Editorials - Feb. 4, 2021
The race is on... for some
Canadians are being forced to wait out the slow vaccine roll-out, as we have fallen to 20th place globally due to distribution hiccups and supply delays. While international suppliers are rerouting supplies to their own domestic markets, Canadian vaccine producers are desperate to get government attention and funding so we can get our own vaccines through the trial phases and into production.
Because of these delays, we are now seeing some panicked people with resources jumping the queue. There are reports of “vaccine tourism” with individuals crossing state lines and international borders in search of early access. A wealthy couple from Vancouver devised a plan that would make a screenwriter jealous. They flew to Whitehorse, skipped out on their required quarantine period and chartered a private plane to go to a remote northern village. They then posed as motel workers to secure their vaccine doses months earlier than they should have. The elaborate ruse ended up costing their jobs, the predetermined fines and ultimately they may see jail terms. Quite the cost for eliminating a few months from their wait.
On one hand, people are so scared that they will go to great lengths to get the vaccine as quickly as they can, while on the other, you have people determined that the vaccine is dangerous and who plan to refuse it, or those who believe the pandemic is not real or not as serious as the government is letting on. The sooner that we can get a reliable supply of vaccine and a system of distributing it that our population trusts, the less we will see people cheating. – DS
A little research
While many bemoan oversight in government, specifically cursed political buzz words like bureaucracy and red tape, the saga of Julie Payette, Canada’s embattled former Governor General who recently resigned, shows the importance of checks and balances.
Payette has been accused, first in the media and now in a damning independent report, of creating a toxic workplace that included employees feeling disrespected and humiliated through episodes of screaming, yelling and public berating, among other claims. While the bombshell report was sure to put Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the hot seat, Payette quickly resigned, relieving the pressure to an extent.
Now, while these allegations have yet to be proven and the public report itself is heavily redacted, the situation has brought to light a common refrain of the Trudeau government. Trudeau has been accused of eschewing traditional selection procedures in order to prop up political allies or past associates (think of the WE Charity scandal and the circumvention of a fair selection process to award a multi-million-dollar contract to a company well known to the Trudeaus). This “Father Knows Best” attitude has again come back to bite him with Payette. Reporting has turned up allegations of Payette mistreating employees at both the Montreal Science Centre and the 2016 Olympics (and the CBC reports even earlier, with allegations dating back to the Canadian Space Agency in the 1990s), red flags a simple investigation by Trudeau’s government surely would have turned up. Trudeau hand-picked Payette, opting not to use the established advisory committee process, and never interviewed Payette’s former employers, according to the CBC.
Now, here we are again. Another Trudeau initiative has crumbled due to a lack of oversight and a refusal to consult with anyone but himself. Furthermore, the sense of entitlement baked into the allegations against Payette are part and parcel to criticism of Trudeau himself. If he wants to shake those allegations, he needs to make transparency a priority. – SL
In this issue of The Citizen, there’s a look back at the blizzard of 1971 that saw people storm-stayed for days. It also served as an opportunity for locals to show their true colours by helping out those around them.
The blizzard saw students trapped in schools, people trapped in their homes and needs not being met due to the isolation that followed the storm. Snowmobilers, fortunately, picked up the mantle of saviour during the storm and wore it well. They delivered everything from food and blankets to medication. They transported people across hill and dale to make sure the world kept going where it could.
In an era when, according to the police officers of the day, snowmobilers’ worth was questioned, they proved over and over again their value to the community during that difficult time.
The question now is, if a blizzard hit tomorrow, would we do the same? Given how many people won’t even wear masks or isolate themselves at home to protect themselves and their community, it’s hard to believe that we’d all sacrifice if the need arose like it did 50 years ago.
We need to take a page from those snowmobilers and support our communities by going above and beyond and now that means following the rules and staying home so we can all get back to a normal life. – JDS