During the early days of December as the number of new COVID-19 cases was rising across Ontario, a very grim milestone was reached on the first Saturday of the month when Quebec recorded over 2,000 daily infections.
On that same day, Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw also reported an overall rise of cases in rural areas which conclusively translates to a provincial problem, not just an urban challenge. The virus does not respect geographic boundaries, as Alberta has registered well over 1,000 new cases daily for more than two weeks with some reports exceeding Ontario, where the population is over triple the most western of the three prairie provinces.
Dr. Hinshaw has also indicated that the current second wave is different than the spring wave when COVID-19 was a problem for Calgary and Edmonton with limited rural infections. In a statement that reflects a rising concern across all of Canada, she noted rural residents do not have local access to intensive care facilities and other medical services in response to these escalating numbers.
In one of the more memorable news stories across Canada during the pandemic, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister provided a close perspective into the overwhelming weight he and his cabinet colleagues are carrying with an emotional plea for all residents to stay at home for the holidays.
A column in the Globe and Mail described Pallister’s remarks at a December 3 media briefing as his finest moment as Premier. Networks south of the border quickly absorbed the story and generally agreed with the perspectives from the north.
The phrase “I’m the guy who is stealing Christmas” may or may not rival any previous memorable Canadian or American political discourse. Pallister was uncharacteristically blunt when he said you do not need to like me, however in the years to come you might respect me for having the guts to tell you the right thing.
Canadian politicians may be liberal, conservative or socialist and carry different and widely divergent views on how to mange the economy and health care systems. They are however all human.
As voters we elect then to lead. At times like this we need to cooperate and recognize we are all in this together.
Written by Art Sinclair