In this high-profile Fireside Chat, the Honourable Tony Clement, Co-chair at Reshoring Canada and former Minister of Health, joined me to discuss digital transformation, the importance of onshore manufacturing and supply chain operations in Canada, current pharmaceutical regulatory and reimbursement hurdles, and much more!
Here is a sneak peek of our conversation:
Q: Now things are a little different. Not only was this pandemic experienced by the entire world but we now are exposed at our fingertips, the ability to get access to a global scorecard. We are literally being graded versus everybody else’s reaction and rejuvenation, if you will, of their economy and their health status. How is Canada fairing in your opinion, and what lessons can be learned in the new world that we find ourselves in?
A: You raise a good point, Natalie. This is so different from 2003 with SARS because you’re absolutely right, people in real-time have access through social media and through all of the media platforms to what’s happening. I’ve been monitoring that and of course, my opinion has been asked by various media outlets and news organizations, and I would give Canada a kind of a fair to a middling score. We’re definitely not the absolute worst on any of the criteria and we were certainly not the best. Now, we’re a G7 country, we should be near the best or the best. We’ve got the world-class scientists and we’ve got robust democratic institutions and a health care system that obviously needs work but is one that we can be proud of and yet there were times, obviously, when our caseload did not reflect that.
Then of course, with vaccine deployment, we were months behind the more successful countries, and yet there were countries that were behind us. I look at Australia now that has to go and do or more lockdowns because their vaccine deployment was lagging behind ours. I think there are lessons to be learned. This is not a question of what can we be proud of or what we should be ashamed of. I think let’s learn the lessons, there was plenty of loss of life here and there will be the next time, everybody was saying that and they’re correct.
Unfortunately, COVID is going to be around for a while. It looks like it’s not going to disappear entirely. It will continue to mutate so we have to be able to protect ourselves to the best of our ability. The only other thing I’d say is I was supportive of lockdowns a year and four months ago given that there was no vaccine and given that this was spreading so obviously and ripping through various communities in our country and the world, sure, lockdown. But, we have to come to a point where we can, as safely as possible, open up because of all of the other aspects, the costs of lockdown, mental health costs, addiction costs, spousal abuse costs, education costs, lack of education for our kids. All of these things are all piling up and so we’ve got to find a way to not be locked down and yet be as safe as possible.
For more of our discussion, you can watch the whole Fireside Chat with the Honourable Tony Clement, or listen to the podcast version, below.
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