T184. The Spanish Flu

 

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Project Save the World Podcast / Talk Show Episode Number: 184
Panelists: Patrick Boyer
Host: Metta Spencer

Date aired: 11 February 2021
Date Transcribed: 18 February 2021
Transcription: Otter.ai
Transcription Review and Edits: David Millar

Metta Spencer  

I’m Metta Spencer. Today I get to get caught up with an old friend, Patrick Boyer, who is in his home in Bracebridge, Ontario in a room that I would just love to go snooping around, and see all these good things that you have in the background. So, Patrick and I have known each other in the Pugwash movement over the years, but I haven’t been in touch with him a while he’s kind of off in cottage country, living a life of solitude. Or maybe, maybe he’s done in solitude. I don’t know what kind of life he lives up there, but maybe we’ll find out. At any rate, the other day I happened to come across I don’t know how they came to me, but he does a weekly show on cottage country, the Muskoka area, I gather it is about history of the region. So, I guess he’s become a local historian. And the talk show he did the other day was, it wasn’t a talk show, it was a presentation a formal presentation of a history of the Spanish Flu in the Muskoka region. Is that right, Patrick?

Patrick Boyer  

Yes, in Muskoka district, this program — well, the interesting thing is that in January 2020, I began this broadcast on our community radio station from Huntsville, Ontario. And talking about the Spanish flu, and how it had impacted Muskoka and Muskokans, using this district as a case study of a larger phenomenon. You know, we talk about the big picture and the general principles, but things happen on the ground, in real people’s lives. And so, it’s an easier way to impart a lot of understanding about a global phenomenon to actually look at real places, and how it played out there. Well, in the course of doing that, I also had to talk about how the Spanish Flu arose and developed and spread and what it was like and, and so on. But that program, in January 2020, was the inaugural show, for my ‘Boyer’s modern history of Muskoka’. And it was really a couple months after that, that we began to be aware of the new influenza that was spreading rapidly. And we know I thought, I thought, the interesting way to to help people because the program that you saw, just recently, was after we’d all been subjected to [in] a year of another pandemic. And all of a sudden, I realized that a great way to teach something. And, and first, let me put it this way, if I could, at first, a lot of people thought, well, that’s just an interesting period piece, something that happened in times past. And you know, it was quite gripping to see what happened in people’s lives the way that death was coming. And municipalities had to respond, because there was no federal Department of Health, no World Health Organization, it was totally different on the ground, Metta. But I thought, well, now that everybody’s lived through a year, with COVID, and not only coping with it, but understanding it pretty well, because we get these daily inundations of news reporting on it, right? Breaking news every 10 minutes. I thought this would now be a much better way to teach by comparison, what is a global phenomenon like, that we know so well today, stacked up against one that happened a century ago. And so that was the basis of that recent program or broadcast that you are —

Metta Spencer  

Well, I thought it was absolutely fascinating. And you know, to me, it’s it is it’s also interesting that we can we know so little about the Spanish Flu. Oh, I will call it the Spanish flu, even though that’s really a real misnomer, I think. But I’ll call it that because everybody else does. But, you know, I don’t know much about it. And I remember hearing my mother, very rarely, talk about it. She would be 100 over 100 by now. Well into her 80s… so she must have been a baby at the time. But I think it’s extraordinary in that we so many people were killed and so many lives ruined and yet we don’t really hear that much about it, in my opinion. Anything like, I mean, for example, I understand that more people were killed by the Spanish Flu than by World War One.

Patrick Boyer  

Well, they were on an equal scale. And it was basically 50 million people… who died. There were many, many millions more who were infected and recovered. We’re aware today of those numbers, the number of people that get COVID, and then the number who die from it.

Metta Spencer  

How many died? And how many caught it?

Patrick Boyer  

Yeah, so about 230 million people were infected by the Spanish flu, and approximately 50 million died.

Metta Spencer  

Okay, now, that’s how many people have died of COVID. so far?

Patrick Boyer  

Worldwide? It’s about 2 million… It’s over 2 million. Yeah.

