Submitted to both Cochrane Eagle and Cochrane Times on 2020-08-23
Here’s an observation on the recent council decision on the mandatory use of masks in public spaces due to the Covid 19 virus which was opposed by Councillors Nagel and Wilson.
Here’s my issue; first Mr. Nagel states that he is not in favor of a mandatory policy because is an ‘over reach of government’ and we would be better off to trust the general public’s ability to do ‘the right thing’. The trouble with this comment is twofold, one, if the general public would follow health recommendations the impact of a 2nd wave could be greatly diminished and two, the science is clear, we as a society will generally resist/ignore recommendations and there is a portion of people that will even refuse to accept mandatory directions. The utility of making only recommendations can be limited and mandatory measures must sometimes be put in place.
I did appreciate Mr. Nagel’s request for a review/end date of the by-law. I am glad that council agreed to address this concern by agreeing to a review this by-law in February 2021.
Both Mr. Nagel and Mr. Wilson stated that they were in favor/support of the use of masks. I am at a loss then of how you can say you are in favor of masks when you are either ‘unequivocally opposed’ to or believe a by-law is an ‘overreach of government’ that seeks to enforce their use. Either you are in favor of the use of masks for public safety and are willing to support mask use according to science based information or you’re not. You can’t have it both ways.
You can absolutely point out concerns and I appreciate Councillor Nagel and Wilson’s willingness to do so, however, when there is an apparent compromise/solution to your concern but you continue to vote against a motion, the resistance appears to be motivated more by political grandstanding than your original arguments.
This ‘debate’ reminds me when mandatory seat belts became law. The focus by those who resisted these laws was on further government encroachment and our abilities to make our own decisions. Only time will tell if peoples resistance to mandatory use of masks in public spaces due to the Covid Virus will also seem as ridiculous.