Top StoriesThe Ontario lockdown is cognitive dissonance on steroids

The Ontario lockdown is cognitive dissonance on steroids

The Ontario lockdown is cognitive dissonance on steroids

OP-ED: The province’s Covid strategy has been unvaried for almost two years and yet they expect a different outcome. The December 2020 to February 2021 lockdown ensured that Ontarians got vaccinated and the pandemic was well on its way to ending.

Society once again feels balkanized, isolated, shut out, and vulnerable. The nice platitudes of “we're in this together”, and “stay home to save lives” are long gone.

Ontario society is no longer functioning as it did pre-pandemic. Playing outdoor hockey in Ottawa has enabled the “do-gooder” city volunteer to exercise their micro-power and yell at children and families at outdoor rinks—this occurred at a neighbourhood rink during the last lockdown—begging the question, why even pay for a hockey rink if you can’t use it? What about common sense?Can people be trusted to distance while outside? Is outdoor exercise not one of the few things you should be able to do during a lockdown, especially when the gyms, pools, and fitness classes are closed. The evidence shows that the best place for people to be during this pandemic is outdoors.

The social distancing authoritarian yells at you to stand where they want when ordering a coffee or tells you how long you can have your mask off for between sips of beer at a Senators game. Going to work and coming within six feet of a co-worker at some jobs can you get scolded or written up, and showing a vaccine passport at every door is now a standard behaviour.

In Quebec, the response to Covid-19 is worse. The Orwellesque of a Tik-Tok video showing a police van with loudspeakers driving around at night blasting warnings of the fines and punishments for being out after 10 p.m. is frightening. It demonstrates not a safety concern but a level of power that no free citizen should put up within a democracy. Adults should be able to make their own choices about risk, especially for a virus with a dominant strain that has a 1 per cent hospitalization rate.

@nature_traveller Quebex curfew  #montreal#quebec#curfew#fyp#fyp??viral? original sound - Merry Christmas

The only people who seemingly support another lockdown for 25 days are government employees and teachers who get paid regardless. What about the children missing school and the damage done by the isolation and solitude.

The pseudo-normalcy (of masks, PCR tests, and vaccine passports) has ground to a halt, and for what? Why do government officials want to normalize get-togethers on the driveway and make wearing masks seem as normal as wearing clothes and tell people  who are vaccinated to avoid hugging grandma or grandpa. These were bearable last year, but not anymore.

The vaccine passport system was implemented so that life could get back to normal. If we’re in a lockdown again over a variant that doesn’t get vaccinated people worryingly sick, why are we doing this?

At a January 4, 2022 press conference, Ottawa’s head of public health, Dr. Vera Etches, stated she agrees with the lockdown measures to make the pandemic “manageable” for the health care system, acknowledging that the Omicron transmission rate is out of control. Yet, while this is understandable, each level of government has been battling Covid-19 for nearly two years. Businesses worldwide have had to pivot operations, why haven’t hospitals been able to?

There is no doubt that nurses and doctors are overwhelmed, but businesses are too. They are handcuffing entire sectors of the economy once again who will not be able to manage another shutdown, and many will undoubtedly close permanently as a result. We are making the lives of others “unmanageable” so that the city can “manage” hospitalization rates.

Perhaps, instead of locking the vaccinated out of gyms, restaurants, and theatres, Premier Ford should focus on those who haven’t done their part by getting vaccinated. In Austria people who choose to go unvaccinated must pay their own medical bills if they contract the coronavirus. It might seem harsh and Draconian but, with medical exemptions and the ability for the newly vaccinated to regain their societal privileges, it could work. The rest of society should be able to live mask- and passport-free everyday lives, as we did prior to 2020.

Allow the vaccinated to benefit from the social contract they agreed to: Get vaccinated and life gets back to normal. At this point, there's no excuse for being willingly unvaccinated.

Locking down the vaccinated isn’t just wrong, it shows that there will be no end to this pandemic. It's time for the actions directed at those perpetuating the problems, not the collective punishment of the whole society, at the request of  those in society who don't have to worry about getting their next paycheck.

Ontario is gripped by Covid cognitive dissonance. Even more worrisome is that public sector workers have the gall to say the Premier isn’t locking us down enough. The NDP and Liberals also want stricter measures. Maybe we should start by holding the unvaccinated people to account who are endangering the rest of us.

Photo: iStock

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