The per capita boast

Over the course of five Question Periods, from October 30 through November 4, three cabinet ministers and the Prime Minister combined to assure the House on 20 separate occasions that Canada had the highest per capita supply of H1N1 vaccine.

On Thursday though, the official opposition countered that Australia was ahead of Canada on that count. Asked for evidence, they pointed to this press release from the Australian Minister for Health and Aging. That release, dated Sept. 30, states that Australian authorities had distributed 5.5 million doses of the vaccine for a population of 22 million people—covering 25% of the population. Canada, by last week, had distributed six million doses for 33 million people—covering 18.2% of the population.

Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq’s office was asked last week to supply the data that supports the government’s claim. They have not yet passed on such information. When they do, it will be posted here. In the latest response, received yesterday, the minister’s director of communications said the department was “having some issues releasing this as some is confidential information.”




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The per capita boast

  1. “having some issues releasing this as some is confidential information.”

    I think Aglukkaq has done reasonably well so far with her handling of H1N1 but that excuse is a scoundrel's answer.

    • Seems like a pretty standard Harper answer to me.

    • It's the kind of information some other countries might not want to get out. Perhaps the information was released to Canada on a confidential basis? Just guessing.

  2. that has something to hide written all over it.

  3. You want facts? Prepare to keep waiting.

  4. You want the information?

    A House of Commons delivery truck will drop off your 14 boxes of paper shortly.

    Enjoy.

  5. So the Opposition is arguing that Canada is only second best in the world, in terms of per capita supply of vaccine?

    • I have heard that more vaccine is very nearly ready to be distributed, they just have to finish putting the Conservative logo on the bottle.

    • On the one hand, it does seem like a bit of a nerdy, hairsplitting-type argument, but on the other, it also appears to base itself on the parameters the government selected for the debate.

      • Yup, us being better than Australia was the government's reason not to get further involved into the distribution of vaccines. Nevermind the very good political and logical reasons, lets use the false red herring instead.

    • I think more to the point: it’s unprofessional to make unsubstantiated claims. We’d give a high schooler an F for it, why should we let government ministers get away with it?

      Secondly, Canada is at best second place. Someone selected Australia to compare against, and it seems we are worse. There may be dozens of others that similarly are better. Unfortunately, no one in the minister’s office bothered to check. Maybe they should get back to work rather than waste time on BS superlatives that they can’t support.

      • "There may be dozens of others that similarly are better."

        You'd think an opposition that was trying to make the claim that the government has botched the roll-out would look it up.

        • So now it’s the job of the opposition to not only demonstrate that the government is lying, but super-duper lying? Give me a break…

          • I wasn't the one who said we shouldn't let people get away with statements that aren't backed by any evidence and then went on to make a statement backed by no evidence. You claim that there may be many more other countries out there that are ahead of us and I merely request evidence of this. Surely, if they have vaccinated much larger portions of the population than Canada there must be evidence of this.

          • You're diverting attention.

            I don't blame you for trying, but all you're doing is polishing the turd.

        • Maybe the opposition doesn't know the actual number for Canada?

          It might be a state secret.

    • That would be half of the argument Crit, and not the half being stressed.

      The point, as opposed to the barbs, is that the government was lying. LYING. Again. Always lying. Always stretching the truth. Always shenanigans and B.S. Lying. Lying Lying.

      It's f**king pathetic, really. Second place isn't bad. Why cheat and lie about it?

  6. I'll bite. What on earth is confidential about the distribution data? Also, I'm more interested in the actual delivery of needles in arms: the virus won't be stopped by stockpiles in fridges.

    • Place said fridge up against your door and don't let anybody in or out of your house.

    • Simple… The distribution data will undoubtedly contain info about the amounts to each individual province and territory. Do you *really* want to see provinces acting like spoiled children saying "hey! Billy got 3 more Fruit Loops in his bowl than I did..!!!" Since there is no way to PERFECTLY divide the vaccine between provinces, there are going to be some provinces that will have received more than others initially. I really don't want to see people whining about that since there is nothing that can be done about it.

      • See, I'd have let Quebec divide the vaccines into 12 piles, and then let Nunavut choose fist. Works with my kids and birthday cake…

  7. Given that Australia is in the southern hemisphere, and the saeasons are six months out of whack with Canada's, they're either six months behind or six months ahead of the peak flu season, relatively speaking. Looks like it may be the former:

    This influenza has led to more than 4700 people being hospitalised in Australia, with around 13% of these being admitted to ICU. Almost 1500 of those hospitalisations have been in children and teenagers. Sadly, since the pandemic began, there have been 180 associated deaths.