Metta Spencer  

So, the scale or, you know, a different… order of magnitude in a way?

Patrick Boyer  

Yes, that’s correct. And, and also, you are hesitating about calling it the Spanish flu. And that’s a very interesting point. And certainly, you were right to, to kind of check. Because that influenza, did not originate in Spain. It came, it had been developing in China, and was by March of 19. By February of 1918, the World War was still underway, all around the globe. And in France, where everyone was in despair about how badly this war was going, and how dire the consequences and how many dead there were. There were strikes in the factories in, France, there were shortages, even on the work crews, out of the Western Front. And so, the Chinese Labor Corps came, they where there were many hundreds and hundreds of Chinese men coming in crowded ships from China, even as millions were dying in that country. Across… the oceans to France, and bringing with them the flu.

Metta Spencer  

did the French know, did the world know in general, how much trouble there was in China?

Patrick Boyer  

No, no, no, they didn’t have real-time satellite broadcasts coming from around the world. It was on top of the fact that the communication was limited to basically cables, cable grounds, and newspapers. Forget about everything else, radio, television, satellites, all that we’re worried we’re so acclimatized to today… we’re talking about a totally different world, just a century ago. So, they didn’t know that. And —

Metta Spencer  

Was the government of China trying to suppress the information?

Patrick Boyer  

Well, today they are, but I’ll tell you what, in with the Spanish flu, it was the Canadian government that was trying to suppress the information Really? Oh, yes. Why? Well, I’ll explain that. But I just want to finish about why it’s called the Spanish flu. Yeah. So, the Chinese labor corps arrived in French harbors, and were deployed into the country. And one of the attributes of that flu was that it travelled, it… infected most people in the age group 18 to 40, not older people, not children, but in that demographic, which was the perfect definition of the age of soldiers. And the soldiers were crowded into fetid, wet unhygienic trenches along the western front, all the way from the Swiss Alps, to the North Sea, a gigantic incubator, and those that weren’t in the trenches, were crowded into hospitals as wounded. They were being shifted from one zone to another, from one country to another. They were in barracks and bivouacs and on troop ships and troop trains, all of which was very crowded. So, you know, today, as everyone does about social distancing and wearing masks and washing your hands and all of these efforts to reduce the spread of a virus? Well, it was 180 degrees opposite in 1918, and 19 and 20. Because it wasn’t really understood. And this point that you also focused on there a moment ago, Metta, the governments didn’t want to publicize anything, nor did the military — relating to health, or morale in the troops, because that would convey a vulnerability to the enemy. And so, it was absolutely prohibited under the Canadian Army practices as the British and French and others. There were eight different empires fighting in that world war… millions of people in arms all around the world. They… just clamped down on any information, whether it was about flu, or mumps, which was very prevalent, or pneumonia… and venereal disease (apart from the French who were open about that, nobody else the British, the Canadians, the Americans, let’s say finally got into the war ever talked about venereal disease, but that was also a further debilitating disease condition for a lot of soldiers in that war). So, the desire on the part of the government and the army to suppress information was made a whole lot easier by wartime press censorship, and the censorship of mail between the front lines and the home front and back and forth. I mean, the Army’s censors… armed with scissors would turn some people’s letters into looking like the paper dolls under we used to, remember, cut those all up, people would open envelopes, and it’s just shredded paper because there was no ability to transmit information about what was happening. And so —

Metta Spencer  

Every soldier sending letters home in World War One would have from the front would have his letter slot —

