Tom Mulcair: As provinces fall short in fighting COVID, we need Ottawa

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Where’s Ottawa?

The last federal election was only a year ago, but it seems like ancient history. We’ve all been through a lot, and the worst predictions about the second wave of the pandemic appear to be coming true, even as promising vaccines appear on the horizon.

Over the last week, Canadians have seen that our patchwork of individual provincial efforts is providing disquieting results.

Western Canadian provinces that largely dodged the bullet during the first wave are now being hit broadside by the second.

Even the slightest, timorous effort by Prime Minister to call for greater caution is met with pushback from hard-pressed provincial governments. Some 50 years ago, when a landmark deal was struck between the feds and the provinces to create our Canada-wide free, universal medicare, paying for it was a 50-50 proposition.

Today it’s closer to 80-20, with the provinces paying the lion’s share. Trudeau pleads, correctly, that the federal government has stepped up to the plate during the pandemic in an unprecedented effort to help. The provinces are digging in their heels and want a permanent fix.

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