Inside Policy, March 2020: COVID-19: How Canada can meet this global challenge

OTTAWA, ON (March 31, 2020): The COVID-19 outbreak that began in China has since evolved into a global pandemic, resulting in mass quarantines, lockdowns, accelerating fatalities, and an unprecedented economic slowdown.

For anxious Canadians seeking to better understand these rapidly changing events, MLI is devoting our latest issue of Inside Policy magazine to exploring the coronavirus and its consequences. Thanks to the fast and effective work of our contributors and senior fellows, we have been able to lay out what we think are some of the key things Canadians should be thinking about in terms of how the virus is affecting this country:

#1. While the current lockdown is necessary to protect the health care system and the lives of Canadians, a bit of foresight on the part of our policy-makers would have put us in a much stronger position. In our cover story, Shawn Whatley examines the government's sluggish initial response while alarm bells should have been ringing.  J. Michael Cole explores the lessons that Canada can learn from Taiwan, which got ahead of the virus early and currently has the outbreak under control while work and school go on.

#2. As Cole, Whatley and others explain, Canadians now need to hear from their leaders that there is a plan to develop a sustainable public health regime that moves us past extreme lockdown measures and toward some semblance of normal life and work.

#3. A little China skepticism is the best COVID-19 prophylactic. According to Cole, one of Taiwan’s keys to success was using its own intelligence on the outbreak in China rather than relying on Chinese propaganda or World Health Organization pronouncements. Whatley also points out how Canada sent tonnes of precious medical protection equipment to China when we should have been preparing for the worst at home.

#4. We need to stay wary as China, Russia and other bad actors seek to gain advantage. As Scott Simon writes, Chinese military aggression and strategic manoeuvring is ramping up under cover of the pandemic, and Jonathan Berkshire Miller warns of the danger of succumbing to China’s self-serving narrative of its role in the crisis.

#5. The economic response needs to be huge, decisive, and targeted, and it must leverage the private sector. Economists Jack Mintz and Philip Cross lay out principles for an effective response and explain the failure of the usual stimulus measures. Ken Coates says the usual paternalistic approaches to funding Indigenous communities won’t help them in this crisis.

#6. We can learn from what has gone right. Some good news has emerged. According to Chris Sands, the closure of the Canada-US border for non-essential traffic was done the right way, and Adam MacDonald and Carter Vance look to the positive role played by the Canadian military.

This issue also includes insightful articles on the state of broadcasting regulation, innovation, Indigenous child welfare, Huawei and 5G, and how Canada can leverage its strategic energy resources.

In these dark times, Canadians need the best policy thinking in the most timely and effective manner, and with this magazine we continue that effort. Stay safe, and look for more of our work on COVID-19 in the coming days and weeks at on our website.

To read the articles in full, check out our March issue of Inside Policy here.

About Inside Policy

Inside Policy is published four times per year in a print edition for a guaranteed circulation of Canadian policy makers and business leaders. An online edition of Inside Policy is available without charge. Back issues can be found here.

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Our magazine has also grown into our flagship online forum Inside Policy Blog, where articles on timely topics are published directly on our website (with a select number of them appearing in the print edition of our magazine). Click here to access articles of our Inside Policy Blog.