I had to go to an early appointment today and then to the pharmacy. Everyone as mandated by the Provincial Government of PEI is wearing their face mask, no fuss, no must. Happy to see that degree of cooperation.
While waiting to speak with the pharmacist I heard that music, you know it is mandatory to play that music at this time of the year to apparently get us in the mood. Bing Crosby and Burl Ives, yes Christmas music from the 1940 and 1950’s, it is nice of course if for no other reason that it is historical and belongs to a long ago age when things in retrospect appear more genteel.
The music expresses a more relaxed happier time none of the stress of post-modern living and other concerns like identity politics, erase culture, PC speak in our unraveling ultra consumer society, split in two by extreme partisan views in Canada like in the USA.
Was the world ever like that? Not really, other times, other worries. The media is already painting as they do each year the Holiday Season as extremely stressful and full of danger including of course this year the pandemic concerns and people behaving like spoiled kids who can’t control themselves and be mature. Horror of horrors there will be NO Santa this year in shopping malls, the world is coming to an end. The solution, Virtual Santa and you can schedule a visit via Zoom. I honestly have to say I cannot remember as a child going to sit on Old Santa’s knee, maybe once at Eaton’s in Montreal when I was 4 or 5 years old. Santa for us was more a mythical person, you did not see him, he simply came in the night when you were sleeping.
In the last 5 years or so of living here, one point of discussion that comes back daily is mental health, if you listen to the media you would be forgiven if you believed every one on the Island suffered from some kind of mental health problem. It is a non stop discussion, not enough support. There is a real split between the Capital and the countryside, yes there is more services in Charlottetown and less so out in rural areas which represent 98% of the Island, however being a small Island the further away from a medical centre is about 45 minutes. We have 2 psychologists for 150K population, we have social workers and counselling services but it seems that it is insufficient.
A troubling statistic, PEI has 50% more drunk drivers than the entire National Canadian average, given that you have to drive everywhere on the Island, since there is no public transport, the police cannot explain the spike in the last 9 months of the pandemic. We also consume a lot of drugs on the Island more so than anywhere else in Canada by a country mile. Which leads to a lot of serious accidents. A darker side of PEI not mentioned in the tourism brochures.
Finally one statistic that truly shocked me yesterday, listening to the PBS NewsHour, I have been listening to it for at least 40 years, love the presentation and the reporting. It was mentioned that 250,000 Americans had died of Covid 19, an extremely sad statistic, another 11 million are sick, it did not need to happen, it could have been prevented but politicians clearly dropped the ball on this one. In comparison the events in NYC at the World Trade Centre in September 11, 2001 seem despite the horror of that day, pale. I cannot understand how this can be and how some State Governors, Republican Senators and the out-going President wash their hands of it all, call it criminal stupidity.
In Canada 11,000 Canadians have died so far and 300k are sick and this in the most populous Provinces like Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and now Manitoba. Here conservative politicians are far more concerned with businesses than average citizens. As someone pointed out, you cannot have a business with dead customers, unless of course you are in the Funeral business.