A Journal of the Covid 19 Year. “May we live in interesting times”. This is one of my favourite curses. Although attributed as a gem of wisdom from China, it probably arises from 19th century English literature.
It certainly seems to be a curse that is prophetic of our present times. Although there is a reasonable hope that the virus will not be as deadly in British Columbia as it has been in other parts of the world, the death and suffering from the virus will be followed by significant changes in our world. Imagine the businesses that will not reopen, The workers living paycheque to paycheque that will not financially survive, even with the announced government assistance. Consider the likely step back from globalization now that we realize how many products we need that we do not produce, and that the market is far from “free”. Also consider the effects of a record Canadian federal deficit likely between 100 and 200 billion, and what that will do to future taxation levels and reduced government services. Not to mention huge provincial deficits that are occurring. No mention of interesting times can avoid a reference to the leadership of the worlds most powerful nation. The United States is suffering from a dysfunctional and deadlocked governmental system, plus they have elected one of the most “interesting” presidents of their history.
The belief that life, economics and our personal finances will return to normal quickly seems overly optimistic. The economic effects will endure. Retirement plans will be delayed. Personally I am now looking at freedom 80 instead of my planned retirement age of 75. We will continue to employ social distancing ( will someone please tell my wife Pam that you don’t have to socially distance within the same family unit). We will continue to be wary of each other. And we will continue to be wary of the United States.
I hope that from these interesting times we learn to be less focused on money and consumer goods. More focused on family. Less focused on pointless busy-ness and more focused on time for reflection. More grateful for Canada and the level of leadership we have seen in our province and nation and more determined to protect our sovereignty and encourage production of those products that we need within Canada. Less concerned about ourselves and more concerned about others in our society. Historically, times of crisis have brought people together. If these wishes come to pass then these “interesting times” will not be for nought.
Maybe I’m just an optimist, or maybe I’m just trying to avoid marking final exams this week end.
Photo by Pamela Palmer
GERALD EDWARD PALMER, LLB
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