Economic Letter

David Bond is a retired bank economist who resides in Kelowna.

It’s time for Santa to draw up his list of deserving and undeserving gift recipients. The guy in the red and white suit and I have discussed this matter and have come up with the following examples of both.

First, the good guys.

— The Sikh community in greater Abbotsford showed the way, helping flood victims by providing meals and clothing, amongst other necessities to neighbours who had lost homes and farms. Their effort provides a shining example of community support in perilous times.

— Our front-line healthcare workers are already recognized by most citizens for their valour in the battle with COVID-19.

Their sustained and selfless work under increasingly trying conditions is truly outstanding and we owe them a debt of gratitude.

And Dr Bonnie Henry, as Public Health Officer of BC, spent endless hours explaining the what, where and how of the Public Health system’s work to control COVID-19, a devious virus if ever there was one. Has she ever got time to sleep or relax? Maybe Santa will bring her some time off.

— Anita Anand, our new Minister of Defense, was the main spokesperson voicing the federal government’s apology to those individuals who have suffered abuse, sexual and otherwise, in the armed forces. Her statement was impressive and her justification for giving it even more so. It seems that, after decades of abuse of subordinates, such abuse will cease to be tolerated and a new culture will grow up within the armed forces. Next, perhaps we can address the same problem in the RCMP.

— Liz Cheney, member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Wyoming, took a courageous stand in defending the US Constitution against the onslaught of Donald Trump and the members of her party who are relentlessly promoting “the big lie” that Trump won the 2020 election. Her career in politics is probably ended but when the histories are written she will be a hero of our times.

The list of those who should find nothing under the tree is long but a few of the top candidates follow.

— Prime Minister Justin Trudeau set new lows in 2021. First, he called an unnecessary election that cost the public treasury more than $600 million. He essentially ignored sexual abuse in the armed forces, and, in a spectacular goof on the first observation of Truth and Reconciliation Day, he failed to attend any first nation observance but flew to Tofino for vacation instead. 

He certainly pales in comparison to his father. And let us not forget that he recommended Julie Payette, the deservedly former Governor General, to the Queen as her representative in Canada. An embarrassing episode.

— Jason Kenney, (still) Premier of Alberta, disappointed those who had held great expectations when his party regained power with a disaster-prone performance. Among these disasters were his unfortunate handling of the pandemic, his government’s failure to deal with the abandoned oil and gas well problem, his proposals to expand coal mining, the needless referendum on Equalization and his shoddy administration of the government’s fiscal position. He will be lucky to hold his job over the next year.

— Then there are the various government officials at multiple levels who, over the past two decades, did little to improve the ability of communities in the Lower Mainland to withstand the onslaught of Mother Nature in the form of sustained and torrential rains. The cost of this neglect of their duty will be enormous and they will likely never be held accountable. 

— Closer to home, Santa can give a pass to Maxine DeHart, member of Kelowna city council. While for some strange reason she has topped the election polls in recent contests, her contribution to governance of the city appears vanishingly small. She herself has admitted she doesn’t always read the materials provided to council by staff. If anyone should be replaced by the voters in 2022, she is a top candidate.

I wish all my readers a joyful, peaceful and healthy Christmas season.

David Bond is a retired bank economist who lives in Kelowna.