If we can all agree, and we think we can, that hindsight is 20/20, then we have the perfect place to start in any discussion about our governments and their response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is not about absolving our leaders of any failures during what we all hope will be a rare event. Rather, it is simply an important thing to remember when we look back and, quite fairly, analyze and criticize the way our leaders handled things on our behalf.
Hopefully, we can also agree that the most important thing to do during any health emergency is to ensure the safety of the citizens. Just as a government must try to ensure the safety of its citizens during wartime, it is equally important to protect citizens when the country is at war with a deadly virus.
Once measures are in place to protect citizens, governments must then look to balance all other competing interests, most notably the economy and our way of life. No easy task.
Easy or not, that is their job. The job they asked for. They asked us to elect them to power and now we get the chance to tell them how they did when things got tough. We must take this chance and, just as importantly, we must remember how well they did or did not do when the next election rolls around.
At some point the governments may hold public inquiries or put together commissions to look into their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but these processes take a long time. Governments tend to prefer this as it shifts the attention away from themselves on the issue in the short term and helps people ‘forget’ over time.
However, if enough people get together and share their opinions now and into the future we won’t forget, and the governments will have to listen and carefully take our opinions into account.
From not adequately protecting our seniors in long-term care, to poor vaccine availability for the first 4-6 months, to holding elections during a health emergency, there is lots to talk about.
So, what can we do?
Connect with other Canadians, and demand more from your elected officials, who are the only ones with the power to force the changes we want. Demand accountability for their mistakes. Demand promises to do better. And then hold them to those promises through your power to vote.
Ultimately, it is your responsibility to tell the elected officials what you want. It is their responsibility to make it happen. Assuming, of course, they want to get re-elected.