Twopolicy experts say the Saskatchewango government’s inaction in worsening the COVID-19 pandemic is at odds with the medical community, most residents and other provincial governments, and they say there is only one possible explanation.
They believe Prime Minister Scott Moe, Health Minister Paul Merriman and their colleagues appear to be taking care of anti-vaccine and anti-mask elements within the province.
“I can not think of a crisis in which the government has resolutely refused to act,” said Tom McIntosh, a professor of politics at the University of Regina.
“I think it is a case of a small but very vocal minority that opposes vaccination measures and mandates having an impact. There is a fear that this political base could go elsewhere.”
Health policy analyst Steven Lewis agreed, saying the government “is clearly defending its right wing”.
“There are some people who have all sorts of conspiracy theories in their minds, or believe that vaccines are playing with their DNA all sorts of misinformation. This core almost certainly leans to the right politically,” he said. .
“I do not think, honestly, the government understands how rights work. When you exercise a right, it involves obligations.”
In recent days, the Saskatchewan Medical Association, the Saskatchewan Nurses Union, the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation, and others have publicly called for action.
In an unprecedented move earlier this month, government medical officials wrote an open letter demanding the same changes.
“All of these groups and people would all like the government to do more, but the government seems determined to stay on its path,” said McIntosh, who has also been co-director of the Health Research and Evaluation Unit. Saskatchewan population for the last 20 years.
Public opinion seems to support vaccine passports and other measures. Recent polls and surveys show that most Saskatchewan residents prefer vaccine passports and other measures.
BC, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and PEI have all issued or enforced passports, and have seen increases in vaccination bookings. Alberta and other provinces have announced vaccine incentives and restrictions for those who are not vaccinated.
More than once this week, Saskatchewan registered more new cases of COVID-19 than vaccinations. The province has one of the lowest vaccination rates and highest levels of COVID-19 infection in the country.
Neither Moe nor Merriman were available for an interview Thursday. An official said they may be available on Friday.
Moe has said he supports the vaccination and camouflage requirements that have been imposed by Saskatchewan Roughriders, concert venues, schools and businesses.
Lewis and McIntosh say this is hypocritical because it leaves those groups suffering the wrath of those who oppose such measures. They say a provincial policy is urgently needed.
The provincial government seems to want to “sit on the outskirts instead of showing leadership,” Lewis said.
Lewis and McIntosh said at this point, with the government ignoring the public, medical experts and the actions of other provinces, it is unclear what might drive the change.
McIntosh worries that the government will stall until the health system is completely overloaded and unable to handle urgent surgeries, mental health emergencies or other health care needs.
“You may need a new kind of crisis like that,” McIntosh said.
But even if the province operates, it will take days or weeks for cases and hospitalizations to go down, given the incubation period of the virus, he said.
McIntosh said the government simply has to accept that it had to do what is right.
“The government may need to say, ‘Look, we made a mistake.’ That did not work, “he said.
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