Dec. 31, 2021

Thankfully, out with the old and in with the new – Happy New Year

There’s a reason why the windshield is larger than the rear window – you cannot change hindsight, so keep your eyes to the future. 

If it’s any comfort, things can’t get worse in 2022 than what we experienced in 2021, can they?

British Columbia got kicked in the teeth as never before, it is one year we won’t soon forget. And it’s not over. We endured a heat wave, forest fires, floods, winter storms and the coronavirus all in one year. Some of those have passed into history but linger in the remediation which will take a long time. Remember, the entire town of Lytton was totally destroyed by the fires. The heat dome took many lives in the province.

Covid? Who knows, we can only hope with the present massive outbreaks that it will soon be beaten. Our lives have been greatly impacted with deaths and lockdowns of events and businesses.

Looking ahead, what’s in our future? All these calamities have diverted our attention from the lesser challenges were face regularly. 2021 cannot disappear soon enough.

On the local level, this is a civic election year where we get to choose our city council and school boards for the following four years. 

All things considered, both elected bodies get a good report card. For city council which was elected three years ago, it’s hard to find much fault, in real contrast to the foibles of the previous council. Sure, taxes are going up, but so is everything else, except earnings for many. 

Mayor Leonard Krog has done an excellent job of guiding the eight councillors and the city’s administration as a whole. A couple of councillors dabbled with pet ambitions a couple of times but generally stayed on track for common good.

All in all, we who make Nanaimo our world don’t have too much to complain about.

There’s coffee row talk of some possibly not seeking re-election but that’s a small number at this point.

The provincial government also gets a good grade over all, especially in view of the life-altering challenges during the year. A serious health issue forced Premier John Horgan to the sidelines temporarily, but acting premier Mike Farnworth has kept things on an even keel.

The official opposition, in the closing days of a leadership change, has also performed well under interim leader Shirley Bond. When things are not going well it is always a temptation to preach the sky is falling. To their credit, the BC Liberals have not done that. Criticizing without offering alternative solutions is of no benefit.

Looking ahead, what will be worth paying attention to is who finally comes out as the leader of the BC Liberals. The race has been uneventful so far, but things could get interesting before the new leader is anointed on February 5.

Out of the starting gate, former cabinet minister Kevin Falcon was seen as the front runner, the man to beat. Mike Lee has been active on the campaigning I’ve seen on social media and direct mail contact to date. 

Not to boost any one candidate, but the surprise has been Skeena MLA Ellis Ross, who is completely down to earth, not fitting into the regular mould. Ross was the first full-time elected councillor of the Haisla Nation and spent eight years learning the ins and outs of working on Council until 2011 when he was elected Chief Councillor. In 2017, he ran for the BC Liberals in the provincial election and won in the traditional NDP riding of Skeena and was re-elected in 2020.

Keep your eye on him. He has made one New Year’s resolution that should ring a bell with a lot of party members. “It’s time for the establishment to take a bak seat for a while ans we hand the steering wheel over to the grassroots BC Liberals.” 

Outside of direct politics, taking an eagle’s view, 2022 starts off with the hangover of the past year. Business is looking to rebound from temporary and full shut downs, mandates and supply chain disruptions resulting from a congregation of the past year’s difficulties. Government reboot assistance will go a long way but that spending on recovery will add to the tax bill. Not doing anything would have been a worse outcome.

In spite of the challenges, the economic barometer is acceptable. We’re not facing serious unemployment, as a matter of fact, the opposite is true. We have a labour shortage.

While it’s goodbye 2021, it will be onward and upward for the new year, there’s optimism. What doesn’t break you only makes you stronger.

Happy New Year!

See the Global TV newsmakers of the year.