There is a stark contrast between the approach private businesses have taken during COVID-19 and that of government.
Private businesses had to adapt to new requirements and protective measures for staff and customers seemingly overnight while continuing to serve customers.
For government it appears there was no urgency to continue serving the public -they could wait.
Wait they would have to do because there is no competition or opposition where you could take your business instead.
Earlier this month, a Canadian Press story announced that the federal government now has plans to “gradually” reopen 90 Service Canada centres across the country.
These are offices that were closed in March. In the last “few weeks” the government has been working on putting up clear barriers at counters, signs to encourage physical distancing and reduce the number of seats in waiting areas, the story said.
Put yourself in the shoes of all the people who desperately needed help from the Service Canada office since March.
There are people who have been waiting for passports. If you think there is no need to travel currently, think about people who have loved ones living in other parts of the world and may need to reach in an emergency.
There are even husbands and wives separated while they wait.
Way back in March these offices could have continued operating by providing telephone assistance at the very least. Government offices should have had Plexiglas barriers in place within weeks on the lockdown and continued to provide service.
There is a big difference though -motivation.
Private businesses know if they are not open there will be no revenue and staff will be laid off or permanently lose their jobs.
In government, the taxpayer continues to pay staff and the business will never stop because the public can’t take their business anywhere else.
It is sad that this fact appears to have influenced the lack of urgency that has been demonstrated by those in power making the decisions.
On another note: Does a COVID death mean the symptoms of COVID caused the death? The public is talking a lot about the number of deaths apparently due to COVID-19. A high percentage had at least one other, and up to three other, health issues.
So was the death was caused by COVID or one of the other health issues? We know that some people who tested positive for COVID in fact had no symptoms.
In the U.S. there are reports of physicians being asked to list COVID as the cause of death in such cases.
There are no reports of this happening in Canada, that the News is aware of. However, Alberta Health is reporting a death as a “COVID-19 death” if the patient was positive -even if the cause of death was something like heart failure, cancer or anything else.
It is worth keeping this in mind when you look at the COVID-19 death rate.
This editorial originated in the Medicine Hat News.