Does anyone really think our civic politicians are trying to take away our rights or freedoms? Not a great campaign slogan.
Those that want to suggest that Mayor Jim Watson and the city are trying to force us to give up our freedom to the state are just fear-mongering. Or perhaps are foolish publicity seekers trying to strike fear in our hearts just for kicks. Neither is a good look either way.
And it’s not working.
Let’s be clear. As the leader of the city, Watson felt forced to implement stricter rules about social gatherings. That wasn’t his first option. The city made it clear that social gathering wasn’t safe. And it couldn’t happen, that we had to stay out of the parks, we had to social distance while walking and we couldn’t gather in groups.
And when that didn’t work, when people ignored that message, bylaw was told to ticket, instead of simply issuing a warning.
Now I’m about to put words into Watson’s mouth, I have to, since he doesn’t speak to me and doesn’t return my calls. I’m okay with that. But Watson is doing what he believes to be the right thing for the city – and all right-thinking people agree with – we can only stop this deadly virus by staying away with each other.
And as a 61-year-old single woman siting alone in my basement (there’s an ugly picture for you), I start to lose my mind when I see people ignoring some pretty basic and simple rules of behaviour. And as much as I love Zoom cocktail parties, I absolutely don’t want to spend another forced minute in my basement simply because others are too selfish to abide by the rules – and are risking the health of me and the rest of us.
The media, of which I still consider myself part of, love an outrage story. And as such, we hear about some poor mom sitting in a park with her child – social distancing – yet ticketed. Oh, the horror. Tough.
Truth is, if it’s okay for her, it’s okay for everyone else. And while as many know I’m not always a fan of Watson’s, he knows that two people in a park can multiply. And that’s the problem. Do you want Watson to say two people can gather in a park? Of course, ridiculous. Many others will follow.
There was a story in the Citizen today, by some lawyer named Michael Spratt, who apparently would love to whip us all into some sort of liberty-based frenzy. Shut him down. If self-isolation doesn’t work, many of us will have the freedom to mingle and die. And that’s the truth.
Here’s a little bit from Spratt, who clearly is gunning for regular space in the paper.
“But we must be careful when we surrender our rights not to rush headlong into an Orwellian dystopia. And make no mistake, we are talking about fundamental civil liberties: the right to move freely; the right to associate; and the right to be free from unwarranted detention,” Spratt spouts.
Sounds touching. I prefer for the right to live. Civil liberties don’t mean a lot six feet under.
Spratt states the obvious. “We all know we should stay home. For some, staying at home is simply not an option. For many essential workers, an expansive category that includes thousands of minimum-wage and working-class individuals, staying home means losing their home. And urban populations, particularly apartment dwellers, who can’t stretch their legs in a large backyard or play with their kids at their double-garage basketball hoop, suffer disproportionately under the new COVID-19 reality,” he writes.
Truth is, if people were staying home, bylaw couldn’t shut them down.
Sure he’s heard about apples and oranges. And this is where he really loses me. Has he heard of someone going to work and receiving a ticket from bylaw? Absolutely no one has suggested you can’t go outside. No one has suggested you can’t play with your kids in your backyard or play basketball with your family. The entire column should simply be deleted.
It’s simply fear-mongering. And thankfully, Ottawans are just too smart for this plop.