Social activities and travel are the apparent top spreaders of COVID-19; thus it has been made illegal for us to have family gatherings, and travel is strongly discouraged by our government.
Most of us have abided by the orders. We have sacrificed. We have deferred gatherings, vacations, and even weddings. Funerals, solemn events that cannot be deferred, are held without most loved ones in attendance.
Our political leaders have scolded us. Chided us. Warned us. Even charged us and arrested us.
“Stay home. Save lives,” they say.
Now after a miserable and depressing Christmas followed by a dull and forgettable New Year’s Eve, we are learning of a veritable avalanche of elected officials travelling out of the country for vacation, or to put in their own words, “non-essential business”.
Did they not know how bad this would look?
It appears that some did know how bad it would look since so many modelled social media posts designed to fool constituents into thinking that they were stuck sitting at home – locked down – just as they were.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford has been zealous in taking away the rights of his constituents in the name of protecting people COVID-19. He has been downright belligerent in his rantings about people he deems to be flaunting rules. Despite this, Premier Ford somehow didn’t see a problem when he found out weeks ago that his finance minister was going to escape to the tropics for the holidays. Ford’s tune changed rather quickly when it blew up in his face, but not before.
In Alberta, we are seeing the same stories of gross hypocrisy playing out as a number of highly placed ministers, MLAs and senior staffers have been discovered to be travelling over the holidays as well.
How many more can we expect? How many MLAs are currently cowering on a beach somewhere trying to charter a plane so that they can return to Alberta unseen by the citizens that they are supposed to represent?
We don’t know, but Alberta Premier Jason Kenney won’t say. Nor will ministers and MLAs, who are for the most part, not taking media calls.
When I was a kid, my chain-smoking parents threatened me we a long list of punishments were I to be caught smoking. How could I take it seriously from them when they indulged so heavily themselves? I took up smoking at a young age and did so until I was nearly forty. Perhaps I still would have started smoking had my parents not smoked, but I suspect that I would have taken their warnings much more seriously had they not been tainted with hypocrisy.
How are we to continue to take the warnings of our government seriously any longer? There are few weaker admonishments out there than, “do as I say, not as I do”. In having our government officials flaunting the very rules they expect us to abide by, they have likely fed more future non-compliance of rules than a dozen weekend protest marches could have accomplished. Government COVID-19 double standards are putting more Albertans at risk than any number of hockey-playing kids.
Nothing undercuts trust in a government more effectively than hypocrisy, and we are in a time when we really need to feel like we can trust our government.
The UCP government has been floundering for some time now. They can’t seem to gain public approval and for the life of them, and they can’t seem to figure out why. Well here is a free tip for them: Do as you are telling people to do.
The government is quickly losing moral authority in this pandemic and it was avoidable. All they had to do was simply live by the same rules that they have applied to us. It should not have been that difficult to understand.
I will offer one more tip to our elected officials as I remain resigned to spending the entire winter in Canada: Don’t you ever dare tell us that “we are all in this together” again.
Now, let’s talk about that promised recall legislation that the UCP promised.