Editorial: The time has come to keep up our collective national guard

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There is little question that 2020 has been a trying year. With Canada’s national GDP plummeting due to a host of pandemic and non-pandemic issues and the global economy reeling from a flurry of hits that just seem to keep on coming, there is a tremendous push to get all things economic back onto a more productive even keel. The nation has been cushioned from the full immediate impact of the economic tsunami that is COVID-19 thanks to the timely introduction of emergency supports for those most heavily impacted, and most Canadians applaud and support those moves, but many are also holding their breath waiting for the second shoe (wave?) to drop when it comes to paying the piper.

What is perhaps most surprising, however, is that despite an avalanche of federal red ink the likes of which has not been seen since the aftermath of world wars and a global depression came to visit, the key fiscal watchdogs seem remarkably unconcerned about the stain spreading across the nation’s books.

All things, even finance, is relative. 

What would have been predicted as an inevitable financial Armageddon by the Bay Street cheering section (those who perennially advocate for deeper government cuts primarily impacting the poor) comes across as pretty small potatoes when gazing upon the gaping maw of the oven that is pandemic. Those voices are still echoing down the largely empty halls of power, but their impact has been muted dramatically by the popularity of the benefits keeping the wolves from the doors of individuals and businesses large and small.

Still voices will rise, because those concerns being voiced remain very real.

With children headed back to school within a few weeks, not to mention that annual feeding frenzy that is back-to-school shopping, there will be a lot of mixing and mingling going on.

But if there is one thing that the pandemic numbers should have taught us at this point, it is that we can beat it. If enough of us work together and continue to wash our hands, continue to keep our physical distance, continue to quietly mask up when we can’t stand apart, continue to cough into our elbows, oh, and wash our hands yet again, we can hammer down those infection rates into something our state-of-the-art medical professionals and equipment can handle.

If we can keep the lid on infections, then the province can stay open for business. Our urban centres, factories, big box stores, schools, restaurants, down to the tiny mom and pop convenience stores, can continue on with business something close to normal.

And that is something we are all yearning deeply for—a return to normal.

The answer lies, in part literally, in our own hands.

Eschew the self-centred whining of those Facebook warriors who are too often mindlessly forwarding memes pushing back against the wearing of masks and move on to outright ignoring those whose efforts are aimed at circumventing perfectly sensible precautions to protect public health in the name of some esoteric and ephemeral threat to freedom.

The freedom of children to follow a healthy path to adulthood, the freedom of the dwindling numbers of our greatest generation to live out their last moments without resorting to a ventilator, the freedom of each of us to pursue a tiny piece of the Canadian dream by dint of our own hard work and determination, far outweighs any esoteric terror of the cloth. 

Get over it, so we all can eventually get past it.

As for those fearing the latest cell phone app that tracks COVID-19 contacts and provides you with an alert and concerned it will allow government and business to track everything every one does—where were you when the internet of things happened? Every move everyone makes is already laid bare by a legion of spies that probably now includes your toaster—the app is hardly going to add to the data mining significantly.

As for the vast majority of the Canadian population who are adhering to the protocols there is a simple message you should hear: don’t panic, don’t despair, we are winning. Don’t let your guard down; rather now is the time for every person to come to the aid of their country. Redouble your efforts. Sure, we are all pretty much pandemicked out, but this race will be won through the core Canadian values of peace, order and good government.

So go ahead, wash your hands, sanitize your door handles, wear a mask in public, avoid crowds and continue to care about all of those we love. This is not the time to drop our collective guard, but rather to ramp up our efforts to keep COVID on the run.