Has the public stopped listening to those elected to lead? What happens when that happens?

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Pepper Parr

May 4th, 2021



Fortino signs

Signs appear everywhere in the supermarket. The private sector gets the message – why isn’t city hall getting the message?

When I walk into the Fortinos on Guelph Line I am met with a small cluster of signs telling me that I need to keep a six foot distance between other people in the store.

When I walk into the Fortinos in Hamilton at McNabb and Main, there is a young man asking me if I have experienced any Covid19 symptoms – when I say no – he directs me to the hand sanitizer to get a squirt.

For the hundreds of people who were in Spencer Smith Park on the weekend – there apparently wasn’t a single sign nor were there any visible bylaw enforcement people on hand.

What happened to the Parks and Recreation plan to have Ambassadors on hand, they would be traveling in pairs, to explain the rules and to “educate” people, for, if the signs we are seeing on people’s lawns is any indication, there is a lot of educating to be done.
City council will be meeting today – and if they stay true to past practices there will be comments from the Mayor on how necessary it is for people to Stay at Home.

People don’t want to stay at home and it would appear that they don’t want to listen anymore either.

Would it be a stretch to suggest that they no longer trust the Public Health Units or the elected officials either.


Nothing telling these people hat congregating like this is not permitted.

That would suggest we are experiencing a breakdown in the trust the elected must have if they are to effectively lead. While this is a stretch: this is the kind of situation that leads to anarchy.

There is a plan, or rather there was a plan to have city staff on the ground as it were to observe and explain to people.

Will those young men and woman who chose the municipal sector to create careers that involved public service feel safe approaching people and asking them to respect the rules?

What if one of the visitors to our city strikes a city employee? Of course they will be charged if we can find and identify them. The immediate result will have either the police or one of the ten bylaw enforcement officers escorting the Ambassadors.

This is not a pretty picture.

Why are we in this situation? What clues did we miss? Do the people with the signs on their lawns not talk to their Councillors?

We have not heard a word from the ward 2 Councillor. Why?

Meed Ward with chain Sept 23-19

“When the going gets tough; the tough get going” Time for the Mayor to get tough.

If there was ever an occasion for the Mayor to go into a closed session with her Councillors, all the members of the city’s leadership team as well as the Executive Directors to have so hard discussions – this would be one of them.

Some kind of a statement from the Emergency Control Group is also called for.

We are heading into a season that will include a lot of hot summer weather which will attract thousands.

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7 comments to Has the public stopped listening to those elected to lead? What happens when that happens?

  • Phillip Wooster

    Wow, I’m glad I read your article, Tom, because I didn’t know that Doug Ford was the only politician screwing up the response to the pandemic. Your post talked about “politicians” but it appears the only one you were interested in attacking was Doug Ford. There’s a lot Doug Ford has got wrong and it appears that he was wrong when he said “the variants didn’t swim here” according to you.

    You are wrong when you say there is not an issue with border security. Between Feb 22 when the federal government, after a full year, finally got around to testing at the airport, and April 29,
    5,159 people tested positive for Covid and over 1400 of these were based on tests after they arrived home; 40% were variants. And clearly these are only the ones we know about. And we aren’t included the gaping loopholes at the land borders. We are all aware how quickly these variants spread but your minimizing the problem is really a partisan deflection.

    And no mention of course about the screwups in vaccine procurement–want to know why less than 3% of Canada’s population is fully vaccinated?

    It’s easy to dismiss Ford’s concerns about vaccine procurement and border security as political deflection and certainly some of it is but there are valid problems with the federal response which your post chose to ignore. When you start by criticizing “politicians” but choose to ignore the very large responsibility for this crisis at the federal level, I’m afraid that your post comes off as little more than a partisan rant.

  • Denise W.

    ” Has the public stopped listening to those elected to lead? “Covid is real and we need to take precautions. But the government strains things, with things like this from The Ottawa Citizen….

  • Joseph A Gaetan

    When elected persons stop listening to the electorate the electorate will stop listening to elected persons.

  • Tom Muir

    People lose trust in politicians when, among other things, what they do and say is largely ineffectual and visibly futile, but continue unchanged nonetheless. Because politicians usually want to sooth the voters and not alarm them, this story reflects on one of these emergent futilities of fecklessness unleashed.

    In this case though, we have the big question of “who is in charge”? Who is the responsible authority that seems absent in this story, so it looks like the Mayor is the primary one?

    I would say that Premier Ford, in putting himself and his politics in charge, is responsible for a continued series of feckless attempts to repair the COVID19 policy plumbing, and I fear his continued inept handling of the policy/politics mix.

    He has decisions to make due May 20 on his latest stay-at-home order. How is he doing so far? That’s in only 16 days. His off- again on-again public health policies are what I fear.

    Mr. Ford has a tendency of projecting blame, especially to the Feds for political advantage, and to hell with the facts. This is demonstrated in the following I abstracted and edited a little from a story in yesterdays Spectator. There is a familiar theme here blaming the Fed, and includes vaccines.

    “I’m extremely concerned about new COVID variants making their way into Ontario,” Ontario Premier Doug Ford said Monday on Twitter after learning about the latest traveler statistics from The Canadian Press.

    “Over 90% of new cases in Ontario are new variants. We’re seeing more young people in ICUs. It’s clear stronger border measures are needed.”

    But Canada’s top doctors said Friday there is too much focus on the border and not enough on stopping COVID-19 from spreading within Canada.

    “There seems to be a lot of interest and almost, I would say, a (preoccupation with the borders) but at the end of the day, if you look at the actual risk in terms of importation, the actual number of cases with respect to people crossing the border compared to what’s happening in the communities in many of the hardest hit provinces, I think that’s where the public health focus has to be,” said Deputy Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Howard Njoo at a news conference April 30.

    The travel numbers are relatively small compared to Canada’s total caseload — there were more than 342,000 cases of COVID-19 between Feb. 22 and April 29.

    I don’t have the numbers but I think I can say accurately that a similar proportion exists for Ontario. Cases are dominated by contact, community, and work activities.

    So based on the facts, Mr. Ford should be paying attention to his own responsibilities and to the consequences of his own feckless policy directions despite overwhelming concern and evidence all across the medical community everywhere and all the time that what he was doing was wrong-headed.

    We cannot afford a 4th Wave.

    • Lynn Crosby

      You are right Tom. CTV published this today: “ Public Health Ontario’s most recent weekly epidemiological shows travel has accounted for 1.6% of our case growth so far.

      Outbreaks and close contacts account for 60%.”

    • Bob

      If the Federal government (that’s Trudeau, not Ford) had of stopped flights from hot spot countries originally as the provincial government asked, we would have 0 variants. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the variants don’t swim here, they came on airplanes and across borders. That is a FEDERAL responsibility. The province did the right thing by requesting the borders. Today’s statistics for Halton show in total there have been 15,795 cases of which 4,151 have been the variant. That’s 25% of cases in Halton that are directly related to the 1.9% bringing in the virus through the border.
      If we take Ford at his word and 90% of new cases are the variants, that means 2 things. The first being the original virus is pretty much defeated, or on it’s way to being so. Second it shows that quicker action at the border would have saved us from a third wave as case zero of the variants would have never seen our shores.

      Doug Ford has made many mistakes over the last year of uncertainty because of this virus. Asking for tighter border controls was never one of them.