Are you an optimist heading into 2022?
I had a good Christmas break. My plan was to work right through but the mind and body pushed back so I worked very little.
I did get a chance to listen to several great podcast series, read a good audiobook and started an actual book (the kind you turn the page with your hand). The top podcast was Radioactive: The Father Coughlin Story. If you don’t know about Coughlin, he was the original Rush Limbaugh - in the 1930s radio era. Because of limited options back then he had an unrivalled listener share and I think there are lessons here that can and should be re-learned today.
The audiobook was Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty. The particular focus is on Purdue Pharma and its role in the opioid crisis but overall it is a good example of both the upside and downside of capitalism. What makes this book so great, however; is the story. I find with non-fiction like this how the story is told makes all the difference.
The physical book is San Fran-sicko. I listened to a podcast with the author and thought he put forward some sensible ideas on how to address issues like homelessness. So I went out and bought the book but had to smile when I saw the sub-title. Certainly the book chronicles many of the policies that have worsened many of the issues facing cities - housing, homelessness, deeper segregation, etc. but the book publisher throwing in that little phrase is bound to annoy.
It’s crazy how everything these days - particularly in the U.S. is put through the right-left filter and then completely dismissed depending on that litmus test. The idea that progressives might have a point on issue A or that conservatives might have a good point on issue B seems to have gotten lost somewhere. It’s not a good omen. Fascism starts here. Democracy is about arbitrating a messy mix of different views into a mushy middle.
The omicron variant put a bit of a dent in my optimism going into 2022 but I still believe this will be a turnaround year for New Brunswick and Atlantic Canada. The Premiers of NB, NS and NL have finally started to like the idea of population growth and - quelle surprise! - it looks like there is a political benefit too. It seems Maritimers like the fact people want to move here of their own accord.
This should bolster population growth efforts but also all the allied issues such as housing and the construction workforce.
Even health care has to change. I spoke to the executive team of one of the region’s largest health authorities and told them they must be in growth mode - after a decade or more of no population growth at all the region is attracting thousands and thousand here each year. They all need a family doctor. They all need health care. They are mostly young so disproportionately need more support with baby makin’, too.
Health care strategy circa 2022 needs to be both about ensuring older Canadians have good care but also that newcomers have access to good quality care.
How about you? Full throated optimist these days or just meh? Or are you full out negative, apocalypse soon?