We are nearing one full year since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic began sweeping the globe, ravaging all major industries worldwide and forcing the global economy to grind to a near halt. 2020 has been dominated by social and political upheaval as officials have struggled to find the balance between economic lockdown and protecting the public from the virus. Adding to the uncertainty, disinformation is circulating at an unfathomable rate. Heading into December, tension and mistrust appear to be at an all time high as individuals and groups have begun to rebel against lockdown orders and what many believe to be government forces overstepping their democratic boundaries.
Among the hype and hysteria, the “Great Reset” has become a popular and highly divisive topic in recent months. Aggressive disagreements have broken out among experts, political leaders and the general public, often citing controversial buzzwords like “socialism”, “government control”, and “elite agenda”. In this setting, it has become increasingly difficult to determine what is fact and what is fiction, as fear and confusion fuel conspiracy theories and government distrust.
COVID-19: The Great Reset is a book originally published in July 2020, co-authored by Thierry Malleret, founder of the Monthly Barometer, and Klaus Schwab, founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF). This book elaborates on a recovery plan proposed by the WEF that presents the global COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to correct the shortcomings of the existing social, economic and political institutions around the world. According to the WEF, “The inconsistencies, inadequacies and contradictions of multiple systems – from health and financial to energy and education – are more exposed than ever amidst a global context of concern for our lives, livelihoods and the planet.”
Within this setting, the WEF calls for collaboration among experts and world leaders to propose and implement a vision for the future that will “build a new social contract that honors the dignity of every human being.” The values highlighted by the Great Reset propose an ideological shift away from capitalism. This includes shifting the global focus towards fairer market outcomes, the advancement of sustainability measures and the improvement of environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics across industries.
The Great Reset global agenda calls for unprecedented cooperation among countries and industries around the world to unite under one recovery strategy aimed at repositioning the current trajectory of society as a whole. “Rather than using recovery funds to fill cracks in the old system,” says Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, “we should use them to create a new one that is more resilient, equitable, and sustainable in the long run.”
The World Economic Forum’s Great Reset initiative has received support from several influential organizations around the world, including TIME Magazine, Apple and Microsoft. However, while it appears many have signed onto this initiative as a unique opportunity to build a prosperous future for all members of the human race, an equal number have emerged to furiously oppose it.
Opponents of the Great Reset have labeled it as a radical socialist agenda being pushed on the masses by global elites. The initiative has been extensively criticized for appearing to use the global upheaval inflicted by the pandemic to implement social and economic measures not approved by the democratic process. An article released by the Post Millennial accused the WEF of using the “blunt force trauma of the pandemic to force the world to reshape according to socialist dictates.” This mentality has been echoed by a number of individuals and organizations around the world.
The National Review criticized Schwab’s book, COVID-19: The Great Reset, for having “undeniably authoritarian subtext” on which no legitimate societal transition should be based.
These opposing viewpoints on the legitimacy and intentions of the Great Reset have led to extreme backlash for political leaders who appear to support the initiative in any way. On September 29, 2020, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau landed himself in hot water during his United Nations address, where he spoke of the impacts of the pandemic and the way forward for Canada. “This pandemic has provided an opportunity for a reset,” he said, “This is our chance to accelerate our pre-pandemic efforts, to reimagine economic systems that actually address global challenges like extreme poverty, inequality, and climate change.”
Trudeau’s address was swiftly condemned by many, as certain onlookers accused the Prime Minister of supporting the global elitist plan to collapse the economy and renege on Canadian rights and freedoms.
In November 2020, in response to Trudeau’s UN address, Conservative Member of Parliament Pierre Poilievre launched a petition called Stop the Great Reset. The petition calls on Canadians to “fight back against global elites preying on the fears and desperation of people to impose their power grab”. The petition received more than 60,000 signatures in a matter of days.
As governments and politicians around the world struggle to respond to the ongoing conditions of the pandemic under increasingly bleak circumstances, the consumption and circulation of accurate, credible information becomes increasingly important with each passing day. As businesses in every industry continue to go under and more and more individuals lose their livelihoods, the propagation of disinformation and fear serves only to divide and isolate us further. Whether you subscribe to the theory of the Great Reset as a legitimate avenue towards the creation of a healthier post-pandemic society, or as an illegitimate attack on democratic rights and freedoms, it is paramount to seek credible information.
Should we encourage our governments and politicians to adopt a Great Reset? Is it best to reinvigorate our economies? Or do we look to a combination of these two ideologies?
