Transcript: Pandemic Communication: In Need of a Reset? | Oct 28, 2020

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a blue suit, blue shirt, and striped lavender tie.

A caption on screen reads "Pandemic communication: In need of a reset? @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says THESE ARE TRICKY TIMES FOR DIFFERENT PARTS OF OUR PROVINCE. IN THE PROVINCIAL CAPITAL, THE NATIONAL CAPITAL, AND YORK AND PEEL REGIONS, WE'RE IN MODIFIED STAGE 2: THAT'S NO GYMS OR BARS OR RESTAURANTS, BUT KIDS CAN GO TO SCHOOL, AND PEOPLE CAN ATTEND DANCE CLASSES. IN THE REST OF ONTARIO STILL IN STAGE 3, BUBBLES AREN'T REALLY STILL A THING, IF THEY INCLUDED SCHOOL-AGE CHILDREN. AND NO ONE CAN GATHER INDOORS IN GROUPS OF MORE THAN 10, UNLESS IT'S IN A STAFFED BANQUET HALL. IS THAT CLEAR? IT ISN'T FOR SOME... MAYBE FOR MANY. THAT'S WHY WE'VE CONVENED A GROUP OF OUR OWN EXPERTS TO EXPLAIN WHETHER IT'S THE POLICY OR THE COMMUNICATIONS THAT HAVE SOME ONTARIANS SCRATCHING THEIR HEADS ABOUT COVID-19 PROTOCOLS RIGHT NOW. LET'S WELCOME: IN VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA: HEIDI TWOREK, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF INTERNATIONAL HISTORY AND PUBLIC POLICY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA...

Heidi is in her forties, with chestnut hair in a bun. She's wearing a spotted blouse.

Steve continues AND HERE IN THE PROVINCIAL CAPITAL, IN HARBORD VILLAGE: COLIN FURNESS, INFECTION CONTROL EPIDEMIOLOGIST AND AN ASSISTANT PROFESSOR AT THE FACULTY OF INFORMATION AT THE U OF T, CROSS APPOINTED TO THE SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH...

Colin is in his forties, with short brown hair and a goatee. He's wearing glasses, a gray suit, white shirt and patterned red tie.

Steve continues IN DOWNTOWN TORONTO: AMANDA GALBRAITH, PRINCIPAL AT NAVIGATOR, FORMERLY THE DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS TO THE CURRENT MAYOR OF TORONTO...

Amanda is in her thirties, with long brown hair. She's wearing an animal print blazer over a black blouse.

Steve continues AND IN LEASIDE: MATT GURNEY, NATIONAL POST COLUMNIST AND CONTRIBUTOR TO OUR WEBSITE, TVO.org.

Matt is in his forties, balding, with a boxed beard. He's wearing a gray sweater.

Steve continues IT'S GREAT TO HAVE EVERYBODY ON OUR PROGRAM TONIGHT. I WANT TO JUST START BY GETTING SORT OF 30 SECONDS FROM EACH OF YOU, GRADING ONTARIO'S COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY AROUND COVID-19 RIGHT NOW. SO GIVE US SORT OF THE BANNER HEADLINES AND THEN WE'LL GO DEEPER. AMANDA, START US OFF.

Amanda says OF COURSE YOU'RE GOING TO ME FIRST.

Steve says YOU'RE THE COMMUNICATIONS GURU.

The caption changes to "Amanda Galbraith. Navigator Ltd."

Amanda says THANK YOU FOR THE TITLE. LISTEN, I GIVE THEM A B TO A C, AND I THINK PART OF THE THING IS YOU HAVE A PREMIER, YOU KNOW, WHO HAS DONE QUITE WELL THROUGH THIS AND HE IS INSPIRING EMPATHY, PEOPLE FEEL LIKE HE'S FIGHTING FOR THEM. AT THE SAME TIME WE HAVE I THINK A PUBLIC MEDICAL OFFICER OF HEALTH AND A MEDICAL SYSTEM ITSELF THAT IS CONTRADICTORY, WE'VE HAD PUBLIC FIGHTS, AND YOU MENTIONED POLICIES... FRANKLY, THEY MAKE NO SENSE. THEY'RE DOING THEIR BEST BUT I THINK THERE ARE A LOT OF CHALLENGES THEY'RE FACING.

Steve says COLIN FURNESS?

The caption changes to "Colin Furness. University of Toronto."

Colin says I GIVE THEM SOMEWHERE BETWEEN A D AND AN F. I AGREE PREMIER FORD HAS DONE HIS BEST TO APPEAL AND TO SEEM EMPATHETIC BUT HE DOESN'T UNDERSTAND THE INSTRUCTIONS HE'S GIVING AND WE KNOW THAT FROM MOTHER'S DAY AND KNOW THAT FROM IN THAT IT DOESN'T MAKE SENSE. THAT HE CAN'T MAKE SENSE OF IT HIMSELF. REALLY HARD TO PURSUADE PEOPLE WHEN YOU CAN'T BE CLEAR ABOUT WHAT IT IS YOUR TRYING TO SAY.

Steve says MATT.

The caption changes to "Matt Gurney. National Post."

Matt says I WOULD SAY C AND TRENDING DOWN. I THINK THE COMMUNICATION WERE BETTER EARLIER AND I THINK EVER SENSE WE STARTED GETTING SCHOOLS REOPENING AGAIN WE STARTED TALKING ABOUT IT LIKE YOU ALREADY MENTIONED BUBBLES AND WHAT NOT THE COMMUNICATIONS HAVE FALLEN APART SINCE THEN AND WE ARE AT THE POINT WHERE I'M SOMEONE WHO'S ENGAGED IN THIS AS IT'S MY JOB TO FOLLOW IT ALONG. I FOLLOW IT IN PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL INTERESTS. HALF THE TIME I HAVE NO IDEA IF WHAT I'M DOING IS WHAT I'M SUPPOSE TO BE DOING OR NOT. SO A MUDDLED START AND GETTING WORSE SINCE.

Steve says HEIDI.

The caption changes to "Heidi Tworek. University of British Columbia."

Heidi says SO I GOT TO SAY IF I GOT TO GRADE AS A PROFESSOR C OR D. PARTICULARLY IN COMPARISON TO ALL THE OTHER COUNTRIES THAT I'VE STUDIED AROUND THE WORLD AND THEIR COMMUNICATIONS IT CAN BE CLEARER MORE EFFECTIVE IF YOU CAN HAVE ONE COMMUNICATOR IT IS A MASSIVE PROBLEM IF PEOPLE WHO ARE ENGAGED IN THIS REALLY HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THEY ARE DOING.

