A letter from Canada: we’re handling COVID worse than you. “The situation feels worse now than it did at the outset of the pandemic.”

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Dear Americans,

We’re Canadian and, yes, we’re sorry.

No, this time we mean it. You likely hadn’t noticed, but Canada has lost one of our greatest sources of consolation during the COVID-19 pandemic: that things weren’t nearly so bad as they have been south of our border. Even the editorial board of Canada’s leading national newspaper, the Globe and Mail, acknowledges that Canada is doing far worse at managing the pandemic than the US.

A smug feeling of moral superiority over Americans is a regrettable part of our national character. This attitude seemed more justified than ever as we watched the apparently chaotic early American approach to COVID.

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None of this is to say that any sane person took pleasure in the suffering of our American neighbors and allies. But as bad as things were up north, Canadians were at least able to look southward and see that it could always be worse. And we cut our leaders a lot of slack for our lack of pandemic preparedness and their many missteps and costly errors.

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So, it came as a shock to a lot of people when our think tank, the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, released a comprehensive, data-driven, comparative study of the pandemic performance of 15 rich industrialized countries this past March. We called it the MLI COVID Misery Index. When the numbers were crunched, Canada was ranked a rather poor 11th. Even worse, we were behind the much-maligned United States, at ninth overall.



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