For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.
Good Earth Cafes unveils strategy to move in when Starbucks closes Canadian shops
CALGARY — The founder and CEO of Good Earth Cafes Ltd. says the Calgary-based chain could potentially double its 45 locations across Canada through a program to take over coffee shops being closed down by international chains such as Starbucks.
In January, Seattle-based Starbucks said it would complete its plan to close up to 300 coffee shops across Canada by the end of March as part of a “transformation strategy” to respond to changes in consumer habits during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Michael Going of Good Earth says his company is already looking at potential sites to be redeveloped and is recruiting partners for multi-unit franchises as well as single unit owner operators.
Good Earth says it has hired Stan Boniferro of Stabon Enterprises to work with landlords and developers in identifying sites with proven performance, infrastructure and good growth prospects.
The first Good Earth shop opened in Calgary in 1991. The chain says it aims to offer ethically sourced coffee and fresh food while promoting community interaction and environmental responsibility.
Going says franchisees would cover the cost of renovating the former Starbucks to match Good Earth’s theme and design. He declined to give a specific target number for Good Earth’s program.
“We’re not going to take 300. First of all, there’s not 300 good locations they’re leaving behind,” said Going.
“We could double the number of locations we have now in a couple of years time.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 3, 2021.
The Canadian Press
Kerri Einarson, Brad Gushue team up for national mixed doubles championship
CALGARY — If there’s an upside to Kerri Einarson not having a women’s world curling championship to play in this month, it’s the chance to win another Canadian championship.
Einarson and reigning Canadian men’s champion skip Brad Gushue were among the 35 duos named Tuesday to the national mixed doubles championship.
The March 18-25 tournament will be the third of four Curling Canada events held in a spectator-free, controlled environment in Calgary to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Einarson, third Val Sweeting, second Shannon Birchard and lead Briane Meilleur, who claimed a second straight national women’s title Sunday, will return to Calgary to team up with male partners for mixed doubles.
While Einarson and company would have preferred representing Canada on the world stage March 20-28 in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, mixed doubles offers the chance to at least keep curling.
When the World Curling Federation called off the women’s championship Feb. 8, Einarson said she sent Gushue a tongue-in-cheek text saying “well, good news, I guess the worlds is cancelled so I guess I’m playing mixed doubles.”
Gushue and several other men curling in the national championship, starting Friday at WinSport’s Markin MacPhail Centre, will stay on in Calgary for $150,000 Home Hardware Mixed Doubles Curling Championship.
The mixed doubles field also includes two-time national champions Brett Gallant, who is Gushue’s second, and Jocelyn Peterman, as well as 2014 Olympic women’s curling champion skip Jennifer Jones and her husband Brett Laing.
John Morris, who won Olympic mixed doubles gold with Kaitlyn Lawes in 2018, replaced partner Rachel Homan with Danielle Schmiemann because Homan is just weeks away from giving birth.
The top 12 teams emerging from five pools advance to playoffs.
The winner earns $50,000 in prize money and represents Canada in the 2021 world mixed doubles championship, if there is one. The World Curling Federation has yet to announce a date and location.
The world championship would determine seven of the 10 countries competing in mixed doubles in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
The pandemic wiping out the majority of the curling season posed qualification challenges for mixed doubles as it did for the Scotties Tournament of Hearts and Tim Hortons Brier.
Fourteen pairs are provincial or territorial champions and another 14 gained entry via Curling Canada’s mixed doubles rankings based on their results between March 2019 and March 2020.
The latter group of 14 had to play a minimum of two mixed doubles events during that time frame.
The seven other teams in the field didn’t compete this season because of the pandemic, but had declared to Curling Canada their intention to curl mixed doubles in 2020-21.
They qualified via a ranking system based on each athlete’s top three results with their four-player teams, combined with their partner’s, in 2019-20.
Gushue and Einarson were among those seven whose ranking under that criteria placed them fifth.
Curling Canada wants to keep mixed doubles options open for the country’s top curlers who spend the majority of their competitive seasons with their four-player teams.
Morris and Lawes had played only a handful of games together before winning Olympic gold in 2018.
Two-time national women’s champion skip Chelsea Carey and Colin Hodgson, who plays lead for Mike McEwen, objected Tuesday on social media about their exclusion from the field.
Curling Canada responded that they didn’t play mixed doubles together in the 2019-20 time frame, nor did they rank high enough to be among the seven. Carey and Hodgson ranked 10th.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021.
Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press
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