Letters to the Editor

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Accepting “full responsibility”

I am curious, what exactly does “…and I accept full responsibility for my actions or poor choices” actually mean?

This line appeared to be the common line in each of the MLA’s public apologies for travelling over the holidays whether on camera or in the posted news articles.

The Premier attempted to accept responsibility for their actions but his cover was generally rebuffed because those government officials that travelled should’ve known better.

How many public apologies, obviously crafted by a communications officer, have we seen recently that just simply end with “…and I accept full responsibility for my actions” but never denote any consequences, learning or accountability going forward.

These woefully crafted statements appear to simply acknowledge that the wrongdoer is caught and there was no denying, deflecting or downplaying the severity of the bad choice and action. However, the concept of accepting responsibility actually requires some level of accountability. Without any notable accountability, these apologies are simply hollow.

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How about this?  “…and I accept full responsibility for my actions, therefore I have submitted my resignation to the leadership committee.”

Or, “…I accept full responsibility for my actions and I have returned my passport to the Government of Canada to restrict any personal or professional travel until the end of this pandemic.”

Or, maybe this, “…I accept full responsibility for my actions and will be using every available extra hour to volunteer my time at my community hospital emergency ward to dispense, collect and dispose of PPE for our front line workers.”

These frequent hollow “accepting full responsibility” statements seem to have become the current standard of practice stemming right from the top levels of leadership; Federal (multiple times), provincial and at the local level.  When one’s level of trust has been breached, it takes more than just words.

Communication officers, please curtail these hollow “rubber stamp” apology statements. A public apology statement is best stated meaningfully, using one’s own words, while looking directly at the camera or the audience.  More importantly, it needs to reflect some manner in which learning has occurred, involving some level of accountability that is meant to rebuild a future level of trust.

Oh, and by the way… where did this “held to a higher standard” come from that politicians have exulted upon themselves? There is no higher standard. Just be honest, trustworthy and genuine in service to your role.  

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Oh, and by the way… having your colleagues state publically that we “have every right to be angry.”  Wow! When you were elected on a platform espousing honesty, transparency and grassroots humility and you’ve blatantly breached that public trust, I don’t really feel that I need your permission to be angry.

— Dale Gullekson, Sherwood Park

Positivity versus spiraling negativity

In the midst of our exasperation with COVID-19, we have allowed ourselves to become a province full of critics and self-proclaimed experts who would always have done things better, sooner, or at least differently, than the present government and health authorities. These criticisms betray a pious (or pompous), satisfaction in presuming that, had we been in their position, we would have been more decisive, more compassionate, or wiser than our leaders.

I have been genuinely impressed with the caring, professional demeanor, of Premier Jason Kenney, the province’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw, and Health Minister Tyler Shandro. Amid the endless criticism and badgering questions, they have been sincere, respectful and amazingly patient.

Serving in government, especially under trying circumstances, is often a thankless job. Let’s find some positive things to say, rather than parading our moral superiority. Our leaders deserve our gratitude and respect. Whether they make decisions that please us every time or not, they are demonstrating servant leadership and incredible fortitude, and are honouring true democracy.

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— E.D. McKellar, Sherwood Park

Personal freedoms shouldn’t harm others

Under certain circumstances, the well-being of society should always take precedence over individual rights and freedoms. Public health is currently battling an unknown and deadly virus by imposing restrictions that have become frustrating even though they exist for the public good.

Choosing to exercise personal rights by breaking these rules becomes a licence to violate the freedoms of others. You do not have the right to treat others unfairly.

— Sharon Wintermute, Sherwood Park

If you’d like to submit a Letter to the Editor, send your email to Sherwood Park News Editor, Lindsay Morey; lmorey@postmedia.com.

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