How Canada’s politicians and health officials repeatedly blew their credibility

DM

We keep hearing from arrogant politicians and public officials about how they are “disappointed” people “aren’t listening to them.” The constant blame of the public ignores how those officials are responsible for having blown their credibility, and they did so in some quite different ways. There are two main ways to lose credibility: The first — and more recoverable — is to make a series of tactical errors. The second — and more damaging — is to pick the wrong strategy and stick with it. Over the past year, Canada’s politicians and health officials have done both. To begin with, there were errors from the start. Trudeau, Tam, Hajdu, and others in the government repeatedly said the virus was “low-risk,” would be “contained,” and opposed border closures. Advice on social distancing and masks repeatedly changed. And — in what was the biggest initial instance of credibility being shattered — we all remember how the advice to “stay home, save lives,” was put on temporary hold for BLM rallies, with health officials even going so far as to say, “racism was as big a threat as the virus.” For millions of people, that was the moment at which they stopped listening, and who can blame them?

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