By Letter to the Editor on May 28, 2020.
As many on social media have noted, COVID-19 has, if nothing else, highlighted the significant disparity that exists in western society. It has challenged us to confront issues that we would otherwise never consider.
In April, Ant—nio Guterres of the United Nations stated that COVID-19 is “fast becoming human rights crisis.” How much of a crisis the pandemic presents is dependent on individual government response. Posts have been circulating on social media likening government-mandated shutdowns and social distancing to Nazi Germany and other dictatorships. The logic behind this is tone-deaf but points to an important issue. Most businesses are non-essential but the livelihoods of those who run them are not.
People are rightfully angry that they are being asked to choose between the safety of their families and communities and their financial stability. The anger can be misplaced, though. The focus needs to be on financial support, not on repealing safety measures. The Canadian government has failed to provide adequate support for many small business owners and entrepreneurs, effectively putting lives at risk. Lethbridge’s new transit system has left many of the city’s most vulnerable people in the dark, limiting access to resources and severely impacting their quality of life. The provincial government has critically harmed health care in Alberta, further jeopardizing people’s access to life-saving care.