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LETTER: Murdock's opinion on reopening Alberta is irresponsible


Re: "Chaos and COVID-19," April 22 Gazette:

The prospect of a shortened golf season must be really wearing on Dr. Murdock. For him, a health care provider of some local standing, to so coyly (and then blatantly) bemoan the obvious and omnipotent economic consequences of the currently necessary public health policy around "spatial bubbling" is irresponsible for a man in his position, and a tad bit arrogant.

Yes, everyone is fatigued. Yes, the economic road ahead is steep and Alberta's soles are worn-out. Yes, we need a coherent plan of action to begin to rebuild our economy. Yes, everyone has "tolerated" and, by and large, complied with the recommendations of our public health officials. I don't contest our Dr. Murdock on these points.

Where I do find reason to hold him to account (and perhaps the Gazette's editorial policy too), comes at the very end of his April 22 musing, where it's noted that "Alan Murdock is a local pediatrician." Is it a responsible choice to tacitly legitimate a submission that so eagerly picks at everybody's already simmering irritation? Does it help to galvanize our community at a time when we just may be on the verge of getting a handle on this crisis? To off-handedly insert that the codgerly griping you've just read was, indeed, the opinon of a local pediatrician could even up being downright confusing, and so, unhelpful. Winkingly attaching Murdock's credentials (as if to do so coincidentally) might actually, in some cases, undermine the unity and co-operation that's so crucial for us to collectively uphold, end up lending undue credence to what's really more of an impatient diatribe.

I would urge, however, that the good Doctor and the editorial staff at the Gazette reflect on the risk for misunderstanding that "Dr. Alan Murdock is a local pediatrician" might lead to. If he's truly local, then "Alan Murdock is an engaged St. Albert resident" might be a more appropriate alternative, given the seemingly 'everyman' tone that this piece strives to hit. Heck, why not reformat the credits of all your regular contributors the same way, so that no one feels professionally slighted, or everyone can feel so equally?

My point here is that the implications of words and statements (even seemingly insignificant boilerplate and the ends of written opinions) can change, depending on the circumstances they're read under. During such an exceptional time, I hope that the Gazette and its eminent local contributors remain mindful of this.

Morgan Luethe

St. Albert