Steve says WELL HEIDI LET ME STICK WITH YOU FOR A SECOND HERE COMPARING CONTRASTS IF YOU WOULD THEN. SINCE YOU DO EXAMINE HOW OTHER COUNTRIES AND OTHER JURISDICTIONS ARE DOING THIS. WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT WHAT OTHERS ARE DOING THAT YOU DO NOT SEE HAPPENING HERE IN ONTARIO?

Heidi says YES. SO A COUPLE OF THINGS. ONE THING WE SAW IN PLACES LIKE SOUTH KOREA OR NEW ZEALAND FOR EXAMPLE IS THERE A VERY CLEAR SPLIT BETWEEN THE PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS WHO ARE PROVIDING PUBLIC HEALTH GUIDELINES AND THE POLITICIANS ONLY ONE USUALLY IS HELPING TO MAKE SENSE EXACTLY WHAT IS HAPPENING SO GIVING IT A DEEPER DEMOCRATIC MEANING. AND IN ONTARIO WE SEE TOO MANY COMMUNICATORS SOMETIMES CONTRADICTING EACH OTHER SO THAT IS ONE THING. ANOTHER IS EVEN SIMPLE THINGS LIKE THE METAPHORS THAT ARE USED TO DESCRIBE WHATS HAPPENING. WE BASICALLY ADVISE AGAINST MILITARY METAPHORS WHICH AS BEEN VERY HEAVILY USED BY PREMIER FORD. INSTEAD WE THINK FOR EXAMPLE A RELAY RACE THAT SOUTH KOREA TALKS ABOUT SOMETHING EVERYBODY HAS TO ENGAGE IN TOGETHER. THAT IS ACTUALLY MUCH MORE EFFECTIVE AND MOTIVATING PEOPLE TO COMPLY RATHER THEN THIS AUTHORITARIAN TALK DOWN MESSAGE

Steve says AMANDA DO YOU AGREE IT'S A PROBLEM THAT WE HAVE THE PREMIER OFFERING ADVICE WE HAVE SENIOR CABINET MINISTERS OFFERING ADVICE. WE HAVE SENIOR HEALTH OFFICIALS ON TELEVISION EVERYDAY ALMOST EVERYDAY OFFERING ADVICE IS THAT PROBLEMATIC.

The caption changes to "Watch us anytime: tvo.org, Twitter: @theagenda, Facebook Live, YouTube."

Amanda says I WOULD SAY ANY COMMUNICATOR I'VE TALKED TOO THINK THAT POLITICIANS IN THE JOB WORLD ARE EXPOSED ON THIS. I MEAN THEY'VE SET UP A PARADIGM WHERE THEY ARE UP EVERYDAY GETTING ELECTORAL BENEFIT OUT OF THAT. BUT THE REAL CHALLENGE HERE IS UNLIKE SAY HE'S SEE WHERE DOCTOR BONNIE HENRY IS SHE'S THE DEFACTO HEAD OF THE PUBLIC HEALTH FOR THE PROVINCE. YOU HAVE 34 OR 33 DIFFERENT CHIEFS ALL OVER THE PLACE. RIGHT. THEY ARE CONTRADICTING EACH OTHER SOMETIMES PUBLIC FIGHTING WITH THE PREMIERS. WE SAW WITH EILEEN DE VILLA IN TORONTO CONFUSING THE PUBLIC GREATLY. SO I THINK IT IS REALLY TRUELY A CHALLENGE, YES. THAT THERE IS NOT ONE UNIFIED MESSAGE. BUT THE SYSTEM ITSELF IS SET UP SO THAT CAN'T EVEN OCCUR. SO EVEN IF THE GOVERNMENT HAD THE BEST COMMUNICATION STRATEGY THEY ACTUALLY DON'T HAVE THE MECHANISM'S TO DEPLOY IT.

Steve says WELL LET ME FOLLOW UP WITH COLIN ON THAT BECAUSE WHEN I THINK PUBLIC HEALTH IN THE CAPITAL CITY I THINK EILEEN DA VILLA. I DON'T THINK OF WHOLE BUNCH OTHER PEOPLE. I THINK OF HER. WHEN I THINK OF PUBLIC HEALTH AT THE PROVINCIAL LEVEL. 6,7 OR 8 NAMES COME TO MIND. YOU THINK THAT'S A PROBLEM COLIN

The caption changes to "A time of mass confusion."

Colin says IT'S A HUGE PROBLEM. I SAMPLED A MEDIA COMMUNICATION MEDIA COVERAGE ACROSS CANADA. AND DETERMINED ONTARIO IS 88 percent OF THE COMMUNICATION IS COMING FROM ELECTED POLITICIANS. THAT IS THE HIGHEST IN THE COUNTRY. QUEBEC IS NEXT AND SO WE DO SEE A MATCH BETWEEN THE MESS THAT WE HAVE AND THE FACT POLITICIANS ARE TRYING TO CRACK THE MESSAGE. I THINK PUBLIC HEALTH ALWAYS WORKS BEST WHEN IT'S CONCEIVED AND IMPLEMENTED LOCALLY. I DON'T SEE A PROBLEM WITH HAVING 34 DIFFERENT MUTUAL PUBLIC HEALTH UNITS. THE PROBLEM IS THEY DON'T ACTUALLY HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO MAKE DECISIONS. SO WE END UP HAVING PUBLIC SCRAPPING END UP HAVING TORONTO TO BEG FOR SAFETY MEASURES THAT WE DESPERATELY NEED. AND THAT IS A HUGE PROBLEM, THAT IS TURNS US INTO POLITICAL MANAGEMENT INSTEAD OF PANDEMIC MANAGEMENT.

Steve says MATT IS THAT TO SAY WE SHOULD'VE HAD A EQUIVALENT BONNIE HENRY BASICALLY BEING THE SINGULAR MESSAGE CARRIER FROM DAY ONE.

