Charla Huber: Before we criticize Dr. Henry, let's acknowledge her courage

In the past few months, I’ve been introduced to the phrase “leadership takes courage,” and I continually see demonstrations of this.

When things are going well, leadership can appear easy. It’s when things get tough that the courage of leadership comes out in full force.

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Courage is more than being brave; it’s doing the right thing even though you know others may not understand or agree, and may challenge you.

I am a firm believer that we do not need to always agree with each other. We all have our ­perspectives, and we are entitled to them.

This pandemic has been a challenge, and even as we see strides made and we are promised light at the end of the tunnel, it does not make it any easier. It seems that we are ­continually under new ­restrictions and people are ­getting frustrated. I have seen a lot of cruel comments and ­disrespect to our leaders, who are under immense pressure.

A lot of these comments are directed at provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, and reading these comments is deeply upsetting to me.

It is easy to look at someone’s work and criticize their choices, or want to tear apart their ­reasoning and insert new ­theories and ­“what-ifs.” From the outside looking in, ­everything can be ­oversimplified, but that is not an actual snapshot of the real situation. Nothing is simple and there are many other factors involved that we are not always privy to.

I am not a scientist or health expert, but I choose to respect the guidelines we are given because I know professionals are doing their best to make these decisions.

It must be a very challenging job to be the provincial health officer right now and for the past 15 months. That is where courage comes in. It takes a ­tremendous amount of courage to stand up in front of our ­province and place restrictions on people that may not be popular, but are designed to benefit everyone in our entire province in the long run.

I believe in continuous improvement and I know that things are not perfect, but I believe we have the most ­qualified person and team in place to guide us.

I saw a post on social media this week that included the phrase: “We don’t make up the crazy COVID rules, we just ­follow them.”

In my role as a parent, I’ve had to be the person in our home who has implemented a lot of rules, restrictions and guidelines for my daughter throughout her life. She has not always liked them and sometimes she has responded in anger and ­frustration.

I have spent the past 11 years reminding her that I do not make rules because I want to be mean or make her life more difficult. There are reasons behind them and most of the time, the reasoning is rooted in safety or health.

I do not know all the reasons behind the restrictions and health guidelines. I do not fully understand all of the science or data used to make these ­determinations.

What I do know is that Henry and her team are doing their best under intense pressure and scrutiny. I respect and value their courage and stand behind them in their work.

charla@makola.bc.ca

Charla Huber is the director of communications and Indigenous relations at M’akola Housing Society.

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