‘Profound disconnect’

RE: Extreme persecution, Oct. 7.

I was in the midst of practicing my flippancy, in the west wing of my ivory tower, when I came upon Wayne Baker’s response to my letter asking for an example of persecution suffered by the People’s Party of Canada.

I will be brief with most of Baker’s concerns, the first of which is that the public sector seems to be unaffected by the pandemic while the private sector has suffered some severe hits. I don’t think I’m being incredibly original in saying that such an outcome is simply politics—governments tend to protect their own, if for no other reason than possible support at the polls. Have the Liberals been overly generous in their support of civil servants? Probably, but that is a question to be resolved by democratic voting.

Baker rushes to defend small businesses, which he reduces simplistically to this dichotomy: comply with COVID mandates or go out of business. Admittedly I don’t venture out of my ivory tower to too many small businesses in the  area, but those I do go to seem to be taking the mandates in stride – masks, social distancing, hand sanitizer, etc., appear almost as part of the scenery. Perhaps I simply suffer from a major blind spot.

But then Baker hits the nail on the head: without a passport (proof of immunization, that is), “one is unable to participate in normal social activities.” This is a rare moment when Baker and I agree, but for very different reasons. Right now, in the midst of a still-raging pandemic, there cannot be normal social activities. Why is there such a profound disconnect in people who cannot wrap their minds around exactly what a pandemic, epidemic, catastrophe, disaster, etc., means in terms of everyday routines? During such times, everyday routines must be suspended, for the benefit of all parties concerned, those who are directly affected, and those who aren’t.

I have a friend who works at CBC and who will lose his job if he doesn’t get vaccinated. He has sought advice and prayed for guidance—he is very reluctant to take the shots—but his decision is, in one way, a simple one: CBC has an obligation to protect all of its workers; vaccine will protect (however guardedly) not only those vaccinated but those in the area; and CBC could not possibly arrange to segregate the unvaccinated safely. So, my friend can take the jab or lose his job. It’s not a pleasant choice, but it is a legitimate choice.

As other writers of letters to the editor have often and eloquently expressed: the decision may be personal but it carries significant political ramifications. So I guess my friend at CBC will be pleased to know that he is, in a way, akin to first-century Christians—and to contemporary supporters of PPC.

Richard Giles,