To Mask Or Not To Mask?



Free masks are no longer available to Ottawa transit users. In theory passengers have had time to pick up a mask, which is required of those using the system.

I have from time to time commented on cultural differences between Canada and Germany. This year the idea of face masks is a prominent difference. and not just in how they are used. Here I have yet to see or hear of free masks.

Admittedly, I don’t get out much and for all intents and purposes there are no stores in my village. But I have been in two larger cities, and there were no free masks in evidence anywhere. lots for sale though.

My brother, who lives in Alberta, tells me that province’s government  distributed millions of masks through fast-food outlets. I don’t think that is happening here.

I bought my face mask. Bought some for some of my refugee friends too. I’m not quite sure how they were supposed to fund out about the mask order or how to get a mask if they don’t read German. (That’s a problem for them with everything, just heightened a little in corona times.)

People in Europe were wearing face masks months before health authorities in North America admitted there was some benefit to using them to slow the spread of COVID-19. Here people understand that the masks won’t protect them from the virus, as much as they protect others from them. They do help slow the unwitting spread of a very infectious bug. Common sense should tell you that.

Yet I seein the news that there have been demonstrations around the world, but especially in Canada and the United States, protesting mandatory face masks. I sympathize, but not enough to take my mask off.

According to the protesters (especially in the USA), mandatory masks are part of some grand government conspiracy.  Having worked in government I doubt that – governments aren’t very good at that sort of thing. Too inefficient.

There is no doubt that our freedoms have taken a big hot in 2020 as governments have taken extraordinary measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. They got caught unprepared and have been playing catch-up.

When the pandemic is behind us I expect there will be a reckoning. Many of the emergency measures and the legislation supporting them will be struck down as unconstitutional.

The mask rules though will probably be upheld. They are a public health response.

Protesters should be , in my mind, far more concerned about moves by government to spend billions in public funds with no accountability. But I haven’t seen any reports of people taking to the streets to protest against that. Which is a shame.

As much as they are an inconvenience, masks are a minor issue. And, strangely enough, those areas where masks are in use have seen COVID-19 rates drop. Can Americans say that?




  1. “Here people understand that the masks won’t protect them from the virus, as much as they protect others from them” good point…not sure people here understand that.

    1. North America has bee very slow to mask – and I can’t understand the reasoning.

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