Matt says THAT IS ACTUALLY A REALLY INTERESTING QUESTION. AND THAT, MAYBE WE SHOULD HAVE IN A WORLD WHERE WE CAN DO THAT BUT WE DON'T LIVE IN THAT WORLD WE LIVE IN A FEDERATION WHERE WE HAVE A FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WITH A PRIME MINISTER WHO GAVE DAILY PRESS CONFERENCES WITH A FEDERAL HEALTH AUTHORITY WHO GAVE FREQUENT PRESS CONFERENCES. WE HAVE A PROVINCE OBVIOUSLY THAT WE'VE NOTED WITH NOT ONLY IT'S OWN PUBLIC HEALTH SYSTEM BUT WITH NUMEROUS PEOPLE REPRESENTING IT. WE ALSO LIVE IN A PROVINCE WHERE WE HAVE ALOT MEDIA CONSOLATION IN RECENT YEARS, SO ALOT OF THE NEWS ONTARIANS WATCH WILL COME OUT OF TORONTO WHERE THEY MAYBE BE 100 200 KM'S AWAY BUT THEY ARE WATCHING LOCAL TORONTO NEWS, WHERE LOCAL TORONTO PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICIALS ARE COMING OUT AND MAKING STATEMENTS OR GIVING ORDERS THAT IRRELEVANT FOR THE 416 BUT SOME OF THE ISSUES, IF YOU TRAVEL AGAIN 45 MINUTES OR AN HOUR BY CAR OUTSIDE OF TORONTO YOU MIGHT HAVE PASSED THROUGH 2 OR 3 DIFFERENT PUBLIC HEALTH REGIME BY THE TIME YOU REACH YOUR FINAL DESTINATION. IF YOUR JUST A CITIZEN YOUR BUSY, GOT YOUR KIDS AT HOME BECAUSE SCHOOLS ARE CLOSED LAST YEAR, DOING ONLINE LEARNING THIS YEAR YOU ARE WORKING FROM HOME. YOU ARE TRYING TO DO THE RESPONSIBLE THING. YOU ARE TRYING TO BE INFORMED AND ENGAGED AND YOU WATCH THREE DIFFERENT PRESS CONFERENCES OVER THE COURSE OF AN AFTERNOON ONE FROM THE FEDS ONE FROM THE PROVINCE AND ONE FROM THE BIG CITY TWO HOURS AWAY YOU DON'T EVEN LIVE IN. I DONT THINK IT'S ANY SURPRISE THAT PEOPLE ARE ENDING UP CONFUSED.

Steve says WELL LET ME FOLLOW UP ON THIS ISSUE OF CONSISTENCE OF MESSAGE. LET ME PREFACE IT BY SAYING THIS IS NOT A SHOW THAT INTENDS TO NAME AND SHAME. THAT'S NOT WHAT WE'RE ABOUT HERE. HOWEVER, ONE CAN'T HELP BUT NOTICE THAT THERE HAVE BEEN A COUPLE OF VERY PROMINENT EXAMPLES THIS PAST WEEK OF POLITICIANS NOT NECESSARILY MODELLING THE BEST BEHAVIOUR IN THE MIDST OF THIS PANDEMIC, AND I'LL GET OUR DIRECTOR, SHELDON OSMOND, IF HE WOULD, TO BRING UP THIS FIRST PICTURE HERE. THIS HAS GONE VIRAL. THIS IS SAM OOSTERHOF, THE PARLIAMENTARY ASSISTANT TO THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION, AND HE DID COME UNDER A REALTOR RENT OF CRITICISM FOR A PICTURE THAT HE INITIALLY POSTED AND THEN DELETED EARLIER THIS WEEK.

A screenshot from The Standard appears on screen with the title "Oosterhoff gathering refused to follow COVID-19 rules, says restaurant."

A picture shows a group of over two dozen people posing together.

Steve continues BIG GROUP INDOORS, NO PHYSICAL DISTANCING, NOBODY WEARING MASKS DESPITE THE FACT THAT WE'RE TOLD THAT THE STAFF AT THIS EVENT CONSTANTLY TOLD THEM TO PUT MASKS ON. THE PREMIER, I GUESS UNDERSTANDABLY, GIVEN THAT HE'S A KID IN HIS 20s, FRANKLY, THE PREMIER HAS SAID, HE'S YOUNG, HE MADE A MISTAKE, I'M NOT GOING TO FIRE HIM AND I'M GOING TO BE FORGIVING. HEIDI, LET'S GET INTO THIS HERE. WHAT KIND OF MESSAGE DOES IT SEND WHEN THE PEOPLE WHO ARE THE DECISION MAKERS AREN'T FOLLOWING THE PROTOCOLS OF THEIR OWN DECISIONS?

The caption changes to "Heidi Tworek, @HeidiTworek."

Heidi says THIS IS AN EXCELLENT QUESTION. IN ANOTHER PLACE I'M FROM, THE UNITED KINGDOM, WHERE DOMINIC CUMMINGS, THE SPECIAL ADVISOR TO THE PRIME MINISTER, EARLY IN THE SUMMER WAS SEEN TO BE BREAKING THE RULES AND A STUDY FOUND THAT THIS HAD REALLY UNDERMINED HOW MUCH BRITISH PEOPLE WANTED TO CONFORM WITH THE GUIDELINES, THEY CALLED THIS THE CUMMINGS EFFECT, BECAUSE PEOPLE FELT THERE WAS ONE RULE FOR POLITICIANS AND ELITES AND ANOTHER RULE FOR THEM. SO I THINK WE HAVE TO BE VERY CAREFULLY WITH SITUATIONS LIKE THIS. OTHER JURISDICTIONS LIKE NEW ZEALAND, FOR EXAMPLE, OR SCOTLAND, WHERE LEADERS OR HEALTH OFFICIALS CONTRAVENED THE RULES, THEY ENDED UP RESIGNING. I THINK WE SHOULD BE VERY COGNIZANT OF THE FACT THAT PEOPLE ARE TIRED AND THEY ARE FRUSTRATED AND IF PEOPLE IN LEADERSHIP POSITIONS ARE SEEN TO BE GIVEN DIFFERENT DISPENSATIONS THAN OTHER PEOPLE, IT WILL BE VERY HARD TO GET THE POPULATION TO COMPLY.

Steve says COLIN, I'M WONDERING WHAT SIGNAL YOU THINK IT SENDS WHEN THE PARLIAMENTARY ASSISTANT TO THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION, IF YOU'RE A CARETAKER IN A SCHOOL, A STUDENT IN A SCHOOL, A PRINCIPAL, YOU SEE THE PA OF THE MINISTER OF EDUCATION DOING THIS, WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU TAKE FROM IT?

Colin says I THINK IT'S REALLY UNDERMINING AND MY MIND GOES BACK TO MOTHER'S DAY, THE DAY AFTER MOTHER'S DAY WHEN THE PREMIER HIMSELF STOOD UP AND PROUDLY ANNOUNCED HE HAD HIS EXTENDED FAMILY FROM MULTIPLE HOUSEHOLDS TO HIS HOUSE. HE DIDN'T UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RELATIONSHIP AND HOUSEHOLD AND HE WAS FLABBERGASTED. HE WASN'T SNEAKING AROUND. HE LITERALLY DIDN'T UNDERSTAND THE RULES AND DIDN'T ACTUALLY APOLOGIZE FOR IT. HE SHRUGGED AND SAID HE GOT IN TROUBLE FOR THAT. IT WAS UNDERMINING. THAT WAS BACK IN MAY.

