A dear friend of mine was scheduled to have a significant surgery next week. A surgery so important and time sensitive, that it was set to go ahead, in spite of all the Covid restrictions and despite a Covid outbreak at the Alberta hospital where the operation was booked. But...
The surgery has just been cancelled. (I’d say postponed - but until when?) This is the hidden cost of letting Covid spread unchecked in Alberta. We may never know how many people’s suffering will be extended, cruelly, because hospitals were too overwhelmed to care for them.
And we’ll likely never know whose health might be permanently compromised because they couldn’t get essential treatment in a timely fashion. This isn’t just about those suffering from Covid. It’s about the swamping of our hospital system.
The choices you make in the coming weeks won’t just affect you. Or your family. Or your colleagues. They’ll affect hundreds and hundreds of people you’ll never know, people denied vital medical care as a result of your decisions.
If you met my warm wonderful charming friend, I’m sure you wouldn’t dream of pushing them into the traffic or knocking them over a cliff. To you, they would be real person, someone you’d never hurt on purpose.
The problem is, we have a harder time empathizing with hypothetical strangers. Still, in this moment, the choices we make, the way we choose to exercise our “freedoms” could destroy the health and happiness of people we’ll never meet.
So. Before you head out to the bar, book a dinner reservation or plan a Christmas holiday, pause a moment. Take a deep breath. And consider whether your choice is in the best interests of the community we share.
And who knows? If, heaven forbid, this is the weekend you crash your car, or have a heart attack, or slip on the ice and fracture your leg - you may not get Covid - but you too may find out, first hand, just what an unchecked pandemic means for our hospitals.

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More from @Paulatics

21 Jun
On #NationalIndigenousPeoplesDay - I wanted to share the story of Jane Flett MacKay, the matriarch you in the the centre of this photo, a remarkable Edmontonian, whose story may not be one you know. #yeg #yegheritage
She was born in 1857. Her father was from the Orkney Islands in the far north of Scotland. Her mother was a member of thr Geich’in First Nation, in the Mackenzie Delta.
In 1874, Jane married William Morrison MacKay, a Scottish physician who was working as a Hudson Bay Company doctor. Eventually, he became Chief Factor of Fort Chipewyan. Jane became his nurse and surgical assistant.
Read 10 tweets
31 May
Many years ago - more than 30 - I was lucky enough to earn a post grad fellowship to the @Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, Florida. I was, I think, the first, or one of the first, Canadian students to study there.
I had to find a place to stay - so I was delighted when one of my fellow incoming students called me up. She was from Atlanta, and she and her brother were driving down to St. Petersburg to look for an apartment for her. She asked if I might want to be her roommate.
We chatted on the phone and hit it off, and I said sure! So she found us a great place to share.
Read 10 tweets
13 May
Just got off the phone with the union that represents Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) inspectors, including those who inspect Alberta's big beef packing plants. As of today, 40 CFIA inspectors have tested positive for Covid-19, including 21 in Alberta.
According to the union, there are 37 federal inspectors assigned to the Cargill beef packing plant in High River, near Calgary. Of those 37 inspectors, I'm told 18 were diagnosed with Covid-19.
The good news, is that among CFIA staff, there have been no fatalities to date, although at least one Alberta inspector was so sick they needed to be put on a ventilator.
Read 12 tweets
22 Mar
We’ve just been informed the Senate of Canada has been recalled to sit Wednesday, to deal with emergency Covid-19 legislation. Quorum for the Senate is just 15; only those who live within driving distance of the Senate, and can get there in a private vehicle, are to attend.
The rest of us will review the legislation from home, and forward our questions and concerns to our Senate colleagues in Ottawa. That way, we can still have a measure of regional representation.
I will do my best to make people aware of the particular challenges we’re facing in Alberta, with the double blow of Covid closures and collapsed oil prices. Because I know this is a dire time in Alberta.
Read 7 tweets
10 Nov 19
Dear @hockeynight - on Friday, I took part in a ceremony at an Edmonton mosque, honouring Aboriginal Veterans. Many of the people there were immigrants from Pakistan & India. They recited In Flanders Fields. They all wore poppies.
One of the members of the mosque, an immigrant who just so happens to be an acclaimed botanist, gave an interesting talk about precisely why poppies grew so abundantly on the battlefields of Flanders, and how they became our symbol of remembrance.
Monday, I’ll lay a wreath at Edmonton’s Norwood Legion. I spent last Nov 11 at the same Legion Hall - where the young cadets who assisted with wreaths were themselves as multicultural as Canada itself. Many were undoubtedly the children of immigrants or immigrants themselves.
Read 7 tweets
7 Sep 19
A Friday night subtweety story. More than 100 years ago, my paternal Jewish grandparents arrived in Alberta from what was then Russia. They met here, married & moved to Round Hill, Alberta.
Round Hill, near Camrose, wasn’t big. But like many small prairie towns it was hugely multicultural. There were Ukrainian families. Norwegian families. Polish families. Métis families. English families. I believe there was a Chinese cafe - likely pronounced to rhyme with safe.
And there was one Jewish family: my father, his siblings, and their parents. Theirs was no ethnic homogeneous community. There were Protestants in the town - but lots of other faiths were represented. And still - there was community cohesion.
Read 10 tweets

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