Tasha Kheiriddin: Canadians deserve a COVID election, because this crisis isn’t going away soon

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Instead, for almost a year Ottawa did not require COVID-19 testing for persons boarding inbound flights and relied on an honour system of self-monitored home quarantine for returning travellers. And only this month has the federal government enacted limited travel bans and announced mandatory supervised quarantine, though we still don’t know when the latter rule will take effect.

Paradoxically, that may be why O’Toole does not want to go to the polls right now. When asked by CTV’s Power Play whether Canada’s new travel restrictions went far enough or were enacted soon enough, he declined to answer, talking instead about “rapid tests to give flexibility on period of quarantine.” He went on to talk about the possibility of shorter quarantines, in some cases of five to seven days instead of 14.

It’s not hard to read between the lines here

It’s not hard to read between the lines here. O’Toole likely doesn’t want to run afoul of a subset of the Conservative base that deems such restrictions on personal liberties unacceptable, even when fighting a global pandemic.

Of course this ignores the fact that countries that have returned to a semblance of normality, such as New Zealand, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan, have all imposed mandatory hotel quarantines. Before naysayers trot out the “island advantage” argument, they should note that other island nations such as Britain that aren’t faring nearly as well are now waking up and adopting similar measures. And with a Conservative government, no less.

O’Toole may not want to talk about an election. The Liberals are understandably wary, too. But something is going to have to give. A year in, Canadians deserve the chance to pronounce themselves on their government’s performance and choose a direction for the future. Crisis, Part Two, is only beginning.

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