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Opinion: Bill Walton, Hope Lights

On our short street here in the Bay, several of us have relit our Christmas seasonal lights
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The last thing we need in these trying days is more gloomy news. Cancelled events, closed stores, workplaces shuttered, and empty shelves in grocery stores seem to be the daily serving of the news media. Add to that the shortages of medical supplies for our frontline workers and that is enough for this column.

On our short street here in the Bay, several of us have relit our Christmas seasonal lights. It is not so much a celebration of colour, but a demonstration that as a community, we are hopeful for better days ahead. It is a sign of appreciation to all those people who are working to keep our society functioning under the stress of social distancing, confinement and the anxiety of catching the virus.

This might be an easy way for all of us to show our appreciation to the workers who are stocking grocery shelves, disinfecting public places, and delivering necessities locally and around the country. After all, Doug has reduced the electricity rates so it won’t cost much to light up those Xmas lights that are still attached to the outside of your house. I knew there was a reason for not taking them down until summer – when a person might as well just leave them up . . .

There is good news in the economic stimulus package that the government is putting in place. The idea is great but the test of the pudding will be in the delivery. I’m certain they will not try to use the Phoenix pay system to put the money into our accounts. It will no doubt be a pleasant surprise to many of us to see Revenue Canada putting money into our accounts instead of taking it out. One wonders if the City might take a one-month property tax holiday and use up some of that 6-month emergency reserve, for this surely is that rainy day. Maybe Gord could make a PSA.

There is good news for all those people working at or near minimum wage: The stimulus packages have spurred the stock markets to rapid recovery and your investments will bear big dividends when this is all over. You can be certain that a goodly share to the billions of our tax dollars (trillions in the US) is going to end up in the deep pockets of our captains of industry. If we thought it shameful that people were selling bottles of hand sanitizer at huge prices, wait until we hear about the taxes needed for recovery.

There is good news about those American troops being stationed along our border: Trump misspoke (again) when he said they were there to keep Canadians out of New York – it was to stop two truckloads of steel pipe that had been ordered months ago. He thought it was ‘dumping’ but it is just the value of the Canadian dollar that made it look that way. Why, in heaven’s name, would any Canadian want to go to the States right now (spring is just around the corner)? Perhaps those US Army people should be facing south, not north.

There is no doubt we are going to be in a period of transition when we finally get the virus under control. There will be a new reality in how we do business, how we prepare for the next pandemic, and how our society moves forward. Make no mistake, the viruses, the fungi, and the bacteria will win in the end. We will need good education and science in the days ahead to hold our own in the next millennium.

In the meantime, let’s put on a brave and hopeful face: turn on your coloured lights as a sign of hope and love to all.




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Bill Walton

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