Opinion

As Canadians, we must put aside political interests to combat coronavirus

As Canadians, it is our responsibility to look to our own resourcefulness, our own good will, our tendency toward compassionate, considered thinking.

Matthew Azrieli Montreal, QC
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The Canadian conservatives who were once made apprehensive by the Liberal government’s overreach are now watching as the government neither forms nor enacts a useful plan for pandemic prevention and containment.

This pandemic has caught the world off guard. Each country has had to balance their concern for citizen rights and freedoms with the ever apparent dangers to public health and safety. Global leaders, including our own Prime Minister, have not been spared the impact. Justin Trudeau is himself in quarantine after his wife tested positive for COVID-19.

As panic grips ordinary citizens who look to their leaders for guidance, the Prime Minister’s Office suggests some practical measures. Ultimately it is the local heads of government that must make the hard calls about closing schools, cancelling public gatherings, and engaging in quarantine measures.

Montreal and Ottawa are two of the cities that have opted to close schools, and Ontario Premier Doug Ford has ordered the province’s spring break be extended by two additional weeks. These are measured policies made by leaders in their localities, which is where many of these determinations must be made.

These are not partisan decisions. As we watch the Liberal government at the federal level seek to gain hold of the alarming viral spread that has taken so many other nations to their knees, we must recognize our own responsibility, as civilians, as citizens, and as human beings.

There are some who would say that Trudeau’s decision-making has been hindered by his desire to secure a seat for Canada on the UN Security Council. Still, other MPs would use the opportunity to push through legislative ideas that they have been after for years. It is essential, however, that we see the efforts of our lawmakers and leaders for what they are: their best efforts, put forth with their best intentions, to steer this ship of state to safe shores.

As we hear more in the coming days and weeks about anticipated infection and mortality rates, let’s be aware that our leaders are learning this information and quickly disseminating it to us. We are all experiencing this crisis in real time. If there was ever an instance to put bickering aside, and to take a stand for what you personally believe is the right and moral way to behave, this must surely be it.

Not every solution posed will be the right one, and not every question will have an adequate answer. But it’s time now to put all ideas on the table. As we make plans and contingency plans and back up contingency plans for our own families, let’s consider what we can offer not just to those around us, but to our broader communities, our localities, our nation, and to the world. Even if what you have to offer is a calm and measured hand, patience, a willingness to help neighbours, ferry supplies to those who can’t do it for themselves, and kind words—this is all part of the solution.

There are so many moving pieces to consider at the federal level, from transportation and fuel, to medical resources and population movements. Our leaders have not put forth a cohesive solution to every problem. When one issue becomes the focus, other issues fall by the wayside. This will keep happening. There is not a miracle fix waiting for us to discover it. Instead there are our best efforts.

As Canadians, it is our responsibility to look to our own resourcefulness, our own goodwill, our tendency toward compassionate, considered thinking, and bring solutions to the table that will not merely serve our own needs and those of our immediate families, but the broader needs of the country as well.

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