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“MMM, put the lobster on for me.”
“Why should I have to isolate when I get to my P.E.I. cottage? Why should I give up half my vacation?”
Two quotes taken from social media from cottagers excited to head to P.E.I. now that travel restrictions are being lifted for them. The first quote, in context, was a rather smug reply to a distressed Islander who had expressed worry for their elderly family for the increased risk due to allowing cottagers access to the Island. The second quote, seen on Facebook, is a perfect representation of the entitled attitude Islanders fear will lead to an outbreak. Why should I follow the rules, this cottager wonders aloud, an attitude we’ve seen more times than I think we’d like.
Comments and attitudes like this are likely a minority amongst the cottager community, but reading them certainly isn’t going to help quell the anxiety felt due to opening the borders to people from areas much harder hit. We all understand that it will only take a minority with bad attitudes to inflict considerable damage to our health and well-being. This concern is reasonable and rational given the state of the world today.
However, the concerns for our health should not distract from other questions about our fundamental rights. Mobility rights, currently suspended for all to protect us during the pandemic, are being restored for a select and privileged few who happen to own multiple properties. I believe this is something we cannot abide. We must never allow our freedoms of mobility to be tied to property ownership as this creates classes of citizens whose rights are granted solely by their status as land owners.
The premier should do the right thing and rescind this policy change until such a time as all Islanders can enjoy the freedom of movement that is our birthright as citizens. It is his duty to protect these rights for all, not just a privileged few.