Patrick Boyer  

open, opened by military readers centers and censored. And it didn’t black it out, they cut it out. So,  what happened is that this influenza was spreading throughout Europe, and into Spain, part of Europe. Now, one of the very few countries that was not a belligerent power in the Great War, First World War was Spain. And if you know the doctors in the Iberian Peninsula, were no better at diagnosing this than doctors anywhere else. However, the Spanish newspapers were not under wartime press censorship. As we all had the press censorship in Canada under the War Measures Act, that apart from the mail being censored, so in Spain, when they heard about all these people falling sick… some kind of influenza, they began to write stories about it. Front-page news. Well, this was the first place anybody in the world was hearing about this, this devastating influenza. And so, it became called the Spanish flu. And that’s how it has long since been referred to. It’s one of those perverse quirks of historical need to peg something on a place — like in Canada, we know about the ‘Dutch Elm disease, and we all see our beautiful elm trees dying and we were getting mad at the Dutch, right? Well, no, it didn’t start in the Netherlands. It was simply the Dutch are so good with their science and art, you know, there are biologists and arborists and so on, they were analyzing it, and they came up with the fact that what it was the kind of it was killing healthy — So it was the same thing. The Dutch Elm disease, the Spanish flu.

Metta Spencer  

Well, of course, sometimes there’s an intention for pegging it with a particular country. I mean, Trump was always referring to the… China virus or something. And of course, he was trying to create a sense of culpability that the Chinese had were evil because the virus came from China. Well Just because it came from China, does it mean anything except that, you know, it could have started anywhere? And I guess the question is more like, what can we do or what should have been done to contain it? I guess they didn’t do enough right away, but they sure bent over backwards to try to contain it. At least I’m talking about the current virus, COVID. Because they really tried to contain it very strenuously in China much more vigorously than then Canadians have tried to contain it. What was done? I my impression is and you can correct me that a lot of the infection was spread by soldiers coming home and bringing the disease with them. Is that correct? And what happened in Canada or in the rest of the world as soldiers brought this germ back with, you’re absolutely correct.

Patrick Boyer  

Metta, a troopship in… 1918, in the summer, was returning from Britain to Canada with wounded soldiers. All the soldiers who were being invalided back-to-back to Canada, they weren’t going to recover enough in British soldiers’, in British hospitals, and Canadian hospitals in Britain to be able to go back into battle, many of them were many of them did, but these were, these were soldiers who were coming home and carrying the influenza with them, crowded conditions on those ships, and, and all the rest. So, basically, every ship that was coming back from Europe into a Canadian port, from the mid 1918s, on was transporting people that who had the Spanish flu, once they reached Halifax, the port of Halifax, they boarded trains, and returned home all across Canada. And that was a — you know, about our travel advisories and interprovincial bubble barriers and all this — there was none of that back then. And so, here in Muskoka, for example, as a few soldiers were removed from their train and, and into homes or hospitals… a lot actually coming to Gravenhurst, which had the first tuberculosis sanitarium in all Canada. And so, it was treating soldiers who had mustard gas damage to their lungs. This place was a bit of a magnet for returning soldiers. And in Quebec, an outbreak of significant proportions started with these returning soldiers at St. Jean military base, you know, on in the Eastern Townships part of Quebec, along the [Richelieu] River, and that fall, it spread to an academy at Drummondville. And, and the students and the staff, the teachers were all coming down with this flu. And, and all that was happening from Ottawa and with the army was a not on… It is not a serious illness, people will recover. So, what they did, they transported off, they closed the Drummondville school, because everybody was sick, they couldn’t teach, couldn’t learn. And they all went back to their own communities across Quebec, where they come from spreading it further. Brilliant. Yeah. And it just keeps going like that — 

Metta Spencer  

Sorry, but didn’t they know better? I mean, didn’t anybody realize, of course they did. The word quarantine goes back to the Middle Ages. So people even, you know, 100 or 1000 years ago probably knew enough to keep from traveling around spreading the thing. Why? Why did Canadian officials know better?

Patrick Boyer  

Well, you’re quite right. First of all, about the quarantine being something that would have been has been applied for centuries. Like if there’s a case of cholera or diphtheria or any communicable disease… a medical officer of health would order that there be signs put up around a home or a farm or any place like that. But the reason that no warning was given no alarm or no prevention, is that the Canadian Army in Ottawa was sending out messages, press releases press statements that this, this current… ‘grippe’, they were kind of referring to it like severe colds, you know, is, is spread fast but it’s not a serious consequence and people quickly recover and, and above all, it’s… fast passing. And so, so they absolutely were downplaying it. In the when the medical officer of health in Muskoka, Dr. Peter McGibbon, wanted to close the schools in the district, which we understand in present day, this is a big issue, and the… school is going to be closed because of the transmission. And — 

Metta Spencer  

Now, excuse me, but would the young people have also been more susceptible to it? You said the youngest adults, but were school age children also affected more than they will today?

