By Ryan Dahlman

In a world where there is so much political upheaval and dangerous turmoil, we always point the finger at our politicians for being self-serving; self-entitled and egomaniac spoiled brats.

They live in their ivory towers. They are out of touch with what is happening with ordinary people struggling to make it day-to-day.

It is now sport to find embarrassing bits of history which make politicians look bad in order to prove a point about how out of touch they are. Those were glimpses of history which didn’t age well.

There are also current gaffes which show how privelged they really are.

Take this gem for example: “…sorting through the produce to find a pure, unblemished fruit has become a novelty of the past...Our precious little world has lost its way.” (Banff/Kananaskis MLA Miranda Rosin column in the Jan. 6 High Country News).

Yuck.

Of course the real volatile mix in early January has been the discovery of travel by politicians to out of province and Canadian destinations. Alberta’s government faced a barrage of rabbit punches as it was discovered that numerous MLAs and a few staffers failed to follow the own guidelines they drew up and went travelling to in some cases luxurious and lavish destinations. Meanwhile, many of us struggling couldn’t visit loved ones and stopped annual family traditions in order to #stopthespread, Alberta's now ex-municipal affairs minister Tracy Allard could stop her wholesome family tradition of jet setting to Hawaii… now at 17 years straight. 

Dominique Baker, an acting manager at the Public Health Agency of Canada had pictures of her on social media in Jamaica in November after accepting a free Air Canada Vacations trip.

Dr. Tom Stewart, the now ex-CEO of Niagara Health who earns a measly $650,000 per year salary, resigned from the Health Coordination Table, the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, and the LTC Incident Management System Table according to the province's Ministry of Health after it was discovered he went on a trip to the Dominican over Christmas.

The public was outraged. See? More entitlement; more out of touch politicians.

So during a pandemic that had was at first an uncontrollable entity, there seems to be a new sense of hope as vaccines have come out and eventually after those who are essential get theirs first, we will be vaccinated. 

To get a handle on the virus and it’s ever-changing strains from Europe, the federal government made

COVID-19 testing required for people flying into Canada.

“Starting January 7, 2021, air travellers 5 years of age or older are required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result to the airline prior to boarding international flights bound for Canada. See new requirements for air travellers.

Mandatory 14-day quarantine or isolation

Everyone entering Canada must follow mandatory isolation or quarantine requirements. Not respecting the mandatory requirements is a serious offence and you could face consequences and penalties. “

Fair enough, but you know who is complaining now? The public! 

A Global report noted that an "online portal" from Hawaii indicated  4,253 passengers from Canada visited the tropical chain of islands between Dec. 1, 2020, and Jan. 7, 2021. Of those travellers, 2,564 came from the Calgary International Airport.

Narrow time frames as all passengers, from within 72 hours of their flights, have to provide proof of a negative Covid test from the place they just visited. There is still a two-week time frame in which the travellers need. If you test negative twice, you get out of COVID purgatory earlier. Apparently, if you have been in some Caribbean countries or Mexico you are given 96 hour exemption instead of the 72. 

In Global TV story, Calgary reporter Christa Dao interviewed a travel agent about how difficult it was to get her clients Covid tests. 

There was dismay, annoyance and despair on how they would get clients tests from various countries. I am sure all the various regulations and mapping out of where Covid tests are being done around the world is difficult.

Another news story interview a man from Okanagan when he went to Lake Tahoe and told Global News in B.C. “It has absolutely ruined this vacation…(Trudeau) can’t leave us stranded down here.”

There have been complaints that these Covid tests these travellers have to take will cost them an extra $150-500 depending on where they are. Ironic that capitalism.

Meanwhile as of Jan. 7, two health care workers and now a physician have died from Covid-19 complications. 

Who is entitled now?

Knowing there is a volatile, worldwide pandemic, doesn’t common sense override self indulgence? While this seems more than plausible, some will read that and say, “no, if I want to travel, I should be free to go.”

Well, the private company WestJet has suspended 11 routes for the months of February and March and are laying of nearly a third of its overall staff. Views aside, the reality is, if people won’t stop travelling, other factors will dictate there will be no travel. 

Some still belief that this Covid-19 pandemic is a hoax or some sort of government control. In mid-December, Alberta Health stats showed that at the time 719 people had died of Covid (number as of Jan. 6 is 1,217). From 2009-2020, 562 people had died. 

It isn’t necessarily always the wealthy, out-of-touch politicians, they are easy targets as shown above. It isn’t wealthy people although many of us don’t have the realistic funds to travel to Arizona, the Caribbean or Europe.

It is just those who are of the belief that they cannot think outside of their own realm about others. That is a shame and says a lot about our collective thinking. Hopefully, one way or the other, we won’t all pay the price economically or health wise. 

Ryan Dahlman is managing editor of Prairie Post East and Prairie Post West.

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