Summer Brings Some Respite, but the Crisis Continues
Enjoy the moments of freedom we receive in the days and weeks to come. Soak up the sun and fire up the barbecue. But keep remembering the sacrifices being made by our fellow members across the country every day
By Wayne Prins, Executive Director
I live in Edmonton, and in our city folks are back to eating in restaurants and kids are back to playing in the playgrounds. There’s a mad scramble to book your camping spots for your dates through the summer—only Albertans are welcome in our provincial campgrounds this summer, so one would think spots would be more available then they seem to be. I even got stuck in rush-hour traffic the other day—hadn’t seen that for a few months.
All of these are signs that we are through the worst of the first wave of this thing. That’s encouraging, and reason for some hope. Everyone is eager to reassemble elements of their lives, particularly as the warm weather sets in, so the current steps of progress are being fully embraced.
But I don’t need to be the one to remind you that the hardship of this crisis is far from over, or that the virus isn’t done with us yet.
I think about our members working in the healthcare sector. While millions of Canadians enjoy the easing restrictions, these members still report to work in full PPE and, in some cases, are in direct contact with the contagion every day. You might think that, under these conditions, absenteeism would increase.
The opposite is true—absenteeism is down and hours are up. Praising these workers as heroes is absolutely appropriate.
I think about our members building the Site C dam in northern British Columbia. In response to the crisis, an agreement was negotiated that allowed for critical path work to continue. Most of this work is being performed by several hundred CLAC members, many of whom have worked 12 hours per day—every day—for the last 11 weeks without leaving the project camp to see their families. Yes, it’s lucrative, but the personal sacrifice is immense—more than I can imagine, actually.
I think about our members working in grocery stores and food processing, who, from the beginning of this crisis, have dutifully reported to work in the face of danger and uncertainty to keep the rest of us fed and supplied. We owe these folks a huge debt of gratitude.
And there are many other stories, equally compelling, of unsung heroes among you. And this will remain true for months to come.
Let’s all enjoy the moments of freedom we receive in the days and weeks to come. Soak up the sun and fire up the barbecue. But in all of this, let’s keep remembering the sacrifices being made by our fellow members across the country every day.
And let’s not let our guard down as if our journey through this crisis is nearing an end. There are many months—possibly years—of uncertainty ahead. Our resolve will be tested again.