An Average Albertans words about Covid
Feb 11, 2021
Dr. J. Gateman
Yesterday Premier Kenney laid the gauntlet down. He challenged those who disagree with Covid's restrictions to explain how they would have done differently. A few have taken him up on that.
It’s hard to believe that a smart politician like Mr. Kenney could be so tone-deaf. Jason is a lifelong politician who went to Ottawa as part of the Rat/Snack Pack (some of the youngest politicians sent to Ottawa) back in 1997. He is extremely well versed in politics and political strategy. He was elected under the promise of listening to the grassroots and representing the people. He became a rising star and quickly ascended the ladder while in Ottawa for 19 years. Today he is well on his way to becoming the most hated politician in the West, with Trudeau still leading the race, but the gap is closing.
Mr. Kenney ran a smart, tight, fully laid out campaign race to win the PC leadership and then the United Conservative head spot. But as he has progressed in office, it seems to be going to his head that he was elected with a large majority. I feel he thinks himself infallible. However, the captain of this ship will take the ship, himself and the party down with him if he doesn’t start actually listening to Albertans.
For him to believe that those people unhappy with his restrictions and his governing method are just a few grumpy Albertans is not only naive but dangerous to an entire political party, and Albertans will once again be the people to clean up the mess. The United Conservative Party is rapidly separating itself from its base supporters while fuelling the “Karens” in society to screech louder. He believes his own press, surrounding himself with “Yes Men” and pompously telling provincial citizens he knows best. He is sacrificing things to people who would never and will never vote for him at the cost of his own party's supporters.
With another politician stepping forward and publicly adding their name to the list of “End the Lockdown Caucus,” the cracks are starting to show. Dissension in the ranks is never a good thing in a bid for power but does rear its head before disastrous falls.
Mr. Kenney is gearing up to squash that rise. Yesterday he said, “my focus is on protecting Albertans, not listening to the chatter of political voices.” Completely dismissing a representative of the people as “chattery voices” is an interesting chess move but leaves your Queen very vulnerable.
After a full year of sacrifices and nothing to show for it, the majority of Albertans are preparing to fight. Mr. Kenney seems to forget that Alberta is the province that fights for what they believe in. And they will do it now. With an election coming up in 2 years, Mr. Kenney needs to be aware that his poll numbers are not good. And to paraphrase a meme; He’s doing more to re-elect the NDP than the NDP could ever manage on their own. After fighting tooth and nail to unify the Right, Jason is splitting it into pieces. With three “conservative” parties signing up members, that writing on the wall should be enough to scare any politician into seriously taking off the rose-coloured glasses. Mr. Kenney doesn’t see it. With those conservative parties searching for candidates actively, the carpet is being laid out for a walk up the middle.
Now back to Mr. Kenney’s question; Does he really think that there was no other way to handle this? Does he seriously not have anyone briefing him on basic virology? Is he so egotistical to not hear the very people he is supposed to represent?
He says the dissenting voices are small, few in number and are comprised of those who do not understand the situation. A quick scan of his Facebook page, social media accounts and press over the last few weeks would put those ideas to bed in a hurry. Perhaps he is relying on Albertans tenacity, and once Co-vid is over, he can put out some tax incentives and create some govt paid jobs that will make it all okay. Albertans do not want that. We don’t like handouts; we want less government control and more “get out of our way and watch us do it.”
With a full year of sacrifice and doing our part, Albertans are not happy with no dates and no looking at individual areas or different structures. The phrase “when Covid is over” is like telling your kids you’ll talk about it once they have 3 bites of broccoli and then telling them the bites were too small, so they need to have 2 more. Telling Albertans that they have to throw themselves on their swords again because the contract tracing wasn’t good enough back then is a slap in the face. Remember, this was supposed to be a 2 week shut down to flatten the curve. A full 47 weeks later, with the blame is continuing to be put on the people doing the sacrificing, this causes distrust, and compliance will quickly fade. I do agree with Mr. Kenney saying that now is the time for unpopular governing, but unpopular decisions can be brought forth and accepted by people; the missing key is transparency. In particular, Albertans are not stupid people, and their BS metres are very sensitive right now. They can add, they can research, they can deduce. And guess what? As much as Fehr Kenney tells us it’s our fault and we would have been carrying body bags out of McMahon Stadium (there was talk to that becoming a tent hospital if needed) if he hadn’t led with the heavy restrictions, Albertans can feel the desperation to hold onto the power. The numbers aren’t adding up, the gag orders on public workers are draconian, the infallibleness of the politicians is revolting, and the blame game has gotten old.