Steve says SOME OOSTERHOF ISN'T THE ONLY ONE. IN AN AIRPORT, THERE'S PATTI HAJDU, THE MINISTER OF HEALTH. SOME PEOPLE HAVE OBSERVED THERE DOESN'T APPEAR TO BE ANY FOOD OR DRINK IN THAT PICTURE. AMANDA, PROBLEMATIC?

A picture shows Minister Hadju sitting indoors with no mask on.

The caption changes to "Amanda Galbraith, @agalbraith."

Amanda says YES, TO SAY THE LEAST, I THINK FOR EITHER OF THEM. THIS TO ME, THEY'RE BOTH BAD, BUT THIS TO ME IS BRUTAL. SHE IS THE HEALTH MINISTER TRYING TO URGE US ALL IN THE PUBLIC TO DO THIS. ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU'RE A POLITICIAN, YOU HAVE TO BE BETTER THAN THE STANDARD. MAYBE SHE TOOK HER MASK OFF EARLY BEFORE THE FOOD CAME, BUT THAT'S NOT GOOD ENOUGH. PEOPLE AREN'T SEEING THEIR FAMILIES FOR MONTHS ON END. WE HAVE GRANDPARENTS NOT SEEING THEIR GRANDKIDS, WE HAVE PEOPLE LOSING THEIR JOBS, AND ELECTED OFFICIALS ARE NAMING AND SHAMING PEOPLE ALL THE TIME ON YAHOO, ALL THAT MESSAGING TURNS PEOPLE OFF AND THIS MAKES IT WORSE.

Steve says MATTHEW, HAVE A LITTLE TENDER SWEET SPOT FOR THE TRANSGRESSIONS OF THESE POLITICIANS?

The caption changes to "Matt Gurney. TVO.org."

Matt says I DON'T. I DO SEE SOME DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THEM. FOR THE FEDERAL HEALTH MINISTER, OBVIOUSLY BY VIRTUE OF HER POSITION AND BEING A HIGH PROFILE PUBLIC PERSON, SHE OUGHT TO HAVE KNOWN BETTER. THE HEALTH MINISTER NEEDS TO BE HELD TO THE HIGHEST STANDARD. FOR MR. OOSTEHOF, NOT QUITE AS HIGH A HIGH STANDARD. I'M NOT SEEING MY GRANDMOTHER BECAUSE MY KIDS ARE IN SCHOOL, I DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY'RE EXPOSED TO THERE. IT JUST FELT LIKE MUCH MORE OF A KNIFE TWIST THAN WHAT I HAD SEEN WITH THE FEDERAL HEALTH MINISTER.

Steve says HEIDI, YOU GAVE US THE EXAMPLE FROM THE UNITED KINGDOM. WE DON'T SEEM ON THIS CONTINENT ANY WAY, MINISTERIAL RESIGNATIONS ARE PRETTY BLOODY RARE THESE DAYS? DO YOU THINK THIS WARRANTS IT FROM THE TRANSGRESSIONS?

Heidi says IN SOME CASES IT WAS MULTIPLE TRANSGRESSIONS BUT IT SPOKE TO PEOPLE WHO REALLY WANTED TO HOLD THEIR LEADERS TO THE HIGHEST STANDARDS AND HAVE EXAMPLES FOR THE POPULATION. THIS IS ONE OF MANY DIFFERENT WAYS IN WHICH, FOR EXAMPLE, NEW ZEALAND'S COMMUNICATION WAS SO INCREDIBLY STRONG. I THINK IT'S ALWAYS TRICKY TO SAY FROM YOUR CONTEXT, X OR Y SHOULD RESIGN. ANOTHER THING TO ADD IS PLACES WHERE POLITICIANS ADMITTED MISTAKES ACTUALLY ENDED UP WITH INCREASED TRUST. THE NORWEGIAN PRIME MINISTER SAID AT SOME POINT IN THE SUMMER, SHE REGRETTED THAT SHE HAD DONE SUCH A STRICT LOCKDOWN. IT TURNED OUT THAT WASN'T NECESSARY. AND ADMITTING THAT MISTAKE ACTUALLY ENDED UP STRENGTHENING NORWEGIANS' TRUST IN HER. THAT'S SOMETHING WE CAN TAKE AWAY. ADMITTING MISTAKES CAN INCREASE TRUST AND SO CAN APOLOGIZING, IT'S BASIC THINGS WE LEARN AT FIVE YEARS OLD IN PRIMARY SCHOOL.

Steve says I WANT TO ASK COLIN ABOUT SOMETHING THAT MAY OR MAY NOT HAPPEN THREE DAYS FROM NOW. WE HAVE BEEN TOLD THAT MASKS, PHYSICAL DISTANCING, AND OF COURSE BEING OUTDOORS ARE WAYS TO HELP REDUCE THE SPREAD OF COVID-19. HOW DO WE CHECK OFF THOSE BOXES AND YET THE LAST WE HEARD HALLOWEEN IS SORT OF BEING CANCELLED THIS YEAR, AT LEAST IN PLACES WHERE WE'RE AT MODIFIED STAGE TWO. DO YOU THINK THAT WAS THE RIGHT CALL?

Colin says I THINK THAT WAS THE RIGHT CALL. I WAS SADDENED BY IT BY NOT ONLY A PARENT BUT I SPENT MONTHS PLEADING WITH THE PROVINCE TO CLOSE RESTAURANTS AND BARS. WE NEED A PROJECT TO WORK ON ON HOW TO DO THIS SAFELY. I THINK IT WAS A GIANT MISTAKE.

Steve says MATT, YOU HAVE KIDS, YES?

