Provincial leaders vacationing amid pandemic

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A man walking down the pier of a beach. Wikipedia Commons (manipulated by Kate Thiessen)

What kind of example are we being given?

by halyna mihalik, contributor

Not only in Saskatchewan, but throughout the country and all around the world, the holiday season looked a lot different this year. Perhaps a year ago the prospect of spending the holidays without loved ones would have been scoffed at, but this year it was something we were all dreading, yet expecting.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic having been ongoing for months now, the number of reported cases continues to spike each and every day in Canada. The number of cases in Saskatchewan alone are continuing to climb alarmingly.

So when tighter restrictions and lockdowns were announced for numerous provinces, many were disappointed, but not surprised. It is upsetting that restrictions were not put in effect immediately after Thanksgiving to attempt to salvage the Christmas season now being spent alone by many.

Saskatchewan’s holiday restrictions were put into place on December 17. They were confusing and disappointing for many as they banned gatherings outside of your immediate household… unless gathered in public or outside. Also, all retail businesses  are limited to 25-50 per cent capacity (depending on their size), but only starting after Christmas Day. Even though holiday shopping means stores will be as overcrowded as ever.

Many of the customers coming through my till while doing some holiday grocery shopping discussed their thoughts with me. The majority of people expressed that they were “hurt” or “disappointed” by rules that had been put into place too late. It seems almost like a half attempt at solving the problem at hand. A band-aid solution that will only temporarily help.

Yet as Canadians diligently stayed home among immediate family as per government request, limited shopping or events, and cancelled any travel plans, the very leaders giving us these orders were not following them as we were.

How are the people of Saskatchewan to take any COVID restrictions seriously when the people in charge of our province cannot follow these rules themselves? In Saskatchewan we have Saskatchewan Party MLA Joe Hargave, who took a trip to California with his. He has since made a public apology for his mistake. Social media photos from government premiers as well as municipal leaders in our neighboring province Alberta have surfaced showing them vacationing in Mexico and Hawaii.

Our leaders must take accountability for their actions if they expect us to take accountability for ours. If they strive to do better we will too. As a province and as a country, we can only hope that our leaders have since learned from their mistakes and will do a much better job in the new year of 2021 leading us through the ongoing COVID pandemic.

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