My wife and I drove to PEI for the grand “reopening” or maybe I should say “de-masking” of the island. It was a unique experience. I interviewed a few workers and got a peculiar perspective. I guess choosing to live on an island starts out as self-isolating, so when those who self-isolate must further self-isolate it either magnifies the effect or it’s not even noticed. However, the majority of those I interviewed were greatly looking forward to removing masks, one even told me of a small local party that was celebrating it. Like most Canadians though, respect was the flavor of the day.
Since we drove to PEI my wife and I obviously passed through Ontario, Quebec etc. We brought our dog along for company (we won’t do that again). Navigating the hotels that allow dogs is a little hit and miss. Eventually we just chose a hotel chain that accepted pets and worked our schedule around the chain’s locations. This situation exposed us to an unusual set of experiences.
We ended up staying in three separate hotels in Ontario, all belonging to one hotel chain. The first one was “normal” it had a full hot continental breakfast setup, we walked in made our food, and sat down all without masks of course. The second hotel required a hired “supervisor” in the kitchen. We were not allowed to fill our plates, so we just sat at our table and were served. We were told that the COVID protocol didn’t allow us to serve ourselves. Though we thought it strange, we were ok with “being served”. Finally at our last location we were told to fill our own plates, but we were not allowed to stay in the kitchen (we had to eat it in our rooms), again it was COVID protocol. Each of these experiences were in Ontario.
I asked the hotel manager how the protocol could be so different within the same chain and Province. Were the directives from corporate headquarters or from local health inspectors? Unfortunately, she did not answer my question and stopped speaking to me.
When Provinces, companies (and even individual locations) each have their own response to regulations, the public begins to lose faith in administrations and government. It was just as confusing when we passed through Quebec.
While traveling my wife and I ended up just following our GPS. Without realizing it, after filling our tank (in Quebec) we walked into the convenience store for refreshments… ya… we were not paying attention. The cashier erupted into calisthenics and hysterics behind the counter… OPPS! Back we went to our vehicle for our masks. While returning to the store a delightful French woman came out, ripped off her mask and in a sarcastic yell shouted “Vive la France”, then a longer phrase that included “liberta” which I for the first time in my life chanted in Ottawa last January/February. The polarization of this topic doesn’t seem to diminish over time… at least not yet.
I know several individuals and groups in both the Prairies and Ontario (probably other Provinces as well) who are actively still promoting the mandates and restrictions, not because of their fear of COVID but because of the benefits they derive from them. I know one individual who has become very wealthy from the industries spawned by the pandemic. Personally, he was devastated (more furious than devastated) by the convoy that appeared to set off a string of provincial deregulation announcements. There are many segments of our society, both government and private that are desperate to return to lock downs. Without a doubt they have the right to their position, as does all of society to formulate their individual stances. However, I think it must be stated that lobbying for any position with little regard for science, while claiming to have the moral high ground (and science) is disingenuous.
I thoroughly enjoyed meeting my fellow countrymen in central and eastern Canada. We have a great country… huge and a nearly unmanageable land mass… but great!
Our country, and the world passed through the industrial revolution, into the Information Age (technological advancement) right on into the Age of Disinformation (due to the EXCESS of Technology). The solution to this tension is the compassionate heart of individual Canadians who are committed to unity. Reach out and help your neighbor with whatever they are struggling with. Compassion heals all division. Vive le Canada!