Government officials need to lead by example

Weyburn This Week editorial

There is a need for leadership from our provincial and federal governments as we continue to navigate our way through the rough waters of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021.

Strangely though, after dealing with the coronavirus since last March, there seems to be a lack of good leadership, or at least, consistent strong leadership that includes setting good examples.

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Witness the parade of elected officials who it turns out flew out of the country for a Christmas vacation.

The national broadcast media has picked up this ball and run with it, and are mercilessly crucifying any and all politicians who took a vacation in a warmer climate.

The politicians who have been fired or otherwise reprimanded for their vacations haven’t helped any, as in many cases they have only made things worse for themselves.

More than one had put out video messages, taped in front of Christmas trees at home, encouraging their constituents to “stay safe and stay home”, not to gather with friends and family, and not to take the winter holidays they normally would.

They of course made no mention that while encouraging people not to be gathering with friends and family at Christmas time, they were enjoying warm weather in places like Mexico and California.

The messages themselves made sense, as with the pandemic continuing to be a public health problem across Canada, it was responsible to encourage residents to take care over the holidays and not take the risk of further spreading of the coronavirus.

As the vacationing MPs and MLAs have been returning and subsequently losing jobs (like Saskatchewan’s Joe Hargrave, who resigned as Highways minister), the people they told to stay home are not very happy their elected leaders skipped the country.

It also hasn’t helped to learn that in a number of instances, their respective party leaders knew all about the trips beforehand, such as the case of the former Highways minister here in Saskatchewan.

It’s hard enough for the public to completely swallow all of the directives in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic, as there are large numbers of people who strongly dislike public health orders that severely restrict their ability to live a normal life, and resent restrictions on gathering, keeping their businesses open or mandatory mask-wearing.

If those who are elected are not leading by example, how do they expect the general public to just accept their directives and follow them?

The public needs to know that their leaders take the COVID issue seriously, otherwise it’s nothing but a joke to keep claiming “we’re all in this together” and that we all need to cooperate.