How will our lead­ers plan for re­cov­ery phase?

En­dur­ing the pandemic cri­sis is only the first step for us

Calgary Herald - - OPINION - GE­ORGE BROOKMAN

There is an old quo­ta­tion that reads “In time of war, pre­pare for peace” and this seems par­tic­u­larly rel­e­vant at this mo­ment. Not only do we need to find so­lu­tions to our cur­rent cri­sis, which in­cludes a ram­pant virus and a fail­ing econ­omy, but we need to give much thought to what hap­pens when this is over, which it surely will be one day.

How will we rein­vig­o­rate our econ­omy? How will we get peo­ple back to work and help those who have had to bury them­selves in debt, just to sur­vive the weeks that we are go­ing through? If you are like me, you are think­ing, “I just want to go back to nor­mal,” and then you think, “But what is nor­mal and will things ever be nor­mal again?” It is a ques­tion worth pon­der­ing and I am sure that it is a ques­tion on the minds of all of our lead­ers, busi­ness com­mu­ni­ties and so­cial ser­vice agen­cies.

There have been lots of sto­ries and even jokes about the short­age of bath­room tis­sue, but the truth is that even a short­age of that one item, along with rows of empty su­per­mar­ket shelves, is dis­tress­ing to a pop­u­la­tion that is used to go­ing to the store and find­ing what­ever they need when­ever they need it. The ev­i­dence of empty shelves is sym­bolic of Third World coun­tries and not what we ex­pect in our pros­per­ous Canada. This will not last, but all of this will not soon be for­got­ten and our world may be changed for­ever be­cause of it.

This is a time for lead­er­ship and we must ac­knowl­edge the over­whelm­ing chal­lenge of be­ing an elected leader at this mo­ment. Prime

Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau and his daily press brief­ings have done a lot to calm peo­ple but at the same time iden­tify the se­ri­ous­ness of the sit­u­a­tion. It is im­pos­si­ble not to com­pare his mea­sured com­ments and re­al­is­tic ap­proach to those of the pres­i­dent of the United States who ap­pears al­most ir­ra­tional at be­ing faced with a sit­u­a­tion that he can­not con­trol.

In Al­berta, there seems to be a new level of co-op­er­a­tion be­tween the premier and the leader of the Op­po­si­tion and this is a good thing. There is no room for pol­i­tics in a cri­sis like this, and it ap­pears that the cur­rent gov­ern­ment is, in­deed, step­ping up with all of the fire­power it has to try to smooth the trou­bled wa­ters of a crash­ing mar­ket­place.

Fi­nally, ku­dos to Mayor Na­heed Nen­shi who has ap­peared reg­u­larly on our tele­vi­sions with words of op­ti­mism and en­cour­age­ment. Any­one who has read my re­marks in the past will know that I am not al­ways a fan of our elected lead­ers, but at this mo­ment, I think we can all agree that these are jobs that none of us are ea­ger to have and that we must have faith that de­ci­sions are be­ing made in the best in­ter­ests of all of us, with­out po­lit­i­cal ram­i­fi­ca­tions and with the fu­ture in mind.

So, this mo­ment will pass. Lately, we have read a lot about the Span­ish flu, yet many of us had really never heard of it be­fore. Catas­tro­phes do strike our world and we do re­cover. Watch­ing our stock port­fo­lio col­lapse af­ter what seems like years of try­ing to build them up is dis­heart­en­ing, but they will also re­cover, even if they only re­cover for the ben­e­fit of our chil­dren.

We must re­main op­ti­mistic, we must re­main healthy and we must fol­low the best in­struc­tions of peo­ple like the amaz­ing Dr. Deena Hin­shaw, who has likely done more to in­form Al­ber­tans and calm our fears than any­one else. She will emerge at the true hero­ine of this ex­pe­ri­ence and to her, along with ev­ery­one else so deeply in­volved, I wish you the very best, in good health, in good de­ci­sions and in good lead­er­ship.

Ge­orge Brookman is the chair­man and cor­po­rate am­bas­sador of West Cana­dian Dig­i­tal Imag­ing Inc.

This is a time for lead­er­ship and we must ac­knowl­edge the over­whelm­ing chal­lenge of be­ing an elected leader at this mo­ment.

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