You never know where you’ll find wisdom, or when an otherwise easily ignored bromide might stick with you as something more significant. Years ago, I was watching Dr. Suess’s “Horton Hears a Who” with my boys, and one of the character’s lines dug into my skull like a wood tick. When the Mayor of Whoville stated, “Nothing bad has ever happened in Whoville, and nothing bad ever will happen in Whoville”, the relevance of this statement to our society hit me with the impact of a belly flop from a twenty foot high cliff.
In a disturbing instance, I was reliving a poignant moment from when I returned to Canada from serving as a UN Peacekeeper during the Croatian civil war. I was at the Horseshoe bay Ferry terminal, just north of Vancouver, and found myself in a contemplative daze as I looked at the buildings with all the pristine glass windows glittering in the sunset, totally intact and free of bullet holes. People were meandering about without a care in the world, oblivious to how blessed they were to be safe. I was mesmerized by how clean and maintained everything was; more accurately I was mesmerized by the contrast of where I was, compared to where I had just been two days prior. The shock of moving from the reality of war, to the illusion of safety created an internal dichotomy that has haunted me ever since.
A similar sudden reality shift is now affecting most people in the world. Two months ago, there was no fear of a Pandemic, and now many people are wondering if this might be the apocalypse. And of course, there are still those who still cling to the belief that nothing bad ever will happen in Whoville, and they are acting accordingly.
For the latter, the former are quick to throw angry insults at them for their refusal to act responsibly. The apparent selfishness, and ignorance of those who are ignoring social distancing guidelines enrages those who understand the lethal gravity of inaction. The people who are ignoring the warnings are actually illustrating a common human reaction known as Cognitive Dissonance.
Cognitive Dissonance is the resistance to uncomfortable information which challenges your perceived, or preferred world view. The reaction of denial stems from the same stimulus as panic, they are both coping mechanisms to deal with fear. Neither extremes of Panic, or ignorance serves society well, and both are equally dangerous in our current dilemma.
Nobody knows for sure what the near future will hold, much less what the world will look like two years from now. “Prepare for the worst, and hope for the best” is the best advice for all of us to follow right now. It’s a difficult balancing act to contemplate this dichotomy without going mad, but it’s the task we all must tackle with resolve if we are to keep our heads about us during this pandemic.
How bad could this get? Well, when I was in Croatia, I witnessed the Apocalypse on a regional scale, and yes I believe it could potentially get that bad the world over. Panic plus economic collapse equals misery, no matter where you live. Canada is no more exempt from this than Croatia was in the early nineties. Yes…something bad can happen in Whoville, and we are at the gates of a potential catastrophe.
Will the world ever be the same? Not likely. The national debts of all G-20 nations are already unmanageable, and are about to rise drastically. High debt means inflation through taxation, and we’re already taxed to the max. The other possibility is a global currency collapse VIA hyperinflation which is a ride nobody wants to take. Whatever is in store for us, it will be a significant challenge for the next decade, and perhaps even for a generation.
So, what do we do in the meantime? First, be vigilant. Be mindful of your mental state, and resist both extremes of ignorance, and panic. Put yourself into preparation, and problem solving mode, which will help to alleviate the stress of perseverating over our potential future. Also, be aware that history repeats itself, and historically governments take advantage of any opportunity to expand their power. Power once expanded, rarely contracts. If you trade your freedoms for security, the government is not likely to trade you back once the crisis has been resolved. If you think Canada can’t turn into a dictatorship, then I’m afraid you just don’t know your history. Canada and the USA were founded by a mass migration of people who were fleeing dictatorships, and our constitutions were created as a firewall against totalitarianism ever rising again. In the midst of an emergency, this firewall will come down. It’s our duty as citizens to make sure the firewall is replaced once COVID19 is defeated.
New eastbound bridge for southeast Stoney Trail awarded to PCL Construction
From the Province of Alberta
PCL Construction has won the contract to replace the eastbound bridge over the Bow River on southeast Stoney Trail in Calgary.
The contract was awarded for about $48 million and offers significant savings for taxpayers. The total project cost, which includes engineering and utility relocations, is estimated at $60 million – significantly less than the anticipated cost of $70 million.
“With the next step in this strategic project complete, we are creating hundreds of jobs to drive Alberta’s recovery and saving taxpayer dollars at a time of fiscal restraint. Calgarians can look forward to safer and faster rides on an even more complete Calgary Ring Road.”
“New and widened bridges are great news for south Calgary residents who have been waiting for safer ways to get to work and play. Alberta’s government is focused on strategic projects that deliver value and jobs when they’re needed most.”
