Camp was contentedly sipping his beer when I came in. I hoofed it to the pub along the waterfront since the days are getting longer and I can actually see where I’m walking. That’s a good sign. On the news front the ongoing and growing divide between the so called ‘freedom fighters’ and all the other people is at best perplexing and at worst disturbing and is not a good sign for society as a whole. I also read those recent CBC interviews with the Ontario ICU nurses and doctors in which all tell the same story. I pointed this out to Camp for the umpteenth time.
‘We can’t deny people access to health care but the oxymoron is that the only people being denied access to critical care are heart and cancer patients, among others. Those who need surgery can’t get it done, or are being delayed, because still too many beds are being taken up by the unvaccinated sick with the virus.’
‘These self-serving, myopic dissenters are getting more attention – in the hospitals, the media and on the streets of Ottawa – then those who are actually denied or having postponed their health care. Ask any ICU nurse or doctor. They are tired, exhausted and disillusioned by this dire, mostly preventable situation,’ I said.
‘Let’s stop the nonsense and just get the jab. Please. Now. It’s free, painless, safe and protects both yourself and those around you. How simple is that? Nothing to do with ’freedom’ or ‘personal choice’.
‘The good news is: we, the 90 percent vaccinated, are protecting the other 10 percent. I feel good about that. Gives me a sense of safety in numbers, even though we don’t get any thanks for it.’
‘We are not independent, singular organisms. We are part of a species, a society and we depend on each other, for better or worse. Together we will win, alone we shall fail. An appropriate cliché, I think,’ Camp said.
‘That’s not the message that I see on the placards and banners on the streets of Ottawa. I wonder what old man Trudeau would have done to end this self-serving, disruptive and disrespectful display of anarchy? You think he would call out the army, like during the October crisis in 1970?’
‘That was because the FLQ killed Pierre Laporte, the labour minister, and kidnapped the British trade commissioner James Cross. I don’t think a few dozen trucks clogging up Ottawa and a few hundred or even thousands of protesters and hooligans disrupting the peace warrants invoking the war measures act.’
‘What else can be done,’ I asked Camp, pressing him for an answer.
He concentrated on his mug for a beat and looked out at the calm waters of Howe Sound and tranquil Gibsons harbour, so much different than downtown Ottawa. ‘I would hand out parking tickets and charges for disturbing the peace, then I would recommend to revoke their driving licenses because of unlawful and dangerous driving and then I would impound their trucks and auction them off to pay for the cost of the disruption. Something like that.’
‘A tad drastic, don’t you think Camp. Also, hardly legal to revoke their licenses. Don’t you think this would only infuriate them even more as they are now losing their livelihood and their investments? But I do see the problem. These people do not want to talk or negotiate. They have unreasonable demands, sort of like black mailers, and reason and common sense is not in their repertoire. And they’re getting rich from a go-fund campaign.’
‘When a radicalized minority reverts to blackmail and siege tactics, the very fiber that holds society together is being threatened. We see more and more of this kind of fringe behavior and as long as they can get away without any consequences or costs then the problem is bigger than what it appears to be. To engage with them is admitting their right to exist, ignoring them is letting them take over parts of a city or a border crossing. On top of that we lack leadership. Justin is not Pierre, I’m afraid.’
‘Should we ask Vicky what she would do?’ I asked Camp.
‘Can’t hurt. She is sometimes wiser than all the politicians and pundits out there.’
‘I would set up mobile information and vaccination clinics for them and then let them run out of diesel and gas,’ she said without hesitation.