Is it too soon to ease travel measures for Canadians?

     Give Ontario citizens a voice, and when they do speak, don’t silence them.  Especially youth, who have been raising their hands for the longest time to say something, but they have not been called on yet.

     Have you ever woken up late one day, with so many things to do, your mind races through your agenda, only to realize that at the end of the day, you were traveling close to the speed of time? Well that’s what our Canadian government hasn’t realized about the average Canadian yet. 

     It was recently announced that Canadians who have received both doses of the Astrazeneca or Moderna vaccine will not be required to quarantine provided that they continue to test negative for COVID-19. This is an issue because people went to vaccination clinics specifically to receive the Pfizer vaccine, and were told the rollout in Pfizer is progressing slowly, therefore most of them chose to go back home/ This is a choice that they willingly made on their own, and are waiting to be vaccinated, despite the fact that they might have already gotten their first dose from Moderna or Astracenza. 

     However, the Canadian federal government is still continuing to relax travel measures. The solution to all this is that we need to start thinking as ‘we’ instead of ‘me’. 

     Whether you are vaccinated or not or even partially vaccinated, you can still spread coronavirus to other people without even knowing it. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is recommended that people who are vaccinated and continue to show symptoms get tested even if they are fully vaccinated, because although it is rare for them to contract coronavirus, they could spread the virus. Coronavirus is a deadly disease that has impacted people all over the world, and the fact that the government wants to rush into things so we can come back to normal is surreal, thus we need to try to accommodate everybody’s needs. 

     On Monday, June 21st, 2021, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair announced that the government claims to not want people to travel internationally, and the border restrictions that were set in place fifteen months ago (quarantining for up to fourteen days after travel, getting tested daily) ‘were never intended to be permanent’ (Bill Blair, 2021). People are permitted to travel without having to quarantine when they arrive at another province or country and when they return home from that place. Moreover, this doesn’t apply to foreign nationals whether or not they are vaccinated, proving yet again that the Liberal government has failed to support critical industries such as tourism and aviation in Canada, yet they are continuously easing travel restrictions. 

     I find that as citizens of a supposedly inclusive country, we aren’t thinking about everybody, but only what is good for us as Canadians and forgetting the kids and essential workers who struggle both physically and mentally throughout this entire pandemic. Students, myself included, have missed graduations, seeing their friends, family, and peers, and are confined in their homes, becoming less active, less energized and not wanting to interact with anybody. 

     I know this because I have seen people who were once always outspoken that have now retreated within themself and are subject to social anxiety. 

     What about youth, and even toddlers, who have not yet been able to make any friends or see family for over a year because of the pandemic, therefore not being able to enhance their social skills? 

     What about the coloured students who continue to experience racism in schools, but are ignored because there are ‘more important problems to consider’, like for example, the vaccine rollout? 

     Or the poor, hungry students who relied on the cafeteria food distributed to them at school, but are now starving and thirsty because they have no food, or the homeless people with no shelter? 

      We need to think wider than just the fast spreading coronavirus.

     Yes, the number of active cases have lately decreased because more and more people are vaccinated, but that doesn’t mean we should ease all travel restrictions because then we could end up having another wave and have to start this procedure all over again. 

     The Canadian government allows people to think that because they are vaccinated, they may not need to wear a mask. Some also agree that they may go out and disobey social distancing and safety guidelines, but they are thinking only of themself. We need to take the time to focus on helping people rehabilitate through mental health resources, grief from family members or friends.

     Canadians need to know that there are people out there who support them, and that their government supports them, instead of just managing the vaccine rollout. There were other problems in our country before COVID-19 and there still are, but the government is forgetting them and focusing just on the pandemic.

     We need people to feel encouraged and understand that their silence will not protect them, they need to speak up and be a voice, not an echo. 

     Let people speak up and share their opinions about their personal issues not related to the coronavirus, because people have been waiting to speak up for a long time, but they are being shunned, and have not been called on to share their piece. 

     It’s time to call on them now.