January 24th, 2021

SACPA to discuss punishing COVID-19 rule breakers

By Jensen, Randy on May 21, 2020.


Public health officials have been clear about the need to act collectively to minimize the spread of COVID-19. First, people were asked to self-isolate and socially distance. But because some people didn’t listen, they had to institute mandatory edicts, punishable by fines.

Most Albertans followed the “ask” instructions laid out by public health officials. However, some need the penalty before they’ll do the right thing. Today’s speakers at the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs, Melanee Thomas and Lisa Lambert, will argue that “willing participants” (in it for the greater good) and “rational egoists” (in it for themselves) make up about 65 and 20 per cent of the population, respectively.

There are the “altruists” (who always do the right thing) and “punishers” (who are willing to punish those people breaking rules, even if it has a personal cost) making up about 15 per cent. The speakers will point out that efforts to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic highlight how things that matter profoundly to us as individuals – like, for instance, our health – are really, at the end of the day, a collective responsibility.

Thomas is an associate professor of political science at the University of Calgary. Her research focuses on the causes and consequences of gender-based political inequality in Canada and other post-industrial democracies. Lambert is a student of parliaments, does sessional work at the University of Lethbridge in political science and women and gender studies since 2009.

Today’s livestream session will take place at 10 a.m. on YouTube Live link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKF7ihi_NMo.

In order to ask questions of the speakers in the chat feature of YouTube, you must have a YouTube account and be signed in.

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