2022 looks to be another tough year


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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 31/12/2021 (516 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

By the end of this week, another tough year will be behind us. Unfortunately, the outlook for the one ahead is grim.

Our health care system is on the brink of failure. Nearly two full years of periodic lockdowns have left many Canadians fatigued and in a state of economic uncertainty. Meanwhile, the cost of living continues to rise.

The prices of all types of consumer goods are already inflated, but grocery bills in particular are expected to see the biggest annual increase on record in 2022. The affordability of housing in Canada — already at a 31-year low — is also expected to deteriorate even further.

Of course, there are some people and businesses that have thrived under the present conditions. They are generally better-off individuals and bigger businesses into whose hands wealth seems to be consolidating. For the rest, and particularly for small businesses and people with more modest incomes, recovery remains fragile and uneven.

None of this bodes well for the future.

With so many issues to tackle, we have to wonder what actions can be taken, and who should take them?

The federal and provincial governments have stepped in to provide financial assistance. They also get most of the headlines, and therefore most of the accountability or blame — even when it’s misplaced.

Part of the problem is increased consolidation of media outlets.

Progressively fewer individuals and organizations control increasing shares of mass media ownership. These large organizations often tend to be dominated by corporate interests. What also tends to happen is that voids of oversight widen as local media outlets shrink, are themselves forced to amalgamate, or close altogether.

The communities within and just outside the perimeter of the City of Winnipeg are lucky. We have access to the only independently owned metropolitan daily newspaper left in Canada, and its many sister publications, such as this one, where we can get reliable information about our own neighbourhoods.

Whether reporting on vacancies, buildings such as the Ruben Block being left to deteriorate, or housing developments along the rapid transit line, they also keep people engaged at the municipal level where localized action can be taken — and where voter participation tends to be lowest.

But even here, where change often comes slowest, it is coming, in some form. And probably it was inevitable.

As time goes on, people might need to work harder at keeping their eye on local issues, but it is important we do so. With a municipal election upcoming in 2022, we have a chance to change that grim outlook. 

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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