I have not been in a grocery store since March 12, 2020. I wear a mask when I enter areas where others are gathered, including the Medical Day Room at the Red Deer Hospital where I go every 22 to 26 days for an infusion of white blood cells.
I worked as a social studies teacher for 30 years and, in that profession, one of my key roles was to lead students through the process of analyzing and assessing significant historical events. Our curriculum included the examination of real “crimes against humanity.” We studied historical events and one of the major topics was the holocaust. In today’s world it is safe to say that there are very few people in the Western World who don’t know about the imprisonment and slaughter of six million Jews under Hitler’s Nazi regime. This is an example of a real “crime against humanity.”
While driving down main street Innisfail last week I noticed a sign in the window of two non-essential stores that read, “Lockdowns are a crime against humanity.” My first reaction was one of disbelief quickly followed by disappointment. I thought, “How can anyone in a non-essential business in Innisfail, Alberta, Canada, in 2021, identify pandemic related government health regulations as a “crime against humanity?” I must reiterate, these two stores were both open.
I am left wondering if the general population has a meaningful and relevant understanding of historical terms such as the one in question. I am also left wondering how victims of a bonafide “crime against humanity” might react to such offensive signage. Can we equate the economic and psychological stresses of a mid-pandemic “lockdown” with the horrors of Auschwitz?
In our nation of Canada where our current federal government firmly believes in financial support programs for struggling entrepreneurs, is it really fair to equate the implementation of pandemic related safety guidelines with the slaughter of millions and millions of vulnerable and innocent victims in concentration camps?
Obviously, reduced business activity will have negative impacts on multiple levels. However, if our health experts and elected government leaders, on all political levels, determine it necessary to restrict economic freedom, how insightful, or accurate, is it to say that they are committing a crime against humanity?
I wish to draw awareness to the flagrant misuse, and apparent acceptance, of dangerous messaging that undermines the health and safety of those most at risk. Regardless of these blatant displays of selfishness, I am optimistically confident that most Canadians are reasonable and informed, and that they have a deep sense of concern and empathy for one another.
I like to think that Canadians love their neighbours. I like to think that they anchor their decisions in compassion, science, reason, and intellectual analysis. I like to think that, in a crisis such as a pandemic, Canadians will, once again, band together to fight a common enemy – COVID 19 – and will do so with grace, fortitude, and perseverance.
Bruce Madore, Innisfail