We’re Not Built for Lockdowns

By: Laura Steiner
Here we go again.  As of 12:01 a.m. this morning, we’re into a third lockdown or shutdown in the words of the Ontario government.  The 28-day period is meant to be an ’emergency brake on a third wave. It really feels like  either Groundhog Day or a definition of insanity; doing the same over again, and expecting a different response.
We’ve been here before, and it hasn’t worked.  Now we’re stuck with the deadly truth: Canada isn’t cut out for lockdowns.  Maybe it’s our politicians; eternally optimistic and trusting.  They hope that things won’t get as bad as they’re told.  They hope that people will obey restrictions without too much fuss.  Hope has turned into a poor policy option on this one.
Lockdowns or shutdowns only work if they’re enforced to the strictest possible extreme.  I’m talking a curfew enforced by police with tickets, and punishments for violations.  I’m talking enforced perimeters around neighbourhoods with the highest COVID-19 positivity rates.  And I’m talking military on our streets to help with enforcement. But Canadians aren’t ready for this.
Our leadership isn’t ready for this.  The hard decisions take a willingness to admit that what’s best for citizens is not the most popular.  Instead we have a crew of politicians that treasures popularity over what’s best. They’re afraid of the press generated by images of breaking up a worship service for violating the rules on gatherings,  or a video of a business with the guts to stay open with COVID19 precautions in place.
Instead of the one time draconian measures, we find ourselves with a patchwork of restrictions so confusing I have to look it up on the Internet half the time.  The penalties for breaking them  have to be enforced.  There’s a little confusion over who’s responsible between local bylaw officers and police.  Police are able to say how many complaints they get, and how many result in investigations in the region.  But bylaw enforcement plays a role in each community leading to confusion.   Municipalities don’t have funding to hire enough officers to do this kind of job.   It creates an inequality among communities; what’s enforced here in Milton, may not be in Burlington or Oakville.
A year  into COVID19, and Canada is stuck.   We’re not ready for true lockdowns.  And our leadership isn’t creative enough to think of a new way through it. Instead we repeat the same methods, lie to ourselves that this will be the last time.  If it worked the two previous times, then we wouldn’t find be here.

1 Comment

  1. You cannot control the spread if the airports and borders are not secured. The vaccines are only good for 6 months. When TB was widespread at the beginning of 2nd world war the sick were put into homes and food and supplies were delivered. There was no escape you had to keep yourself busy making socks for the enlisted men. We had real leaders at that time.

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