage a pandemic of this magnitude perfectly, but lessons can be learned and we have no doubt improvements will be in place for the next outbreak.

It’s the cheap politics that really makes us sick.