Right in the centre - Life goes on– hopefully!


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

When it comes right down to the facts of life (and death), all we have is hope. We are living in trying times. We have all gone through trying times before, be it personally, in our family history or in the history of our country.

When Queen Elizabeth spoke this past weekend, she reminded us that there will be better days ahead. She should know, as she referred to her first broadcast message from 80 years ago during the early days of WWII. Since then, she, her family and the world have been through an awful lot. Or in other words, the world has been through a lot of awful.

All we really have is hope and for many, it comes from faith. Faith in God, faith in oneself, in family, friends, neighbours and fellow citizens. We are being asked to go through a lot right now, but fortunately, for most Manitobans so far, it is “only” a matter of inconvenience and financial stretching.

I think that our municipal governments and the Province are doing a good job. There are daily press conferences, including Saturday and Sunday.

As we all are, they are dealing with a lot of unknowns. What will happen to the COVID-19 infection rate? Who all will get sick and how sick? Will there be a large number of deaths? At the time of this writing (Apr. 6), there have only been two COVID-19 deaths in Manitoba. So far, many more people have died due to other causes in the same time frame. I emphasize, so far!

And therein lies the problem of uncertainty. I would respectfully say that the federal government isn’t doing as well as the Province. Let’s just say I don’t share Justin Trudeau’s love for China. Given the devastation of the SARS epidemic in 2003 and given that COVID-19 came about from a similar place and a similar source, the feds should have acted quicker and more directly. They might have risked being called racist, but flights out of Wuhan, China, should have been cut off much sooner.

Taiwan shut the door pretty early on that account and it looks like it has helped them handle the virus. Admittedly, Taiwan doesn’t miss a chance to blame China for everything and vice versa. That said, I don’t trust  a lot of countries, and most of all I don’t trust China. Their whole system runs pretty much against everything I believe in and their actions in the past few years have done little to change my mind.

In my mind, the big question is what do we do next time? With all the world travel, increasing globalization of business, tourism and trade, travel will come back. It was travel that bit us during SARS and travel that did us in with COVID-19. The heavy attempts to flatten the curve are going to mean a lot of people won’t get COVID-19. Not this time, anyway, but there will be another wave, and another and maybe a fourth. The disease will be unrelenting until either everyone is immunized naturally or there is a vaccine.

I think the lesson learned here should be to do more rigorous and faster testing. The new tests are supposed to be much quicker.

The biggest problem is determining when an outbreak occurs and reacting much faster. I don’t think we got the story soon enough out of China. I believe they willfully suppressed the bad news and that suppression may well have caused thousands of deaths.

We also need to slow the mad rush to globalization. Canada, with all it’s great ag resources, should not have to import as much food as we do. We probably can’t ever grow bananas or oranges, but a lot of other foods can be produced here. We need a Canada First food policy, it’s a matter of national security.

Stay safe everyone, and yes, wash your hands.

Disclaimer: The writer serves as a volunteer chair of the Manitoba Community Newspaper Association. The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being  the view of the MCNA board or Banner & Press staff.