A Fashionable Fight

It was in 1977 that the Government of British Columbia awakened the residents of Lotus Land with a new law. And I mean, awakened.

On a specified but not too distant date if you drove a motor vehicle in BC in would be mandatory to be safety-belted in. And anyone who wanted to ride with you would also be strapped in.

Later refinements would widen the straps and buckles

to create  safety seats for infants and slightly older youngsters. And full adult safety seats would have to be available for any passengers. There were hefty fines for law breaker.

The new law designed to protect travellers on highways being made increasingly hazardous by careless drivers, was not welcomed. Drivers, whose accident rates were making the safety requirements essential, regarded the “buckle up or be fined” regulations as punitive, and the speed with which they were being brought to law a threat to democracy.

But the government stayed firm, insisted that it was driver’s and their ever mounting medical plus car repair costs that made the seat belt safety program not just needed –but essential,

The debate continues and, of course always will because people don’t like to be told that sometimes the only way keep costs in check is to curb their bad behaviour. And if the people, who should know better, continue to misbehave, then tough action to get their attention is required.

We appear to have arrived at one of those “tough love” checkpoints in the current pandemic now staggering the world and at present defying science. In the past the men and women of science have won most of their major battles with the ills that plague us.

For sure it’s true they haven’t won them all, but where they haven’t yet won they continue to fight with some success at slowing down some diseases which once were unchecked; and I do believe they edge ever closer to the day when we can claim another victory.

In the present battle they have asked for our help. They have asked us all to give them a hand by wearing a small face mask. And some of us are responding by doing just that – but we do get a bit indolent out here where we complain if the sun doesn’t shine every day.

So, anyway, I wear a face mask on the rare occasions when I venture forth into the ever-wider world. My own doctor tells me it helps, and I need to believe his advice,

I regret that I still walk with the minority when it comes to masks – but I have great hopes for a mass conversion. I read in the New York Times a view days ago that Gucci had designed the mask Billie Eilish wore at the Grammy awards. It maybe all the medics need to boost their cause for a growing use of face masks.

All that is needed now is for women to realise that a face mask fashionably associated with a blouse, dress or jacket can be most attractive. Men won’t be far behind as they search for the “rugged” look.

And our health care workers will be delighted.


  1. I once worked for a man who pretended to fear that the health police would come to his house to see if he was eating a wholesome breakfast. Publicly funded medical care would provide the justification. He probably owed his paranoia to the seat belt laws you reference.

    However, wearing masks today is more than protecting oneself; it’s protecting everyone else you may encounter. Refusing to is the height of selfishness. Instead of seat belts we can think of drunk driving.

  2. Hi Jim,
    Before the Seat Belt legislation was introduced in 1977 it was the good citizens of Prince George who advocated for it. They started a program called “Take the Car out of Carnage” and set out to shock the population to pay attention to the deaths of young people in vehicle crashes on the highways around Prince George. They had a father show the death certificate on television of his son who had been killed in a vehicle crash. They put crashed and crumpled vehicles in shopping malls to demonstrate the carnage.
    To-day we need young people in their 20-30s to rise up or perhaps their parents to advocate for all the preventive measures like social distancing and masking when that is not possible.
    Dr Shaun Peck

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