Commentary – Open? Close? Evidence for?

Jeff Burgar

It is usual practice in journalism to report things behind the scenes if an “authority” lets their name stand.

An engineer may say a bridge is so old it may fall down at any moment. It isn’t up to a reporter to also be a qualified engineer to write the story. Unlike a “man on the street” who might have an opinion “that bridge” is “old and rickety,” the engineer is deemed to be a good source. It gets tricky when the engineer won’t let his name stand behind his words.

Almost daily, people call newspapers with hot tips. “You ought to write a story about this. That. There. Him. Her. It. And keep my name out of it.”

About one in 10 of these “tips” actually have something to them. When people won’t let their names stand, credibility goes right out the window.

But what happens when names are given? Opinions are handed out?

“That bridge is going to fall down, for sure! And I will bet my engineering certificate on that!”

Wow! Now it’s a story!

Take a step further. What if the engineer says the Smoky River bridge at Debolt needed closing? Right now! Maybe the big bridge at Peace River? Maybe the Athabasca bridge south of Slave Lake? You can bet there would be a whole bunch of poking, investigating, thinking, and jiggery diggery before any closings like that happened.

Some days, that is exactly how I feel listening to COVID shutdowns. Everywhere. Florida and Texas have mostly been wide open during this pandemic. Still open.

Alberta, sort of along the same direction. Now we are closed. They aren’t. Alberta, maybe until the May long weekend. Maybe longer.

We all have to have confidence our government is listening to the experts. No doubt those experts have carefully studied, examined, poked, jiggeried and investigated this thing every which way but loose. And of course, have put their “expert” degrees on the line if they are wrong. Umm, really?

Just about any reasonably intelligent person knows the first card off the deck has a one in 13 chance of being an ace. Or, 12 in 13 chance of it not being an ace. Would they bet their career, or their life, on an ace not showing? Maybe, if the reward was big enough.

Most likely, with no real reward, it just isn’t worth the penalty if they are wrong.

Yet every day, we have “experts” telling us, among so many things, man is causing climate change. We need lockdowns to flatten the curve. Or today, protect our hospitals from being overwhelmed.

Penalty for wrong? None!

I go along with Premier Jason Kenney with his lockdowns. It is a very tough decision. Small businesses, not just in hospitality, are hurting. Many are permanently closing.

But people are also sick, dying and have died through no real fault of their own. No one wants responsibility for deaths.

Evidence lockdowns really work may be excellent, or terribly flawed. Ask Florida. Or India.

And here we are, the only head that might roll seems to be Kenney’s.

Share this post