I'm as mad as …

Connecting the Dots

You went where?

While the average person, either willingly because it made sense, or in fear of reprisal (everything from censuring by family or neighbours, to COVID cops and fines) didn’t visit the way they wanted to, yet some apparently privileged people got away from it all, to Hawaii and other distant destinations.

article continues below

Their travels have been all over the news. I will just add a reference to some Manitoba people including Senator Don Plett whoapparently travelled to Mexico, staying three days before making a b-line for home; and Nikki Ashton who went to see an ailing grandparent, and lost her role in the NDP shadow cabinet because of it. These are among a growing list of other Canadian leaders of various stripes and responsibilities who did travel!

As the news of politicians’ holiday travel broke, I suspect that many have uttered something like: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore!” (Network, a 1976 American satirical black comedy-drama film.) I confess, that’s the first vision that came to my brain.

Doc Roussin, Manitoba’s chief medical officer, somberly responded to this news (publicly) that if it’s not absolutely essential, travel is and was a no-no. He didn’t travel.

We all tend to think that we are special. We aren’t rule-breakers, we’re just special. That’s human nature, it’s just not leadership.

Frankly, visiting an ailing grandparent sounds like an essential item. Selling a house sounds important and time sensitive as well, and on down the slippery slope we go.

Some pieces of the health orders are more easily enforced than others. Determining what is essential travel, that’s more subjective. Where’s the test?

Here’s an idea for the provincial rule makers to present to potential rule benders: an in-depth education piece that travellers must study and write a test on.

(Kind of like a drivers written test where you learn about stopping distances etc. Create an education piece on how viruses spread and the personal and public cost of dealing with that.)

Topics could include: How many people will you be within six feet of in travelling to … Hawaii? And who in your life would you be likely to infect if you become a carrier of the virus? And, are you willing to self-quarantine for two weeks upon arriving home? Etc.

I’m no COVID Nazi. But this is not a relaxing time. The protocol has people looking over their shoulders, are we getting too close on the street? In the store?

And, what we are hearing of elected politicians’ holiday travel has me riled when I consider the sacrifice that seniors, rank and file citizens, retails, churches, restaurant businesses, students, medical staff and others have made to knock down the number of new cases of COVID-19 this winter.

Never mind that parliamentary procedure has been hung up on social distancing. Well, it's just absurd. And it points out how absurd life is right now. That elected officials would choose to zoom off in cars and jets, finding ways to travel is ... the icing on the cake!

So, to stretch a metaphore, having had their cake, are these people now eating crow? Are they self-quarantined? Are they receiving compensation for having to be abent from work, under quarantine?


© Virden Empire-Advance