An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
WHEN I SUGGESTED recently it might be time for Dr. Bonnie Henry to take a break from being the voice and face of B.C.’s COVID-19 response, it wasn’t exactly greeted with agreement.
Dr. Henry is still regarded by many as being above criticism. Well, I’m going to risk being critical again.
It’s about her inconsistency and lack of clarity. The latest has to do with Christmas travel.
Specifically, about Dr. Peter Berman, director of the school of public health at the University of B.C. Berman decided to take a trip to Hawaii, then fess up afterwards.
Asked what she thought about it, the best Dr. Henry could muster was to say, “I’m not gonna comment on whether it was right or wrong or good or bad.”
Considering her declarations about the need to stay close to home, this is pretty disappointing. She’s repeatedly said such travel is wrong, and bad, but backs off when faced with specific examples. UBC, Berman’s employer, has been equally unwilling to sanction him.
As CFJC’s James Peters commented in his Friday editorial, Henry shouldn’t let him off the hook but he went a bit easy on her.
And there’s more — businesses are still shaking their heads over Henry’s last-minute decision to shut down New Year’s Eve toasting at 8 p.m.
It wasn’t the decision itself, but the one-day notice without consultation that got the restaurant industry so riled. And, of course, there’s the ongoing spotty transparency on where the virus is showing up.
But back to the travel issue. Berman’s Hawaiian vacay starkly contrasts with the 200-km. trip to a family cabin taken by former Castlegar mayor Bruno Tassone. “Former,” because Tassone resigned over it effective on Saturday.
So, a small-town politician loses his job over a short road trip while a big-city health bureaucrat gets away with flying off to Hawaii, and the province’s health officer has little to say about it.
That’s not leadership.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.