TITLE: The danger of mixed messages

I am perplexed; the UPC government has seemed unwilling to enforce public health measures despite ongoing anti mask protests, very public refusals from business to close and even people on the internet flaunting their unwillingness to be compliant.

But now the government has arrested Pastor Coats for failing to abide by the same public health measures that they have allowed others to ‘get away with’.

Mr. Kenney, either you give clear and consistent messages about public health measure or you don’t, you can’t have it both ways!  It is unfair to the general public, most of whom continue to make personal sacrifices to follow your direction, including not traveling for vacation, when you willing allow other people publicly flaunt their refusals to be compliant. 

I would even argue that it is unfair to Pastor Coat’s in some respects.  Yes this is an issue of his making, no I don’t support the Pastor’s claim that peoples spiritual faith is at jeopardy for not having full church services but, when you have allowed others to get away with what he is now doing for so long, why is he now the ‘sacrificial lamb’?

My biggest fear is that this situation is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’ and the real danger is people no longer bothering to listen.  I believe there is already direct evidence of this happening.

Last week there was the report that there is a growing number of people who are either not giving information to and/or not cooperating with contact tracers.  Contact tracers are the one irrefutable essential component of a Covid management strategy, so why would people not cooperate with them? 

The answers are simple.  You will never get 100% compliance with only giving directions.  Some people still do not believe Covid exists or that the risks of Covid are insignificant.  You will never get compliance from this group of people without consistent and ongoing enforcement.

I also believe that a growing number of people are not cooperating with contact tracers because they do not know what will happen.  Will they get fined because they breached public health orders?  Will other’s they know get fined because they breached public health orders?  What will other people’s reactions be?

It is a proven psychological fact that we as a human species look for and have a greater response to negative information.  It is also proven that our first reaction as a human species is self preservation.  So should it be any surprise that people would not cooperate with contact tracers after they have lost faith in the directions they have been given or feel they cannot predict the outcome of their actions, I don’t think so.

I do not envy Mr. Kenney if he tries to fix the situation but I must admit that I struggle to find sympathy for him for a situation he helped created.

As always, I would have the same comments for any government in this situation.


Dan Cunin