Postcard From Toronto

We’re publishing a new postcard today, our first in a while. This one is a postcard from Toronto, which has been in lockdown in one form or another since last November. The Ontario Premier Doug Ford hit the “emergency brake” in April, ramping up restrictions, and it hasn’t been released yet. Our correspondent, Catherine Brennan, is more than a little fed up. In the following extract, she writes about attending her first anti-lockdown protest a couple of weeks ago:

I have to admit, I felt somewhat nervous about going to the rally. Would I be arrested? What would these protesters be like? An unruly mob, frothing at the mouth with questionable personal hygiene? One left-leaning politician (and in Canada we’re all rather left-leaning – so this guy is practically falling over), warned that these rallies were full of white supremacists. While I am white, and no amount of self-tan can disguise my Irish legs, I struggled to find anyone to fit that description so cruelly slurred by the noticeably absent MP. How did he know who attended when he himself wasn’t there? So I asked my friend, she of Russian-Jewish parents who fled the pogroms living in barns for two years – was she secretly a white supremacist? I asked the lovely black couple who, very sensibly, set up lawn chairs to enjoy the convivial atmosphere. Why are you here, I asked. They answered, like so many other people I spoke with, that they were worried for their kids, whose lives have been on hold. They too had called their local politicians only to hear canned responses. Like me, they wondered whether a better balance might be struck between absolute risk and relative risk. They were disturbed by the political deafness on how lockdowns have affected kids’ welfare. These were not anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers or any other of the ad hominem name-calling around dissent these days. They were there to show support in a time of great isolation.

Worth reading in full.