An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
WE ALL KNOW DR. BONNIE HENRY isn’t perfect. She is, at times, overly cautious and secretive about the war on COVID-19. She makes mistakes.
But she doesn’t deserve the abuse she’s taking right now. Dr. Henry has been subjected to death threats, online bullying, nasty phone calls, and insults at anti-lockdown rallies.
“Lock her up!” said one placard.
Security has been necessary at her home to ensure her safety.
Henry understands why. She knows some people deal with the pandemic better than others. Some people are afraid, suspicious. They look for someone to blame for something none of us, as individuals, could have stopped.
“It really is not acceptable and what I find most disturbing is how it impacts the people I work with,” she says.
It’s OK to disagree with her. I’ve done it myself. While she has science behind her, the way that science is applied should always be open to respectful debate.
As the months have gone by, and the second wave hit us harder than the first, she has had to impose tougher restrictions, and that has increased opposition to her methods. It has made more obvious her occasional lack of clarity and inconsistency.
But there’s a huge difference between disputing what somebody says and making it personal, threatening that person’s well-being and affecting those around her, too. Dr. Henry has worked hard for us over the past year; I’m sure she has had precious few hours to herself in which to recharge.
At the end of a long day or week, exhausted from long hours and unrelenting pressure, she has one thing to sustain her, and that is the knowledge that she does what she does for the right reasons and that when B.C. banishes COVID, she’ll be a big reason, maybe the biggest reason, for it.
So, to the trolls, conspiracy theorists and haters, disagree with her policies if you wish, but the threats must stop.
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.