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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

JOHN TWIGG -- The good news may be, and hopefully will be, that British Columbia will be able to emerge from this crisis stronger than ever

John Twigg

John Twigg is a long-time independent journalist, writer and communications consultant now living in Campbell River.

He was Premier Dave Barrett's press secretary from 1972 to 1975, a financial editor in Regina in the 1970s-80s and an independent member of the Victoria Legislative Press Gallery from 1987 to about 2010.

His Friday night radio program, on Christian radio station Spirit-FM, is on hiatus at the monument due to the COVID-19 situation


The ancient Chinese curse "May you live in interesting times" is perhaps never more apt than now in these days of COVID-19, also known as the Wuhan Virus for the name of the city where the pandemic originated ostensibly in a research lab.

With multi-millions of deaths from COVID-19 expected around the world, including maybe a million in the United States, thousands in Canada and hundreds in B.C. (unless a simple antidote is soon found or suppression strategies are successful), these ARE not only unprecedented times but also times predicted and warned of in The Bible.

Yes there have been previous pandemics, such as SARS, but this new COVID-19 one is unusual because it is so easily transmitted via water droplets in human exhales and germs left on doorknobs, and because it appears to have been artificially created, possibly first by American researchers, but it apparently made its way to Wuhan via a Canadian laboratory in Winnipeg from where a research worker from China apparently smuggled a sample back to China where it may have been reworked into a weapon of war and then was perhaps inadvertently released into a weird wild food market in Wuhan, a very large city in central China.

So COVID-19 IS a very serious health threat, as we are frequently reminded by federal and provincial public health officers, but it's even more than that: it was predicted and warned of in several Bible prophecies, most obviously in and around Matthew 24:7 where "pestilences" are mentioned in a series of signs of "the beginning of sorrows" and in Luke 21:25 where "distress of nations, with perplexity" are in a similar list of travails. (King James translations)

A more fulsome list of The Bible's warnings of end-time troubles would be quite lengthy and troubling but the key point is that God warns us that He will "shake all nations" (Haggai 2:7) in order to get their attention and then be able to teach the nations and peoples as groups and individuals and families that if they want to survive and prosper they must learn to live certain ways in keeping and harmony with God's instructions as reiterated by Jesus and recorded by inspiration in The Bible; they are not really onerous and are demonstrably beneficial to our lives and happiness.

The fundamental issue in all of this is about how we treat each other as individuals, groups and nations, and how we treat God.

Jesus gave us two key instructions: Love God, and love your neighbours as yourself (Mark 12:30-31 among others), and while civil liberties allow us to forego the first one if we don't mind risking the futures of our individual souls, those same civil rights do not allow us to forego the second one: how we operate as groups in society and the world of nations.

In other words, what matters more than ever now is politics: how we structure our civil relationships.

Here in British Columbia in recent weeks we have witnessed a remarkable display of good government, more so than in Canada and way more so than in the United States or perhaps any other political jurisdiction in the world.

National notice has been made of the early and strong performances in this COVID crisis by the B.C. government of NDP Premier John Horgan, with support in a Legislature minority from the B.C. Green Party and even with the supportive collaboration of the Opposition B.C. Liberal Party MLAs, which is a remarkable news story in its own right.

The strong performance by B.C.'s Chief Medical Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has even drawn international attention; her strong, steady, calm and pragmatic responses to the COVID crisis have made her a new star on social media, as noted recently by the blog Vancouver Is Awesome.

Health Minister Adrian Dix, and Henry, have been holding daily news conferences for weeks now open to all questions, including phone-ins, from media around the province which have greatly helped to keep people informed and so far appear to have enabled B.C. to experience a relatively low and slow growth of COVID infections and deaths.

Some of that is because the independent B.C. Centre for Disease Control was early into the battle, obtaining research samples of the virus when it was still only a local novelty in Wuhan - possibly the first such research in North America, so B.C. knew better than most and sooner than most about the then-coming pandemic.

The Horgan government also has made dozens of executive orders and other administrative moves such as banning residential evictions and perhaps most notably: cancelling elective medical procedures and moving non-critical patients out of hospitals and in to temporary care facilities in order to free up hospital beds for an expected wave of patients needing ventilators to stay alive - which fortunately and/or blessedly has not yet arrived, possibly because the government was very strong in teaching people how to minimize contracting and spreading the COVID-19 germs.

In Canada health is primarily a provincial responsibility but the federal government of Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also has been in the vanguard of international attempts to deal with this crisis, unveiling a blizzard of moves including new funding, tax relief, international trade and travel measures and more - again with support from the Conservative Party Opposition - and apparently more is coming, notably a system by which people and employers adversely affected by COVID shutdowns can apply for special financial assistance.

Crown corporations and private businesses have been stellar too, such as B.C. Hydro easing up on payment collections and the Victoria Times-Colonist raising millions of dollars in donations to help people and groups in need due to COVID, among many other examples.

No doubt more mitigation measures will be needed and will come, such as better support for caregivers and their families, and a crackdown on street-level transmissions, among others, but overall so far B.C.'s responses to COVID-19 - including by cities and municipalities - has been remarkably good, perhaps even the best in North America.

So the good news may be and hopefully will be that British Columbia as a province of people and businesses and social groups will be able to emerge from this crisis stronger than ever and we as a province will need to do so because all this is only "the beginning of sorrows" (Matt. 24:8 and Mark 13:8).


World news makes it increasingly obvious that even worse times of trouble are coming, culminating in a horrific third world war called Armageddon that according to Bible prophecies will kill two-thirds of mankind and 90 per cent of the English-speaking descendants of the 12 tribes of Israel (Amos 5:3 and Revelation 9 among others).

That little factoid isn't taught much nowadays in mainstream churches but the advent of COVID-19 and the spread of nuclear weapons to madhouse regimes such as Iran and North Korea make it increasingly feasible, and the wars of words between the existing nuclear-powered nations also make it more likely.

Will B.C. be among the casualties?

It depends on what we do to prepare for that and to minimize its impacts, so in a way this COVID-19 scare is a blessing in disguise, a proof that if we want to - really want to - we CAN mitigate the damages to come.

Could B.C. become a main place of refuge for that 10 per cent of survivors of World War 3? Our response so far to COVID-19 suggests that yes we can, IF we want to. To which I add that that will become even more possible if we repent towards God in that process too by more ardently keeping His commandments and adhering to Jesus's teachings, especially loving our neighbours as much as we love ourselves.

That in part means spending less time and money watching sports and swilling beer and spending more time on Bible studies and projects benefiting our families and communities - which is something good that COVID-19 has already forced many of us, myself included, to do.

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