Matt says I DO. THEY'RE AT EXACTLY THE AGE WHERE LOSING HALLOWEEN IS THE WORST POSSIBLE THING THEY CAN IMAGINE. THEY WERE ASKING MONTHS AGO WILL HALLOWEEN BE BACK? WE'VE IMPROVISED SOMETHING WITH OTHER FAMILIES IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, FAMILIES WHERE WE'RE ALREADY EXPOSED TO THEM BECAUSE OUR KIDS ARE IN THE SAME CLASS. WE FEEL AS THOUGH WE CAN PULL SOMETHING OFF. WE'LL DO A SCAVENGER HUNT WHERE THEY'LL BE OUT IN THEIR COST COSTUMES. I MENTIONED TO YOUR PRODUCER BEFORE, I LIVE IN A NEIGHBORHOOD THAT TENDS TO GO BONKERS FOR HALLOWEEN, THE DECORATIONS ARE ALWAYS CRAZY, PEOPLE DRIVE THROUGH THE NEIGHBORHOOD TO LOOK AT IT. YOU'RE NOT SEEING THAT THIS YEAR. YOU SEE SOME OF THAT. THAT'S A REFLECTION ON BEHALF OF OUR NEIGHBOURS. I DRIVE BY THE HOUSE AND SAY THESE GUYS BY NOW WOULD NORMALLY HAVE THEIR HUGE INFLATABLE WHATEVER SET UP AND IT'S NOT THERE THIS YEAR. IT'S LIKE PUTTING OUT A SIGN SAYING, HEY, WE'RE OPEN FOR BUSINESS AND THIS YEAR WE'RE NOT SEEING THOSE SIGNS.

The caption changes to "Subscribe to The Agenda Podcast: tvo.org/theagenda."

Steve says HEIDI, I HAVE NO DOUBT THAT IF PEOPLE WERE LITERALLY DROPPING LIKE FLIES IN THE STREETS, THE PUBLIC WOULD COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND THAT HALLOWEEN HAS TO BE CANCELLED. BUT SINCE THAT'S NOT HAPPENING, DO YOU THINK THAT GOVERNMENTS HAVE ADEQUATELY MADE THE CASE THAT HALLOWEEN NEEDS TO BE CANCELLED BECAUSE THINGS ARE JUST A LITTLE TOO MUCH ON THE PRECIPICE?

Heidi says SO I THINK I'D TAKE A STEP BACK AND SAY THIS IS A TRAP THAT ONTARIO SORT OF SET FOR ITSELF, RIGHT, BY ALWAYS ISSUING VERY, VERY GRANULAR GUIDELINES FOR EVERY SINGLE HOLIDAY. THEY MAKE PEOPLE NOW EXPECT THAT THEY'RE GOING TO BE TOLD, SHOULD I DO HALLOWEEN? WE SAW THIS WITH THANKSGIVING. ANOTHER APPROACH IS TO SAY, LOOK, THE VIRUS DOESN'T TAKE A HOLIDAY. IT'S NOT LIKE DIETS WHERE YOU CAN HAVE A CHEAT DAY. IN FACT YOU HAVE TO CONCEIVE OF YOUR HALLOWEEN ACTIVITIES IN THE SAME WAY YOU WOULD ANY OTHER ACTIVITY AND IF YOU CAN FIND A WAY TO DO THAT SAFELY, OUTDOORS, FOR EXAMPLE, THAT'S ONE WAY OF DOING IT. I THINK THAT'S WHY THE EXAMPLE OF B.C. IS VERY HELPFUL. THERE ARE GUIDELINES. PEOPLE DON'T SORT OF HANG ON THE WORD OF WHAT TO DO FOR HALLOWEEN OR THANKSGIVING AS MUCH BECAUSE THEY'VE RECOGNIZED IF YOU'RE GOING TO DO AN EVENT, YOU HAVE TO DO IT WITHIN THE PARAMETERS OF THE USUAL GUIDELINES. THAT I THINK MORE BROADLY IS A COMMUNICATIONS RESET THAT WOULD BE EXTREMELY HELPFUL.

Steve says HELP US WHAT THE COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY OUGHT TO HAVE BEEN HERE. IF YOU DECIDE AS A GOVERNMENT THAT DOING HALLOWEEN IS SIMPLY TOO DANGEROUS FOR THE YOUNG PEOPLE AND MAYBE THE PARENTS AND GRANDPARENTS THAT THEY POTENTIALLY COULD INFECT, HAVE THEY ADEQUATELY, IN YOUR VIEW, MADE THE CASE THAT COULD CONVINCE PEOPLE THAT HALLOWEEN NEEDED TO BE CANCELLED?

Amanda says NO. FROM A POLICY PERSPECTIVE, I'M NOT GOING TO PLAY ARMCHAIR DOCTOR HERE, BUT FIRST COMMUNICATING IT... IT'S THIS ATTITUDE NOW BECAUSE THEY DON'T HAVE THE DATA TO BACK IT UP, DO AS WE SAY BECAUSE WE KNOW BETTER. AND I THINK THE PUBLIC IS TURNING OFF OF THAT. THEY'RE FRUSTRATED. THEY DON'T UNDERSTAND BECAUSE IT'S ALL SO CONTRADICTORY, THEY CAN GO TO A BANQUET HALL AND PARTY WITH 50 PEOPLE BUT MY KIDS CAN'T GO OUT TRICK-OR-TREATING SAFELY WITH A MASK. I THINK THE WAY THEY'RE COMMUNICATING IT, I THOUGHT THE GRAPHICS THEY PUT OUT WERE RIDICULOUS AND ALSO QUITE TONE DEAF. AND I THINK THEY TURNED OFF A LOT OF THE PUBLIC AND PARENTS WHO ARE TRYING TO BE PATIENT. IF WE CAN'T MANAGE AN OUTDOOR EVENT THAT'S MASKED WHILE PEOPLE ARE STAYING IN THEIR FAMILY UNITS, HOW ARE WE GOING TO MANAGE CHRISTMAS? HOW ARE WE GOING TO MANAGE THE NEXT YEAR? BECAUSE THIS IS NOT GOING AWAY. RIGHT NOW WE DON'T HAVE A SUSTAINABLE, THIS IS HOW WE'RE PLANNING TO LIVE OUR LIVES FOR THE NEXT YEAR. WE MAKE DECISIONS AT A TIME AND PEOPLE ARE DOING WHAT THEY WANT TO DO.

Steve says COLIN, OBVIOUSLY IN THIS JOB I GET LOTS OF EMAILS AND PHONE CALLS FROM PEOPLE ASKING ME QUESTIONS AND TELLING ME THEIR EXPERIENCES. I'LL JUST REPEAT ONE THAT I HAVE HEARD PROBABLY MORE THAN ANY OTHER ONE RECENTLY, AND THEN GET YOU TO WEIGH IN ON THIS. ONCE UPON A TIME WHEN THE PROVINCE REOPENED GYMNASIUMS, HOCKEY RINKS, FITNESS FACILITIES, THEY DID NOT REQUIRE MASK USE AND THEN WE HAD OUTBREAKS AND THEN THEY SHUT EVERYTHING DOWN. IN THE FOUR JURISDICTIONS WHERE WE'VE GONE TO MODIFIED STAGE TWO. BUT THEN THEY REOPENED DANCE STUDIOS, AND OF COURSE SCHOOLS ARE STILL OPEN WITH 30 KIDS IN A CLASS WHERE THERE ARE 30 DESKS AND, YOU KNOW, THEY'RE NOT 2 METRES APART. BUT MOVIE THEATRES ARE SHUT DOWN, WHERE EVEN IF 10 PEOPLE ARE IN A CINEMA, OF 250 SEATS, THAT'S UNACCEPTABLE. CAN YOU PLEASE MAKE SENSE OF ALL OF THAT FOR US?

