|Political commentator John |
Twigg -- at the BC Legislature
As we inch back towards normal, such as B.C. kids soon returning to school, it's a fair assumption that we'll probably never get back to normal because so many things will never be the same.
The announcements this morning about the re-opening of B.C.'s public schools on June 1 is a good example of that - attendance will be part-time and voluntary, including for teachers! - and similar provisions are coming for child-care facilities, with close monitoring and testing. But if there are fewer international students in September there could be less need for teachers, which already has triggered some teacher layoffs.
Meanwhile there is a budget crisis in the City of Vancouver which after an in-camera council meeting has triggered a sudden budget cut of one per cent for the Vancouver Police Department which in turn triggered some layoffs of police, then protests from the police chief and a furore in the media.
Personal services businesses such as dentists and hair salons will be able to open on Tuesday (May 19) but again there will be new rules to ensure adequate social distances are maintained and transmission opportunities are minimized such as with masks and plexiglass shields, so trips to the hairdresser will never be the same.
Meanwhile there was a three-sailings wait for B.C. Ferries sailings between the mainland and island, due to pared down sailings trying to handle normal long-weekend traffic volumes, and that might have some long-term impacts such as reducing property values in tourist destinations.
One can expect that most commerce sooner or later will return to more or less normal but other things will have been changed forever, especially social and political activities. Yes, the Vancouver Canucks will play hockey again, sooner or later, but as with most sporting events there probably won't be stands full of fans anytime soon, it'll be strictly on TV and streaming video.
Does that mean B.C. political parties will never again have rallies attended by thousands of supporters? Probably not, or at least not indoors. But then how about keeping social distances in campaign office backrooms??
That's a timely reminder that B.C. probably will have another election next year, with one scheduled for October 2021 [the uncertainty is because with the minority it could come sooner, the B.C. Greens having had to postpone their leadership contest due to COVID-19], and all this turmoil now can't help but be a factor in the outcome, maybe even a major one.
Now reproduce those types of uncertainties in nations around the world, including Canada where a federal election always looms, but look especially in the United States: how will all this COVID19 turmoil affect election outcomes on voting day Nov. 3? Will President Donald Trump be re-elected or ousted? Will the Senate and House majorities be Republican or Democrat? His management of the COVID crisis already is a huge controversy and some or even many Democrats are working hard to make it a stumbling block for Trump. The next U.S. election is arguably the most important event looming now in world affairs, with ramifications of Biblical proportions.
Similar questions can be asked even in nations that are communist dictatorships; will the coming post-COVID commercial shifts make them more or less warlike? Or topple some despots??
And Europe?? What chaos will there be after the devastating paths of COVID19? France and Italy are already basket-cases over-run by unruly migrants but other members of the Europe Union could catch the same dysfunctions. Germany and the U.K. have healthy economies but their politics are shifting.
Finally, at the United Nations what cabal will take control, or will its corruption and incompetence (eg World Health Organization) remain the same? Whole books are being written about that - one of the biggest existential questions in human history. Why has humanity so far been unable to govern the world wisely and fairly?
Everyone reading this probably can make decent educated guesses at all of the foregoing questions, and I'll soon be making a more in-depth analysis of the B.C. angles in a forthcoming revival of my B.C. Politics Trendwatch newsletter, but meanwhile take care, be healthy and enjoy the long weekend.