Creeping on one year of lockdown
By Matthew Fraser, Opinions Editor
“Democracy is when the government answers to the people. Tyranny is when the people answer to the government.”
BC has just surpassed 1000 accumulated COVID-19 deaths. There were also whooping 1475 new cases in three days. Quebec has okayed some of the most draconian lockdown measures I’ve ever heard of and I suspect that I have typed some variation of this article at least twice already.
With a maze of regulations and forced closures, Quebec has entered some strange variation of a police state. What else do you call it when a city is forcibly shuttered every night by 8pm outside of war time? How else do you view a curfew that the province’s own minister of health, Horacio Arruda, has acknowledged as having no hard scientific evidence to support it? The idea behind Quebec’s lockdown seems to be that you must do something if doing nothing might look bad… and what a great idea. Its always nice to know that for fear of a few disapproving comments or an OP-ED or two, a province will catapult its people into house arrest.
Here in BC, we are better off in terms of restrictions: no 8pm curfew, no location-based restriction to walking your dog, no written note from your employer to explain your curfew movements—yet I have no reason to believe that that will not be attempted here.
Though my not-so-secret anarchist leanings are commonly on display, I have no reason to suspect this as a creeping pace towards totalitarianism, instead, this worries me because we seem to have forgotten how important debate on these types of decisions actually is. I’m not sure I would live all that differently if all restrictions were lifted but I sure would like to know that we as a population appreciate and thoroughly consider the changes that are being brought into our world.
Do we really want to quietly allow a provincial government to admit it has no thought-out reason to limit the freedom and movements of citizens? Should we not demand that the federal and provincial governments evolve their plans to include more than just longer and longer lockdowns? How much longer should we pretend as if the polite and carefully worded speeches of the ruling class are acceptable substitutes for an evolution in the way we deal with this pandemic?
We must be able to both respect social distancing and travel within a city; people can certainly avoid travel out of the country and enjoy the life outside of their homes, but none of these things are possible when it is accepted without question that every edict is in fact right.
A Montreal litigator turned YouTuber under the name Viva Frei recently remarked that: “Democracy is when the government answers to the people. Tyranny is when the people answer to the government.” Though I can’t yet call this tyranny, its heartening to know that someone else is questioning.