Over and over we are told the COVID-19 recovery is a marathon, not a race. We’re told the end is insight. We’re told to be patient. To be kind. To be understanding. We have been, but the way leaders act tests our patience.
The G-7 meeting this weekend in Cornwall is an example.
Looking at how the G-7 leaders have acted is a shining example of the hypocrisy of privilege. No doubt they are all vaccinated. Host British MP Boris Johnson who almost died of COVID-19 appeared in official photos with the other leaders observing social-distancing. Official welcomes showed leaders, including Justin Trudeau, touching elbows in greeting. BUT once the official photos were taken the leaders clustered together, shoulder-to-shoulder, maskless to watch Britain’s Red Arrows fly past. Then, these same leaders lined up, close together, in a pre-pandemic style for a beach barbecue.
Images are here:
The host of an Australian morning TV show, echoed by a London host, asked why citizens can’t gather like that if they are fully vaccinated? She asked, ‘do we trust the vaccines and what our leaders have told us or don’t we?’
More mixed messages from those who are supposed to lead by example. Do what I say, not do as I do was never acceptable and less so now.
This is a pattern of contemptable behaviour. In Alberta, Premier Jason Kenney was criticized for hosting a “working dinner” on the balcony of the so-called “Sky Palace”. This dinner seemed to contravene the province’s COVID regulations. No one was wearing masks, people were not socially distanced, they weren’t from the same household, the numbers appeared to exceed provincial limits, the table was covered in shared items from wine bottles to small dishes. There were people coming and going to the table. The optics were so bad that two of Kenney’s own cabinet ministers called for an apology.
A political science professor said this was reminiscent of a rash of foreign travel by senior government officials. An Alberta cabinet minister went to Hawaii for the holidays. The Premier’s chief of staff went to the U.K. A parliamentary secretary went to Hawaii. A member of the provincial treasury board went to Arizona. Other MLAs went to Las Vegas and Mexico. All of these trips violated travel prohibitions.
Ontario’s Finance Minister spent his holidays in the Caribbean. Saskatchewan’s highways minister went to Palm Springs. Quebec provincial politicians went to the Bahamas and Peru.
Federally we had MPs who went to Seattle for a funeral, Delaware to visit a sick relative and another went to Greece for an urgent family situation. Non-elected Canadians haven’t been allowed to visit their sick and dying relatives, nor have most of us been able to hold funerals. For a year we were barred from visiting nursing homes.
Other MPs took foreign holidays in Portugal, Ireland, Mexico and the U.S. One MP said his repeated trips to his U.S. vacation property were for essential maintenance issues. A senator went to Mexico.
The heads of several major hospitals as well as the CPP pension board made personal foreign trips in contravention of travel restrictions. These people have at least lost their jobs. Several are suing.
The question remains how difficult is it for those who make the rules to follow them? They have every perk and privilege available. In return we ask them to obey the rules and regulations they set for us.
We do what they ask for us, but they don’t do what they ask of us. That is simple hypocrisy.