Who was that masked man?
Across the country, hospital CEOs, doctors and front-line health workers are screaming at various governments to wear their masks over their mouths and noses instead of wearing them over their eyes. But governments appear to be happy to use masks as blinkers instead.
Hospitals across Canada are reporting on an almost daily basis that emergency departments are swamped, ICU beds are full and surgeries – even non-elective surgeries – are being delayed because of the surge in cases of COVID-19 and its variants and other respiratory ailments, particularly among children. Ontario’s chief medical officer, Dr. Kieren Moore, is “strongly recommending” that people return to wearing masks in indoor settings. Indeed, he suggested recently that parents of school-age children wear masks at home.
But not one provincial government is willing to bring back mask mandates. Despite Moore’s warning, which he reiterated as late as Monday, only eight members of the Progressive Conservative caucus bothered to wear masks during Tuesday’s sitting of the Ontario legislature, while almost all opposition members covered their lower faces. That alone should tell you that this pandemic is being treated as a political issue, rather than a health issue.
In Alberta, newly appointed premier Danielle Smith, well-known for her anti-vaxxer views, has fired that province’s chief medical officer and decided to get COVID-19 advice from an American doctor who appeared on the Alex Jones Show to claim COVID-19 vaccines are a bioweapon.
And it’s not just COVID-19. Hospitals are losing front-line workers, doctors are in short supply and many Canadians are having difficulty finding a family doctor. That just adds up to the long wait times in hospital ERs. But when the provincial health ministers met with their federal counterpart recently, looking for additional federal health-care spending, they issued a statement declaring the talks were a failure even while the talks were still in progress. That’s because the feds wanted to attach strings to any handouts, rather than just let provincial governments use the money to improve their bottom lines. It’s all politics.
In Uxbridge, our local council frequently receives reports, advice and recommendations from various experts, whether they be engineering firms or planning consultants like Elizabeth Howson. If the councillors chose to ignore the advice and recommendations of the experts, one would understandably ask why they sought – and paid for – that advice in the first place. But on the provincial stage, the Ford government chooses to ignore the advice of its senior – and well-paid – medical advisor. If they are going to ignore his recommendations, why is he still in the job? In fact, why does the position even exist if the government isn’t going to listen?
If I have a leaky faucet, I don’t call a politician: I call a plumber. If my car is giving me trouble, I don’t call a politician: I call an auto mechanic. If there is a crisis in our health-care system, I don’t want to listen to the politicians: I want to hear from the medical experts. And if my doctor gives me a prescription for medication and then says “I recommend you take the medicine, but it’s your call,” I’d find myself questioning the efficacy of the medicine. But that is exactly what Ford did when he came out this week and advised people to wear masks but added, in effect, “it’s your call.”
It has been over two-and-a-half years since COVID-19 hit us and by now, for many of us, wearing a mask in indoor settings is almost as normal as putting on our coats. It is not a hardship, no matter how loudly the anti-maskers might yell. After all, winter is now upon us and how many of the anti-maskers will be wearing scarves around their lower faces to ward off the icy sting? How many of them will wear ski masks on the snowy slopes? Nobody has to order them to do it: it’s just the sensible thing to do.
It seems to me that our provincial government should do the sensible thing and bring back the mask mandate and just maybe this time we can get on top of this damned pandemic. Of course, asking a government to do the sensible thing is an exercise in futility.
Tell me, am I wrong?
Want to tell Roger Varley if he’s wrong or right?
Email him at email@example.com