Rex Murphy: You want to eat that doughnut here? Show me your papers


In the province of Ontario, it is now legal to buy a doughnut, but illegal to eat it in the restaurant without the proper paperwork. The threatened fines for “eating without a license” rival those that previously went to billionaire fraudsters operating pyramid schemes.

My second conclusion is that the present Ontario government has a hatred of all restaurants and food chains and all who work within them. Short of hiring a fleet of bulldozer operators to plow every one of these into the ground, they could not have done more than they have done over the last year and a half to put them out of business, drive their owners and operators into depression and their poor, harried staff into a permanent and hopeless melancholy.

My third conclusion is that the rickety, always changing, sometimes completely reversing and awesomely inexplicable policies they have been bringing in defy any consistent rationality whatsoever. Whatever COVID is, or whatever variation it mutates into, when it comes to Ontario’s response to it, there seems to be no design, no consistency of approach, gravely unequal treatment of various sectors of the economy, one rule for the lower class and another for those insulated by their vocation or wealth.

My final conclusion, for today, is that many COVID policies have no virtue beyond protecting the authorities that are supposedly managing the crisis, no appreciation for those they are harming in ways other than medical and usually come with wonderful exemptions for those who can skate above ordinary reality.

That last point is pretty spot on. Even here in Japan, the policies are designed to protect politicians from further blame and little more.