I was dismayed by the letter of Diane Pollock and her outlandish allegations. It would appear that Ms. Pollock does not realize, or even acknowledge, that Alberta along with the rest of the planet is in a crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Alberta Government under the UCP leadership of Jason Kenny has implemented a number of Ministerial and Public Health Orders to limit the spread of the novel virus with the goal of safeguarding public health and balancing economic fallout. It is a difficult and precarious path for the UCP to negotiate.
Any government decision is fraught with the risk of being perceived either as too stringent or lenient. Decision-making is rendered even more complex when COVID-19 variants are factored in. For Ms. Pollock to declare that we are on the path of totalitarianism is not only absurd it is ridiculous. The solution to control COVID-19 may be regarded as straightforward: wear a mask, socially distance, and handwashing. But as the saying goes, the devil is in the details. The most controversial of the control measures may be social distancing because the Alberta Government Orders under the UCP have negatively affected businesses, churches, and sporting events to name only a few. Others may rail at the requirement to wear a mask in public settings. But let’s be clear, in a crisis the government does have the statutory authority to implement measures to secure the public good. Temporary measures that some people may consider authoritarian or that abrogate their rights. In more familiar examples, personal rights may be abrogated when emergency responders restrict access to and enforce mandatory evacuation of a neighbourhood, a shopping mall, or a church when there is a developing situation that threatens the public good such as a bomb scare, leaking natural gas, a hazardous material spill, a catastrophic flooding event. It is the same situation with COVID-19 except that rather than being familiar, localized and short-term, it is unfamiliar, province-wide and long-term.