, 01.03.2022 10:56 AM

My latest: fear not, salvation is at hand

A new year!

People make resolutions. People make promises. People promise to do things differently.

It’s likely that there have been fewer resolutions this time. Why? Because people have been hoping for a different kind of year. Because the resolutions they made a year ago didn’t work out so well.

2020 (most of it) and 2021 (all of it) were pretty awful. That’s stating the obvious in a way that is beyond obvious. You know that.

You also know: There has been so much death — more than five million people, globally. Five million lives, snuffed out. The statisticians and epidemiologists figure that it’s twice that number, if not more.

And the sickness, so much sickness that it is beyond measure. Millions and millions and millions of people, made terribly ill. All of us know people who are still struggling, more than a year after the fact. We love them and pray for them. That’s all you can do, some days.

Jobs lost. Businesses and careers lost. Worst of all — faith lost.

It’s terrible. It’s horrible. It’s so depressing and awful and sad. Will it ever end? As Ontario announces its millionth lockdown, as faith fades, it’s a fair question to ask.

So let me tell you something. My Dad — Dr. Doug Kinsella — was an immunologist. I remember him coming home, in Montreal, and telling us about this new virus.

They called it 3H, he said.

The “3H” were those who had been disproportionately targeted by the new virus: Haitians and heroin users and homosexuals. They didn’t have a name for HIV/AIDS, yet. But my father told my brothers that it would kill millions of people around the world before we would know how to deal with it. And it surely did.

Viruses are smarter than us, my Dad said. They change quickly. They mutate quickly. They have a little regard for borders or rules or pity.

But he also told us this: that, through our ingenuity and our science and our sheer determination, we always conquer these things. We push back the awful Black Tide. We prevail, in the end.

We will prevail with the Satanic COVID-19 virus, I think. My Dad isn’t here, now, but I believe that he’d tell us that.

I think it will take another year, at least. I don’t think we are out of it yet. Persuaded by Pulitzer-winning health writer Laurie Garrett, I’ve always believed it would take at least three years to prevail over COVID. To get back to some semblance of what we once had.

Personally, I’m amazed that I haven’t gotten it yet. Truly. At the start, I said publicly (and say again) that I would not be placed on a ventilator. That I was determined to die differently.

I still feel that it is going to catch up to me. It’s been nipping at my heels, and I can feel it’s icy breath, and I’m pretty sure it will catch me.

Whenever and whatever happens, it will not beat me. It will not beat you, either. It will not beat us.

I have no science or reports or columns of statistics to show you, to convince you. I just believe that we will prevail, in the end, because we must. Because we have no choice. Because we have to live. We have to keep going.

That is not a resolution for 2022. That is not a prayer. That is my prediction for the twelve months that lay ahead of us, which are already looking like a battlefield.

We will win. We will beat this. Believe it.

And you and we will meet at the other end – me maybe in spirit – and we will have a drink together, and we will toast our resilience and our strength and our determination and our grace.

— Warren Kinsella was special assistant to Jean Chretien

18 Comments

  1. Westguy says:

    You should add a clarifier for Alberta though.
    2021 was a shitty year
    ALL of 2020 was a shitty year
    2019 was yet another shitty year
    2018 was a shitty year
    2017 was a shitty year
    2015 was mostly a shitty year
    Jobs lost. Businesses and careers lost. Worst of all — faith lost.

    This might explain why Alberta seems the most resistant to lockdowns and restrictions or anything that prevents us from getting back to work and some degree of normalcy, despite health precautions.
    2022 will be Shitty Year 3 for most Canadians. For us in Alberta, it will be Shitty Year 8

  2. Steve T says:

    Good and uplifting post – thanks!

    Nothing to do with this post, but given your prior observations about the Mother Corp, I thought you’d find this interesting:
    https://tarahenley.substack.com/p/speaking-freely

    • Warren says:

      CBC has become profoundly dishonest and unaccountable.

      • Douglas W says:

        CBC: zero credibility.

        Sleepless nights for the Mother Corp., if and when the Conservatives are ever returned to power.

        • Ronald O'Dowd says:

          Douglas,

          I don’t see that happening at all under a Conservative government because it plays right into the CPC bogeyman stereotype. It would be just another deliberate O’Toole forced error. Erin must have learned something by now given that his shifting position on assault-style weapons and lack of same on caucus vaccination cost us power. The CBC must remain top-down not politically accountable –just like Fox, or all we’re doing is quite deliberately re-electing Liberals yet one more time…

          • Sean says:

            I could see the Tories going after the CBC after they win power… IE not a campaign promise but a good idea when it’s done and over.

