One only has to tap into social media to witness the vilification of Bonnie Henry. Once hailed as the heroic public health officer of British Columbia helping to flatten the curve in a world gone crazy. Now the bullseye on the target for all that is wrong in the world. The conduit of a year’s worth of anger and frustration with a global pandemic leads to her. The go to place of humanity, find someone to blame.
I do not like all of Bonnie Henry’s decisions. I look to Taiwan. All businesses are open. People are travelling and working in the country. They are having fun. The last case of COVID was a month ago. It is a society where people respond to clear direction and seem to agree with harsh punitive measures for individuals who don’t follow the rules. We champion human rights and trade unions and individual rights in British Columbia. All good measures of a healthy democratic society. But in the midst of a global pandemic, a belief in collective rights have allowed other countries to make decisions that do not appear to be possible in our society.
If all people went to Whistler and followed the protocols for skiing / snowboarding during COVID, then went home, the mountain would still be open. If all restaurants showed the same kind of rigour in COVID practices as Rocky Mountain Flatbread in Kits, all restaurants could remain open for indoor dining. If all businesses were as vigilant about limiting the number of customers at one time as Windsor Meats, we wouldn’t be worried about allowing shopping. The reality is that not all people are following the designated COVID safety precautions with the same attention to the guidelines.
We have people in leadership positions needing to make difficult decisions. Bonnie Henry is a bright, articulate woman who could find other ways to achieve fame and fortune if that was her modus operandi. Squeezing her with vice grips does not allow her to serve us better. Putting energy into consistently following COVID safety policy in this case allows for the collective rights of British Columbians to be served. If this is not the case, she is put in the position of needing to make unpopular decisions that limit our range of activities. Her goal is to limit the spread of COVID-19 and its variants for our safety as British Columbians. There are many variables such as travel from other provinces, compliance enforcement, and politics that are not under her control.
I do not envy Dr. Bonnie Henry for serving British Columbians in this leadership capacity. Leadership in any capacity during COVID is extremely stressful and challenging. I am grateful for her leadership. I hope she is feeling supported. I also hope she has some effective stress management practices in place. I suspect it is her only saving grace at this time.