Should People Breaking COVID 19 Social Distancing Rules be Punished?

May 21, 2020 :: Dr. Melanee Thomas and Lisa Lambert
Moderated by SACPA administrator

Public health officials have been clear about one thing for a couple months — we need to act collectively to minimize the spread of COVID-19. First, they asked that certain people self-isolate and that we all socially distance. But because some people didn’t listen, they had to institute mandatory edicts, punishable by fines.

Most Albertans followed the "ask" instructions laid out by public health officials. So why do some folks need the penalty before they'll do the right thing? The speakers will argue that “willing participants” (in it for the greater good) and “rational egoists” (in it for themselves) make up about 65 and 20 percent of the population respectively.

Then there are the “Altruists” (who always do the right thing) and “punishers” (who are willing to punish those people breaking rules, even if it has a personal cost) making up about 15 percent. The speakers will explain further and make the point that efforts to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic highlight how things that matter profoundly to us as individuals — like, for instance, our health — are really, at the end of the day, a collective responsibility.

Speaker: Dr. Melanee Thomas and Lisa Lambert

Melanee Thomas is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Calgary. Her research focuses on the causes and consequences of gender-based political inequality in Canada and other post-industrial democracies. She has published research in journals such as Politics & Gender, Electoral Studies, and the Canadian Journal of Political Science. Dr. Thomas earned her first degree at the University of Lethbridge and served as U of L Students’ Union President.

Lisa Lambert is a student of parliaments, loves to regale her family with tales of politics, procedures, and party structure. Mercifully for them, she has been able to channel her passion for politics into sessional work at the University of Lethbridge in Political Science and Women and Gender Studies since 2009.

Date and time: Thursday, May 21, 2020 at 10 am

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