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Thursday, November 18, 2021

Moe ministers, Moe problems

Reading a story like this one https://leaderpost.com/news/saskatchewan/toddler-with-spina-bifida-another-lesson-for-health-minister naturally horrifies me as a parent and a human being -- No parent should ever have to read the phrases "Blake’s most recent brain surgery was in May. She has a shunt in her head that could fail at any time." about their toddler.

As someone who works in media and watches politics closely, it is also sort of horrific to see the response of the Saskatchewan Party and their health minister, which today basically consisted of - and I'm paraphrasing here for the sake of brevity - "harumph, shrug, well we are trying to prioritize cases, reviews are being done, harumph, very concerned, shrug, goddamn socialists, harumph" and exit, stage far-right. It is as if communications for Health Minister Paul Merriman are being handled by Montgomery Burns' less-talented twin brother. And it isn't like he suddenly got blindsided by this mother and her child just showing up at the Legislature in Regina - the opposition NDP have been bringing in someone nearly every day for over a week to confront Merriman over the government's completely inept handling of the covid pandemic. Earlier in the week it was a 25-year-old who needs a kidney transplant and can't even get the on the list due to covid overwhelming the province's health care system.

And calling it inept is being polite. When the senior public health doctor in your province breaks down in tears at press conference, as chief medical health officer Dr. Saqib Shahab did earlier this year, it is not a sign that things are going well. Intensive care wards have been overwhelmed this autumn, with patients being airlifted by the military to Ontario and army medical personnel being sent in to try to ease the shortage of critical care staff, especially nurses -- and they are already talking about a fifth wave after Christmas

 Saskatchewan has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, with vaccination rates in some rural areas barely topping 50 per cent. Watching the provincial government there trying to handle a pandemic that many of their supporters don't believe exists has been like watching a couple of especially clumsy moose attempt to compete in Olympic pairs figure skating. It would be hilarious if you didn't know it was all going to end with them sliding in the crowd and trampling a lot of people into pulp. 

Premier Scott Moe has exhibited a level of cluelessness that makes Jason Kenney and even Doug Ford look nearly competent. This was the province that hosted Mad Max Bernier's election night party with the far-right People's Party of Canada which was notable for the number of maskless idiots who got together in a hotel ballroom to infect each other and congratulate themselves on winning zero seats in the most recent federal election and earning about a dozen people very expensive tickets for violating public health rules. And while he has spoke in favour of vaccines and masks, those are undeniably Scott Moe's people

Obviously, it is hard for the Saskatchewan Party to stand on their record in dealing with covid, but sending the health minister out day after day to grope and flail in public is not helping. Former premier Brad Wall wasn't particularly savvy or clever, but he looks like the second coming of Winston Churchill compared to Brad Moe right now. Which is good for Brad Wall, since he appears to mostly be keeping his powder dry and stoking the anti-Trudeau bonfire out west until the federal conservatives kick the hapless Erin O'Toole to the curb. Moe, on the other hand, is looking more and more like the best thing that has happened to the NDP in Saskatchewan since Tommy Douglas. 

NDP leader Ryan Meili - a physician - has been working over Merriman and Moe like Muhammad Ali in his prime coming up against a blind drunk one-legged Klansman. I don't have much sympathy for losing side in the beatdown, but it is a little bit cringe-worthy to see someone get punched in the nuts over and over again, even metaphorically.

Moe is currently holding a flaming paper bag full of dogshit, useless cabinet ministers and crazy antivaxxers and doesn't seem to know whether to ruin his shoes stomping the flames out or let the fire spread to the whole house. The worrying part for the people of Saskatchewan is than no one around him seems to have the sense to tell him to take Merriman out for a swim in Wascana Lake with a couple of cinderblocks and start listening to actual doctors instead of conspiracy-mongers, Jesus freaks and right-wing grifters.

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