The toll keeps rising among the number of Canadian politicians who took Christmas vacations.
More than a dozen elected officials have been caught so far; it’s unknown how many more will surface in the coming days.
It’s frankly not surprising but it is unsettling to see so many flouting the rules. At a time when we’re all asked to hunker down, to stay home, to avoid non-essential travel, it’s appalling that those we elected to oversee our governance are trotting across the globe. Claims that they should be allowed to go to Hawaii or Mexico or wherever for Christmas because it’s a tradition – or travel halfway around the world to see a loved one – is a slap in the face to everyone who is trying to do the right thing during this pandemic.
A lot of us would love to take a vacation right now. Local snowbirds, for instance, who are holed up in RV parks or renting local houses because they can’t overwinter in their South Cariboo cottages on the lake. There are others who want to see their family members in care homes – nearby or far away – or at specific moments in their lives but are adhering to the rules and staying away, no matter how gut-wrenching.
Our politicians should be leading by example. They should not be booking tickets for overseas vacations or trips – secretly or not – to visit ailing family members or spread holiday cheer at all-inclusive resorts or holiday homes. Not only is it selfish and irresponsible but they put all of us at risk by travelling.
Feigning ignorance is not an excuse: for nearly a year we have all been lambasted with messages to stay home and avoid non-essential travel. Unless these politicians are living under rocks – or not paying any attention to what’s happening in the House or Legislature – they should at the very least know what’s going on and the basic rules we’re all expected to follow. Wear a mask. Social distance. Avoid non-essential travel.
They chose, after all, to be in the spotlight. Those who aren’t playing by the rules deserve to face sanctions or be stripped of additional responsibilities and the salary top-ups. They should be relegated to the backbenches, and ultimately, lose their seats at re-election.
We’re all tired of this pandemic. It’s taking its toll on our residents, our businesses, our lives. It’s already causing division in our communities among those who believe the science and this news only serves to increase the rising tensions. Not only that but political science experts have warned of the broader implications this could have on our country’s reputation and public opinion.
We elect politicians to make hard decisions, to guide us through tough times. If we can’t trust them to follow the rules then why should we bother?