My Covid-19 bubble burst around dinnertime on March 25.

I was pretty much resigned at that point, like most of us, that it was only a matter of time but, still, the shock of actually getting it and the power of its nastiness came as a surprise.

The red, angry double line on my rapid test left no doubt, however, and after a week of headache, dry cough and miserable, flu-like symptoms, I was getting kind of worried. There would be no couple days of sore throat followed by quick recovery for me despite being triple-vaxxed and in good health.

I’m not recounting my experience to elicit sympathy but rather to footnote how Covid-19, despite making the jump to the less dangerous Omicron variants, is still a serious and unpredictable disease. People continue to die or require hospitalization.

Most people have now had an experience with the disease and few stories are the same – even after two years of pandemic. Which is why I read with interest last week about the growing national appetite for public inquiries into how federal, provincial and municipal governments handled it. More than 60 per cent of those polled by B.C.-based Research Co. want to an see an examination of all three levels government in every part of the country.

No doubt the world has become well-populated with social media experts since the beginning of the pandemic, but many people generally feel they have lived under a fog with plenty of pointy things sticking out to catch them as they try to navigate through the murk.

Why are the bars open but the schools closed? Is it safe to bring our parents over for dinner? Should we get the third shot? What about the fourth shot? Why are there so many cases a year after so many of us got vaccinated? So many questions and yet the answers are still frustratingly conflicting and hard to grasp.

For its part, the GNWT has announced it’s doing its own “review of the internal management of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

“The GNWT expects to complete the review by the end of 2022 and a summary of key findings will be released to the public,” said a Finance department communications manager April 14.

I don’t know about you but that sounds an awful lot like, “A bunch of us senior officials will get together at some point, perhaps do a Zoom, and then on a Friday, we’ll spit out a press release saying we mostly did a good job, except for maybe when those two department heads went south for Christmas break.”

I’m not suggesting the territorial government has done a bad job managing its pandemic response, but one thing is for certain, residents of the territory have not had their say. And we need to have our say.

The territory is emerging from the most serious public health crisis it has known since influenza was devastating communities 100 years ago. To combat Covid, authorities instituted the most intrusive restrictions and regulations any of us have ever experienced.

To follow this up with some sort of half-assed departmental review with no public input is not only inadequate in a free and democratic society but entirely counterproductive, especially if the goal is to “design regulations and legislation for similar emergencies in the future.” Nothing will delegitimize the government’s efforts more than to close the door behind them while conducting their review.

We need a far-ranging inquiry that is public and independent, with witnesses called to tell their stories. We need to hear from frontline doctors and nurses, community governments and schools. We need to hear from chief public health officer Dr. Kami Kandola in particular, who held unprecedented powers over our lives for more than two years.

We must also hear from residents about how their lives were affected by the pandemic – as many as who would care to speak. The government especially needs to hear their stories. From families who lost loved ones to Covid to residents of small communities who couldn’t get a doctor. We need to hear from apartment dwellers who tested positive for Covid and were forced to spend a month or more in isolation under threat of arrest. We need to hear from small businesses who struggled to survive under lockdowns and restrictions and from the people put out of work.

We need all of this laid out on the table so if another pandemic does come, we will all have a better idea of what worked and what didn’t work during this one. This is what governments in free and open societies do.

If we can spend $800K and months investigating Steve Norn for ending isolation a day early, we can hold a public inquiry on something that actually matters to everybody who lives here.

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  1. Finally someone pointed out what we are all wondering about. Hopefully this opens up a dialogue

  2. Factual error: neither the purpose nor finding of the public inquiry into Steve Norn’s conduct was because he ended isolation “a day early.” It was for breaking the law and lying to the public and public health officials, putting people at increased risk. The inquiry found he broke isolation no less than five times, the first time being just three days into his isolation period. Please stop amplifying false information Mr. Norn has propogated to try and divest himself of accountability for the harm he caused.