January 24th, 2021

Stable bolted. Horse gone.

By Letter to the Editor on November 24, 2020.

Dear editor,

As I write this letter it is Sunday Nov. 22, and the people of Alberta have learned of more than 1,500 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.

I hope by Monday that Premier Jason Kenney will have abandoned his partisan indifference, step up and finally lead. He should not have burdened municipal councils with his responsibility for making decisions about public health. In spite of that, I can only hope that by the time this letter is printed Medicine Hat’s city council will have passed a mask bylaw.

These are the stark realities:

We are a city with the largest percentage of persons over the age of 65 years in the province. Seniors are among the highest COVID risk group. We have all watched as too many of Canada’s seniors have become isolated to their bedrooms in care homes when an outbreak occurs. Yes, masks are inconvenient, but we might all pause for a moment. Consider how minutes feel like hours for our elders in isolation as exhausted staff struggle to provide care.

Small businesses survive and succeed when they have a reliable and predictable economic environment. Had all levels of government intervened together, and earlier, they could have mitigated the impact upon small business owners from the shock of a quick complete lockdown.

Our hospitals and health system run the risk of collapse. Collapse because the system not only needs to serve COVID cases, but when all the beds and ICU are full and there are not enough healthy staff, our entire population is at risk. There will be no other place to send people (a point I think local physician Dr. Dang neglected last week in his letter to Kenney). We are in a marathon at a sprint pace.

The threat of COVID-19 is very real and requires evidence-based decision making. One should never make decisions based on a sample of one, nor a desire to placate. Leadership is about doing the right things and doing them the right way.

The federal government has provided some funding for small businesses and individuals. It is long past time that our provincial government does the same. Doing nothing is acceptance of failure. The government theme song has been ‘we are in this together.’ If we truly are, then those of us who can afford to share need to do so. Tax is not a four-letter word.

It is during such troubling times that we look to our leaders to ‘model the way’ forward. At what point will Mayor Ted Clugston have the fortitude to disagree respectfully, but clearly, with the actions and inaction of our current premier and this government. I fear we are back into the dark state of being the forgotten corner of our province.

The situation reminds me of what I believe to be a Jewish prayer, which I hope all of us might think about:

“If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now when?

Bob Wanner

Medicine Hat

Share this story:
Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
1 month ago

FANTASTIC letter Mr. Wanner!!
We have waited far too long for our elected officials to do their job and protect everyone here in Medicine Hat, as well as all of Alberta.
Their inaction is literally costing people their lives.

Fred Lewis
Fred Lewis
1 month ago


Fedup Conservative
Fedup Conservative
1 month ago

You three have certainly got it right but my senior conservative friends and I still have many ignorant seniors calling us all sorts of names for not being as dumb as them. kenney has them convinced that it’s all Ottawa’s fault that they are stealing our money, but they aren’t smart enough to understand that our federal taxes provides us with free health care and is subsidizing our Old Age Security and Canada Pension plan Payments. We know we are receiving far more than we ever paid into them. These federal taxes are allowing us to help to pay for the building of roads, and other infrastructure projects. Where do they think the money is coming from for the P3 Projects in Alberta?
I’m betting you can name some of these ignorant seniors in your life , we certainly can and as our retired University Professor friends have constantly stated “You can’t change them, they are what they are, losers who can’t handle the truth, they aren’t man enough.

1 month ago

Bob, masks are not a silver bullet. Masks are merely a part of the solution to stop the spread. You have oversimplified the situation in extended care facilities by suggesting that a mandatory mask mandate would have prevented the high number of fatalities. Google “The Swiss Cheese Respiratory Virus Defence”. It will provide a clear visual of why it is important to understand your mask as a definitive answer approach.