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It didn’t have to be this way. Perceptions about COVID-19 weren’t too divided by political parties very early on in the pandemic. And while Canada’s peers around the world certainly saw political debates and conflicts over COVID-19, they by and large managed to avoid the level of polarization that America has seen, with other nations, including us, working across political lines to take the virus seriously and suppress it.
The mainly Conservative partisan divide has left much of our country vulnerable to COVID-19 — leading to unnecessary illnesses. Polarization, of course, is not a new force in Canadian life, but it means people’s political views now closely hew with views on seemingly unrelated issues, like which movies should win Oscars.
Throughout the pandemic, polarization has highlighted the stark differences between ideologies, from everything from hand-washing to physical distancing to masking to vaccines, and now finds the Conservatives questioning the need of vaccine mandates and pushing for the lifting of restrictions, arguably too quickly.
To put it bluntly: Polarization has manifested into apparitions like the Freedom Convoy, leaving many of us to ask when will this division end.
This Letter to the Editor was submitted by William Perry.