    • The fact that they had to live thru a flu season before the vaccine was available, may have given them a certain sense of urgency when the vaccine did become available.

      • Well, I'm no physician, but the counter argument, I would suggest, is that given that a good portion of the population has already been exposed to the virus and survived (developing the antibodies and a healthy immune system), the need to vaccinate is less urgent. But, I stand to be corrected by those more knowledgeable about these matters.

        • It's not a guarantee that everyone has been infected and of those that have not been infected there's no guarantee that they have a healthy enough immune system to fight off the flu on their own.

          • Well, if I was a healthy Australian, exposed previously, I'd be quite happy to spend the winter in Darwin, Northern Territories this flu season. Moreso than last season.

          • Secluded and warm, no kidding.

        • After a single season, I bet there remain a large number of Aussies vulnerable. A vaccination campaign is undoubtedly a good idea, and they have the (a) curse of not having vaccine for the season just passed, and (b) a leisurely pace to enjoy in advance of the next one.

  8. Does Australia's health care delivery model introduce a second level of bureaucracy (the provinces)? I could see Australia being more efficient without having provincial bureaucracies in the way…

    • Australia has a federal system.

      • But who's in charge of health care delivery? Anyone know?

  9. Any time a politician of any stripe makes a claim that we are "best in the world" in anything, it is generally not true.

    You'd think they would learn not to do this in their "Introduction to Talking Points" class.

  10. What sort of data do one need to support the 6 million number? Delivery invoices to each province? Credit card receipts?

    Apparently a Media Release from the Australian government is sufficient legal proof of distributed vaccine for the opposition and for Wherry. Isn't that about the same level of proof as what the Health Minister has already stated, verbally?

    Seriously, are reporters in this country so lazy as not being able to pick up the phone and call up each provincial health authority and then add up the numbers for confirmation of the federal position on distributed doses of vaccine?

    More to the point….does it really matter? Andrew Coyne has a fairly strong point that getting more vaccine to the provinces would serve no purpose other than increasing the amount of stored vaccine.

    • "More to the point….does it really matter?"

      It seems to matter very very very very much to the Conservatives.

      Are you saying they are out of touch with what Canadians think is important?

  11. Worst of all…..not only is this shaping up to be not true…..who cares? I mean is anyone comforted by the more vaccine per capita thing? I can tell when Harper is grasping at the proverbial spin…..when we hear how good we are doing compared to other countries…….

    • It was the opposition who lobbed this particular ball.

      • Actually it was a return volley.

  12. And if anybody knows about the happenings in other countries it is Michael Ignatieff.

  13. The Conservatives believe that if they repeat a big lie often enough it then become believable!

    Where is the Conservative's blowhard "6 million doses man" now?

    I doubt that the Conservatives will fess up to their big lie because then they would lose whatever little political credibility that they have left.
    Meanwhile most Canadians will have to wait for the Santa Claus season before they get their swine flu vaccine
    By then it will be time for Canadians to line up once again for the regular seasonal flu vaccine that the government has huge stockpiles of waiting in warehouses around the country!!

    • They've admitted that "it doesn't have to be true, it just has to be plausible".

      • Ted, you're an endless fountain of misinformation and cheap propaganda.

        • When Conservative campaign chair, Harper mentor and Conservative spokesperson admits that "it doesn't have to be true, it just has to be plausible"… who is an endless fountain of misinformation and cheap propaganda?

          Those are Flanagan's own words, CR.

          How is it by quoting Conservatives, I am spreading misinformation? Example please. Just one.

          (I thought Conservatives have been telling merely quoting politicians in their own words was just presenting facts. Or does that rule just apply to national multimillion dollar ad campaigns to lower the taste and civility bar?)

          • How is it by quoting Conservatives, I am spreading misinformation?

            By quoting out of context, and by dealing in cheap smears and Kinsella-esque hyperbole. These tactics, combined with a total absence of ideas, are exactly why the LPC is now scraping the bottom of the barrel. With desperate ploys like these, it's small wonder the Liberals are at their lowest level of popular support in Canadian history (a pathetic shell of the party's former greatness).

            Former Conservative strategist Dr. Tom Flanagan actually said this, regarding possible Tory responses to future attempts at coalition-building:

            “They can tie the two together and say … ‘He will force an election even when there is no reason for it and there is no policy distance between the two parties on any major issues. And he's forced an election which will lead to him rebuilding the deal with the other two parties,' ” said University of Calgary political scientist Tom Flanagan, a former Harper adviser. “It doesn't have to be true. It just has to be plausible and it strikes me as plausible.”

