A little bit of heart

As infection numbers begin to rise, politicians and those in charge of public health face challenges of how to deal with the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Closures on the scale of those that occurred in the spring would need to be considered, but as a last resort.

Despite significant distribution of aid, whether it was CERB or CEWS payments or a host of other programs, the proverbial cupboard is pretty bare. Money hasn’t ended COVID, but it sure put a dent in the significant financial hardships that would have resulted if Canadians were left to fend for themselves.

The business community is now a mixed bag of tricks, with some hardly able to keep up to demand and others wondering when or if they can pay their bills. Inclement weather on the horizon only adds to the list of woes. This remains a time of often agonizing choices.

Both Premier Doug Ford and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won popular support in the early days for their efforts to stickhandle COVID-19. Very little was known about this menacing virus.

But, once a clearer picture emerged of the pandemic fallout, commentary against them and others has become quite toxic at times. It is a conversation worth exploring locally where the public has been generally well satisfied and understanding.

It is easy to forget that locally we are served municipally by neighbours and friends. Local politics allows for a more intimate relationship where politicians’ interaction with media isn’t just about sound bites or what will look good in print – it’s a chance for some honesty.

It is from that reference point we were impressed with the candid, emotional appeal by Puslinch Mayor James Seeley. The source of his angst was opening the Optimist Recreation Centre ice rink for use by the public. It is that weighing of safety and sense of freedom for residents that has been such a struggle for local decisions makers. They just want to do the right thing.

Council ended up asking its staff to come up with a report addressing some very good questions. Liability, as always, factors into most decisions, but in a general sense council spoke intuitively to the greatest challenge residents will face this fall and winter: remaining hopeful.

That little bit of heart goes a long way in showing how deep an impact the last few months have had on decision-makers entrusted with keeping the public safe.

It isn’t easy being responsible for the welfare of others. Compassion and good sense will win the day.