Patrick Boyer  

Dr. McGibbon thought that it was a risk that you know, and even if they didn’t come down with it, they could be transmitting it, something we know today, right? But we did have cases in Muskoka certainly, documented cases where mothers died with their children. And so it was, and these were young infants, you know, so really young ones. But the point that I that was important is that the Ontario Board of Health at that time, told McGibbon no, you cannot close the schools, it would be unnecessary, and it would be inconveniencing a lot of people. And we don’t want to upset anyone in the communities. So, you know, it was denied. And the thing is, we had no department of, well, there was no World Health Organization. There was no Department of Health in Ottawa. It actually, in the province was pretty much a hand off. In terms of… hospitals, and doctors, nurses and all legislation, it was the provinces really were running social services and health care then… as now — just that Ottawa got itself into the picture. But the province itself was also following Ottawa’s line in downplaying this… the military base hospital in Toronto had issued a statement to all the Toronto papers that… this is not anything that anybody should be worrying about. We’ve got it, we’ve got it. And… 10 days later that very base, where people were dying, and more and more succumbing to the illness… the flu, was begging other hospitals and other… for nurses, there was a huge… shortage of nurses, just as we have today. One of the reasons for that… a huge number of Canadian registered nurses had volunteered and gone overseas for the war. They were not on the scene back in Canada. You know, a quarter of our nurses were in Europe, about 20-24 from Muskoka alone, a lightly populated district. So… this was the effort of the government and the army to suppress information to downplay it, and to hold back any information about stemming the tide. So, it fell to municipalities to be the frontline authority, really taking things into under control. And so, in the towns of Huntsville and Bracebridge, in Gravenhurst, and the smaller villages following, those municipalities… closed the schools, they closed the theaters, they put in a rule that nobody can go into the post offices while the mail is being sorted and put in your box, in your mailboxes, because we don’t want people jamming up in the lobby of the… post office…. Yeah, I mean, the Huntsville Forester newspaper kept publishing right through the whole period of the Spanish Flu in this district. But it came down to the editor Harmon Rice and one typesetter… the two of them getting the paper out every week. It’s in the sheet, it became a very thin sheet, but they did they did report on what was happening. You know, the, this was a time when the celebrated Bigwin Inn was being built over on Bigwin island and Lake of Bays through, the war very hard. But the stonemasons

Metta Spencer  

What that is, by the way?

Patrick Boyer  

It became the largest and most prestigious summer resort hotel in North America. It opened in in the early 1920s… June of 1922 until… the late 1950s. And — there’s still life on that island. But at that time, this this place was being built. But they were having such a hard time getting workers… the stonemasons that they had were falling ill and dying from the Spanish flu. And the Bell telephone exchange in Bracebridge was basically shut down because all the operators had the flu. So, people were not able to make very many phone calls. Meat market was closed in this town, because, you know, everybody that worked there, died [or] was home sick. Peter McGibbon, the doctor who was our medical officer of health, he was also our MP at that time. He got the town to take over a hospital or an apartment building, sorry, a hotel, hotel in the town and turn it into an emergency hospital. What like we see, you know, they did it first in New York, and then in Britain, where — and now we’ve got one in Toronto, a hospital that’s exclusively for — now COVID cases, then Spanish flu cases. And because you want the people to be confined in an isolated, in one isolated place, right. But they what they were administering, were still sort of we’d almost say what they were home remedies. You know, they didn’t understand the neurology and the in the medical science and understood

Metta Spencer  

Well, but they didn’t have a cure anyway. Even COVID, they don’t have a cure. It’s like taking aspirin for — where the you know; they don’t have a cure. And we just hope vaccines do the job. But the cure. I mean, and one of the things I was wondering is … was it a more deadly disease than COVID? That or… because there was worse care and worse effort to contain it, than COVID? Because certainly the death rate, you know, the 50 million people is a lot worse. And I’m just wondering, how serious was it? Given, if you had to two batches of people — both one with COVID and one with Spanish flu — you didn’t treat either one of them, or you treated them the same, would a higher proportion of, of the people with the Spanish Flu have died then with COVID? Or are they equally dangerous, if uncared for properly?

