September 28th, 2021

Laying It Out: We can’t take your choice, but we can certainly take your fun

By Scott Schmidt on September 4, 2021.

Before I start I’d like to apologize for my recent absence. I was gone so long people were starting to address me as Premier.

Much like Jason Kenney, I needed a break. Unlike Jason Kenney, I had every right to take one.

But, while we’re on the subject of his weeks-long hiatus (Update: That ended Friday with a doozy of a press conference), I do find it odd when those angered by his disappearance are the ones most vocal about his pandemic failures.

Does Kenney have a habit of improving life for Albertans when he speaks? Is there an example of that happening during this deadly pandemic, which, by the way, has killed seven Hatters in the past 11 days alone?

He’s drawn international attention as a leading example of what not to do or say during a crisis, and he consistently proves to lack the integrity needed by a captain willing to “go down with the ship.”

What positives should we expect from his return?

Is he going to stand at the podium and continue to ease the concerns of grownups who refuse vaccination? (Update: Basically, yes) Continue to tell them not to worry about passports or mandates because of their right to… *checks notes*… ignore science, put others at risk and drag this pandemic out for the rest of our lives?

No thanks. At this point, he might as well get an early jump on Christmas break.

Feliz Navidad, Jason. See you in January.

As for those who still refuse the shots — even though by now you most assuredly know, or know of, someone who has been deathly ill with coronavirus — let’s get serious for a minute.

There is nothing I could say at this stage to convince you to get your shots. If the doctors and scientists who continue to plead with your sanity don’t change your mind, clearly I’m not going to. (Update: How’s $100 sound?)

The silver lining, if you want to call it that, is I likely won’t have to. Perhaps it’s fitting that for more than a year some of these folks said if people were afraid of COVID-19 they should just stay home, when soon the only places the unvaccinated are going to be allowed are their own home and the sidewalk out front where they stand with their “My Body, My Choice” sign.

Antagonism aside, no one wants to live in a world where allowing personal choice on vaccines means a years-long global health crisis. But catering to that choice is a luxury we no longer have, and that’s a reality you simply don’t get to ignore.

What’s more, the rest of us owe you zero explanation for having no choice but to paint the unvaccinated into a very limited corner. If we can’t by law force you to get the shots, we can certainly make life super boring if you don’t. And judging by the number of private entities starting to demand vaccinations, your ability to roam is dwindling fast.

The government can twiddle its thumbs with useless recommendations all it wants. It won’t matter when the entire private sector figures out the risk your choices continue to pose.

Sporting events? Nope. Travelling? Get real. Every unvaccinated person is a risk to business. How long do you really think it will be before blanket restrictions on non-essential business?

The government issued another ineffective alcohol sales curfew Friday. How much longer is the restaurant and bar industry going to put up with that silliness, when barring the unvaccinated is all they really need to do?

That might make you angry to read and you might think of it as being anti-freedom, but the truth is, the beauty of freedom is it’s not unlimited. We don’t get to just do whatever we want, wherever we want, because we don’t live alone in this free society. We work together in communities to provide each other a better life.

Your freedom goes as far as your ability to keep it from negatively affecting other lives. Period.

It’s extremely freeing to walk around the house naked, and we all do it, but if you go to the mall without your clothes, your freedom is going to be limited pretty fast. Obviously we all grasp this concept, because when was the last time you had to dodge nudes at the Bay?

Our reality is this:

Everyone who dies from COVID caught it from someone else, and we know the odds are getting it means giving it to at least one more person. An epidemiologist who helped eradicate smallpox said the Delta variant might be “the most contagious virus we’ve seen in living memory.”

Whether it’s at the top or just near the top, if you catch it, you’re going to pass it on. And passing it on can have deadly consequences (2,390 Albertans and counting).

With the means of protection readily available (except, of course, for children), refusing to use it is a selfishness our civil society cannot accept. If our governments won’t force the vaccine, the majority of the population is left with one option, and that’s to shut you out.

It’s your body, so it’s your choice. But we share society, and society is beginning to make its own choice.

No shirt, no shot, no service.

Scott Schmidt is the layout editor for the Medicine Hat News. He can be reached by email at

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23 days ago

Jason Kenney deserved a vacation, probably heaps more than yourself. But feel free to take as long as vacations as you possibly can, even a permanent one.