Not as I do: politicians in a pandemic

Justin Parker
February 1, 2021
Est. Reading Time: 3 minutes

In between setting new stay-at-home orders and dolling out fines to businesses for violating pandemic protocols, politicians across Canada continue to not listen to their own advice

Photo C/O Robbie Palmer on Unsplash

Do as I say, not as I do. An old idiom that traces its origin back to the 17th century but continues to ring true to this day. In these times enduring the pandemic, it rings even more true — with possibly dire consequences.

Do you know how many politicians in Canada went on vacation outside of the country over the last 10 months or attended gatherings not permissible according to federal or provincial guidelines?

Barely a week into 2021, there was already a handful of politicians on the federal and provincial level that left Canada for one reason or another. This is not limited to one party either. Liberal, Conservative and NDP alike from Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan and more have left the country or illegally attended large gatherings.

While some politicians had somewhat understandable reasons for travelling, including visiting spouses or attending memorials, there are some who went simply on a warm tropical vacation and a few openly bragged about their decision to disobey their own government’s safety protocols.

While we can laugh at these people as they are exposed, publicly shamed and stripped of responsibilities, dismissing them as just another hypocritical politician (what a surprise), this is not just another example of hypocrisy.

During a pandemic that refuses to go away, it is more important than ever for everybody to follow the rules and regulations. As frustrating as they may be, we are incredibly reliant on each person’s ability to follow the rules and do what is right.

As much as we are all capable of thinking for ourselves and making our own informed decisions, it would be nice to see a little accountability from our elected leaders who are actively telling us what we should be doing.

Ultimately, everyone is able to choose how they will handle themselves on an individual level, utilizing the information we now know about COVID-19 and how it spreads to assess their actions and weigh the risks of what they decide.

If they can do something with minimal health risks to themselves and others, that is beneficial for everyone.

If someone decides to break government rules or protocols for whatever reason and does not endanger others, I’m not too concerned about their actions. If you leave the country but isolate yourself afterwards and follow the testing and quarantine protocols, then you did what you were supposed to do.

But if you are someone who has been entrusted with making wise decisions for people and representing their best interests, then there is a higher level of responsibility. You must lead by example.

Don’t just do the bare minimum, but follow your rules over 110%, be extra careful and show others a pristine example of what you can do.

Sadly, this is just another instance where we have been let down by those who we have collectively entrusted to be smart and make the best decisions for us all. How can we trust our politicians to make the best decisions for us when they can barely make a rational decision for themselves?

More than ever, we are extremely reliant on one another making smart informed decisions — our health and safety rely on it. If we ever want things to return to some semblance of ‘normal’, we must think logically and selflessly. Maybe someone should tell politicians that.

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