Two years ago, I wrote that there is no greater tragedy than “to have brought horrors to light and then change nothing in their wake.” Attending Thursday evening’s discussion of the fentanyl crisis, I wonder if our elected officials took this as a dare.
Not one councillor from Parksville or Qualicum Beach, nor a single candidate for the provincial election, decided to show up. Not one elected politician or aspiring politician had the humility to say that they might not have an answer, but they recognize that there is a crisis. That they honestly don’t know where to start, but they’re going to put in the time to learn so they can make a difference. That those who suffer deserve to be heard, and that we need to band together as a community and a region and move forward together to address this crisis in a comprehensive fashion.
It’s embarrassing to be in office and not have answers when people are hurting. It’s hard to have people tell you how disappointed they are in you and how dissatisfied they are when you may genuinely feel the same way about a problem. That’s the job you hold. That’s the job you’re running for.
Their no-show in the midst of a genuine crisis which has already taken lives goes beyond questions regarding accountability and speaks to a deficit of decency, empathy and courage. If a family in our community has to bury their child owing to a
fentanyl overdose after Thursday evening, what will our elected officials say to that family? In order to say that “we did everything we could” with a straight face, you need to first do the bare minimum and be present when people who’ve lived that tragedy are willing to share what they’ve learned.