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Editorial: Reeve's comments not a firing offence

opinion editorial stock

There isn’t a person alive who hasn’t said something he or she would like to take back immediately.

Foothills Reeve Suzanne Oel was caught with a foot sandwich when she made comments at a Calgary Metropolitan Region Board on Sept. 17 that COVID vaccines are still under trial and that the vaccine had only been tested on animals before given  to humans.

It caught the ire of outgoing Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, who called her comments extremist and something left behind by animals in a bullpen.

Nenshi is right, now is not the time to spread misinformation. COVID vaccines have been tested on thousands of humans, and while the COVID vaccines are still being tested, that is the norm for many vaccines.

Oel’s comments led to cries for her resignation from some and praise for speaking her mind from others.

While her comments were ill thought-out, it shouldn’t result  in Oel, who has been acclaimed as Foothills County Div. 4, needing to step down.

One needs to look at the whole picture in Oel’s 11-year career on council. She has been an advocate for better ambulance service, fighting rural crime, attends countless events in the County and quite importantly, has been the choice of Div. 4 voters.

And while her comments were, let’s face it, stupid and ill-timed, they weren’t racist, sexist, or slanderous, which would warrant resignation.

To her credit, she returned calls from the Wheel and the Eagle and offered an apology, stating she meant no disrespect to residents and the comments did not represent those of the County.

She should remain the Div. 4 councillor. As for being reeve, that will be up to Foothills councillors at a future organizational meeting.

So time to march forward, even if it will be difficult for the next little while for Oel with a foot lingering in her mouth.