Open letter to our Prime Minister

Hello Mr. François Legault,

My name is Ilias Benz and I am a teacher, owner and director of a Salsa and Latin dance school.  I am out of breath, out of patience, out of hope and especially out of financial resources.

Before I begin, I would like to mention that I am double vaccinated and have followed all the rules since the beginning of the pandemic. My business has been greatly affected a little more with each new wave and new measures.  I have not been able to pay myself a salary for two years now. At the beginning, I had some confidence in your decisions, I was a good player and I was hopeful that better days were around the corner. (The time of rainbows on the windows after having reimbursed clients thousands of dollars…) But this confidence has slowly eroded following your often incomprehensible and contradictory interventions.

First of all, I would like to know what your plan is for the future, apart from the repeated confinements and business closures. I am now wondering if I should change fields or continue to lose money every day… But for how much longer?

I know it’s serious situation, but when the measures are no longer sustainable, maybe we should think about a new approach, right? As Einstein said: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result” At least, your paternalistic speech should be stopped. I believe that people are responsible enough, that they have done more than their best and that they have had enough.   Everyone has made the necessary efforts, but those whose business is closed at a loss, dance, cinema, restaurants, the cultural field… We can’t stand it anymore.  These people, including me, are losing their livelihood, their financial contribution to the family.  Some will lose their homes and others will lose their minds!  Government assistance is unfortunately not enough. Under these conditions we are simply not viable.

Our dance schools

I find the closing of our dance schools particularly frustrating and contradictory. When we were allowed, we operated safely and escaped any outbreak. So, when I see that you open the schools, that all the students go to dinner next to each other and sit together without masks and talk; that’s when the wires get crossed.   I know I’m biais towards my line of work but in a dance class, everyone is registered and easily traceable, vaccinated, in his or her square, distanced and masked… Much safer than at the SAQ, Costco or Carrefour Laval on a Saturday!

What I want is to work.  To open my school for good without constantly being in fear of another closure.  I want to be able to give work back to my teachers, teach my students, see their smiles and see them blossom and above all have a salary to pay for my house and support my family!

Zero Risk

Finally, I am 100% in favour of focusing our resources on the vulnerable, but please let sports and recreation function as normally as possible. Our businesses have been mortgaged enough by your measures.  Sensibly, there is no such thing as zero risk.  It is said more and more that we must learn to live with it. Shouldn’t we just accept some risk and return to a semblance of normality? Or learn to live in confinement and end up becoming associable and neurotic?

Let us offer a service that is essential to the physical and psychological well-being of our clients. Let us play our role as social stress relievers.  Let us keep people in shape so that in the end, they are less at risk and even more resistant to Covid *(*1,2,3).

So reassure me, give me advice so I can survive and make a living for myself and my family.

Translated with (free version)