Right in the centre - Decisions and consequences


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

Decision makers have to make decisions. I think the decisions are somewhat misplaced in that limiting and screening arrivals from other countries makes sense, but cancelling Canadian events seems excessive. I could be wrong and have been advised I am.

Have you noticed that not one decision maker, be it at the federal, provincial, school board or Hockey Canada level will lose a penny off their pay cheques? On the other hand, the average Canadian wage earner and business people could lose a lot of income and  there may be excessive economic hardship.

COVID-19 is a flu, it’s not TB, polio, meth overdose or any number of greater health threats. As to the flu, or influenza, the annual death rate for the flu in the United Sates has been reported as 22,000 and at the time of writing, there had been 60 COVID-19 deaths in the United Sates and four in Canada.

Everybody is legitimately concerned about the health care system. Remember this though, 40 per cent of our tax dollars go to health care. If we over-react to the COVID-19 situation and in so doing cripple the economy, there won’t be an economy to generate taxes to pay for health care. As noted above, all the decision makers are getting paid, but the majority affected by the decisions are not getting paid and that includes everyone from casual rec centre workers, to business people, to waitresses, cooks, laid off workers, farmers-the list goes on.

The difference between COVID-19 and “ordinary” flu, in my mind, is that we are used to the latter kind. It’s predictable and yes, it kills a lot of people in spite of the vaccines, but we have become somehow accepting of that. The other factor is COVID-19 seems to move much faster through the population and can overwhelm the health care system as it reportedly did in Italy.

In the darkest of times, there is always some humour– this whole toilet paper hoarding thing. How much toilet paper does one person or one family need? Besides, there are clean, sanitary alternatives which a person could look up online or ask their grandmother about. It seems that a sensible discussion about personal sanitation is considered too sensitive for the printed page of a community newspaper, so I will just leave it at that, but a person can survive without toilet paper. Paper towels can also be replaced with cloth towels.

Alternate methods are easier on the environment and would result in less paper towels in the land fill or less toilet paper in the sewage system. Reduced toilet paper or non-toilet paper usage means more water, but less paper down the sewage pipe, but that means less maintenance and sewage treatment costs to the local tax payers. For the less sensitive-minded people, how we handle sewage from source to treatment deserves a discussion.

And then there is the whole bottled water issue. Apparently bottled water is flying off the shelves these days too. It’s pretty tough to make the case that food is expensive when you realize how much of the “grocery bill” goes to toilet paper, paper towels, bottled water and, let’s just say, pet food. Is bottled water really necessary in most parts of Canada? The majority of people have access to clean drinking water and should really curtail how much bottled water they purchase. Many plastic water bottles aren’t even recyclable, so reusable water bottle filled at the tap means less plastic in the landfills and at a lower cost to the consumer.

Keep safe everybody and wash your hands! And please think and help each other.

Disclaimer: The writer serves as a volunteer chair of the Manitoba Community Newspaper Association. The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being  the view of the MCNA board or Banner & Press staff.