To the editor,
British Columbia’s Premier John Horgan made international headlines with a public plea for help from Canadian actors Ryan Reynolds and Seth Rogen last week, but the initiative has gone over like a pregnant pole-vaulter, or a lead balloon. It was assumed the actors would influence young people to maintain social distancing and abide by pandemic restrictions regarding large gatherings. Both actors responded, but from news reports, their appearances on social-media were ignored; large parties increased at nightspots and beaches in Vancouver and other B.C. cities over the weekend. Health authorities report that new COVID-19 cases have risen steeply among the 20 to 29 age group, who were identified as the main scofflaws.
Paul Begala, a top advisor to President Bill Clinton said: “Politics is show-business for ugly people,” and I’m always leery when elected officials try to have entertainers’ stardust rub off on them. Ryan Reynolds joked in his response that his mother who lives in Vancouver would “probably be scoping Kits Beach for a 30-year old, doing her Mrs. Robinson thing,” adding he didn’t want his mother, nor anyone else, to get sick or die. Politicians and media had to milk this some more, as B.C.’s Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing is Mrs. Selina Robinson. She appeared on TV to assure everyone that she’s not like THE Mrs. Robinson of “The Graduate” fame. Then came Seth Rogen’s very predictable response: “Just stay home and smoke weed.”
The B.C. government should forget the razzle-dazzle and razzamatazz of Hollywood, and get just as serious as other jurisdictions like Melbourne, Australia and Auckland, New Zealand, where city-wide lockdowns were re-imposed when COVID-19 cases from community spread took a sudden uptick. Maybe they could get young British Columbians’ attention by sending out a medical health alarm, similar to the tsunami warning which can be transmitted to all cell-phones.
We know the pandemic is treated differently by governments around the world, and we must take note of what other countries are doing, both good and bad. The twin-island Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago had a strict lockdown that coincided with ours here in Canada; their borders were closed and only eight deaths occurred, with the curve being kept very flat. Last week, however, there were three more deaths and several more new cases through community spread and the government re-imposed strict lockdown of beaches, bars, restaurants, clubs, religious gatherings, etc., with immediate effect. There is a saying in Trinidad that sums up the situation perfectly: “Take in front, before in front takes you.”