Protecting our elderly populations should have been priority number 1. Yes, we have a virus on the loose, but we have studied viruses for hundreds of years and then threw out the basic information to try and combat it. Instead of protecting those in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, we spectacularly failed at this. We instead turned a blind eye, threw out lessons learned and condemned the people who built this fabulous province to die alone. Then to add insult to injury, we refused to let those closest to them grieve and mourn in a proper fashion. In a true pandemic, you lock in the staff once the outbreak has been determined. You do not rotate those employees through multiple other facilities in order to reduce costs. The status quo goes out the window, and you find a way to make it work.
Once found to be inadequate, the contract tracing should have immediately been revamped and carried out by professionals that could have streamlined the system rather than the bumbling 80%+ of “no idea where it started” boondoggle it was. In this day and age, you can track/stalk someone on the internet pretty easily. Add in government powers, and you would have been able to do it quietly and simply.
Now add in the blame game perpetrated by the government, and you really ramp up things. When the Spanish flu ran rampant, the government went to the press and asked them to stop. They needed people to work together to get a handle on this. Of course, the government really wanted to get through this crisis at that time, not just use it for political gain or the pushing forward of agendas.
Instead of the government taking the blame and saying, “we said two weeks but our predictions were off,” “we made a mistake and have to redo tracing because the current system isn’t working bear with us,” “we take the blame, not Albertans we need to do better”,…. No. They placed the blame on the public; those of you who aren’t wearing masks, those of you travelling, those of you not staying 6 feet apart, those of you visiting others,…. So if everything we did spread the virus and nothing was working, why did we double down on the things not working? The government not taking responsibility was one of the sparks that feed the inferno.
Then came the contradictions, hypocrisy and the different rules for different people (this should be the T-shirt of Covid govt response). Wear a mask into the restaurant but not while eating or drinking, wear a mask at the gym or rec centre but not if exerting yourself, wear a mask and stay 6 feet apart, wear a double mask, work from home but not if you are required at work, skating on the ice is fine but playing a game is not, kids can go to school together but can’t learn how to skate with the same group of kids after school, a tattoo parlour can see clients. Still, a visit to my mothers-in-la for coffee across the street is too risky; camping okay, kids playing in a backyard is a no-go, you can buy a couch at Walmart but can’t pick up one you found on Kijiji, and so on. Different provinces and countries had different rules. Which rules are you to follow? And why were the rules of viruses thrown out the window? This virus knew how to tell time, hit an imaginary wall after a certain distance, could tell if you were sitting or standing, recognized exercise, and surroundings/settings, it doesn’t cross provincial borders? It did seem to take away common sense; well, actually, the virus didn’t do that; the media and government did. Hard to lord over people if they can say, “Uhm? Somethings not right there, that doesn’t make sense.” With contradictions and hypocrisy comes rebellion.
It didn’t matter if you followed the rules; it didn’t matter the extra expense you put in for patrons or distancing; it didn’t matter if there were no cases traced back to you. No sacrifice you made mattered - with one simple swipe, the government closed you. Playgrounds were taped off, boarded up and locked. Washrooms were locked. Stay at home orders initiated. Working through the pandemic became a privilege rather than a protected right.
Rather than taking systems from companies doing it right, who had no transmissions and helping other businesses that were struggling with transmission rates, everyone was punished. Sweeping the legs out from under businesses owners. Only large conglomerates were allowed to keep operating. Businesses scrambled to change up their plans to stay afloat during the new rules. Rules that seemed to change on an hourly or at least daily basis. Business owners and staff worked harder and made less dollars but tried to put protection of Albertans above all else. However, the government, the very body that is to protect and fight for Albertans, sacrificed its own people and for what? Is it power? Is it an agenda? What is the end game here? The government not only kept moving the goalposts, but it also kept changing the game. Hard to follow the rules when you're on the wrong field for the game being played. With no level playing field, you decide who the winners and losers are. And the government has done just that.
The lockdown at Christmas time, right after saying that the transmissions were from social gatherings, so we are closing all businesses except Costco, Walmart, etc.…. If social gatherings are the biggest spreader, why would you not want to encourage people to go out and gather at businesses that can help regulate the distancing and mask-wearing, etc.…? Instead, you turned average citizens into criminals by wanting to get together with family at Christmas, shame on them! You caused people to lash out at others they viewed as breaking the rules, turning citizen against citizen in what they viewed was correct.
