Since the beginning of April, more than 6,000 British Columbians have tested positive with COVID-19. As we navigate the third wave of this pandemic, many are looking to government for transparency and decisive action.
“Earlier this spring, I said it felt like government was not rising to the fight in light of rising case numbers. Now it is feeling like they are forfeiting the fight altogether,” said Sonia Furstenau, leader of the B.C. Green Party and MLA for Cowichan Valley. “We were not dealt a bad hand - we loosened restrictions despite rising variant cases, allowed out-of-province travel, stalled in-school mask mandates, and did not enforce orders or tailor messaging to hit those who have not been following orders. This third wave is the outcome of that inaction.
“Neither the methods nor the messaging are working. It cannot only be up to individuals to deal with this crisis. We need a coordinated response and action from government that shows they are taking the immediate and long-term threat of COVID-19 seriously.
“Variants of concern will soon make up the majority of our cases. Government needs to explain why they are not adapting to the changing reality of this virus by tailoring their vaccination rollout to target young people. Instead of tolerating high rolling averages, we should adopt a COVID zero strategy.
“British Columbians are angry, they are anxious, and they are scared. It is not enough to ask those who are still listening to get through the next couple of months. We urgently need a shift in government response. Instead of bracing for the impact of rising variants, we can mitigate it right now.
“British Columbians are looking for leadership, not complacency. It is time for the NDP to take ownership of the immense power they hold. They must take responsibility for our pandemic response, be willing to take bold action, and make the tough calls to protect all British Columbians.
The B.C. Green Caucus is calling on government to urgently adopt the following measures:
- Create a clear and targeted shutdown strategy for a three-week period that includes:
- Enforcing non-essential travel measures.
- Moving school online for most students.
- Providing immediate government support to temporarily close non-essential businesses.
- Increase transparency and revamp public communications by:
- Resuming daily COVID-19 briefings.
- Publishing case numbers on weekends and holidays.
- Extending media availability.
- Adopting new messaging outside of press conferences to target non-compliers.
- Increase testing and vaccination capacity by:
- Expanding asymptomatic testing and rapid testing in workplaces, schools, businesses, and neighbourhoods.
- Improving reporting on variants of concern.
- Increasing staffing at vaccination clinics and extending hours to administer all doses as soon as they arrive in province.
“We need to step up and fight for the health of our province. If we do this now, and do this right, we will all be stronger for it in the near future.”