#FireBonnie—there, someone in the media finally said it!

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      Let's be clear from the outset.

      Even as I've chronicled the B.C. NDP government's inept handling of the pandemic—including ignoring a letter of concern from the human rights commissioner and lifting an indoor mask mandate in schools and on transit—I've tried to avoid personalizing this issue.

      The provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, is only one of many chefs in this noxious kitchen that is spreading COVID-19 across our province. And that is generating tremendous fear in the immunocompromised, those with comorbidities, and their families.

      We know the drill by now. Henry reports to Health Minister Adrian Dix who reports to Premier John Horgan.

      We know that Attorney General David Eby is not going to step in and protect the constitutional rights and human rights of immunocompromised people.

      Eby won't even issue a legal opinion to the public on this. He's remained silent even though the immunocompromised are facing discrimination, according to the human rights commissioner, as a result of the lifting of the indoor mask mandate. That's to say nothing of other marginalized folks.

      We know that the minister who's assigned to advocate for people with disabilities, Nicholas Simons, won't open his trap about this travesty.

      And we know by now that school  trustees will make no effort to reinstate a mask mandate, even though they who owe a duty of care to all children in public schools. That includes those with type 1 diabetes, asthma, and heart conditions, who face higher risk of severe COVID if infected.

      Some also realize that Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside will go down in history as the cabinet minister who presided over the idiocy of denying teachers N95 masks in the face of an airborne pandemic.

      Earlier this year, Whiteside said on CBC's On the Coast show that she was following the recommendations of "public health".

      Don't even get me started on the health authorities. They still seem to think that washing hands, rather than wearing masks, is a critical line of defence against an airborne illness.

      So why should Henry be fired when so many others are culpable?

      The final straw for me was riding a ferry and witnessing hordes of unmasked passengers blithely breathing in the indoor air for nearly two hours.

      They were informed at the start of the voyage over the loudspeaker that the provincial health officer has ruled that it's okay not to wear masks, but they're recommended. 

      It gave them all licence to keep any masks they might have in their pockets and purses. That, no doubt, freaked out the minority who kept their masks on. It was surreal. (Thanks for that, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Rob Fleming.)

      Many British Columbians remain confused about how COVID-19 is transmitted, even though scientists and the White House have concluded that the airborne route is the dominant form.

      Henry has failed to educate enough British Columbians of this fact, despite having a free run in the media for more than two years.

      For that reason alone, she should be dismissed.

      It's time to start fresh with a new provincial health officer—and not her deputy—who is passionate about aerosol science and is willing to advocate far more forcefully for clean air, including through television advertisements that promote the importance of opening windows.

      We need a provincial health officer who feels it's necessary to order children to wear masks in schools; require transit passengers to wear masks on buses, SkyTrain, and SeaBuses; and demand that ferry passengers wear masks on the Spirit of Vancouver Island and all those other vessels where large numbers of people congregate and are breathing the same air. 

      “Now that masking is optional, the use of public transport is a health risk for me. It is not a safe place to be," SkyTrain rider Joy Russell told the TransLink board last month. "I am not alone in this risk. Everyone is at risk and no one is immune from exposure to COVID. For some of us the consequences of exposure to COVID may be fatal."

      It's why three groups—Protect Our Province B.C., Safe Schools Coalition B.C., and B.C. School COVID Tracker—came together this week to ask for the reinstatement of an indoor mask mandate.

      "Vaccination in BC has stalled with third doses in adults 18 years and over sitting at 60%, a concerning number because data for Omicron shows that three doses are much more effective in preventing serious illness," the three groups said in a statement this week.

      "Meanwhile only 56% of children aged 5-11 years have received a first dose with fewer than 40% having two doses. Also, children under five still have no vaccine available and are completely unprotected."

      Henry's stated goal, on the other hand, is to never bring back a mask mandate or limits on event audiences. Let that sink in—her goal is to never bring back a mask mandate in the face of an evolving virus that has already killed thousands.

      If she remains at her post, how are we ever going to stem the repeated waves of COVID-19 washing over our province?