With the coming of a new year comes the opportunity to do better
We are in the final phase of the pandemic. Vaccines are here and distribution is underway.
Families have suffered from fear, anxiety, isolation and grief. Small businesses have suffered through the worst period imaginable. The city’s marginalized communities and elders have suffered most of all.
What’s that old saying? You can judge a city or a society by the well-being of its most vulnerable.
Here we are, ready for a new day, a new year. There is still time to learn from 2020 and move forward with a clarity of vision to put people first.
For instance, what we should be doing is respecting our elders and making sure they are cared for in the best possible way. Premier Ford described an “iron ring” around long-term care homes, promised to protect these facilities, but it didn’t work out that way. And it is fair to ask what went wrong.
This is on all of us. So next time the government, municipal, provincial or federal, talks about privatizing a public good, we need to look back and consider what could go wrong.
Furthermore, those experiencing homelessness in our city need more help. They do not need the city to be tearing down encampments. This is not empathy or understanding. We need a basic income for these people and a way for them to lift themselves up and live with dignity. It is the only way forward.
The city has done some good things. It needs to do much more, and it needs the federal government’s help to create a basic income for all.
We also learned that economic interests should not trump public safety. As the second wave approached, were adequate steps taken to minimize impact or did our efforts fall short? This type of pay for it now or pay for it later scenario will come up again, so we need to learn our lessons.
Which leads to the next point: that we need to follow science without any political bias.
That sounds like a tall order, but, as an example, the climate crisis is already here, and the science reveals the same scenario: pay now or pay later.
The longer we wait, the steeper the costs.
Also, public space and the public good must come first. We demand open spaces, we demand active transportation such as walking, cycling and public transit guide decisions.
We understand the grind, and while we work away, masked up, waiting out a global pandemic, we also understand that there is an opportunity to do better.
So let’s start 2021 the right way, and let’s do better.