Entirely special

Okay, so you are in line waiting for the vaccine shot and the organizer announces there are just enough shots for eight people. Quick on your feet, the math dictates you and your partner are number seven and eight. What a relief. Finally.

The people behind in the line let out a sigh. Hopefully the next round is theirs. After all, great effort has been made to prioritize who gets the shot and who has to wait. Squeamish about needles on a good day, but recognizing this is a must-do event for their job as health care workers, seven and eight reach the front of the line. Ready and waiting there seems to be quite a bit of chatter between the organizer and the technicians.

Somewhat aghast, the organizer pulled the remaining two people aside for some bad news. It turns out they were two shots short on the supply they thought they had.

Quite a rotten thing to have happen, isn’t it? We wonder how many times across the country when vaccination events fall two shots short on product that the names Rodney and Ekaterina Baker will come to mind.

For those unfamiliar, the Baker couple flew into Whitehorse in late January and chartered another plane to travel a further 450km to Beaver Creek. There, they represented themselves as new employees at a local motel, which qualified them to receive the Moderna vaccine. Once the injection was administered they headed off to the airport for the flight home, according to the CBC.

He was CEO of the Great Canadian Gaming Corporation with casino interests across Canada and she is an actress. Under the Civil Emergency Measures Act (CEMA), the pair faces fines of $500 max, six months in jail or both. It will be interesting to see how expensive this clandestine escapade was in the end.

Closer to home, a director at Headwaters Health Care Centre  (HHCC) in Orangeville recently “retired” after having a family member vaccinated during a clinic setup for hospital staff, physicians and local healthcare workers. The name of the director has not been released by HHCC and perhaps that is just as well. Jumping the line is not a good look around town, especially given the trust implied with a role as a director. It is a sad bit of business.

Governments across the country continue to rely on the goodwill of citizens. Examples such as this, where the rich and powerful are able to fast-pass lineups is bad news indeed. It is a knock to the psyche when everyday people doing their level best to work within government mandates are made to feel like fools. It is maddening, but this entirely special attitude isn’t new, it is pervasive.

Take for example the recent resignation of the governor general. After months of investigation, costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, the conclusion was Julie Payette had presided over a toxic workplace. The imperfect vetting process allowing her to attain the position despite numerous red flags will mean we have had a very poor Queen’s representative this past few years who didn’t even complete her term. And her reward? Access to a continuing expense account and pension for life. As the government sorts that out, everyday Canadians spelled off due to COVID-19 these past few months or the folks who lost their job after managing poorly are left to scratch their heads. Some lose it all while the entirely special don’t seem to lose much.

A similar fiasco beset hospital employees working in a pressure cooker as their CAO headed to sunny climes. He lost his job for his poor choices, but looks to be leaving with a hefty severance.

This paradox between the largesse of public organizations and the means by which average people make a living has to become a discussion point. The disparity has reached a point of injustice. The recurring themes of transparency and accountability thrown about with whimsy by politicians and big shots never seems to catch up with them.

Reality for the entirely special is far different than the reality that working people face every day of the week.