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Naughty Or Nice?

Over 2000 cases today and the Grinch is only allowing PCR tests for those over sixty-five and under five. These numbers are phony, under reported and designed by the PHO to keep you in the dark while the same PHO also denies your access to Rapid Antigen Tests that are available in every other province! Merry Christmas! Santa is due to arrive tomorrow so I have sent him the following naughty and nice list.

First on the nice list:

Our health care workers: These are the real heroes of the pandemic in BC. They have served above and beyond the call of duty while a PHO adopted a reactive rather than proactive mode, it is the doctors, nurses, hospital workers that are on the front line of this pandemic. They are exhausted and yet continue to attend to their posts with incredible dedication. In the words of Winston Churchill: "Never was so much owed by so many to so few!".

To each of them we owe our unreserved gratitude and for each I asked Santa to bring a relaxing Christmas with their families who have seen far too little of them. There are no words to express the thanks you deserve.

Second are the transportation workers. Out truckers and all who support them also deserve our sincere thanks. Through the flood emergency here in BC these often underpaid and under recognized individuals kept our supply lines open. They drove through harrowing conditions, particularly on Highway 3, to ensure we would have our essential supplies available here and across Canada.

For each of them I asked Santa to ensure that they receive the recognition for their work, the pay they deserve and to keep them safe in the continued work through winter conditions.

Third, we place all those who work in the schools on the nice list. These workers from teachers to aides to custodians were completely abandoned by the PHO. They were denied the same safety standards required in every other workplace and were not told the truth about the contribution that schools made to the spread of Covid. In spite of this, these workers kept schools open because they were committed to the children in their care.

For each of these individuals, I have asked Santa to extend the Christmas vacation by at least a week. This is what many provinces are doing so they can better understand Omicron and so they can get more children vaccinated. It would also give districts time to come up with much improved school safety plans that actually demonstrated the value for these employees that should have been there from the beginning.

Fourth, the road builders of BC. These masters of their craft performed a Christmas miracle by getting the severely damaged Coquihalla Highway back in operation for essential travel on December 20th. This required a herculean effort by multitudes of workers working 24/7. All of these individuals deserve the thanks of every citizen in the province.

I have asked Santa to give each of them a restful and happy Christmas with their families who saw little of them as the road was repaired.

Fifth, I think BC’s Transportation Minister deserves to be on the nice list. This Minister seems to have finally found the right portfolio for his skills, unlike the previous portfolio. He brought the right people to the table to deal with the emergency we had in BC. As a result our supply chain was strained but did not break and the pain for the province and country was reduced.

I have asked Santa to bring this Minister the appreciation of the citizens of the province. Being a politician can be a thankless job but this minister deserves the thanks of all of us,

Sixth, another politician on the nice list is the Mayor of Abbotsford. This individual was on the forefront of the Sumas flooding disaster. Every day he gave a clear and concise summary that was factual and realistic and gave his citizens the support and confidence that the proper actions were being taken, that the dyke was being restored and that things would get better. Our PHO could learn a lot from this Mayor’s example.

I have asked Santa to make this Mayor a role model for others in similar roles who deal with difficult circumstances daily. He also should be granted a wonderful relaxing holiday with his family.

Finally, on this Santa’s limited nice list, (and I am sure we have missed many), is CTV’s reporter Penny D. This reporter has done outstanding reporting on the pandemic. More than any other she has held the PHO and politicians accountable; exposing their fallacies and asking the toughest questions in the briefings.

I have asked Santa to give this reporter the most scoops in the upcoming months along with the recognition from her peers and management that she so richly deserves.

And now for the naughty list:

First, the anti-vaxxers. The pandemic is exacerbated by this lot of individuals. They allow mutations to multiply and they expect all of the benefits of a society whose expectations they have shunned. Any society that survives has a set of principles that involves the concept of the “greater good”. We all took polio, measles, and mumps vaccines for the greater good of our community. We eradicated smallpox by doing so. These individuals seem to believe they are entitled to all our community benefits without doing their part to contribute to the greater good. Because of them the pandemic continues. Because of them needed surgeries are canceled. And because of them our medical system is being pushed to the brink. These people top the naughty list.

I have asked Santa if he would educate them in the value of the ‘common good’ and then deny them access to a hospital bed should they contract the virus.

Second, the Premier of BC. This individual led the recent passage of the forestry bill that will devastate small communities that depend upon this industry. The Premier consulted with only five people to draft this bill and completely ignored the industry itself. For a Premier that praises collaboration this is a colossal failure that will cost thousands of BC jobs. Consequences are already at hand as the most recent millions of dollars in investment from the industry has gone to Alberta.

I have asked Santa first to give the Premier all the strength he will need as he battles for his life against the Big C. I asked Santa to grant him a full recovery and a healthy retirement. I also asked that he pause this legislation until all parties are fully consulted including the First Nations and the industry itself.

Third, our PHO. This PHO seems intent on keeping the public in the dark about the real figures in the pandemic. We have the lowest testing rates in the country and today she has ordered that only those over sixty-five and under five can have access to PCR tests while at the same time denying access to RATs. This is a PHO that is destroying the small business owners’ ability to make a living while allowing super spreaders like the Canucks game, the casinos and the churches to remain open. This is a PHO that only brought in a mask mandate when public pressure forced the action. This is a PHO that abandoned educational workers their right to a safe workplace while hiding the real facts about the role schools played in the spread. This is a PHO that asks all to keep celebrations small while she attends an arena of 18,000 people and is often without a mask. This is a PHO who claims Omicron came “out of the blue” when for weeks prior she claimed to be monitoring the developments of the variant. This is a PHO that will not modify her plan for boosters as is happening in so many other provinces to increase the breadth and scope of the program. I could go on!

In addition to the lump of coal, I have asked Santa to find the PHO a new position so that the province can appoint a PHO that follows the precautionary principle and returns BC to a province that leads in the fight against the pandemic.

Fourth, on the naughty list are BC School Boards. These organizations also abandoned their employees. They refused to demand that schools be provided the basic safety protocols granted to every other industry. They remained silent rather than inform the parents of school exposures. And most egregious of all they refused to mandate vaccinations for all employees. They abandoned their mandate to protect the children in their care!

I asked Santa to ensure that School Boards approach the New Year with a renewed commitment to protect children by mandating vaccines and by using this holiday period to improve the conditions in every school in their jurisdiction.

Fifth, I have placed the BC Superintendents are on the naughty list. These leaders in our education system have gone silent when they need more than ever to be creating better conditions for our children and grandchildren. Together they could have created new programs for the twenty first century that created better learning opportunities for this pandemic. We should have a high caliber provincial on-line learning program available to every child. We should have examined opening schools seven days a week to reduce class sizes. We should have developed more creative timetables for secondary schools. We have done none of this.

I have asked Santa to use Tinkerbelle’s wand to spread some magic dust over each Superintendent in the hope they will find their voice and their testicular fortitude to truly lead schools through this pandemic rather than abrogate this responsibility to the bullying tactics of the PHO.

Again, I am sure that others could expand my limited list. However, ‘tis the season to be jolly' even in the face of this new and fast spreading variant. To each of you I wish a safe and heathy holiday season and a New Year filled with joy and discovery.

In the words of Clement Clarke Moore: “Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night!”

Doug Player, December 23, 2021.

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