“PCL is excited to work with Alberta Transportation on this component of the Stoney Trail Calgary Ring Road, a key project to connect Calgarians. Once complete, this segment will be safer for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians.”
The South Bow River Bridge project also includes widening the westbound bridge and building a new, stand-alone pedestrian bridge.
Construction on the new bridge is anticipated to get underway in spring 2021 and be completed in late 2023.
Alberta’s Recovery Plan is a bold, ambitious long-term strategy to build, diversify, and create tens of thousands of jobs now. By building schools, roads and other core infrastructure we are benefiting our communities. By diversifying our economy and attracting investment with Canada’s most competitive tax environment, we are putting Alberta on a path for a generation of growth. Alberta came together to save lives by flattening the curve and now we must do the same to save livelihoods, grow and thrive.
- More than 53,000 vehicles travel over the bridge daily.
- This number is expected to increase when the Calgary Ring Road is completed.
- The South Bow Bridge project will support about 244 jobs.
- The project includes:
- Widening the existing westbound bridge to add a fourth lane.
- Replacing the existing eastbound Stoney Trail bridge with a new, wider bridge over the Bow River.
- A new pedestrian bridge south of the existing bridge that will connect to the existing pathway networks.
- Improvements to interchanges between Sun Valley Boulevard/Chaparral Boulevard and Cranston Boulevard /Mckenzie Lake Boulevard.
- This project is part of the more than $10 billion infrastructure spending announced as part of Alberta’s Recovery Plan. This spending includes:
- $6.9 billion Budget 2020 capital spending
- $900 million accelerated for Capital Maintenance and Renewal
- $200 million for Strategic Transportation Infrastructure Program and water infrastructure projects
- $700 million in strategic infrastructure projects, $500 million in municipal infrastructure,
- $1.5 billion for Keystone XL
Pink Press Co. – Young Entrepreneur turns Lockdown Hobby into Successful Small Business
After a long year of uncertainty, business closures and public lockdowns, few people have arrived at the end of 2020 with the same outlook they began the year with.
While the lockdowns and layoffs have been unquestionably difficult for individuals of all ages, from all walks of life, the pandemic measures have cast a light on a certain level of adaptability and creativity for many. From launching online shops, providing contactless deliveries and offering online concerts and shows, individuals from all industries have found a way to remain connected during these socially distant times. Furthermore, using social platforms to connect with their community, countless people have used their time at home to pursue a side hustle or launch their own small business. Among the resounding calls to support local during these tough times, many of these endeavors have been met with extensive support from the community and beyond.
Hannah Olson is a 23-year old Licensed Practical Nurse from Strathmore, Alberta, who has spent the last 7 months alternating between working shifts at 3 different hospitals while launching Pink Press Co., her own modern handcrafted clay earring business.
Hannah became a certified LPN after completing the Licensed Practical Nursing Program at Bow Valley College in 2017, and has been rotating among the Alberta Children’s Hospital, Foothills Medical Centre, and Strathmore Hospital for the last 3 years. When the lockdown measures took effect earlier this year, she began using the downtime to pursue her passion for crafting, and discovered she had a knack for clay earrings.
“Initially it was just crafting for pure enjoyment, especially during the lockdown as there was not much else to do anyways,” she says. “When I came across my first pair of clay earrings on Instagram, my mom said to me “You could probably make those.””
Pink Press Co. then began in June as an Instagram business page, initially gathering a small community following. Describing her work as a reflection of her personal style, Hannah uses polymer clay and hypoallergenic earring pieces to handcraft unique, custom studs, pendants, dangle and tassel earrings for formal and casual wear. Products range between $12 and $26, plus shipping.
After receiving an extremely positive response and multiple expressions of interest, Hannah expanded her small business further by launching her own Etsy shop in October. According to Hannah, initial orders came from the surrounding community of Strathmore, eventually reaching Calgary and Airdrie as well. However, shortly after opening her Etsy shop, things really took off.
“I’ve lost track,” she says, “There have been nearly 300 orders on Etsy alone, in addition to custom orders on Instagram and physical shop sales.” She has now successfully shipped handcrafted earrings all across Alberta, as well as to BC, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario.
Hannah was scheduled to take part in a number of fall and winter markets this holiday season, which were ultimately cancelled as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic preventative measures. However, she has remained busy filling and shipping custom orders across Canada, and is looking forward to the opportunity to set up at future markets in the New Year.
To view Pink Press Co.’s collection of handcrafted, hypoallergenic clay earrings online, visit https://www.instagram.com/pink.press.co/or https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/PinkPressCoByHannah, or take a look at Prairie Grounds Coffee House in Langdon, or Sole Discretion Boutique and Back to Good Market & Deli in Strathmore.
For more stories, visit Todayville Calgary.
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