Covid Journal, March 2, 2021
‘Vaccine Panic’ Continues
Canada’s right-wing media companies are jumping up and down, calling for heads to roll because we can’t get unproven vaccines into the arms of Canadians fast enough.
Unfortunately, publishers and pundits alike are creating a panic.
There’s no need to do so and it’s wrong on so many levels.
Thankfully, we’re up to at least 4 potential options now (with the Johnson and Johnson vaccine seeming to be the most innocuous), but that probably won’t stop the calling for heads to roll. This, despite the fact that vaccines typically require many years, possibly decades, to adequately and safely test, develop and monitor.
But is something much more sinister going on?
I can’t help but wonder.
Canada is also in heated negotiations with privately-owned right-wing rags to potentially assign what can only be described as an ‘internet tax’ on all links used related to content produced by the newspapers and magazines.
‘Canadian’ media companies want our government to follow the same path laid out by the Australian government. It looks like Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault will play into their demands.
Such a move would transfer power from new technology companies that offer consumers competition and selection back into the hands of traditional media companies, most of which are owned and controlled by the likes of right-wing control freaks like Rupert Murdoch and Paul Godfrey.
Of course, this move is exactly the wrong one to take, at least according to one of Canada’s leading expert with media and the law, Michael Geist. Geist has been covering the subject for months and has laid out dozens of reasons why putting a tax on links used by tech companies like Google and Facebook will effectively ‘shut down’ the internet in whatever company chooses this route.
… there are no winners in this situation – media organizations lose traffic and revenue, Facebook downgrades the value of its service to at least some of its users, and the risk of greater dissemination of low-value information increases. But the bigger picture is that this incident points to several potential unintended consequences that should not be overlooked.
Geist goes on to itemize the array of reasons why this kind of tax is extremely costly to all concerned, especially the public. Another disaster in the making will come in the form of crushing independent media, most of whom have withdrawn any kind of support for this tax.
So … the kazillion dollar question: will these companies dial back on the anti-Trudeau ‘vaccine panic’ rhetoric when or if they get their way with the Canadian media regulators? If they are given the keys to public manipulation and control and are able to strip back the influence and power of Google, Facebook and other ‘tech titans’, will they back down on their demands for heads to roll?
The sad truth is that so much of this is being negotiated behind closed doors and it’s unlikely that the public will ever truly understand the agenda of those few people that want to control what we read and are able to talk about on a daily basis.
In Related News …
Canadaland (a project / business that I love to promote because Jesse and his crew actually investigate news stories) ponders and worries about their existence in the context of the impending Liberal bend to Canada’s media powerhouses. It’s well worth checking out on Spotify.
Canadaland also reports on how extreme right-wing media sites might actually benefit from our absurd ‘Made in Canada’ solution to linking and an internet tax as right-wing media publications in turn link to these third-party sites that spread messages of hate and paranoia.
The Tyee (another independent media source in Canada that is worth supporting) reports on how Canada’s Competition Bureau dropped the ball on the ‘great media swap’ arranged between PostMedia and TorStar a few years ago. Investigations fell apart and were largely ignored by all of the players because, well, they were the beneficiaries. Expect more of this consolidation and control to continue as we bend over backwards to write rules in their favour.
Canada Post on the Wrong Side … Again
Canada Post continues to distribute an horrific conspiracy piece called the ‘Epoch Times’.
It’s likely that they benefit from a business subsidy program that Canada Post perpetuates that enables all kinds of junk mail landing in our mailboxes.
Here’s a thought: stop.
Also, if you’re reading this, sign the petition to encourage Canada Post to stop the delivery of this and other rags associated with hate and conspiracy.
Here’s an idea: charge businesses more than what should be reasonable to distribute their junk and then use the proceeds to make personal mail delivery in Canada FREE OF CHARGE.
It will have to double bonus of returning privacy to Canadian citizens while also protecting the environment.
The Conservatives Have No Plan
A good Conservative’s core plan for pretty much anything is to blame others.
No vaccines? Blame Trudeau.
Low oil prices? Blame Trudeau.
Trump assaults a woman? Blame what she’s wearing.
You get the idea.
As we continue to suffer through ‘lockdown’ requirements, it’s becoming abundantly clear that Conservatives across the country continue with this mantra and also do their best to avoid creating any kind of concrete plan for themselves and the people they govern.
Example 1: Doug Ford telling 30+ health units across the province to distribute vaccines that they have received based on what they think is best. How about showing some leadership and direction with respect to ‘pockets’ of cases and deaths? Why not bring about real change in long-term care facilities? That would require … leadership.
Example 2: Jason Kenney unveiling an absurdly high deficit in the range of $100 billion dollars (with very few cries of ineptititude from the right-wing media pundits across the land), blaming Covid (d’uh), oil prices and probably Trudeau for the imbalance. How about not bringing about a sales tax for once and for all or cancelling some of your more lucrative tax loopholes for oil companies? Nope. Can’t and won’t do that. We’d much rather blame someone else for our greed.
Example 3: Go back to DoFo, who refuses to re-institute a law that would require employers to follow paid sick leave guidelines, thereby minimizing the spread of cases amongst congested production and processing facilities, thereby protecting the entire province from disease spread via packaging and other means.
For more examples and discussion on this, visit The Passage (yet another independent resource worthy of support) writes about how Conservatives from Erin O’Toole down have no plan to address the pandemic. O’Toole wants to blame Trudeau for not magically pulling 30-60 million doses of vaccine out of his ass, all the while not providing any semblance of a clue about how to engage in next steps for the country’s pandemic preparedness.