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The mother of all storms is looming...

By Serge Therrien | December 23 2020 01:00PM

2020 was by far the most turbulent year we have ever lived through. The pandemic has undoubtedly taken a tragic toll.

First, I would like to offer my sympathies to my industry colleagues whose loved ones were affected by this terrible virus or who may have caught it themselves.

The pandemic has upended everything in its path. We have all had to reinvent our methods.

The COVID-19 virus has also had an unexpected consequence: it has distracted us from the long term.

This year, it has been too easy to overlook the biggest threat of all: climate change and its consequences on humanity.

This is a normal reaction at a time when we need to channel all of our energies into protecting ourselves from the current threat.

This year, the threats have been burgeoned. Many crises persist.

Just think of the crisis in CHSLDs and long-term care centres, the hospitalization crisis, the social crisis, the economic crisis and the financial crisis. 

Many people think things will never be the same again.

I’m leery about using this expression: it paralyzed many people when the World Trade Center towers fell on September 11, 2001. 

Two decades later, we have largely gotten back to normal.

And after the pandemic, things will also mostly return to normal. Business as usual, and the status quo are the natural state of affairs.

For a while, yes, some things will change.

Here is a quote from an essay by Henri-Paul Rousseau that slipped under the radar: COVID-19 – Idées de politiques économiques de gestion et de sortie de crise pour le Québec et le Canada.

He made 5 predictions for the post-Covid-19 period.

There will be:

  • More government,
  • More e-commerce, teleworking, digital solutions and robots
  • A push toward deglobalization and possibly interprovincial trade
  • Stronger ecological concerns, and
  • New forms of private and public cooperation.

Rousseau concludes that the health crisis offers “an opportunity for economic and democratic development that we absolutely must seize.”

This is a great idea, but we had better step up our efforts because there is one formidable hurdle that can slow us down: a short-term vision.

In the war on climate change, it is ubiquitous.

On December 1, 2020, Andrée Laforest, Québec's Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, tabled amendments to Bill 67, which will create the Act to establish a new development regime for the flood zones of lakes and watercourses.

Weeks earlier, mayors were complaining about Québec City’s encroaching into their jurisdictions. They opposed the bill to uphold the "principle of managing their local developments themselves.”

Meanwhile, the planet continues to warm up, extreme natural disasters are intensifying, and sea levels are steadily rising.

Eventually, tens of millions of people will be displaced and will have to find a new country to call home.

Serge Therrien

President and Publisher

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