A few days ago my wife and I brought her mother, who was suffering from a serious leg infection, to the local ER. We were worried about the possibility of gangrene, which an acquaintance some years back had contracted under similar circumstances, resulting in the amputation of his leg. As expected, the ER was jam-packed, and it soon became clear that my mother-in-law would have to wait at least six and even twelve hours before she could be seen. No triage had been performed to determine rank of urgency. Meanwhile, a youngish man in a wheelchair, doubled over and clutching his chest, was bitterly complaining that he had suffered a heart attack. But he too would have to wait before being attended to — assuming he would still be alive by then.
This is publicly funded “single-payer” Medicare, the pride of the Canadian medical system, though in reality, an institutional atrocity equaled only, perhaps, by the British National Health Service (NHS). Even our doctors are suffering, six having died suddenly within a period of days, apparently following the mandated fourth jab (though the likely cause of death was strenuously and predictably denied by hospital administrations). What are they waiting for, we might ask, to recognize the folly of failed medical policy? After all, the Grim Reaper is no slouch.
Pre-COVID, a hospital was a place where you went to wait. During COVID, a hospital was a place where you went to die. Post-COVID, a hospital is a place, or so it seems, where first you wait and then you die, a phenomenon clinically accentuated in the Canadian system. But whatever the outcome, the long wait is the prerequisite for treatment or responsiveness in this country, not only in medicine, as we will see, but in any domain or department of national life and practice. The medical analogy holds throughout.
On the whole, Canadians are, with some resonant exceptions, a rather passive, gullible, unadventurous and temperate lot. Though not exempt from annoyance, waiting is their particular talent. They are used to waiting for boarding lines at airports to inch slug-like forward, only to find their flight has been canceled. They are used to passports being issued slightly before their official expiry dates. They are used to tax rebates — on the rare occasions when such exist — arriving in time to help pay for next year’s assessment. They are used to waiting for vaccine mandates to be lifted as they have in every other country except China and North Korea, which feels like approximately never. They are used to waiting for their leaders to utter one honest and sensible remark. They are used to waiting for Parliament to consistently begin processing the nation’s business. They are used to waiting for the Supreme Court to act impartially. They are used to waiting for the newspapers to actually report the news. They are used to waiting for an increasingly venal and autocratic prime minister to recognize the nature of democratic governance as the country slips inexorably toward administrative tyranny. And so on. One thing is for sure. It will be a long wait.
As noted, there are exceptions to the rule of stasis or deferment. The Truckers — not all by any stretch of the imagination, but a significant minority — grew tired of waiting for the punitive, job-killing mandates to be waived. A number of the country’s best writers, commentators, political figures, journalists, and academics, like Rex Murphy, Phillip Carl Salzman, Tex Leugner, Brian Peckford, Russ Cooper, Paul Illidge, Bruce Pardy, John Carpay, Julie Ponesse, and my wife Janice Fiamengo, are also running out of patience for the country to live up to its past and its promise. Our best doctors and virologists, fit though few, all routinely censored, traduced, ignored, or fired, also have no patience for the shutdown of truthful discourse and genuine science. One thinks of distinguished figures like Byram Bridle, Michael Palmer, Francis Christian, Roger Hodkinson, Douglas Allen, and Charles Hoffe, among a scarcity of others, who stand head and shoulders above their craven, suborned, and mendacious colleagues.
In the main, Canada has now become the country of the long wait, some of our citizens impatient, most resigned. It is mired in fathomless corruption, penitential politics, and massive incompetence in every sector of the economy, the service industry, and the entire range of its infrastructure. One has no choice, it appears, but to wait for prompt and reasonable action, like a mirage that continually recedes.
Living in Canada is like living in a vast ER in which one waits interminably to no beneficial effect. One seems helpless, or in too many instances merely indifferent, before the rapidly accelerating onset of national gangrene, leading to the specter of the amputation of civil communality, economic health, political accountability, public order, and Constitutional freedoms. In any case, we will have to wait a very long time for anything in this sick country to move forward and change for the better — if it ever does.
David Solway is a Canadian poet and essayist. Originally appeared in PJMedia.