Patrick Boyer  

Well, that’s an excellent question. And it’s, I would say they’re equally they, just my own view is that they’re equally dangerous. And that it is very difficult to compare them because in the case of the Spanish flu, there was a huge effort to downplay it, to prevent information about it, and therefore allowing it to be communicated rapidly and extensively around the world with also less ability to treat it. So now what we have with the COVID pandemic, is a lot of publicity about it. warnings about it, restrictions on travel and closing down businesses and workplaces… had that been done a century ago… there’s no question that the death rate would not have been 50 million people on the planet, it would have been dramatically reduced.

Metta Spencer  

Yeah, so that it was a qu- problem of containment rather than… a difference in the amount of capacity to treat it once occurred. Because I mean, I don’t think I mean, like, I’ve told my friends if I get it, don’t put me on a ventilator, just let me go, you know, because I don’t think the ventilator thing, from what I’ve seen, would be helpful enough to make to make it worthwhile given that it’s horrible experience. And so, I don’t think this, of course, they did give Trump some extra juicy kind of pills, or whatever, that seemed to have helped him and I gathered, there are some treatments now that help, you know, help people get quicker, get better quicker. But I’m not sure. I don’t think there’s any, there’s certainly no cure treatment. That’s, that’s, you know, wonderful, although the death rate I gather is going down in COVID. Now,

Patrick Boyer  

Well, well, your point about the ventilator is an interesting one Metta because there’s been some secondary findings that in certainly in some of the cases, being on a ventilator was not a plus it was a negative. But you know — 

Metta Spencer  

they didn’t have ventilators then, though, did they?

Patrick Boyer  

No, no. And, and, and in in 1918, and September of 1918, there was an 18-year-old Canadian soldier in your, in Europe, a gunner. And he had some flu, coughing a bit, kind of like cold symptoms, but he toughed it out, because that was what was being pushed, you know, stiff upper lip, now carry on, macho thing, you know, you don’t give in to anything. And so, he spent a couple more days, you know, where he was, they were outdoors or in some rain, it was cold it was getting in the fall. He was they had, they were playing some soccer, and he was playing that and kind of getting sweating and hot out in this cold and damp area. And it aggravated his condition. And he ended up in the infirmary. And in the course of the next 10-12 days, coughing gotten much worse as temperature went up to 103 degrees. He couldn’t stop coughing. He started to; he was having difficulty breathing. He started bleeding from… his nose, the tips of his fingers and his toes were turning blue because they were not getting oxygen. His breathing was very labored and strained. And then after about four or five days of that kind of suffering, clearly not able to eat or anything, getting, you know, he’s just totally incapacitated. And it was bad. He really is starting — having a hard time breathing. And he’s gasping for air. And in his medical record short, taking as many as 50 breaths a minute. That’s like almost a second between them. And if you start just gasping for air like that every second you can you can understand the panic. And that ended because his lungs were no longer able to absorb oxygen. So, all his reflex reactions in his in his body and from his brain, were telling him to, you know, breathe in that air. But all he could do with these little gasps, was not enough. And, and, you know, three doctors attending and deep… into the night he finally died. And they just watched there was nothing they could do. And that was one specific case of, you know,

Metta Spencer  

kind of sad, typical symptoms. Those other people would have had much the same experience.

