CALL FOR FEDERAL LED STRATEGY
For months partyresponsibly.ca has been reaching out to Premiers/Ministers of Health/Chief Medical Officers across the country telling them that their messaging was not resonating with university/college aged young adults - the group driving the first and now second waves of the pandemic. Partyresponsibly.ca was started because of this. It provided the provinces with actionable plans to address the issue.
For months we have been getting the same response. They all say the same thing. What a wonderful job your provincial government is doing and they list all the programs in place to reinforce the notion. They ignore the current reality, do not acknowledge the issue, they do not acknowledge that there is any issue, they do not acknowledge our submissions.
Today we listened to Doug Ford while the latest round of restrictions was announced. We listened to him answer questions from the media, the second of which was from Cynthia Mulligan of CItyTV who stated that for weeks and months Doug Ford was saying that it was people gathering and partying that was the issue and how did these restrictions, which focused on business address that specific problem at all? Mr. Ford indicated that Ontario had the biggest fines of all provinces, was doing a good job, and that most people were following advice and that they needed to continue to do so now more than ever. Sound familiar? Is that not what they have been saying for months?
Ms. Mulligan had a follow-up question which was more of a statement to Mr. Ford. She said "You can probably hear my daughter in the background asking - so I can go to school with 30 people but I can't have one friend over? How do you respond to that?". Mr. Ford didn't answer but passed it over to Dr. Williams who went on to say what a great job his team was doing and how difficult things were and that everyone needed to do their part. In short - he also did not answer with anything but the same thing he has been saying for months.
For months we have listened to provincial Premiers/Ministers of Health and Chief Medical Officers say the same thing day after day. They need to stop the insanity of repeating the same thing everyday. They need to start providing real solutions instead of vague platitudes.
If there is one thing this pandemic has shown us, it is that the federal government passing the responsibility to manage the pandemic to the provinces has been a huge mistake. The ability to deal with the pandemic is simply beyond their capabilities. That is clear now as the pandemic spins out of control. And I have no doubt, it is out of control.
How has it come to this in a country with such vast resources and more importantly such vast resourcefulness?
Whatever the reason, now is not the time for that discussion. It is what it is.
Now is the time for action. For leadership. While there is still time to "right the course" of the pandemic in this country. And make no mistake, we are a country in crisis as a result of this global pandemic. Not a province, not a region, not a hotspot, a country. In crisis.
As a country in crisis, now is not the time to have each province, region, or hotspot fend for itself. Now is not the time for federal/provincial turf wars. Nonw is not the time for politicians. Now is the time for leaders. Now is a time to come together as a country to face a common threat and ensure we as a country get through this crisis.
As a country in crisis, now is the time for our Prime Minister, the leader of our country...to lead. Because we need a leader right now, not a politician. We need a single point of focus right now. We need clarity. Not confusion. Clarity, not mixed messages from multiple levels of government or health agencies. Clarity. Clarity so that we know what needs to be done...and do it.
The Premiers too need to finally show some leadership in recognizing and deferring to the Prime Minister. Not politicize things.
Think back to the early days of this crisis. When the Prime Minister held his daily briefings, when the federal government took the lead, when there was clarity. When we were winning the battle. We need that again.
To this end partyresponsibly.ca asks the Prime Minister to:
1. Hold a national news conference to announce the Prime Minister invoking The Emergencies Act so that a national response to address the escalating COVID-19 crisis can be immediately put in place. A national response which includes:
- A 30 day national "circuit breaker" starting November 23rd with:
- A mandatory requirement to wear a mask indoors & outdoors (other than your place of residence). No exceptions.
- A mandatory requirement for no social gathering indoors or outdoors other than with those people you live with. No exceptions.
- Closing of all restaurants (other than for take out & delivery), bars,
entertainment * tourism venues, sporting venues and recreational facilities where social gathering is an element, all recreation facilities, clubs, practices, games.
- A mandatory 2 meter social distancing requirement outside of those people
you live with.
- Retail stores and businesses may remain open - must follow social distancing requirements. Shopping only with people you live with.
- Provinces may "add" to the national requirements - they are a minimum threshold for the country. Any changes however would be communicated to the public via the Prime Minister's daily briefing.
- Move all schools (elementary, secondary, post-secondary) to online only for the remainder of the semester (to the holidays - as it is just over 30 days).
2. Hold daily briefings at the same time each day to update the country through the 30 day period.
3. Announce a "post circuit breaker" education and awareness program designed to launch after the 30 days & taking place through provincial liquor control/distribution boards which moves from "stop social gathering/partying" positioning to "if you are going socially gather/party, do it responsibly".
Federal government will match funding of provinces (who take some of profits of liquor control/distribution boards to fund the initiative). This program includes a "partyresponsibly" certification program which young adults under the age of 40 must take before being able to purchase alcohol (they do so via an app on their phone - which they show at point of purchase).
to demonstrate that they know how to gather socially/party responsibly in a COVID-19
environment. It also includes a "safe haven" certification program to allow restaurants/bars/entertainment venues to be used to host private functions.
Only by working together, as a country will we get through this crisis. What is needed now is the leadership to make it so.
If we can pull together for 30 days, we can turn the tide in the battle against COVID-19 and potentially be in a position to enjoy the holiday season...responsibly.
We need to take a shot at turning the tide by stopping the insanity and working on real solutions.