Colin says NOBODY CAN MAKE SENSE OF THAT. THERE'S TOO MUCH INTERNAL INCONSISTENCY. THERE OUGHT TO HAVE ONE SIMPLE RULE APPLIED, STARTING FROM LABOUR DAY, IF NOT EARLIER, WHICH IS UNLESS YOU LIVE IN THE SAME HOUSEHOLD, YOU DO NOT BE INDOORS WITH ANYONE WITHOUT A MASK. FULL STOP. AND FOR SITUATIONS WHERE YOU MIGHT BE IN A LARGER PLACE WITH PEOPLE FOR A PERIOD OF TIME, WE NEED TO WORK OUT GUIDELINES FOR THAT, FOR EXAMPLE MOVIE THEATRES. THE WAY THE RULES HAVE BEEN ANNOUNCED AND ENACTED, NOT BASED ON EVIDENCE AT ALL, NOT BASED ON EMERGING EVIDENCE AND NOT EXPLAINED TO PEOPLE. I'M AFRAID I CANNOT MAKE SENSE OF THOSE.

Steve says HEIDI, SAME QUESTION TO YOU.

Heidi says NOT REALLY, TO BE HONEST. I MEAN, IT'S A MASSIVE PROBLEM THAT PEOPLE CAN'T UNDERSTAND THE GUIDING PHILOSOPHY BEHIND WHY SOME THINGS ARE OPEN AND SHUT.

Steve says MATT, HOW ABOUT YOU?

The caption changes to "Matt Gurney, @mattgurney."

Matt says I'VE WRITTEN A COLUMN ABOUT THIS FOR TVO.org WHERE I TALKED ABOUT THE EMAILS I GET FROM ALL THE VARIOUS EXTRACURRICULAR ATHLETIC ACTIVITIES MY KIDS ARE INVOLVED IN. NOT ONLY CAN I MAKE SENSE OF IT, THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE TO MAKE SENSE OF IT CAN'T MAKE SENSE OF IT. MY 8-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER WENT TO A GYMNASTICS PROGRAM THAT WAS INDOORS AND IT WAS SHUT DOWN WHEN WE WENT TO MODIFIED STAGE 2. IT TOOK A WEEK FOR THE OWNERS OF THE GYMNASTICS STUDIO TO FIGURE OUT IF UNDER THE LAW THEY WERE A GYM WHICH IS ADAPTED FROM GYMNASTICS, OR IF THEY WERE AN INDOOR RECREATION FACILITY. AND DEPENDING ON WHICH ONE THERE WERE LEGALLY DIFFERENT RULES AND DIFFERENT CONDITIONS WOULD HAVE APPLIED. IT TOOK THEM ABOUT A WEEK TO FIGURE THIS OUT. I WAS GETTING CONSTANT, ALMOST DAILY EMAILS FROM THEM, SAYING WE DON'T KNOW IF WE'RE OPENING. THEY EVENTUALLY DECIDED THEY WERE NOT OPEN, THEY CLOSED DOWN. IF YOU HAVE GOOD FAITH EFFORTS BY BUSINESS OWNERS AND FACILITY OPERATORS TO FIGURE OUT WHAT THE RULES ARE AND IT NEEDS SEVEN TO TEN DAYS AND MEETINGS WITH LOCAL OFFICIALS AND MPs TO DO IT, THAT IS A SIGN IT IS SIMPLY NOT WORKING.

Steve says THE TOP DOC IN THIS PROVINCE IS DAVID WILLIAMS, THE CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER OF HEALTH FOR THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO. LET'S LISTEN TO SOMETHING HE RECENTLY HAD TO SAY ABOUT THESE ISSUES. SHELDON, IF YOU WOULD?

A clip plays on screen with the caption "October 8, 2020."
In the clip, David Williams gives an official statement. He's in his sixties, with short gray hair and a thin mustache.

He says IN THE FIRST CASE WHEN THEY HAD CASE CONTACT MANAGEMENT, THERE WERE 10 TO 12 PEOPLE. NOW THEY SAY IT'S COMMON TO HAVE 50 TO 60 TO 70, EVEN UP TO A HUNDRED OF A CASE. THAT'S IN THE LAST FIVE TO SEVEN DAYS, YOU WERE IN CLOSE CONTACT WITH. AND MY THINKING IS, I DON'T UNDERSTAND THAT. WHY WOULD YOU HAVE THAT KIND OF THING? WHAT DID YOU NOT UNDERSTAND ABOUT OUR MESSAGING? IF YOU GET A SENSE OF SOME OF THE FRUSTRATION BECAUSE TO ME THE MESSAGING HAS BEEN SAID AND SAID AGAIN, IT'S SO CLEAR, IT'S OBVIOUS.

Steve says AMANDA, THE MESSAGING IS SO CLEAR, IT'S OBVIOUS. AS A COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY, WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THAT TO A CLIENT?

The caption changes to "Taking issue with the top doc."

Amanda says NO. AND I'M SURE... I KNOW DR. DAVID WILLIAMS IS WORKING PRETTY HARD BEHIND THE SCENES, AS ALL THE PEOPLE ARE, BUT ANYONE WHO HAS WATCHED HIS PRESS CONFERENCES AND I'VE WATCHED MORE THAN A FEW WOULD ADMIT THAT COMMUNICATIONS IS NOT HIS STRONG SUIT, AND I THINK THAT'S ONE OF THE BIG PROBLEMS HERE IS WE GET CLIPS LIKE THIS WHICH ARE, I MEAN, THERE'S A GIF OF JULIA ROBERTS LOOKING AT THE CEILINGS. I CANNOT MAKE HEADS NOR TAILS OF WHAT HE SAYS HALF THE TIME. THAT THEN SHIFTS THE BURDEN OF COMMUNICATION ONTO THE POLITICIANS WHO ARE DRIVEN BY THE WHIMS OF DIFFERENT REGIONS AND DIFFERENT ELECTORAL DISTRICTS. I THINK POLITICIANS HAVE A ROLE TO PLAY IN MAKING THESE CALLS. BUT NOT TO HAVE A STRONG PERSON TO BE ABLE TO COMMUNICATE WITH YOU FROM A MEDICAL PERSPECTIVE I THINK IS REALLY HURTING US AS A PROVINCE AND IT'S FORCING A LOT OF THIS ON PEOPLE WHO FRANKLY AREN'T EQUIPPED TO MAKE THESE POLICY DECISIONS.

