Labour Views: Stand United in Pandemic Times

By Jack Bourassa 

To date my articles have been motivated by the pressing issue of the day. This article is no different. We are faced with a challenge that we all must meet head on if we’re to be successful. A challenge that requires we stand united. The Coronavirus (Covid-19) has been and is headline news around the world, capturing everyone’s attention. Canada is only now starting to experience what others like China, Italy, Iran and Spain, to name a few, have had to endure over these past few weeks.

To say the medical communities in these countries have been strained would be putting it mildly. The suffering has been intolerable and sacrifices immeasurable. Governments have been scrambling, sometimes blindly and mostly unsuccessfully, to contain the spread of this relentless virus. However, governments cannot tackle this most serious threat alone. WE THE PEOPLE, are obliged, despite our political stripes, to unite to fight the crisis and stand together least we suffer the ravages other countries have experienced.

We’ve been bombarded with the do’s and don’ts as it relates to containing the spread of this virus while keeping safe ourselves.

  • Self-Monitor – be aware of flu like symptoms
  • Self-Isolate – stay home and away from others, call nearest health professional
  • Social Distancing – avoid normal social activities and keep your distance from other people
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Wash hands

Despite the sound advice given, this virus has spread around the globe like an Australian wildfire. Thinking it could only happen to someone else is the false, self-comforting talk that has allowed many to let their guard down and succumb to illness and death. And when the numbers of infected people have started to decline, the delusion that you’re safe can be equally devastating and result in a flare up in infected numbers. It’s not over until it’s over!

With all that said, I will not dwell on that which you hear every day. I will, however, say there is one key way in which we can unite to not only fight the onslaught of this virus, but to help each other along the way. Caring and acts of kindness are probably the single greatest advantage we have over this invisible enemy. Although we may keep our distance from others during this trying time, I hope the following words will resonate with you all:

“Every hand that we don’t shake must become a phone call that we place. Every embrace that we avoid must become a verbal expression of warmth and concern. Every inch and every foot that we physically place between ourselves and another, must become a thought as to how we might be of help to that other, should the need arise.”

~ Rabbi Yosef Kanefsky

The single greatest gift we, as humans, have is our capacity for compassion and a vision of the world where there is a place for all. When the chips are down, we are willing to go the extra mile to help one another. The human spirit is indeed indelible and together we can conquer all as long as we work together. For… United We Stand!

This column appeared in the Yellowknifer on March 25, 2020.