Unpopular premier a leader on stormy seas

Connecting the Dots

“If everyone hates you, maybe you’re doing the right thing,” someone commented to me regarding Premier Pallister’s ratings as the most unpopular premier (Angus Reid poll, Dec. 1).


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Yep, there’s our premier decisively at the bottom.

Actually, in a time of pandemic, decisiveness is not a such a bad thing.

Canadians are dealing with COVID-19 province by province, with situations varying between rural and city, factory-plant employment, communal living, disadvantaged city populations, etc. and then there’s us – around Virden. But the phrase ‘we are all in this together’ (I hate those words) is truer than we like.

Southwest Man. is in good shape right now, although we have seen an outbreak in Reston and most recently the Hamiota Health Centre is on that list, and our PMH case numbers have risen in the last couple of days.

In the bigger picture, we share health care with Winnipeg, whose emergency and ICU services are bobbing up and down on a stormy sea. We rely on specialty medicine in Brandon where outbreaks are claiming lives.

Stop and think for a moment about someone you may know who recently received life saving treatment in Winnipeg or Brandon. Keep in mind that the ICU bed count in the province has been bumped up, but is still dangerously near capacity with nurses and doctors nearly at breaking point under the strain.

No, guiding us through this and out the other side is not about popularity. It’s about leadership, and what hockey coach is popular with everyone all of the time?

Recently Ian Froese for CBC wrote about “Pallister's emotional plea…” holding up the premiere’s comment, "I'm the guy who's stealing Christmas to keep you safe. Because you need to do this now," to scrutiny. That’s what journalists do.

He captured thoughts from abroad, some impressed by Pallister’s tough stand and caring countenance; and from Manitobans who were of two opinions.

A former federal employee in Brandon said, "He touched a nerve with me yesterday because I felt that he honestly, for a brief moment, showed his true self.” Another Brandonite, an associate professor of political science at BU stated: "Five minutes of emotion does not make up for nine months of inadequate planning."

Better planning and a more targeted approach to protect care homes, hospitals and the vulnerable would get my vote. Don’t question me on the details. But remember, we had THE LOWEST new cases per day for months.

So, Pallister is in trouble because case counts skyrocketed, because he didn’t shut us down and because he has shut us down and because it’s Christmas.

Chief of health Dr. Brent Roussin and Pallister have sailed these seas for nine months. Our numbers are going in the right direction again. Let’s stay the course and help where WE can. Calmer water is ahead.

© Virden Empire-Advance