Solicitor General Sylvia Jones says officers will no longer have the right to stop any pedestrian or vehicle to ask why they are out or request their home address.
– City News, 2021 Apr 17
It took just a day for Ontario to walk back the two most egregious of the latest “public-health” measures they had just brought in: playground closures and new powers for police. I’m not sure what took them that long. Mind you, even as they moved to correct their misstep, they managed to make it worse.
Instead, [Solicitor General Sylvia Jones] says, police will only be able to stop people who they have reason to believe are participating in an “organized public event or social gathering.” – City News, 2021 Apr 17
As the London Police Commissioner (ours, not England’s) observed on CBC Radio this morning, “How would you even know what people are planning to do just by looking at them?” If that’s not an invitation to engage in age and racial profiling, I don’t know what is.
I’m a law-abiding citizen and have been for a long time. Whether that’s driven by innate good citizenship or issues with authority or no capacity for rowdiness I leave with others to judge. I report my income, I follow traffic rules, I don’t smuggle, I don’t even litter.
For the last year I have also followed Covid-19’s 3 Rs — recommendations, rules, restrictions — even when they seemed silly to me. And so, while the province failed spectacularly to get a handle on the spread of Covid-19 in Ontario nursing homes, I did my part:
- Abiding scrupulously by the 14-day self-isolation period upon our return from the USA last March, using unreliable (as they were then) grocery-shopping services.
- Making masks, commissioning masks from family with real sewing skills, buying more online, and wearing them religiously.
- Staying at least six feet away from everyone but the guy I sleep with.
- Disinfecting surfaces.
- Washing my hands. And again.
- Observing, politely and sometimes patiently, capacity limits in non-essential retail stores and using curbside pick-up when available/necessary.
- Cancelling physio appointments when I got the sniffles the day before.
- Waiting hairily for my salon to re-open. And again.
- Patronizing restaurants through pick-up, and sitting on windy patios during the few heady weeks when that was allowed.
- Avoiding indoor gatherings of all types.
- Avoiding outdoor gatherings of all types: scaling no fences erected around churches, participating in no street protests.
- Taking my first AstraZeneca shot this past week because it came up two weeks before an appointment I had scheduled with Public Health for the mRNA one that I preferred, logically or not.
And I don’t think I’m deserving of praise. Everyone I know was and is doing and not doing the same things.
But enough. As the London Police Commissioner said this morning, experts have been asking for targeted interventions at large workplaces but instead we get a ban on outdoor activities except walking (and for heaven’s sake don’t go too far, or drive to a park on the other side of town, or you risk a $750 fine), a closure of playgrounds, and the likely unconstitutional conferring of new powers on the police that many jurisdictions almost immediately said they would not use. Whether that was driven by constitutional scholarship or by lack of resources or by a fear of being left wide open to charges of racism, I leave with others to judge.
Ontario’s cases are surging. Again. We set new records for cases and hospitalizations and people in the ICU every day now it seems. I get it: I live in a postal-code hot spot. After the past year, this is all the more reason for the province to base their actions on what they say they’ve been following all along: science and evidence.
Some of the new rules are ridiculous. Golf is banned, tennis is banned, even playgrounds are banned. What was the risk? Apparently, it’s unsafe to be either indoors or outdoors now. – National Post, 2021 Apr 16
OK, it’s easy to snipe from the sidelines. If the rules aren’t ridiculous, then explain why kids can’t play outdoors. Tell us what evidence there is for mass transmission among foursomes on the golf course. Show us the statistics on Covid-19 found among tennis players. (Singles or doubles: Go ahead, take your pick. I’ll wait.) Tell us again that kids are safer both in general and from Covid-19 at school than at home and then that we’re closing the schools, but do it in one breath so even you can hear what you’re saying. Make the case for province-wide measures that make no distinction between Pickle Lake and Toronto.
Give us a reason to believe you know what you’re doing. Give us any reason to believe you know what we should do.
No? Well then, maybe get on with doing what I believe you should do: Stop the Covid-19 theatre and start the hard work of figuring out what you can do to help us slow transmission in congregate working and living environments, particularly in the Greater Toronto Area.
And let’s agree to leave the police out of it except to get them vaccinated early. It’s not just young members of marginalized and racialized communities who object to being arbitrarily stopped by people with guns, and to being kept out of wide-open, humongous parks that our tax dollars maintain.
Backing off on playgrounds is a very, very small bone to throw to a very, very angry population that just witnessed a government have a very, very bad day that was entirely of its own making. – Matt Gurney
Now more than ever we need a reason to believe.