Commentary – Bye bye, 2021!

Jeff Burgar

It is Christmas! A time of reflection on the past 12 months. With a new year just around the corner, also a time to think what the future may hold.
In one of our publications recently, a columnist wrote a cute story about a fellow who bought a TV made in Japan and a truckload of other items made in far away countries. The item ended with the fellow wondering why he was being laid off.
About the same time, a national newspaper columnist wrote his own experiences after early this year pledging not to buy anything made in China for the year.
He failed!
Both stories speak to issues we have in Canada. Many times over the decades, it was said North American offshoring of manufacturing and Canadian over reliance on selling resources will one day return to bite us. In many ways, it already has.
As just a few examples, parts of our military struggles to keep old equipment running. Our federal government, with Canadian manufacturing closed years ago, made a deal with China to produce COVID vaccines. The deal fell apart and our nation had to shop elsewhere. Eastern Canada imports foreign oil while Alberta oil must be sold to America at their own price.
Some say Canada is part of a global community and we can all work together. Actually, we often can’t even solve our own internal problems between provinces and between cultures, never mind world affairs.
The almost two years of COVID restrictions was an opportunity to understand better our place in the world. Instead, it was politics as usual. Western Canada against the East. Toronto and area against everybody else. A federal election brought no change. A tepid Liberal minority government propped up by a tepid NDP party.
It is safe to say, inspiring change in the way Canada does things will take inspiring leadership. In most parts of Canada, federally, provincially and in most municipalities, the watchword, despite promises of change, is doing the same things as last week and last year. Like the frog in boiling water, we won’t change what seems to be working quite well.
Even in Alberta, with oil prices dropping and finally crashing into negative territory for a brief moment, politicians mostly talked a good game, but at the same time shrugged their shoulders.
“It’s a world thing. What can we do?”
As one former northern Alberta mayor said, “If you are standing still, you are actually moving backwards.”
Meaning of course, the rest of the world is busy eating your lunch.
Looking back at 2021, even with our shortcomings, Canada and humanity as a whole is surviving remarkably well. Life does indeed send you curve balls when you least expect them. But never give up.
This year, our blessings may be small. Even non-existent for too many. Count those blessings, and remember to think of others less fortunate.
We wish you and your loved ones a Merry Christmas. It’s soon time to think of a fresh, positive new year.

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