When did Canada start settling for mediocrity?
Canada used to be a leader in the world. We built things — innovative products — were seen as important military allies.
There are monuments in Europe honouring Canadian contributions in the First and Second World Wars. We invented and built the Canadarm. We discovered insulin. We invented basketball. The list of Canadian contributions to the world could go on and on and on.
Lately, it seems we have lost that drive for excellence. We are content to be mediocre. Why?
As I write this, we are 23rd of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries in COVID-19 vaccines administered per 100 people. Just below the middle of the pack. Behind countries like Iceland, Estonia, Lithuania, Chile, even Italy.
In British Columbia, the health minister was praising his governments progress on vaccinations, stating: “We are making excellent progress with the supply we have, we are ready to receive vaccine and deliver it as quickly as possible.”
The reality is that while there were challenges with federal shipments, the vaccine rollout has been anything but quick.
Ask a B.C. pharmacist. Ask a 72-year-old. Many of them don’t have appointments for another month. In my mid-40s, I am not expecting a jab until at least September.
Looking to the federal picture, our procurement started late, and we have paid a price for that. Almost all of our fellow OECD countries were signing deals for vaccines in May and June of 2020. Canada signed its first real deal in August.
We were late identifying COVID as a threat. We were late to restrict international travel. We were late to advise Canadians to mask up.
Our leaders just shrug and say that we need to be okay with just being average. I’m not okay with being average. I want to see our leaders strive for excellence — to push beyond jurisdiction and obstacles. Strive to be great, not make excuses for being average.
I want to see an urgency applied to getting as many Canadians vaccinated in the shortest amount of time. Every hockey rink, church basement, gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse should be a potential vaccination site.
The only way out of this dark tunnel is with a vaccine. We have known this for a year — so presumably we have had time to prepare.
We need to feel hopeful again. We need to be proud again.
What else can we do? We can demand that all of our elected leaders at every level collaborate on solutions, not just in lip service and photo ops, but to obtain tangible results.
We can demand excellence of ourselves too. Be more vocal about the issues that matter to us. Volunteer to help in our community.
It’s all hands on deck and Canada is counting on all of us to get involved. Excellence does not need to be a bad word.
The world is watching. Let’s put on a show.
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