B.C. premier backtracks after calling on young people not to ‘blow this for the rest of us’

B.C. premier backtracks after calling on young people not to 'blow this for the rest of us'
Government of B.C.
WatchB.C. Premier John Horgan was forced to respond to backlash over his comments Monday calling on young people not to

Saanich police were called to two separate homes over the weekend to break up indoor gatherings and issued fines to the homeowners. Both gatherings involved young people.

READ MORE: Homeowners hit with $2,300 fines after police bust two Saanich house parties

The news comes one day after B.C. Premier John Horgan specifically called out people ages 20 to 39 for putting the province in a “challenging situation”.

“My appeal to you is do not blow this for the rest of us,” Horgan said in prepared remarks on Monday.

The backlash on social media was swift. Many tweeted their disappointment that Horgan would single out one demographic, dividing rather than uniting the province. A former BC NDP candidate even called on Horgan to apologize.

According to the Ministry of Health, people aged 20 to 39 make up 28 per cent of B.C.’s population but in the past month account for 42 per cent of the COVID-19 cases in this province.

But many are arguing it’s the same demographic that is most likely to be on the front lines of the pandemic, working in restaurants, gyms and retail, or living in group settings.

“To suggest that we’re somehow blowing this is to misrecognize the many many ways in which a younger demographic has been at the epicentre of fighting the spread of COVID,” said Dr. Paul Kershaw, a UBC Population and Public Health Professor and founder of Generation Squeeze.

“So I do want to give him the opportunity to just walk back this particular phrase and then invite us all, young and old alike, to continue leaning in and do the social distancing that’s required to fend off the spread of the virus at this moment while we’re also waiting for vaccination to ramp up.”

In a CBC radio interview Tuesday morning, Dr. Bonnie Henry was asked about Horgan’s comments and said the high case count in younger people is a combination of factors.

“They are the people that are working at restaurants and bars and pubs and they are people who are often in congregate living settings or groups of people living together, and there is a degree of social interaction that’s happening right now where we’re seeing transmission,” she said.

Premier Horgan himself took to Twitter Tuesday afternoon, not quite to apologize, but to explain his statement.

READ MORE: B.C. records 840 new COVID-19 cases, 39 in Island Health

April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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