            Needless to say, these twelve carelessly chosen words (by a Poli Sci prof who retired from politics years ago) were a big gift-wrapped present to LPC apologists such as yourself, who now apply them to any and every possible situation.

          • Because it is a clearly generally true and very applicable to much that comes out from this government. And this whole "tough on criminals" BS is a perfect example. The Minister provides no support for his claim and at the same time brazenly dismisses the decades of research on this. But it feels right to punish bad guys more so it must be true or at least plausible. Same with the claim of doling out more H1N1 vaccine than "any other nation on a per capita basis" or "we've got an environmental plan" or "we won't have to raise taxes or cut spending to eliminate the deficit".

            What is sad is that at one point I think you had a sense of objectivity. At one point CR would never used such cheap smears and Kinsella-esque hyperbole of petty personal insults or accusing the Liberals of using cheap smears and Kinsella-esque hyperbole while desperately searching for every possible – dare I say every possible plausible – excuse to relieve the Conservatives of any responsibility.

            Ahh, days gone by.

          • Ted, I didn't mean to insult you personally. You're obviously a bright guy and a committed supporter of your party. I was simply criticizing your use of the cherry-picked Flanagan quote to bolster PoliticalPundit's jeer that vaccines would still be warehoused come Christmastime.

            And yes, I do have a sense of objectivity, which is why I've been critical of Harper and the Conservatives in the past (check my comment history if you don't believe me).

            When was the last time you disagreed with Ignatieff or the Liberal Party?

          • We've spent way way too much time typing about a throwaway line of a quip, but you have to see the irony of a conservative supporter criticizing anyone of cherry-picking quotations. Harper has built his career and government on doing just that.

            As for the last time I disagreed with Ignatieff or the Liberal Party? Yesterday morning, in fact, to Iggy directly at breakfast. I disagree with them all the time and am not afraid of voicing that opinion.

            In fact, I'm far more reluctant to tow the Liberal line with public displays of support than I am of being critical of them. Find me any example of me drinking the kool-aid and supporting them. (And I don't count sharing the same criticisms of Harper in that – I put forward a criticism of Harper that I believe regardless of who else does, and I have chosen not to push some criticism the party has made that I don't believe.)

            As for your objectivity, I noted you had some. It's just lately, frankly and no insult intended, it seems you have lost some patience with those who have legitimate beefs with Harper and his ways.

          • As for the last time I disagreed with Ignatieff or the Liberal Party? Yesterday morning, in fact, to Iggy directly at breakfast. I disagree with them all the time and am not afraid of voicing that opinion.

            Wow. I knew you were active within the party, but I had no idea you had such direct personal access to Ignatieff. I'd ask you what your exact role is, but since this is the Internet, it's completely understandable if you don't want to get into details.

            This changes things somewhat. I wouldn't expect you to publicly criticize the Liberal line if you're in the upper echelons of the LPC. I'll take your word for it that you often disagree with your party, and that your criticism of Harper and the CPC is completely heartfelt and sincere.

          • No upper echelons here. No role. It was a breakfast function with about 100-200 other Liberals. I had some things to say, positive and negative, and said them.

            Having said that, it is too easy to think that politicians are so distant and inaccessible to Canadians, at least when not in cabinet (which is understandable). If you aren't going to be abusive and you are genuinely interested in finding out their thoughts or voicing a reasoned and civil disagreement, I have found most are more than willing to hear you out, especially during a campaign.

            It is a deep and underlying national democratic problem that Canadians are so complacent and unengaged and think that this is just the way it is and nothing can be done about it. I got involved in the Liberals because I decided not to be complacent by getting involved (even if I didn't like a lot about the party), I found a politician I really admired and respected (Bill Graham) and I really did not like the things Harper was saying he wanted to do to Canada (and still don't).

          • As for being personal, if you say it wasn't meant to be personal then that is enough for me – I take your word for it and move on. I guess I was mislead by the "you" in "you're an endless fountain of misinformation and cheap propaganda." Funny that.

          • Sorry, I went too far. I meant to criticize your throwaway quip, not you personally. I withdraw the "fountain" comment.

          • No harm no foul. I was just surprised that my comment about a party brought out a personal retort by you. Not your normal reaction. zats all.

          • you are at least consistent Ted, consistently obtuse and partisan in the face of reason.

            "The Minister provides no support for his claim and at the same time brazenly dismisses the decades of research on this…"

            decades of research actually supports that less and less violent crime is being reported. A result of frustration and apathy on the part of victims that see their perps being released and coddled. Ask anyone who is a victim of gang thugs.

            furthermore, if you are defending Kinsella you better rephrase the hyperbole comment as he is clearly the King. He is a punk thug in better clothes deserving of ridicule and willing to say anything no matter how pathetic and sadly transparent. As always, you assert and expect everyone to accept your premise. I call BS.