Steve says COLIN, WHAT'S YOUR VIEW?

Colin says I THINK HIS POOR COMMUNICATION ISN'T THE PROBLEM, IT'S A SYMPTOM OF THE PROBLEM. I DON'T THINK HE UNDERSTANDS PUBLIC HEALTH THE WAY WE NEED HIM TO. HE DOESN'T UNDERSTAND TESTING THEORY AND BUBBLING. HIS RECOMMENDATIONS RUN COUNTER TO FIRST PRINCIPLES AND COMMON SENSE SO OFTEN THAT IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE FOR ANYONE I THINK TO EXPLAIN THAT REALLY CLEARLY. SINCE JULY I'VE BEEN ASKING HIM TO VACATE HIS OFFICE. HE IS NOT UP TO THE JOB BASED ON THE EXPERIENCE AND EXPERTISE HE DOES NOT HAVE.

Steve says OKAY. SHELDON, CAN I ASK YOU FOR A FOUR-SHOT HERE? CAN WE SEE ALL THE GUESTS AT ONCE? COLIN HAS GONE ON THE RECORD HERE, AS HE HAS FOR MANY MONTHS. CAN I SEE A SHOW OF HANDS: HOW MANY PEOPLE THINK THE MEDICAL OFFICER OF HEALTH FOR THE PROVINCE OF ONTARIO OUGHT TO BE REPLACED IMMEDIATELY? HANDS UP, PLEASE? COLIN HAS GOT A HAND UP. I SEE HEIDI IS ON THE FENCE. THE OTHER TWO ARE NOT. MATT, HOW COME YOU'RE NOT CALLING FOR HIS RESIGNATION?

Matt says I AM NOT CONVINCED THERE'S ANYONE BETTER TO REPLACE HIM WITH AT THIS TIME. IF YOU LOOK COAST TO COAST ACROSS THE COUNTRY, WE HAVE HAD TWO STANDOUT PUBLIC HEALTH OFFICERS, IN B.C. AND ALBERTA, AND IN THE SECOND WAVE, BOTH THOSE PROVINCES ARE VIEWING STR. THEY'RE TAKING IT ON THE CHIN THIS WAVE. IF I WAS CONFIDENT THERE WAS SOMEONE BETTER WAITING IN THE WINGS WE COULD YANK DR. WILLIAMS, SEND HIM OFF TO A WELL-EARNED RETIREMENT, AND PUT IN SOMEONE NEW, I WOULD DO T. YOU KNOW ME, STEVE, I DON'T MIND FIRING A HOCKEY COACH IF THE SEASON ISN'T GOING THE WAY IT NEEDS TO. I'M NOT CONVINCED THAT WOULD LEAD TO AN UPGRADE. AND RIGHT NOW ABSOLUTELY THERE IS A VERY REAL CHANCE IT COULD TAKE A BAD SITUATION AND MAKE IT WORSE. I DON'T ASSUME THE PROBLEMS IN ONTARIO RIGHT NOW ARE THE RESULT OF DR. WILLIAMS AND I DON'T SEE REMOVING HIM WOULD MAKE AN IMPROVEMENT. SOMETIMES YOU GO TO WAR WITH THE SOLDIERS YOU HAVE, NOT THE ONES YOU WANT. FOR BETTER OR WORSE, HERE WE ARE. WE'RE IN THIS THING.

Steve says HEIDI, YOU SORT OF PUT YOUR HANDS UP AS IF TO SAY I'M SORT OF ON THE FENCE ABOUT THIS ONE. WHY WERE YOU NOT CATEGORICAL IN YOUR WILLINGNESS TO DISMISS DR. WILLIAMS?

Heidi says I THINK IT'S ALWAYS TEMPTING TO FOCUS ON A SINGLE PERSON AND NOT TO THINK ABOUT STRUCTURES, AS AMANDA POINTED OUT. ONE WAY TO THINK ABOUT THIS IS IT'S ALSO POSSIBLE TO DO A RESET OF YOUR COMMUNICATIONS AND SAY, OKAY, WE REALLY NEED TO RE-THINK THIS. IT'S CLEARLY NOT GOING AS WELL AS WE HOPED. WHO CAN WE APPOINT AS THE TOP ONE OR TWO COMMUNICATORS WHO CAN VERY CLEARLY EXPLAIN THINGS AND LET SOME PEOPLE INEVITABLY TAKE A STEP BACK. IN SOUTH KOREA, FOR EXAMPLE, ONE OF THE TOP DOCTORS, SHE ACTUALLY COMMUNICATED BY NOT COMMUNICATING, SO SHE SAID I'M SIMPLY TOO BUSY DEALING WITH THIS CRISIS TO ACTUALLY DO ANYTHING OTHER THAN OCCASIONAL SINGLE PRESS CONFERENCES. SO THERE ARE WAYS OF COMMUNICATING THAT DON'T INVOLVE SITTING IN FRONT OF THE PRESS APPOINTING SOMEONE WHO IS ACTUALLY REALLY SKILLED IN COMMUNICATION TO BRING THOSE MESSAGES FORWARD. I'D ALSO ADD, PUT THEM ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND MEET PEOPLE WHERE THEY'RE AT, WHICH HAS BEEN A WEAKNESS IN MUCH OF THE COMMUNICATION ACROSS CANADA.

Steve says COLIN, AT THE PREMIER'S DAILY BRIEFING, HE IS FREQUENTLY ASKED ABOUT WHETHER OR NOT HE HAS CONFIDENCE IN DR. WILLIAMS AND HE GOES TO THE WALL FOR DR. WILLIAMS. HE SAYS NOT ONLY DO I HAVE CONFIDENCE IN HIM, I THINK THE EXPRESSION HE USES, DR. WILLIAMS IS WORKING HIS BACK OFF, I CALL HIM AT ALL HOURS OF THE DAY AND NIGHT. HE IS THERE. HE IS OFFERING GOOD ADVICE. IF THE PREMIER HAS CONFIDENCE IN HIM, SHOULD THAT BE GOOD ENOUGH FOR THE REST OF US?