Patrick Boyer  

Yes. And I think I think it’s you, another point you just mentioned there Meta was about treatment and whether the death rate was greater because of lack of treatment or whether people more people could recover if there was treatment. Well, if we go back to… the world’s greatest pandemic, which was the black plague, the bubonic plague that spread, you know, in the 14th century, for over eight years. People are wondering when or when is COVID going to be done? That bubonic plague lasted through Asia, North Africa and Europe for eight years. And with, you know, basically an estimated 70 to 200 million people dying, which was a huge slice of the world’s population then and if, if someone succumbed to it, they did not know — if they contracted the plague, without treatment, they would be dead, you know, within as short as three days. And, or they could hang on to about 10 days. But the numbers between those who are treated and not treated, the death rate was very high for those who had no treatment. And it was about 30% lower, the death rate for those who had any kind of treatment.

Metta Spencer  

Really? Yeah. So, what, what was the treatment? I mean, what would they have done? Well, a very different kind of disease from COVID, or the Spanish flu, right? I mean, they’re not, not at all the same kind of virus? 

Patrick Boyer  

That’s correct… it was not this type; it wasn’t a viral disease. But the point is that we’re talking about a pandemic. And that term used by the United Nations now really, is to define any kind of illness that spreads… in through the community… through many kinds of countries that it’s really globe-encircling. You know, if it’s just, it was just in one province, or one part of one country or something, it’s a local epidemic. But that’s the terminology. And so, what we basically are looking at here is — any era — is getting the best treatment that they’ve got available, right. So, in the 1400s, that would have been separating people and trying to reduce the contagion and spreading of it. Whatever else they they did back then, it made the simple point. And I guess this is the takeaway from all three of these pandemics, the Black Death in the 1400s, the Spanish Flu century ago, and now COVID. With treatment and precautions, you’re better off than without any of that. In other words, treatment, treatment helps —

Metta Spencer  

Even if you don’t really know how to treat people, doing something is better than doing nothing. Okay.

Yeah. And… being open and upfront about it. Because that was the other big problem with the Spanish flu. The effort to keep it because of the war in particular. This was happening at the time of war. And it was a back end of that war, when things were really getting dire. The British Empire ran into it thinking, Oh, we’ll be home by Christmas. So did the Kaiser he said they’d be home in Germany before the leaves of fall were on the ground. But after the — millions of people in that industrial slaughterhouse of the Great War there was so much despair, that this thing was going to be lost, that all of this sacrifice was for nothing. And the losses were agonizing. And so, it was a time of great despair. And those in command we’re trying to make a final big push with a lot of very reluctant people. That’s how we ended up with conscription being brought in, because of this. Despite the Prime Minister’s pledge at the start of the war that there wouldn’t be no conscription. It was that it was just such a wrenching, evil enterprise was underway, with that war. And —

Metta Spencer  

Although you’re surely right, in pointing out the importance of the fact that this pandemic took place during the war, it is also the case and as a sociologist, I’m slightly aware of the research that other sociologists of disaster do. Now very aware of it. One of the main findings they come up with, is that in general, when there’s a disaster… officials will play it down, almost invariably… in publicity. They will almost always say Don’t worry about it, we’ve got it handled or it’s not going to be too bad or etc. And their rationale for it is generally that… we don’t want to frighten people. Because if people get into a panic, it’s going to cause more trouble than the problem itself, which is not the case. The truth is that the average person is more likely to go into denial all by himself, than… if you told the truth, so for example, you can go up and down the street with a bullhorn on your car saying, “Flee for your lives, the dam is about to break”, or, you know, some other catastrophe is going to occur. And people will sit in their homes and say, “Well, I don’t believe it”. And they won’t leave. And that tends to be too much the problem, more the problem… than anything else, getting people to take seriously, the warnings, the threats, the admonitions… if you’ve got a real problem people tend to deny.