            BTW it seems that the H1N1 panic is subsiding, what is you're next tactic Jacka**.

          • Who's being obtuse and partisan in the face of reason now DPT?

            What decades of research supports that less and less violent crime is being reported, DPT?

            My comment was about this article and Minister Nicholson's claims, what decades of research does the Minister refer to? In fact, his office report admits that there is no research to substantiate any of his claims, policies or legislative changes.

            By contrast there is decades of research that shows crime going down. There is no question crime is going down and has been going down since the 1970s. There are lots of questions as to why that may be: lots of research points to rehabilitation, lots of research points to reductions in poverty and socioeconomic issues, some conservatives (and Stephen Levitt, author of Freakonomics) have even claimed increased abortion has killed off future criminals.

            The thing is they all have some research to back up their claims. Nicholson does not. You have not provided any.

          • "By contrast there is decades of research that shows crime going down."

            Where is this research? Statscan would like to know because right now they claim "The rate of violent crime declined slightly throughout the 1990s, after having increased steadily through most of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s". They also have lots of other information that says crime has increased substantially since the 1960s.

            http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/070718/d

            http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/85-561-m/2005005/fin

            "As for the last time I disagreed with Ignatieff or the Liberal Party? Yesterday morning, in fact, to Iggy directly at breakfast."

            That explains a lot, actually.

          • "furthermore, if you are defending Kinsella you better rephrase the hyperbole comment as he is clearly the King. He is a punk thug in better clothes deserving of ridicule and willing to say anything no matter how pathetic and sadly transparent. As always, you assert and expect everyone to accept your premise. I call BS."

            The funny thing about conservative uber-partisans is that they are so filled with hate for Warren Kinsella that they can't help but madly whack away at the keyboard making no sense.

            Where did I defend Kinsella and not merely repeat back to CR his criticism of me?

            If he is a punk thug in better clothes deserving of ridicule and willing to say anything no matter how pathetic and sadly transparent, at least he shares those traits with our Prime Minister and the current government so how bad can such traits be?

            And what assertion exactly am I expecting everyone to accept?

          • “It doesn't have to be true. It just has to be plausible and it strikes me as plausible.”

            They are not necessarily badly chosen words, Flanagan could just be speaking frankly. All pols, and many others, know those two sentences are spot on. Pols aren't exactly known for being truthful, to say the least.

  14. Too late. It swept through the house starting a few weeks ago.

    I hope I'm not divulging national secrets by telling you that, though.

  15. Originally, mid Sept, Australia reported a roll out of 2 million doses.
    So the Ministry reported old news,
    not a lie.

    But if it is race, Canada has distributed 8.3 million doses now,
    and to date, Australia?

    • So, it's not a lie to say that Neil Armstrong is on the moon right now? I'm just reporting old data?

  16. " What on earth could be confidential on distribution data " ? Eh Osama ?

  17. It seems to me that the release of such information would have the dual effect of highlighting Canada's success and highlighting the failures of specific other countries, so this might be something they wish to handle with care.

    • …or; highlighting Canada's failures, and highlighting the successes of other countries, so this might be something they wish to handle with care.

      Spin spin spin

      • Well, the claim is that we have more vaccines per capita than any other country, so I don't see how that would be construed as a failure if it is proven true.

    • Such sensitivity. Is this the same government that revealed that Obama was grandstanding when he said he might re-negotiate NAFTA?

      • I don't know if this is the same government, I'm really not aware of that story.

  18. I can't find the exact number, but Warren Kinsella quotes "more than 8 million doses have been shipped" in Canada. If it's more than 8.5 million, the discrepancy could be a rounding error.

  19. Lies. It's sad but the "Conservative" Party has come to be such a mess that cabinet ministers lie because they feel they have no other choice in order to keep their jobs. We have this lie, we have Peter Van Loan's lie about how long he had the gun registry report. At least in Mulroney's day he made the cabinet minister resign.

  20. Took my son for his shot yesterday in Toronto. We were cared for immediately. I await the headlines.

    • Sorry Big Dave, don't waste your time, nobody on this blog has any time for success stories.

      You need to imply, at the very least, that while the inoculation was prompt, it was utterly lacking in empathy, which made you sad. Therefore, this total fiasco can and should be wholly attributed to our uncaring, American-style conservative government.

      • There was a sign saying there were cookies, when there were none. When will Canadians have enough of this neo-con meanspirited governance? When will my child get his cookie?

        • That's the spirit!

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