What’s the legacy of 2020?
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/12/2020 (896 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The year 2020 is certainly one for the history books, complete with dark clouds and silver linings.
The pandemic has been hard on all of us, though we have each experienced it in our own unique way.
Especially difficult has been the loss of loved ones; some to COVID-19, some to other causes but whose families were prevented from grieving and comforting each other in the usual ways.
Grappling with isolation and anxiety was an unwelcome theme of this past year for far too many people all over the world.
In the thick of it all, we saw health-care workers stretched thin but determined to care for the people in our community. Even when our government failed at times to support them, they were there to support us. We owe them a debt of gratitude for their ongoing service.
Workers in the food and transportation industries, municipal and postal services and other essential industries kept things going, while the rest of us struggled to do our jobs very differently or to cope with losing those jobs altogether.
Parents developed a deeper appreciation for the skilled work of teachers and early childhood educators during this time. Thank you to them for the work they do.
What’s more — the essential role of child care in our economy was put in the spotlight. As we plan for recovery, we can no longer tolerate the same hodgepodge approach to child care.
Over the last year, we saw how existing weaknesses in our social safety net led to COVID-19 having a disproportionate impact on women, people living with disabilities and racialized communities.
When millions of Canadians suddenly found themselves out of work, we rallied behind them with an income support program that avoided the worst-case scenario of cascading bankruptcies. For the first time, workers across the country have access to 10 days of paid sick leave; a win I am pushing to make permanent.
No doubt, this has all cost a lot of money. As we rebuild coming out of the pandemic, we have an opportunity to define the kind of Canada we want to live in, what we are willing to pay for it, and who we trust to build it.
The usual political voices, who habitually serve the interests of the rich and powerful, are already telling us we cannot afford it.
They want you to believe we cannot afford quality long-term care for your mother, that most people living with disabilities must live in poverty, and that the affordable child care working families need to make ends meet must remain out of reach. I disagree.
These voices are the same ones that relentlessly call for corporate tax cuts and defend tax havens for the likes of people who own properties in faraway places like Costa Rica.
If we invest these revenues instead, we can create employment and make it easier and more affordable to get the things we need. That is the focus I want to see when we turn to rebuilding Canada. That is how we can turn a terrible year into a positive legacy.
Elmwood-Transcona constituency report
Daniel Blaikie is the NDP MP for Elmwood-Transcona.