As we approach the holiday season and the beginning of a new year I’m sure that the most common Christmas wish this year would be for the pandemic to end and life to return to some type of normalcy.
I empathise with people who have had to make last minute changes to their holiday travel plans, or have to decide whether or not to invite unvaccinated friends or relatives to their holiday gatherings, as we face of another surge from a variant unfortunately named along the lines of a character from the Transformer movie series.
When it comes to New Year’s resolutions one would hope that many resolve in 2022 to take steps to improve their general state of health by way of eating better, exercising more and giving up unhealthy habits. We have all learned all too well that viruses are very adept at exposing and exploiting the weaknesses in the species they have chosen to be their hosts. Any steps taken by society as a whole to reduce our vulnerabilities, whether by getting healthier or implementing preventative measure like vaccinations, mask wearing and using common sense when it comes to social interaction, will only help in the ongoing battle with COVID.
The other question is whether or not our elected politicians intend to implement New Year’s resolutions to make them better elected representatives? We have seen a shift in politics from the practice of thinking and acting outwardly to the undesirable trait of thinking and acting inwardly where the main goal of some elected representatives is to focus on re-election and preserving a well paid job with a handsome pension when leaving the political realm.
Unfortunately, in a time of crisis, the populace as a whole requires more outwardly thinking leaders who put their own views and ideologies aside for the benefit of the electorate who chose them over others to lead.
When our premier makes the comment that, without a change in the indoor gathering rules, the plans for his Christmas gathering would be in violation of the existing rules, then relaxes these rules, even if his comment was a weak attempt at humour, the optics are bad and you wonder who is advising him before he speaks. When he made the comment earlier in the year that mask mandates in rural areas would not work due to non-compliance one wonders, based on that logic, why we need many laws in the first place that people are likely to disobey to the detriment of others.
When looking at the polls that track the popularity of elected leaders, it should not surprise us that other provincial leaders, that are not afraid to impose necessary restrictions and enforce them, are well ahead of our premier in the popularity polls. Perhaps our premier’s New Year’s resolution, if he has any hope of extending his political life in Alberta, should be to exhibit strength, transparency, consistency, and influence over fellow party members, all attributes of a worthy leader. May be it is too late for him as a member of a political party that may no longer be deserving of the name “The United Conservative Party.”
John McBeath, Red Deer