BY CAM TAIT
The backdrop was the same last Friday morning as prime minster Trudeau addressed the media – and, in fact, the country – from his Rideau cottage residence as it was in the spring. Ottawa’s weather, perhaps, was a tad colder than his spring sessions. But were not close to the chilling news and challenge he brought forward. In the middle of all that – the skyrocketing COVID cases which are clutching Canadians and the incredible grief experienced through losing so many family members, friends and even mild acquaintances – there is, if we look and test ourselves like never before, a compassionate challenge. It’s a daunting task certainly, earmarked as generational. But also, potentially a chance for all of us to craft the future with a collective and well-mapped out plan.
Mr. Trudeau’s opening statement will have online headline writers rubbing their hands in grateful glee. When a leader of any nation, publicly or privately, says “I don’t want to be here” is a profound noteworthy half-dozen words which, sadly, suggests there is more to the story. For Canadians, we are once again changing our daily routines and habits. We have done it before – remember March and April? Schools shut down. Office doors were locked. Activities canceled. Family gatherings postponed. Zoom and Facetime became our new best friends, rich relationships we still embrace. But … there were silent thoughts which, in many cases, turned into whispers: “This,” the thoughts began, “will never last. We’ll be back to normal in a few weeks. Summer, at the latest.”
Asking ourselves how and why we got here is, perhaps, pointless. Casting blame, too, cannot be an option – we all know people who, in our own opinions, went to parties/weddings/vacations/Grandma’s for apple pie and more. Frowning on their choices now isn’t fair, especially when they might be ill. Comforting them is something we owe to them … and, ultimately, ourselves.
Alas, we have learned so much about ourselves and others in the past eight months. We firmly understand COVID-19 is a health threat to us all. We see what it randomly does people, to the healthcare, system, to the economy, to politicians and the way they are doing things.
Which, in an interesting way, brings us back to Mr. Trudeau’s Friday news conference. He reminded us what we must do is to get ahead of COVID: work from home, study from home and don’t leave home unless you have to. Technology plays a most significant role in this. Let’s embrace it. Let’s use it wisely. Let’s use it to connect with people who we need to. The salutation of “Hey, how are you doing?” is something we have needed for years. We need it more than ever … now. And the need for email, text messages and social media greetings are priceless. We can do this, my friends. Together.
(CAM TAIT is the Communications and Marketing manager for Digital Link. Email: [email protected])