It’s all a matter of give and take


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 04/03/2021 (820 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Last Monday was Louis Riel Day, and just three days after the province eased restrictions and allowed many businesses to open for the first time in months, albeit at reduced capacity, they had to spend one day open at reduced holiday hours.

Still, it was better than the alternative. Holiday or not, the answer to the question “what’s open?” was a blanket “nothing” just days before.

Also last Monday, anyone who had previously registered with the Government of Canada’s Registration of Canadians Abroad received an email from the federal service (it obviously wasn’t a federal holiday). About halfway down, it advised or reminded any recipients that strict new air travel requirements go into effect on Feb. 22.

As the saying goes: one hand giveth, the other taketh away.

The new requirements were designed to discourage Canadians from going abroad, where they might contract and eventually spread newer, more-transmissible, potentially deadlier variants of the novel coronavirus in Canada, and potentially force another round of shutdowns.

The main deterrent is that the extra cost associated with the requirements – estimated at about $2,000 for up to three nights at a government-approved hotel at the port of entry – is to be paid for by the travellers themselves.

It’s probably safe to say most people can think of other ways they’d rather spend that money.

Safe to say because the new restrictions seem to have achieved their goal.

Since the new requirements were announced last month, Air Canada announced an additional 1,700 layoffs due to decreased demand, on top of the 20,000 employees already laid off or furloughed. At the time of this writing they, among other airlines, were at the negotiating table looking for a bailout from the federal government.

In the months since the first lockdown began last March, different levels of government have stepped in to provide relief to businesses hardest hit by the pandemic in order to prevent layoffs and stimulate the economy. Many businesses have used the relief simply to stay afloat; others seem to have abused the system.

One apparent culprit is Bell Media, which reportedly received $122 million as part of the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program. Just days after it fourth-quarter earnings showed a near 30 per cent increase in net revenues, Bell laid off more than 200 employees.

It’s probably safe to say most people think the feds could have found a better recipient for taxpayers’ money at a time when so many small- to medium-sized local businesses continue to struggle.

What’s certain is that it is frustrating to see some take when those who need have dutifully given up so much.

Andrew Braga is a community correspondent for South Osborne. 

Andrew Braga

Andrew Braga
South Osborne community correspondent

Andrew Braga is a community correspondent for South Osborne.

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