            The rest of Canadian media will love it. There is a very fertile space for the Tories to live in if the CBC is broken up into a million pieces eventually.

  3. I was once advised by a person much wiser than myself that there was no point in worrying about things beyond your control. As an individual, I can control whether or not I get a vaccination, wear a mask, be prudent as to where I go and with whom I interact. As you have so wisely pointed out Warren, none of us have any control over the virus. It will do what it will do. It is here, all the kvetching will not change that. I have incredible sympathy for those people whose lives have been financially devastated, and all levels of government need to step up where necessary. As an individual, act responsibly, take precautions and be ready to help out when that time arrives. I’m with you my friend, we’ll get through this come hell or high water.

  4. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    This piece will do a great deal of good mental health wise for those who are already almost on the brink. It’s the prose equivalent of a distant light shining bright in a very dark tunnel.

  5. Phil in London says:

    I agree with the sentiment that this bastard of a virus will NOT bring the world to an end. We shall prevail because our own lives matter less if we don’t overcome as a society.

    The lifting is gonna be hard. First there will be monetary struggles both here in Canada and globally. Not just government but individuals. Money isn’t life it’s just paper or metal that gives us access to other objects. The good news is financially we as a country have more money than we need. It will take a while but Canada despite dismal leadership (not exclusive to our clown prince) will sort itself out.

    I think a lot more the potential for geopolitical explosions like most of us have never seen. That does not keep me awake with worry but it’s my observation the world seems hotter and not in a global warming / climate change way.

    I’m comities to getting through it because I’m damned curious how it turns out. Will we forget about our struggles as we pursue a new opportunity filled world where in the end we’ll be better off.

    I hope and believe the pandemic’s back side will usher in greater hope, greater peace, prosperity and a renewed kindness. I truly see that amongst the steaming piles of shit that are prevalent today. Those piles are will decompose with time.

  6. Paige says:

    Very uplifting column. Too bad it’s based on belief rather than reality

  7. Miles Lunn says:

    I sure hope so, but after being vaccinated, its hard to have much optimism unlike a year ago. My bigger concern is too many experts in Canada are obsessed on cases not hospitalizations and I worry that lockdowns every time there is a spike will become common and that is not sustainable. I am not saying no restrictions like Florida, but full lockdowns are quite damaging and should be done as an absolute last resort and we should find a way to make them a thing of the past which I fear we are not.

    If unvaccinated, yes risk you end up in hospital, but if vaccinated, you may catch COVID-19, but chance of ending up in the hospital is very low and if we use vaccine passports, no reason why we should still be shutting down businesses (maybe capacity limits when things get bad) but not full shut downs.

    • Phil in London says:

      Sadly full shutdown is all our leader’s minds can comprehend. I don’t have answers but I do sense that people are not willing to go along as we have so far.

      I have a hunch we’ll look around one day and wonder “why are we……?” I’m optimistic it won’t be too late to preserve some freedom but I’m also worried we may be inspired to say “fuck it” by someone or some group such as Mr Bernier and his band of modern day nazis.

      We live in very interesting times. Never one to fully prognosticate but unlike March 2020 when we were all scared as shit and unlike January 2021 when we remained fearful but recovered some confidence with vaccines. January 2022 seems to be more like that bubble waiting to burst.

      I dunno if we all get sick see the most horrendous numbers yet or if we revolt (and possibly see similar disasters) but I have a sense the fuck it party picks up steam because many feel we can’t keep doing the same thing and not see any relief.

      I’m actually quite optimistic though, whatever does happen humanity will be around and personally we all will have a chance to build back. It’s just a question of how deep the latrine is dug and filled before we move on.

      • It really comes down to risk tolerance. Life is never risk free and I get impression Canadians are more risk averse than most. But still lockdowns are not normal and people may tolerate them to a point, but I do think most after a certain point will say enough. Yes some are fine having them as new normal, but probably people whose pay cheque isn’t impacted and likely also people whose lifestyle doesn’t involve going to a lot of places impacted by shutdowns. My paycheque is not impacted, but I do love to dine out and travel. Thankfully here in BC we have not closed indoor dining and for travel its just an advisory. Ironically the government advisory warns of lockdowns, but very few places anywhere on earth are as locked down as Ontario or Quebec. Maybe a few Chinese cities and in case of Ontario, you have Netherlands who is more locked down. But I could probably count on one hand number of jurisdictions with more restrictions than Ontario and Quebec.

