To the Editor,
The following is a letter I have written and sent to Miranda Rosin in response to her article “Freedom in a Floundering World”.
I am deeply troubled by your recent opinion piece in the High Country News. Although I agree that individuals are entitled to free speech, as the elected political delegate of Banff-Kananaskis, you have the responsibility of accurately representing the collective voice of your constituents. This includes leaving your personal biases and opinions, as well as your religious beliefs, at the door when you step into this representative role.
As a responsible citizen who has been abiding by the public health recommendations from the beginning of this pandemic, it astounds me that you appear to be scolding Albertans in your article stating they have “begged and pleaded for the government to take them (personal freedoms) away.” I guarantee that we have done no such thing. The sad reality is that when asked to do the right thing, a large proportion of people did not comply, leading to government intervention to prevent the health care system from being completely overwhelmed. The fact that you are not acknowledging the important role that Albertans have being playing by following health recommendations makes me very angry. People would not willingly sacrifice by not spending time with their family, and not embracing their friends and neighbours were it not for the collective good – helping people of lower socioeconomic status, immunocompromised individuals, minorities and other people disproportionally affected by the virus.
Trivializing how difficult this time has been for everyone by saying we gave up our regular life due to “fear” is inaccurate. Furthermore, rather than recommending that your constituents get vaccinated, you are feeding into anti-vaccine paranoia by basically stating “don’t worry, we aren’t making vaccines mandatory.” As our MLA, you should be providing us with accurate, objective information, instead of making statements that further increase divisiveness and send people the wrong message regarding vaccine safety.
Churches and religious institutions are indeed places where people can turn to for hope and community; but people without a religious affiliation are indeed also sacrificing being near their own communities that bring them hope and solidarity. As articulated by a cousin of mine, “This isn’t tyranny. It’s temporary. No one is fined for worshipping, and fellowship isn’t a matter of physical proximity”. If you are Christian, you believe that Jesus surrendered his rights for the sake of others. Wearing a covering over your face, and temporarily physically distancing yourself from friends and family is obviously not ideal, but it is, in the grande scheme of things, not that big of an ask.
Forthwith, please attempt to more closely consider what to include in the public statements you choose to make. Your constituents deserve better.
Thank you for your time,