The Morning Brief – 12.16.20

By Bruce Carson

NATIONAL ISSUES

2020, a year like none other, in living memory

A year of unpredictability and uncertainty

A year that ends with a ray of hope for all

The year 2020 did not start off well and then quickly went downhill into an unforgettable quagmire from which we have yet to recover. There was the deliberate shooting down by Iran of a plane carrying many Canadians immediately after takeoff and all lives were lost.

This was followed by blockades on Canada’s main rail lines. And by mid-March we were into a full-fledged pandemic causing Canada to completely shut down in order to contain and stifle COVID-19. Not an ideal way to enter a new decade.

If Canadians took their health care system for granted before COVID-19, they certainly do not now. If they took front line health care workers, especially in long term care facilities and others selling necessities for granted, they do not now. If Canadians took freedom and our way of life for granted, surely we do not now.

It has been and continues to be a dark and jarring experience for us all.

To their everlasting credit, and possibly one of the main positives coming from this period, political leaders of all political stripes came together working in common cause, saving Canadians and their businesses as best they could. They were not always successful, but again, no one can say they didn’t try.

To protect Canadians financially, governments came as close as they have come to implementing a basic income, with none of the benefits that such a  regime is usually associated with such as lower health care costs and an effective social safety net for recipients.

Weaknesses that we knew existed across the health care system before the pandemic grew to extremes particularly deficiencies in long term care and retirement homes, where many seniors were warehoused without the care they needed and deserved.

As a result of the pandemic a whole new group of heroes came to be noticed. With possibly one exception they weren’t sports stars or entertainers; they were health care workers from every part of that care system. Without their assiduous devotion to duty, many more Canadians would have perished. We also now recognize the important and vital contribution of those who work in grocery stores and those who work to keep us fed and warm.

It is now for us, who have survived, to ensure that the memories of those who died and those who now mourn are respected and comforted. It is equally important that the deficiencies in our health care system, particularly long term care homes are addressed and rectified. No more studies are needed, it is time for action.

We also know now as never before the holes in our social safety net and they must be addressed as well; homelessness, poverty, need for affordable childcare and the health and social needs in our Indigenous communities.

As we look towards a new and hopefully better year in all respects, there is still much to be thankful for coming from 2020.

We can celebrate the indomitable nature of the human spirit, which has been displayed once again and we really are our sisters and brothers keepers during the worst of times.

We can celebrate the thousands, maybe millions of volunteers who showed up unannounced to help and share their talents.

We can hold up and celebrate the many counsellors and people of faith communities who helped us hold it together through times we never thought we would ever experience.

Looking forward, there are so many pieces to pick up, so many deficiencies to address. The COVID-19 health care crisis has seen the opioid crisis to grow, killing Canadians. And if it isn’t COVID or opioids, then it is the feeling of helplessness and despair which in these troubled times too often leads to suicide.

There is much help that needs to be provided, much support need. May the caring which has got so many of us through these past months; never run out.

Repeating and changing somewhat a piece used here at Easter and Thanksgiving let us remember that COVID-19 does not cancel Santa Claus; not cancel caring; not cancel our hopes and dreams for the future; not cancel our vision of a brighter day tomorrow; not cancel our love and support for one another in trying times.

So as we move closer to the beginning of 2021, a year of promise with the advent of effective vaccines, we should be grateful, always recognising the needs of others, particularly at this time of year.

And for those who believe in prayer and even those who don’t, think about and hope for the safe return of Michael Spavor and Michael Kovrig from their unlawful incarceration in China.

And as Dr. Bonnie Henry reminds us almost daily “be kind, be calm and be safe.”

To Come

Today
  • CPI numbers for November to be released
December 17
  • US FDA to deal with Moderna vaccine
December 18
  • Retail trade numbers for October to be released
December 23
  • GDP numbers for October to be released

The Morning Brief will return in mid-January—have a safe and happy holiday season.

– BC