        BC where I live is not as bad and our restrictions line up with most European countries save UK. Only dumb one is gym closures. That I do not get. Yes I know risks there, but reality is people who are healthy are much less likely to end up in hospital than unhealthy and in winter working out outside is not as easy.

  8. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    I hope we’ll hear from Robert soon. It would put my mind at ease.

  9. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    This is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE!!!!
    The Canadian Press:

    OTTAWA — “Canadians unwilling to be vaccinated against COVID-19 should be accommodated through measures like rapid testing, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said Thursday as health experts warned the lightning-fast spread of the Omicron variant threatens to overwhelm hospitals.”

    O’Toole isn’t right in the head if he thinks ANYONE should accommodate the unvaccinated unless they have a legitimate medical exemption, period.

    Like all Canadians, I have an iron-clad right to stay alive and not have my health, well being and psychological equilibrium destroyed by transmission of COVID-19 from a quite deliberately unvaccinated person. NO ONE has a right to transmit COVID-19 to another person. The vaccinated and boosted actually care about others — that’s why they got vaccinated in the first place. Sadly, if they transmit COVID-19, it will be against their will and after having taken all the precautions humanly possible thus far known to medicine and science.

    The unvaccinated are classic narcissists who each only care about the health and well being of three people: ME, MYSELF & I. Never, ever, acceptable.

    And any politician who plays to those reckless fools is a greater fool than all of them put together.

    ” The Conservative leader said he refuses to criticize people who aren’t vaccinated and believes “reasonable accommodations” should be provided to people like truck drivers to avoid service disruptions and exacerbating supply chain challenges.”

    OK, Erin so back your bullshit: get in the truck with an unvaccinated driver and stay with him in the cab for at least an entire week. You will certainly be accommodating him. You could even do some of the driving…provided you haven’t dropped dead first from COVID-19 transmitted by your smiling partner in the driver’s seat.

    Talk about failed leadership. I truly feel sorry for the party, caucus, its members and supporters. What a poor excuse for leader. This is where I get off supporting this guy.

    • Miles Lunn says:

      This is totally tone deaf and my only guess is O’Toole is fighting for his own political survival. He is worried about the more right wing elements in the party who don’t give a damn about electability (or are deluded to believe country is as right wing as they wish it were) who are waiting to push him out and put one of their own ideologues in. O’Toole needs to stare them down and tell them to get lost. Yes they succeeded in hijacking GOP, but in Canada that will not work thankfully. Never mind Squad is massively damaging Democrats while in UK, Momentum and the Corbynites are a big reason Labour is where they are now. Interestingly enough Starmer has started to purge party of more extreme left wing elements and it is starting to pay off. Tories in UK let the hardline types on EU take over and yes party managed to win, but economically it will likely bite them. Even Cameron has now admitted EU referendum was a mistake and did it as he thought it was a way to shut up this side (as he assumed remain side would win). So point is, if you don’t stand up to the hardliners, they eventually take over the party. I’ve heard both BC and Alberta NDP have some on loony left who would sink party but Horgan and Notley have both read them the riot act to shut up or go away thus why both parties doing well now.

      O’Toole needs to tell the types who believe in this nonsense to go join Mad Max’s PPC. Even if PPC were to get 10%, the loss of fringe would mean more centrist would be open to voting Tory. And never mind most of your right wing fringe types are in ridings Tories win by astronomical margins anyways. Getting 60% instead of 80% in rural Alberta won’t make one iota of difference in seats.

  10. Gilbert says:

    The first vaccine was for smallpox. Dr. Jenner discovered he could scratch a bit of the cowpox virus onto his patient’s skin and that provided protection from the smallpox virus. That was a real vaccine.

    We can’t stop the common cold. The flu shot isn’t very effective. We don’t have very effective vaccines for respiratory viruses.

    Some people have made an incredible amount of money during this pandemic. There’s a lot of evil in the world. Follow the money.

    • Ronald O'Dowd says:

      Gilbert,

      There’s a big difference between evil and corruption. The United States is crony corrupt to its very core. Why would this be different? Even with vaccines, as of today, 5,491,987 people have died from COVID-19. Just imagine the number without vaccines.

      But you do have a point about the agenda of Big Pharma. Far and away it’s to push successive doses to rake in as much cash as possible. Health and life considerations come a poor second…

      However, what’s truly EVIL is politicians and public health officials who are allowed by law to own BP stocks. Contemptible to say the very least.

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