The Premier would call press conferences and rattle off country names but never talked about the flip side; countries that did it differently and successfully different in many cases. Then he would disappear for a week or 10 days. We would hear from his cohorts and henchmen, but he was nowhere to be found or seen. When you need a leader and need to hear things from the elected official in the highest office, he would pass the baton to those around him.
Businesses made up their own rules, wear a mask, don’t wear a mask, exemptions welcome, no exceptions allowed. Business owners and staff become enforcement officers over rules they themselves did not understand or have the jurisdiction to enforce.
Then came further fanning of the flames with language and virtue signalling. Firing ministers and shaming people who travelled. Politicians who pretended they were home while travelling perpetrated fraud, not those who legally travelled and followed the quarantine requirements. With a successful pilot project to enhance travel safety and keep the travel economy warm, the government failed to stand behind its own program. Claiming the language wasn’t clear enough. Non-essential travel was not recommended, okay it’s also not recommended to eat at McDonald's every day, but no one is getting fired overdoing it. Here again shines through the hypocrisy, virtue signalling and knee-jerk reactions that have worsened the struggles through this time.
The 1000 covid death press conference highlights the point the of no return for the government. By now, we all knew that the covid numbers were off, that deaths were being counted as covid that weren’t. The language used for those 1000 people was a huge insult for anyone else who died in Alberta of any other cause. Did their lives not matter simply because they weren’t the statistic the government wanted? It was reckless and shameful for the government to continue with this while out the other side of their mouth, spouting that they were keeping Albertans safe. But only safe from covid, not suicide, mental issues, disease diagnostics, cancelled surgeries, etc.… There was only one number that counted to the government, and to ensure that the count would stay higher than it should, the government doled out more dollars for dealing with covid cases. This, of course, will cause people to list items as a covid case even if they are not. Then came the WHO and other organizations' announcement that the PCR tests had cycles set to high, means the numbers could be off by more than 60%. Of course, this had been talked about before but poo-pooed as anti-mask chatter. Still, the narrative didn’t change. It just switched to the variant. The variant with the same worn-out doomsday rhetoric. Mr. Kenney can truly call himself the boy who cried wolf for this go-round.
The covid conversation around the world is changing. CNN no longer has the Covid death counter in the corner of its broadcasts. Comments like; “scales are tipping against the virus,” “great strides were made today,” “the virus is starting to weaken its hold” is what the world is reporting, but here in Canada, our dictator of a Prime Minister is ramping up the fear-mongering and instilling the toughest restriction and trampling of citizen rights in the world. And doing this all without delivering vaccines to the population.
What does Mr. Kenney have to say about this? Nothing. Crickets. Does he speak out about Albertans being taken against their will to “not hotels” (see the pictures to see what these covid concentration camps look like truly)? Does he say, “they shouldn’t be treated like this?” Does he speak about how these are his citizens, and he will not stand by while their rights are trampled? No, he tweets and posts, “Hey, we didn’t do this. Blame someone else.” Does he stand up and say, “In Alberta, have facilities ready to produce the vaccine, and if the Federal Government doesn’t help them get distribution approval, our government will? Does he stand up against any of the things happening to Alberta right now? No. He says he hopes, encourages and sends positive thoughts, and perhaps he will write a strongly worded letter to the powers that need to hear it. We are supposedly at war with a virus, and our political policy is to hope, pray, encourage and think positive. Yep, I’m sure that will work.
If Mr. Kenney wishes to be more than a one-term premier, he better turn this around fast. He is correct; now is the time for unpopular policies, but he is on the wrong side of this popularity contest. He needs to ensure that all Albertans are protected and have access to make a living. He needs to bring back personal responsibility and let the smart Albertans choose what they need to do. We are aware of the risks and assess risks every day of our lives. You’ve made us aware of the risks of Covid, and we can now choose how to go about living with it. If you feel it’s too risky to go out, stay home. If you feel you’re protected well enough, then go about your business. The shutdowns are worse than the virus. Be careful in telling Albertans they might get confused if the information is released to them or “they need to come back to planet reality” is very similar to a “look in the mirror” statement. We were sold a Mr. Kenney and got a Jim Pretence. Albertans will speak loud and clear; they will send a message at the polls; our only hope is that Mr. Kenney listens to them before then.
To quote Martin Luther King, “What we need right now are Leaders not in love with publicity but in love with humanity. Leaders not in love with money but in love with justice.” And I encourage leaders like this to come out now and stand out against the wrong that is being done to our great province. Whether you're a business owner, journalist, healthcare worker, public employee, private citizen, etc.… stand up for your province and your fellow Albertans.