In Ridley Scott’s horror masterpiece Alien, a group of space-salvagers come across an abandoned ship giving off a distress signal with no explanation of what killed the crew, until one man comes across an egg and is infected with a parasite.
Ellen Ripley, the smart woman, doesn’t want to let the infected man back onboard the ship for safety reasons. No one listens to the smart woman and they all die, a multi-trillion dollar investment is lost and Ripley barely escapes with her cat.
I’ve racked my brains all week about how to articulate my feelings about this whole Coronavirus situation as events escalated and civilization seemingly ground to a halt. But I can definitely say, without reservation, that I am glad I live in a jurisdiction run by smart women.
Other places, like the United States, have not been so lucky. Say what you will about Hillary Clinton, I think it’s safe to say most Americans are probably wishing she was the one signing off on the decisions right now.
Or in Alberta, where anyone up here who is in need of critical care from the virus will be sent, by the way. Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party was so busy trying to bust the nurse’s unions, chase doctors away and privatize health care services they let the virus go from infected people mainly being travelers to people now getting infected by people who caught it from travelers. The only concrete solutions being offered are by opposition leader and former premier Rachel Notley (another smart woman) who noted Kenney’s 14-days sick leave promise seems to have not even lasted the weekend. Amid an international crisis, Kenney appears to be incapable of anything other than photo ops.
Here in the Northwest Territories, Health Minister Diane Thom and chief public health officer Kami Kandola were making announcements about the situation long before anyone else really understood what COVID-19 even was. I remember Thom talking about it at NWT Association of Communities AGM and even before that. She clearly understood the severity of the problem.
So we can all at least be assured that, while our resources might not be as plentiful as we want them to be — not that they ever are — the folks in charge aren’t going to let their egos and pet projects interfere with their jobs containing the spread of this virus into one of our isolated communities.
Because it really only takes one person with the virus to get off a plane and we could be in it deep. I’m sure I don’t need to describe how devastating a virus that is particularly lethal to senior citizens would have on the well-being and social fabric of our communities. We need to protect our elders while we can.
But let’s not kid ourselves, this massive pause on a system that requires perpetual growth to be considered healthy is going to have significant consequences on our lives. Stock markets are plunging around the world. Entire industries and the livelihoods that depend on them are on freeze. Political fallout from the economic devastation could be deadlier than the virus itself — when haves becomes have-nots, history shows things can go off the rails pretty quickly.
So again, as we watch history unfold I am thankful to have smart women who listen to experts in charge, instead of blowhard males who talk down to them.