Editorial - Leaders must set good example

In case someone has forgotten Saskatchewan and Canada are in the midst of a health pandemic.

And the numbers are not particularly good.

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Sunday there were 307 new cases of COVID-19 to report in Saskatchewan.

Monday the number was 412.

And the death toll surpassed 190 last week.

In Ontario more than 5,000 have died from COVID-19, and Monday the province reported 29 additional deaths attributed to the novel corona virus, along with 3,338 new infections.

While the positive news is that vaccines have been released that hold the promise of turning the tide, the world demand is massive, so the roll-out is slow. It will be months before everyone can be vaccinated.

In the meantime the best option is continued health diligence. Wear a mask, wash your hands, go out only as required. Limit travel. The safety measures are not of course a guarantee you will avoid COVID-19, but they are the best options available -- much as seat belts are not 100 per cent effective, or driving under the speed limit, or wearing a helmet on a motorcycle.

The safety measures have been repeatedly outlined by government, including staying home through the recent holiday season so as to limit the potential spread of the disease. It has been shown quite clearly people in close contact at gatherings are at risk if someone attending is infected.

Staying home for the holidays was difficult. It is a time when families traditionally gather, but better to be safe than risk the health of family members, especially of those of advanced years.

So why then have we come to learn that a number of politicians ignored the government's advice and headed to the United States where numbers are generally worse than they are here?

In Saskatchewan Joe Hargrave, MLA for Prince Albert Carlton, recently resigned as Saskatchewan Highways Minister after making a trip to Palm Springs, California in late December which landed him in a public storm given the general public has been urged to stay home to control the spread of COVID-19.

In Alberta six MLAs, including one cabinet minister, and Premier Jason Kenney’s chief of staff have resigned from various positions for similar reasons.

And closer to home Yorkton This Week learned Saltcoats Mayor, and president of the Municipalities of Saskatchewan Gordon Barnhart, has also gone south, heading to Hawaii.

We deserve better from our elected provincial and municipal officials. We should expect in a crisis, and COVID-19 is clearly a health crisis, that the people we have entrusted to lead, do exactly that -- lead.

Leadership includes setting an example. It means following the rules and recommendations - in particular those you were part of creating.

In this case, the travellers among our elected officials failed those who elected them, and that is a great shame that while families stayed safe by staying home, frolicked in the sun of a foreign country.

© Copyright Yorkton This Week


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