SONIA FURSTENAU ... To give people a hopeful vision for the future we must be truthful about the present
Yesterday we hit a record number of hospitalizations in BC - 2 years into a pandemic this is not where I envisioned we would be. We should have learned and gotten better with each wave. But we have not. Why not and how can we do better?
It’s difficult to understand the direction, outcomes, goals, and guidance right now. The press conferences and communications from government do not articulate a clear common goal or shared outcomes that we’re striving for collectively.
Mostly it feels like we’re on our own, and that it should be our expectation to be exposed to Omicron, and likely become ill. We keep hearing over and over the word “mild” - but how are we meant to reconcile that with hospitalizations at the highest they’ve ever been in BC?
Many fully vaccinated people describe severe symptoms from this wave of COVID, and clearly many people are ending up in hospital. Is it responsible to diminish illness in this way? Also - no discussion about long COVID.
It would be better to hear about what we don’t know. People don't expect leaders to be omniscient, only to be truthful.
We need to create a culture of asking, “what mistakes did we make?” Because without this, we seem doomed to making the same mistakes again and again.
And the ones who need to take that first step are our leaders.
Also - what happened to build back better? What happened to seeing this emergency as a wake-up call for how to respond to growing inequality and an increasingly more destructive climate crisis?
Instead, we’re seeing this new wave impact the most vulnerable even more than before. Meanwhile, those who can afford high quality masks, rapid tests, those who can work from home remain more buffered from the pandemic.
We have to start asking and identifying where do we want to be, collectively, on the other side of this? Do we want a strengthened health care system, better public health, more trust in government and institutions?
To get to a better place, we need to clearly articulate the outcomes we want and start measuring them.
And if we want to give people a hopeful vision for the future, we must be truthful about the present.
Sonia Furstenau ... is leader of the BC Green Party, and the MLA for Cowichan Valley.