We are not in normal times, which at this point should be abundantly clear to all of society. As we try to slow Covid-19, we as a society are having to take measures that are outside the norm but are necessary to protect one another. That has raised anxieties and made people feel uncomfortable, which is completely understandable.
The sentiment of this moment should be unmistakable to all, but as I’ve been known to say “Common Sense isn’t all the common”. Not everyone seems to be getting the importance of this moment or are failing to adjust themselves to the realities we are now facing, which frankly are drastically different than they were a few weeks ago.
As this crisis goes along, I continue to be amazed by the tone deafness of some who seem to refuse to “read the room” before they spout whatever they are. And this is proving to be a problem all across the political spectrum, not just exclusive to one side of crazy or the other. Today I’ve got two prime examples of this, examples of statements from purportedly serious people who want to have serious effects on our society. Let’s start with the Conservative Party leadership race, which is amazingly still ongoing, with this gem from the perceived front runner and wannabe next Prime Minister of Canada:
Okay folks, this is mind-blowingly bad stuff. While there seems to be a growing consensus within the Conservative Party that their leadership race should be suspended or postponed, albeit a bit late to arrive, Peter MacKay has decided to go in another direction. And I mean a completely different direction. Instead of reading this moment and reacting to the dangers and seriousness of it, MacKay actually wants to speed up the race and move the vote up sooner. When you think of it, that’s not only selfish and just dumb, it’s downright dangerous and totally counter to every piece of advice from the medical community. And for what? A perceived political advantage this moment has brought him? If MacKay and team think that trying to win their leadership like this will be to his advantage, he surely isn’t thinking about what people will think of him after this pandemic is over.
But after first making his irresponsible call, he had a chance to see the error of his ways and walk it back. It wouldn’t be the first time his team has, so surely they could have done it again. But nope, instead a few days later they released that tweet and that email above, giving the most asinine rationale for calling for this race to be sped up. MacKay should know that, as someone with 30 years in political life in Canada. I have 15 years of work and volunteering in our politics, and I didn’t need all that experience to know just how off the mark his comparison with Elections Canada preparations was. Let’s be clear folks, just so you know; Elections Canada is always preparing for the next election. Minority government, majority government, all the time they are preparing for the next one. That is their very reason for existing, period. They operate on their own schedule and there is nothing conspiratorial or more to read into what in the hell Elections Canada is going. They’re doing their jobs, period.
For MacKay to try to spin that into a weak reason for trying to shorten their leadership campaign in a bloody global pandemic, well that just makes many Canadians question his judgement and his actual ability to lead. You know, something most leadership candidates would actually worry about. But when it comes to questionable judgement in this serious time Peter MacKay is not alone, not by a longshot, as this story from the National Observer shows in spades:
Look, there is a time and place for just about any criticism of government or policies they take, I accept that and value it. But at the same time, I also accept the fact that this moment of national emergency to fight a global pandemic is not that time nor place. In fact, it’s quite the opposite of it. And on my social media feeds, I saw many people gripe and groan at the idea that the Federal government might help industries and sectors that they don’t like, so this story didn’t shock me in that sense.
But all that being said, right now there is only one concern above others that matters; the emergency right in front of us. Dealing with the emergency means helping everyone we can, including those that work in the oil and gas sector, people who were already struggling before this happened. And since then, the price of oil has plunged through the floor meaning that even more layoffs are coming for those who work in that sector. It’s in this moment that the government should be helping everyone, regardless of sector, to get through this moment of emergency.
So when I read that piece from the National Observer quoting Environmental Defense Canada, Oil Change International and Senator Rosa Galvez it was clear that they are putting their issues and concerns over those of the workers who are suffering dearly at this point. Their “yeah, but” comments put forward a cold, indifferent view that basically says that they don’t care if workers in that sector, the very same workers they say deserve a “just transition” should be left to suffer right now because any help for their sector would be an affront to their stated world views. That’s the kind of ugly, callous disregard for the immediate needs of those workers and their families that undermines any belief from those very same people that those groups are at all interested in their well-being. It’s that kind of indifference that feeds conspiracy theories about “foreign funded radicals” trying to take down Canada’s energy sector out of spite and makes it all the more difficult to achieve the goal of a greener economy that includes those workers when that time comes.
Let me be clear, as important and laudable goal that is, this is not the time for that. We’re more worried about life and death due to Covid-19, and any attempts to superimpose other issues over this in this dire time are just completely inappropriate and ignoring the moment. Those groups and individuals quoted in that story tut-tutting the Federal government for “daring” to not help everyone in need in this time risk creating the same kind of damage to their movements and goals as Peter MacKay is doing to his. It’s time for the subjects of both of these stories to read the room, realize we are not in normal time, and simply stop it. Stop it. Stop it now. There will be a time and place for the conversations that both of the subjects here are calling for, and this is not it. Because of all the uncertainty that we have out there, there is one thing I can be certain of coming out of this; people are paying attention and they will remember those who didn’t rise to the seriousness of this moment or didn’t act right. Those memories stand to do far more damage to their causes and goals than a few weeks of silence ever will. They would do well to remember that, but something tells me that if they haven’t already, I shouldn’t be too hopeful.