Once again Premier Ford got it wrong

By Pepper Parr

January 21st, 2022



Ontario today reported 4,114 COVID-19 hospitalizations, 590 in the ICU and 64 deaths; is this what the Minister of Health meant by a “glimmer of hope”?

Yesterday Premier Doug Ford announced when and how he would open up the province and return to normal business.

January 31st

restrictions would be reduced.

February 21st restrictions would be reduced even further.

March 14th  restrictions would disappear.

Setting out information like this might be good politics but it is bad public health practice.

Once again the Premier got it wrong.

What he needed to say was that when hospitalizations are at ??? and ICU patients are at ??? THEN restrictions will be lowered.

It is decisions made by individuals that will bring down the number of people infected and the number of hospitalizations.

Stop the bromides Mr. Premier.  Let people take responsibility and when the data indicates that people are being responsible, then lift the restrictions.  I, too, want to go out to a restaurant for dinner – but I don’t want to compromise my health.

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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6 comments to Once again Premier Ford got it wrong

  • Carol Victor

    Ford’s priorities have never included health care or education. Development has been top of the list. Forced by the pandemic to deal with health care and education he is totally out of his comfort zone. His priority has now shifted to being re-elected… in other words, give them what they want to hear..

  • Joe Gaetan

    My take on the announcement is as follows. With respect to Premier Ford, darned if he does darn if he doesn’t. I have no idea where he’s getting his advice and input. Some of it has been spot-on and some has been off the mark.
    Back in the good old days we were told it was OK for people from all over the world to fly-in to our country, then it wasn’t. We were also told that no-no, you shouldn’t wear masks, and then we should. We were then told, if we mask, if we vaccinate, if we separate, we can do all sorts of wonderful things because there would be a big ole shining light at the end of the tunnel. So, what in “tunket” are we to believe?
    What comes out of the legislature should be surgical instead of broad- brush. For instance, admittance to stores or malls should be one-person to one -cart and not five people side by side. People in long lines should be separated, as they were initially. People should wear masks that don’t have gaping holes at the sides and around the nose. We should be advised to wear KN-95 masks or something similar that will actually prevent the spread of “Covidian” molecules.
    The CDC tells us that we can acquire COVID-19 through our eyes, nose and cakehole, or from touching something that we shouldn’t. Does this also mean we should wear eye-shields as well as masks? Not a clue and no guidance.
    The federal and provincial and governments across the country have been bobbing and weaving as has Mr. Biden and company south of the border. While we are told, Ontario is the best of the lot. Are we?
    If I were the Premier, I would have a come to “Dougie” meeting with some of the functionaries and experts and would ask for hard back-up to some of the advice. And don’t get me started with the schooling of our children.
    There is a lot of data missing, including the status of natural and herd immunity (what ever happened to that)? Oh, I know, big Pharma and the testing industry, who are making bazillions do not want to hear the answer.
    So, in the midst of all of this, what does the federal brain trust do? They tell thousands of truckers, who work alone, all day, inside their home-office-trucks to stay home-home. Not good for them or us we are told. Nope, we would rather they stay home while the lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers from California and Mexico rot. Meanwhile, thousands enjoy their staycations at Costco, where they are allowed to spread the virus.

  • Sharon

    Restaurants can not keep up with this flip flopping of dine in and take out. Many restaurants are closing, many are out of work. If you can wander around a mall, you should be able to dine in a restaurant!
    If you don’t feel comfortable dining in, do take out. I’m dining in a restaurant!
    Covid is not going anywhere if you haven’t figured that out yet. It’s here to stay just like the other viruses we live with. Get vaccinated and let’s live!

  • perryb

    The cover picture of the Premier, and others taken recently, tell it all. Sad lost man, a deer in the headlights. Unable to cope with anything but political calculations, and even those now escape him – yet unwilling to surrender to the advice of his advisors.

  • Tom Muir

    What I remember the most is the Minister of Health saying only one thing – that we should remember that her government has always kept the health care system the top priority and will continue to do so. I saw this as a lie.

    She did not mention that the hospitals and medical operations for the rest of people have been idled several times and is now, except for total emergencies, but cancer surgeries and other non-essential procedures are stopped. This backlog accumulates from closures to hundreds of thousands.

    I have heard from other authorities and medical pros, outside the guv, that the system is overwhelmed and working way over any sense of capacity just for Covid. Loss of working function is creeping up. Former Burlington Mayor MacIsaac, now the President of Hamilton Health, looked and sounded exasperated, saying the system is hanging by fingernails and he was very worried about the next several weeks. This, unlike the Ministers words, is the truth.

    This loss of functional operation has been amplified by the Covid sickening of staff needed to operate the system. We have just opened schools, so other openings and easing of restrictions are viewed unanimously from what I have heard, as reckless and dangerous, without enough time to see what happens.

    Secondly, Head Doctor Kieran was very direct in his statement that this proposed easing of restrictions was a government decision, directed by Mr.Ford, and not his or his department’s decision. He said his people would keep an eye on the data as it plays out so as to “inform” this government decision, but he will not be deciding any of it. That was all he said.

    The only other I saw addressing the public was Premier Ford, and as Pepper points out here he does not have a plan based on actual numerical targets of the key numbers of hospitalizations, ICUs, acute care needs, ventilators and deaths, as the action criteria that determine when restrictions are able to be relaxed. This is the “data” that Kieran mentioned, but it is not in the determination of when the measures to reduce restrictions are implemented.

    There is no plan based on doing things when pre- specified target data levels are achieved, but rather just dates based on hopeful thinking. This is reckless and not realistic.

    Wishful thinking about peaks in Omicron, are the same as the past 4 surges. However, something, from behaviour changes accompanying relaxed restrictions that make things worse, or due to continual virus evolution that creates new variants on a continued basis, have always upset these hopeful aspirations.

    They have not worked – predictions of peaks in surges take several weeks to confirm, and then the actions taken to ease restrictions can kick in to make things worse.

    Business needs to be cautious here too because this to date has always turned into a roller-coaster with many U-turns.

    As the experts able to speak publicly have said, supporting this story message, this needs to be based on the data on what the virus is actually doing to us, and protection of a functioning health care system, which is right now on the verge of failing.

    We are not being successful in these things right now, and real targets with implementation actions based on performance numbers are needed to get there.

  • Dave Turner


    I agree with every word you have written here.

    But you do fail to identify why the Premier has acted as he has. I believe there are two reasons of equal value to him. The first is pandering to the business lobby, evidenced through his flip flops on health restrictions throughout the pandemic. The second one is a misplaced belief that it will resonate positively with the electorate. I think the electorate is thinking more like you and me.