We all know that the world sees Canadians as being polite. Over the last several weeks I’ve often thought this as I watch our Prime Minister, our Deputy Prime Minister, our Health Minister and our Chief Public Health Officer in their daily press conferences. As journalists try to bait each federal representative to openly criticize other politicians, other countries, the W.H.O. over how the Covid-19 pandemic has been handled or mishandled. Journalists continue to ask the same questions umpteen different ways and our Canadian politicians just won’t take the hook. They continually tow the line and reiterate that while there may be a time in the future to review information received and steps taken that the focus remains on maintaining current restrictions for quite a while.
The situation has become particularly delicate as fears grow in Canada that the high numbers of virus cases increase in the American hot spots of Detroit and New York City while Donald Trump talks about restarting the economy and opening the borders. Canadian officials are simultaneously telling us that if we prematurely reduce restraint, we will unleash a second wave of the virus.
In the midst of the hum-drum daily briefings, enter Chantal Hébert:
Chantal St-Cyr Hébert, author, journalist, political commentator and recipient of the Order of Canada, has long been taken seriously by Canadians.
Chantal Hébert is known for shooting from the hip, and so she did on CBC’s National News segment ‘At Issue’ segment. You know the type – people who say what we’re thinking but don’t say out loud?
Last night, when asked by CBC Anchor, Rosemary Barton, about the U.S. opening for business and how Canada should manage the border and our relationship with Donald Trump, she refreshingly replied, “I think it’s wise to let U.S. dynamics play themselves out, as they have this week… I’m guessing the wise thing, and Canada’s government has been doing that, is to allow the President to talk, but then to have discussions with adults.”
She slammed him – the Canadian way. The other panelists repressed their laughter and after a few brief smirked faces continued on with serious discussion. The reaction in my livingroom, and I’m sure many others, was more like the winning goal had just been played in a U.S. Canada hockey game. Woah! We just publicly outed Trump as a child!
To be clear, Canadians love our brothers and sisters south of the border. We feel the greatest empathy towards what is happening in the United States. We continue to send our health care workers across the bridge from Windsor to Detroit and will do what we can to help. Neverthess, Canadians see the dreadful numbers of Covid-19 cases and deaths in the United States as well as the Michigan protesters and fear is brewing. That said, as our Deputy Prime Minister, Chrystia Freeland said yesterday, “Decisions about Canada’s border will be made by Canadians – full stop”.
As Robert Frost said, “Good fences make good neighbors”.