Joe Warmington

Published:May 1, 2021

-Toronto Sun


It’s a perfect day to shoot some hoops.

But at this park in Mississauga, not only is there a sign saying the court is closed, there are also two pieces of wood blocking the basketball nets.

The result is that kids are not playing basketball at this court in Pheasant Run Park — near Glen Erin Dr. and Burnhamthorpe Rd. W — but they can go to a box store or work in a fast-food restaurant.

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie has been extremely vocal in protesting this kind of thing.

“The mayor has been clear that she believes outdoor recreational activities should be permitted as the science tell us these activities are extremely low risk, and vital to the overall physical and mental health of both adults and children,” her spokesperson Daniel Bitonti said Saturday.

“The mayor has publicly asked the province to lift restrictions on outdoor recreation,” Bitonti said. “These are provincial orders, however, and because of that the city is obligated to follow these rules and do what we can to restrict the use of outdoor amenities.”

What’s amazing is how most people have been following these rules, obeying the system out of fear. They complain but very few defy the law and open their patio, or restaurant, or play basketball. Those who do are quickly visited by authorities and issued a ticket. It is intimidating.

You see on social media politicians like MPP Randy Hillier or MP Derek Sloan being issued a summons at their homes after participating in public protests by the same officers who attended the events and accused them of potentially spreading the virus. The officers did not wear Hazmat suits when they went to their homes so perhaps, like the temporary army hospital in Sunnybrook Hospital’s parking lot, a lot of this is about medical theatre more than it is about public safety.

But that’s the problem with this pandemic. The war is as much between people as it is focused on an invisible virus.

The fear factor is the biggest character in this horrible drama.

It’s hard to believe these boarded up basketball nets and empty courts are going to help keep the COVID-19 numbers down.

These dystopian images will mark this time in history where people will be able to say in this era live music is not allowed; protesting in a park comes with threat of arrest or a fine; schools and restaurants are closed; volleyball, tennis and golf, boating, swimming, fishing and camping are forbidden; and basketball cancelled.

People won’t believe it perhaps. But the pictures will remind them of a place that we, as a so-called free society, never want to go again.

Governments at all levels have made so many mistakes in this pandemic. They have not been able to get the vaccination program rolled out appropriately and have routinely targeted and sometimes punished the wrong people — those who are not super spreaders of the coronavirus or its variants.

But sometimes they have got it right.

The reversal of the original closure of the playgrounds is one example. The biggest mistake in the long run may revolve around the elimination of sports like volleyball, soccer and basketball. The kids don’t have school, many can’t see their grandparents, don’t have birthday parties or in-person music, martial arts or dance lessons. No organized sports and no fun.

Now they see a sign forbidding them from stepping onto their local basketball court and wood blocking the basketball net.

But this comes at a time when the Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons is warning doctors will face investigation if they “communicate anti-vaccine, anti-masking, anti-distancing and anti-lockdown statements and/or (are) promoting unsupported, unproven treatments for COVID-19.”

It does not mention if there will be any probes into the administering of vaccines that one of the manufacturers, Pfizer, now says is not in keeping with the appropriate schedule.

These are confusing times and dark times. It makes one want to go to the local park and shoot some baskets.

Sadly, that’s against the law.