After over a year of lockdowns and curfews, the prospect of returning to normality has cheered many Canadians. But as we look forward with cautious optimism, we must also look back and take stock of our experiences. With the near certainty that the world will face more, and probably more severe, pandemics within our lifetimes, we must learn from the mistakes in how this crisis was handled.
Canada must be better prepared for future outbreaks and know how to respond when they arrive. We need a full public enquiry with input from all sectors. Health care professionals, researchers, businesspeople, and ordinary citizens must all be heard. What role should stockpiling and domestic production of medical supplies play in ensuring we are prepared for future outbreaks? What screening and testing practices will give us timely warnings? Do the benefits of lockdowns really outweigh the effects on mental health? How can we minimize the economic burden imposed by public health restrictions and properly compensate those whose livelihoods are unavoidably affected? What types of messaging will most effectively elicit public cooperation? How can we minimize the impact on our children’s education?
The wide variety of measures imposed in different jurisdictions should yield a wealth of data for researchers. We must ensure their work is not highjacked by political agendas or institutional self-interest. More broadly, we also need to rethink the role of unelected officials and international organizations like the WHO in our decision-making. We must restore confidence in government so that voluntary compliance with well-founded recommendations is adequate to ensure public health. There must be no more needlessly draconian infringements on civil liberties. If we do not learn the lessons of the past year and a half, the massive sacrifices Canadians have made in lives and livelihoods will have been in vain. We cannot let that happen.
Please visit www.bobbenzenmp.ca and let me know your thoughts on this and other issues.
MP – Calgary Heritage Bob Benzen proudly serves the following Communities: Bayview, Braeside, Bridlewood, Canyon Meadows, Cedarbrae, Chinook Park, Eagle Ridge, Evergreen, Evergreen Estates, Haysboro, Kelvin Grove, Kingsland, Lakeview, Oakridge, Palliser, Pumphill, Southwood, Woodbine, Woodlands