COVID-19: The Responsibility Is Ours

All Levels of Government Must Act to Protect Our Citizens from COVID-19

It is a challenging dynamic to be both a leader and to serve. Elected officials must straddle the line between taking the lead on issues, while knowing when to listen before speaking. I have worked as a public servant for years where I balance the demands of taking care of my students while knowing when to consult those with knowledge and experience beyond my own. It always comes down to one thing: Evidence.


The evidence is clear on COVID-19 – public health protocols work.

Current as of Sep 13, 2021. This image shows the daily case rates in correlation with public health measures. 


Current as of Sep 13, 2021. This image shows the daily case rates in correlation with public health measures. 


Public Health Measures and Protocols Save Lives

Let me be very clear on this, there is nothing more important than keeping people alive.

Alberta’s public policy in the last two years failed to stand up to the enormous challenge COVID-19 has presented us. City Councils should not carry the burden of implementing public health measures in the absence of provincial government action. It is not the job of municipalities to fill the void, but it has become our responsibility out of necessity—and we must act now.

There is always the evidence. 

  1. Every time public health measures are enacted, we see drastic decreases in community spread of COVID-19.
  2. On an international level, we know vaccines work to reduce severe outcomes of COVID-19.
  3. Vaccine passports present us with an opportunity to return to some semblance of economic normalcy, while also having a greater incentive on vaccination rates than a lottery or a small monetary incentive.
  4. Public health measures reduce the burden on our healthcare system and our front line workers–who need us now more than ever.
  5. Our kids need to be protected until they can be vaccinated.


Businesses Demanding Proof of Vaccination

Our provincial government speaks often about keeping our economy “open for good.” Open for good can only come with the certainty that we are not going to see health measures ebb and flow as measures come in and out. The burden for certainty has rested on individual businesses to protect themselves by implementing their own vaccination rules in the absence of government action. 

Proof of vaccination, or a vaccine passport, would enable all businesses to stay fully open and not be subject to punishing and arbitrary half-measures — like shutting down alcohol sales at 10:00 pm. 

By implementing health measures, we build up trust in each other and our ability to care for one another. Doing so increases the confidence people have in going about their day-to-day lives, trusting that adequate precautions and protocols are in place to allow for businesses to function and our health care system to avoid critical strain. 

This is our responsibility as leaders, as members of society, as neighbours.


On Protests Outside of Hospitals

I have stood between students and Anti-Choice protestors, as the latter handed out pamphlets with  graphic images to young students. This was never okay, and it has since been determined to be inappropriate by Bylaw. 

We have long recognized that an individual's right to peaceful assembly can sometimes conflict with our responsibility to protect and care for our most vulnerable. 

Anti-vaccination protests happening outside of hospitals are deplorable. It is embarrassing that even a single person would choose to protest outside of our health care facilities as people in their moment of highest need are forced to deal with the abuse of the ill-intentioned. 

To be clear: I believe in Canadians' right to peaceful assembly. However, the act of obstructing access to a hospital is anything but peaceful. 

While these groups of protestors appear to be extremely loud and vocal, their numbers appear to be relatively small at this point. This pandemic has been upsetting for a wide range of reasons— but protesting hospitals is not the way forward. I urge you all to get vaccinated and do your part in the fight against Covid to keep each other safe. 

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