For those who've paid attention to the science around COVID-19, the B.C. Liberals have been a colossal disappointment.
It's been particularly disheartening to those who've read literature in peer-reviewed journals about airborne transmission of the disease and who have immune-compromised members of their family.
Moreover, the Official Opposition has offered no help to parents and educators who wanted HEPA filters and carbon-dioxide monitors in classrooms to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Kids between 5 and 11 years old still have relatively low vaccination rates. And the B.C. Liberals, through their actions, have sent a signal that they're okay with a proliferation of Long COVID in this age bracket.
One of the few times when the B.C. Liberals actually acted as an ally for those who worry about the spread of this potentially crippling and fatal disease was when they spoke up for more rapid testing.
Another time came when Peace River South MLA Mike Bernier continued advocating for vaccinations even after receiving death threats.
But these instances of responsible political conduct have been more than offset by the B.C. Liberal MLAs failing to hold the NDP government accountable for pursuing policies that ignore the reality of how COVID-19 is transmitted.
Most COVID-19 cases result from tiny particles hanging around in the air in indoor settings, sometimes even after the person has left the room. The virus hitchikes on these "aerosols", which are exhaled by infected people when they talk, cough, and breathe, and can, in some cases, travel well beyond two metres.
The B.C. Liberals remained silent on the end of mask mandates on ferries and public transit. They did not rise up in outrage when the B.C. human rights commissioner noted that this would discriminate against marginalized groups and immunocompromised people.
Is it any surprise that B.C.'s COVID-19 death rate surpassed that of Ontario, which retained a mask mandate on transit for three months longer than B.C.'s NDP government?
That's to say nothing of the dreadful image of so many B.C. Liberal MLAs, including the new leader, Kevin Falcon, refusing to wear masks in the B.C. legislature in the midst of a pandemic.
Yet this week, the B.C. Liberal caucus had the gall to issue a news release on COVID-19 that twice mentioned the importance of following the "science" around the disease.
It came in connection with a call to suspend the vaccine mandate for provincial employees, just as the federal government has done for its workers.
It's the economy, stupid
Since becoming B.C. Liberal leader, Falcon has gone out of his way to present himself as an economic saviour for B.C.
Perhaps Falcon thinks that he can stimulate the economy by promoting the spread of COVID-19.
It certainly has the potential to increase demand for hospital and ambulance services.
One of the world's leading business magazines, Forbes, has even reported on long-term brain damage from COVID-19.
So by sending a signal to public-sector workers that there won't be consequences from remaining unvaccinated, Falcon might actually be promoting more use of rehab facilities over the long term. Yippie!
That's because the B.C. Liberal leader must know that the unvaccinated tend to suffer more severe consequences from COVID-19. And even the vaccinated, particularly those who are immune compromised, can be hospitalized and/or endure long COVID after being infected.
A recent study in the Canadian Medical Association Journal found that "the risk of infection was markedly higher among unvaccinated people than among vaccinated people under all mixing assumptions".
Most troubling for the vaccinated, however, this same study found that their rate of infection rate increased when they were put in contact with the unvaccinated. That's the predictable outcome of Falcon's approach for B.C.'s vaccinated public servants.
"Although risk associated with avoiding vaccination during a virulent pandemic accrues chiefly to people who are unvaccinated, their choices affect risk of viral infection among those who are vaccinated in a manner that is disproportionate to the portion of unvaccinated people in the population," the researchers wrote.
Maybe by mixing the unvaccinated and vaccinated public servants, especially on ferries and in hospitals, this will even increase the number of funerals, thereby boosting the provincial gross domestic product.
My God, maybe Falcon's onto something here.
With stock markets plunging and real-estate markets tanking, perhaps this is the way out of a looming recession.
Who knew that COVID-19 could be such a life saver?
Isn't it wonderful to have someone with business experience as captain of the B.C. Liberal ship?