PAM FRAMPTON: Pandemics and politics don’t mix | Regional-Perspectives | Opinion | #tinder | #pof | romancescams | #scams

For weeks now, people have been paying attention to the provincial government’s near-daily briefing on the state of our lives under COVID-19.

Premier Dwight Ball, Health Minister Dr. John Haggie and chief medical officer of health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald have been rock-steady in this unsettled new world, doling out stats and admonishment for the good of us all.

Ball’s planned exit from the premier’s office was put on hiatus and the Liberal leadership contest postponed with the recognition that politics and political ambition should take a back seat during a public health emergency.

Several people have observed that Ball has never been a stronger leader, and has never had a steadier hand on the tiller than now. Whereas our pre-pandemic premier was seen as someone who often ducked, dithered and deflected, now he appears in the livestreamed briefings as a steadfast presence; a trusted steward of citizens’ best interests.

Haggie has become something of a folk hero — a pop culture icon, even — inspiring headlines and memes with his wry quips about the wisdom of not letting your kids lick cart handles and the dangers of swiping right on the Tinder dating app. With his well-earned chops as a surgeon with a doctorate in cancer research, the Manchester, U.K. native earned respect at the best of times and has garnered even more with his straight-shooting advice during these worst of times.

Fitzgerald engenders trust and confidence, as well, with her calm, collected presence.

And trust and confidence, strong leadership and sage advice are what we need right now. As a province of only half a million people, known for our close connections, we all know that the three people lost so far to COVID-19 could easily become a higher number if we stop obeying public health directives.

One of the reasons, no doubt, that the rate of compliance has been relatively high is because Ball, Haggie and Fitzgerald are out there day in and day out, hammering home the same message: stay in your bubble, keep your distance, wash your hands.

This is not a time for showboating, grandstanding, pandering, patronizing or politicking.

The continuity of their presence and their message offers a sense of stability and helps people feel they might indeed weather this pandemic.

This is not a time for showboating, grandstanding, pandering, patronizing or politicking.

Ball and Haggie have so far managed to avoid that, meeting with members of the opposition parties out of the spotlight to work collaboratively — never more important than in a minority government situation.

And the value of their own political currency has risen because of it.

Few people are talking about the Muskrat Falls inquiry report these days, Carla Foote’s career path, in-party spats or a lack of faith in Ball’s leadership — all hot topics before the pandemic hit.

But things may have changed this week when Ball announced that a former Liberal party adviser has been hired on contract to oversee the province’s plan to slowly ramp up the economy now that COVID-19 seems to be waning.

Now, I don’t know a thing about Paul Mills except what I’ve read, that he’s a former vice-president of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, he has his own company and was a member of the transition team that eased Ball into the premier’s office in 2015.

And that he was placed in this new role without going through a job competition.

He could be the best person in the world for the role — in the absence of evidence, who can say?

But what I do know is this: hiring a known Liberal insider in a crucial and public position, without a transparent selection process — in the midst of a public health emergency — is not the best optics. And it could backfire.

People have made it exceedingly clear that a pandemic is no time for politics.

If this situation has even a whiff of that, Ball and Haggie may find their honeymoon with the public over.

And if that trust is eroded, people may become cynical and mistrustful, and be less inclined to heed their advice — something all our health depends on.

Pam Frampton is The Telegram’s managing editor. Email pamela.frampton@thetelegram.com. Twitter: pam_frampton


.  .  .  .  .  .  . .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .   .   .   .    .    .   .   .   .   .   .  .   .   .   .  .  .   .  .

Source link

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Leave a Reply

Shqip Shqip አማርኛ አማርኛ العربية العربية English English Français Français Deutsch Deutsch Português Português Русский Русский Español Español

National Cyber Security Consulting App







National Cyber Security Radio (Podcast) is now available for Alexa.  If you don't have an Alexa device, you can download the Alexa App for free for Google and Apple devices.