Colin says I THINK THE PREMIER IS THE ONLY PERSON I'VE HEARD DEFENDING HIS CONDUCT AND HIS CAPACITY. I DON'T THINK THIS IS A COMMUNICATIONS PROBLEM, I THINK IT'S A COMPETENCE PROBLEM, IT'S A DECISION-MAKING PROBLEM. AGAIN, YOU'RE MAKING BAD DECISIONS, THERE'S NO EFFECTIVE WAY TO COMMUNICATE THAT TO MAKE THINGS WORK. HE'S BEEN EFFECTIVE TO THE PREMIER BECAUSE THIS HAS BEEN HANDLED AS A POLITICAL PROBLEM IN ONTARIO AND YOU DON'T WANT A STRONG PUBLIC HEALTH LEADER IF YOU'RE [inaudible]. THIS IS WHY THE DECISION MAKING REALLY DOESN'T MAKE SENSE WHEN YOU'RE TRYING TO KEEP PEOPLE SAFE. I COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND WHY THE PREMIER HAS FULL CONFIDENCE IN HIM BUT I DO BELIEVE HE'S THE ONLY ONE WHO DOES.

Steve says IN OUR LAST COUPLE OF MINUTES HERE, MATT, LET ME ASK YOU, A YEAR AGO IF WE WERE HAVING THIS CONVERSATION, FIRST OF ALL, WE WOULDN'T BE TALKING ABOUT COVID BUT WE WOULD BE TALKING ABOUT HOW TERRIBLE THE PREMIER'S POLLING NUMBERS WERE. A YEAR LATER, HE'S ONE OF THE MOST POPULAR PREMIERS IN THE ENTIRE COUNTRY. CAN HE NOT SAY, LOOK IT, MATT GURNEY, YOU MAY NOT LIKE WHERE THINGS ARE AT RIGHT NOW, BUT THE PUBLIC SEEMS TO HAVE CONFIDENCE IN ME AND I HAVE CONFIDENCE IN DAVID WILLIAMS, SO BACK OFF A LITTLE BIT, BUSTER.

The caption changes to "Clear messaging, good governance."

Matt says HE CAN SAY THAT. HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL LISTEN TO HIM. I SUPPOSE WE WOULD HAVE TO... WE'D FIND OUT. WHAT I WOULD SAY IS THIS, AND I ACTUALLY DO FIND THAT A FASCINATING QUESTION. I WAS TALKING RECENTLY WITH FRIENDS WHO I HAD OVER AT MY HOUSE FOR A DINNER PARTY ON NEW YEAR'S EVE. IT DOESN'T SEEM THAT LONG AGO IN OBJECTIVE ADULT TERMS, IT WASN'T THAT LONG AGO. ALL OF THE THINGS WE WERE DOING WE WOULD NOT DO. I HAD PEOPLE FROM SIX DIFFERENT HOUSEHOLDS UNDER MY ROOF. THERE WAS NO MASKING. THE WORLD CHANGED ON US VERY QUICKLY AND IT WAS OBVIOUSLY TO THE BENEFIT OF MR. FORD. WE, AS CANADIANS, HAVE THE DANGER WE ALWAYS DO IS WE WILL GET SO MESMERIZED BY WHAT'S HAPPENING SOUTH OF THE BORDER, IT WILL BE ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE FOR US TO HAVE AN OBJECTIVE MEASUREMENT OF HOW WE'RE DOING. RIGHT NOW, AS LONG AS THE UNITED STATES CONTINUES TO STRUGGLE, ANY CANADIAN POLITICIAN IS GOING TO LOOK GOOD ALMOST BY DEFAULT. WHEN WE BROADEN THAT OUT TO AN INTERNATIONAL RECKONING, OBVIOUSLY CANADA DOESN'T LOOK AS GOOD. WE ARE NOT THE WORST BUT WE ARE CERTAINLY NOT THE BEST. EVEN WITHIN CANADA, LIKE I SAID BEFORE, IN THE FIRST WAVE, ONTARIO AND QUEBEC STRUGGLED. THE SECOND WAVE LOOKS MORE COMPLICATED. SO DOUG FORD, WHATEVER YOU THINK OF HIM, I THINK HE HAS A DEFENCE TO MAKE EVEN IF IT IS THAT OTHER PEOPLE ARE DOING JUST AS BADLY.

Steve says AMANDA, IF YOU WERE ABLE TO GET YOURSELF IN A ROOM WITH DOUG FORD, SIT DOWN WITH HIS CHIEF OF STAFF AND TOP HEALTH ADVISORS, GIVE HIM ONE PIECE OF ADVICE, NOTWITHSTANDING HOW WELL HE'S DOING IN THE POLLS, THAT YOU THINK HE OUGHT TO BE CHANGING UP TO DO EVEN BETTER?

Amanda says IF I WERE THEM, I WOULD FOCUS ON TESTING AND COMMUNICATING THAT WE ARE MOVING FORWARD WITH THAT. I THINK THEY NEED TO SET CLEAR PARAMETERS, BUT THE PROBLEM IS WE DON'T HAVE CLEAR PARAMETERS ON HOW TO MAKE DECISIONS SO WE LOOK TO THE GOVERNMENT AS TO WHETHER WE CANCEL HALLOWEEN OR MOTHER'S DAY. IF THEY SET A CLEAR SET OF GUIDELINES, FOR EXAMPLE, DON'T BE IN GROUPS ABOVE TEN. IF YOU'RE WITH PEOPLE OTHER THAN IN YOUR HOUSE, YOU HAVE TO WEAR A MASK. THAT'S WHERE PEOPLE CAN LOGICALLY APPLY THEIR OWN LENS TO THIS, YOU GET OUT OF THIS CONSTANT CUT AND THRUST AND PUSH AND PULL FROM THE PUBLIC AROUND THESE HEART WRENCHING ISSUE OF FAMILIES. THAT'S WHERE THEY HAVE TO GET EVENTUALLY. I WOULD ALSO SUGGEST THEY PULL BACK FROM THE DAILY PRESS CONFERENCES BUT MY BET IS THAT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN FOR A VERY LONG TIME.

Steve says THEY CAN'T RESIST THEIR CLOSE-UP, MR. DEMILLE. THAT'S AN OLD REFERENCE TO AN OLD MOVIE THAT IS WAY BEFORE YOUR TIME, AMANDA. BUT THERE WE GO.

Amanda says I REMEMBER IT.

The caption changes to "Producer: Patricia Kozicka, @TrishKozicka."

Steve says THAT'S AMANDA GALBRAITH. I WANT TO THANK COLIN FURNESS, MATT GURNEY, HEIDI TWOREK. IT'S GREAT OF YOU TO BE ON TVO TONIGHT. THANKS SO MUCH.

Matt says THANK YOU

Amanda says THANK YOU.

Watch: Pandemic Communication: In Need of a Reset?