Patrick Boyer  

So Well, I think it’s, those are very valid points. And I think that when you extend that sociological analysis, to what happens over the course of the year, and say, in the province of Ontario, you look at how people responded to the first closedown, back in, you know, March, April, May… and now, when there’s more desire, and people are pent up, they’ve been closed in like, they’re getting beside themselves, and they want to get out or do things. And but most people are still serious about how they’ve got to protect themselves. But we see growing resistance, right? Because there’s that other… thing that kicks in is, how long can people live? …how many times can you hear… “wolf, wolf” … we’re still in a very dynamic situation with this. And the streets in Toronto, I remember being there. And they were like bowling alleys, you know, closed, closed on a Sunday morning, like, no cars, no people, you know, but but if you travel around the city now, … not the same? And there’s a lot of reasons for that. So, yeah, I mean, we’ve got the deniers who are always a problem. And, and I would say that, you know, if we can compare the way that China has been trying to hide information about COVID —  compare that to the way Ottawa, the Canadian Army and other countries were trying to hide information about it a century ago — Well, we could compare the deniers, you know, to the people, like former President Trump and current prime minister Boris Johnson and the initial period in, in Britain, who were downplaying, and I think — it wouldn’t really be the case in Donald Trump’s behavior, but I think with many others, it is… don’t alarm the people. Yeah. And that was certainly the case with the Canadian government going let don’t get people worked up, because then they’ll have a reaction, that’s very bad. And, and when I was teaching —

Metta Spencer  

It’s just a very wrong notion and officials should be cautioned not to make that assumption, because in general, it’s, it’s not true. You know, people do not panic, by, by and large, they, if anything, are resistant to, to doing the precautions that make obvious since…

Patrick Boyer  

It would be a great thing to live in a political society, would it not Metta where the political leaders treated the… population as being an adult?

Metta Spencer  

It would be a great thing to live in a society where the population were adults. The are voting right now… we don’t have time to go into the impeachment trial in the Senate, which is going on as we speak. But, you know, you see when the representatives of the people being absolutely oblivious to any rational considerations, because the most they’d be voted out next time. And, and that means that most people do not use good sense. I’m sorry to put it so bluntly, which has gotten to the point of making me think, well, do I really believe in democracy anymore? Can anybody really believe in democracy and more given kind of idiot behaviour that voters display. And what do we get instead? With that, I’d like to have another conversation about that. All right,

Patrick Boyer  

we’ll do it, we’ll do that because we must continue to believe in democracy. Absolutely, we must.

Metta Spencer  

It’s not, it’s not working. Because

Patrick Boyer  

Well, you’re talking about the United States, your example was about the United States, we have our own problems with democracy in Canada. And we need to stop touting that we’re one of the world’s great democracies when increasingly we diminish the ways in which we conduct ourselves as a truly democratic society. And so, this goes to electoral reform, this goes through changing the way the House of Commons operates. And many other things, the fact that we have municipal councils in Ontario, that are elected once every four years, every four years, it used to be in Ontario councils were elected every year. On January 1. And you tell me the difference between being thoughtful about your voters and your citizens, and being accountable to them on a 12-month basis, or on a 48-month basis… those are just a couple of the many examples of how we have diminished the actual living exercise of democracy and democratic accountability in our country. And it’s… spread into the culture, you know, it’s, we can’t have a democratic society, unless within our culture, we have those values, and people really are living according to them. So, and I think that does come back on to how we’re being treated and treat and we are treating this pandemic. And I the point of I think I was trying to make and I guess why you wanted me to be with you on this program, was to be able to look at our get a clear and dispassionate view of our present circumstances, by seeing where we have been before. And what’s improved and what hasn’t. And how do we account for those differences? Because we are, we’re not little islands in time, we are part of a much bigger, mainstream flowing of people and about beliefs, values, and attitudes and memories, and medical science and sociology. It all comes together here on save the world with Metta Spencer,

Metta Spencer  

Thank you. So sweet. And as somebody who had a shot at becoming Prime Minister A few years ago, I think your position is one that we should take seriously when you talk about how to democratize Canada a little bit better improves our state of the world. Everybody out to listen because you know what you’re talking about, and I appreciate that. It’s wonderful to be back in touch with you. It’s wonderful to talk to you. So, bless your heart and carry on. Take care. See ya. Bye.