What with the Canada-wide rail blockades and the global coronavirus scare, it seems as though we’ve been held hostage in our own country.
The Wet’suwet’en-orchestrated blockades have crippled the Canadian economy and have had a profound impact on travel. Goods such as propane and even food to a large degree are dependent upon the railroad network to get from Point A to Point B. With the illegal shutdown of this vital network, there is little to no movement. Consequently, shortages of key products are being realized, creating a strain upon those who depend on these goods.
Via Rail layoffs have accounted for about one-third of its workforce because of the blockades, putting a further strain on the economy.
Travellers who don’t like to fly find the train a cheaper alternative when journeying significant distances within Canada and prefer the peace of mind of knowing they are always on the ground. They don’t want to resort to driving their own vehicles long distances, but are left with either this option or simply staying put while waiting out an end to the rail blockades.
Meanwhile, the coronavirus lands in a new country seemingly every day, and the number of those infected globally continues to rise exponentially. People are exercising caution with their international travel plans or are determined to simply stay put and ride out this health scare until they’re satisfied an end is near. We’re seeing a huge increase among mask-wearing travellers at international airports, and several others are donning masks just to go about their daily routines here at home.
If the spread and magnitude of this virus isn’t brought under control soon, this summer’s Olympic Games slated for Tokyo could be in jeopardy. Two years from now, the winter games are scheduled for Beijing. The clock is definitely ticking on this one. A lack of reliable snow cover in that part of China will be the least of its concerns.
Although the rail blockades have been supreme pain in the butt, it’s the coronavirus that is most concerning – at least over the long term. It’s almost like living out the Gregory Peck movie On the Beach, in which Australia is the last habitable place on Earth following a global nuclear war. The fallout has reached all other continents, but the spread is slowly making its way to the land down under.
It feels like we’re just waiting for the coronavirus to begin moving inland in Canada, yet not knowing when that day might arrive or how big a punch it might pack. Let’s hope medical science gets a handle on this soon, and if and when it arrives in these parts perhaps it will have significantly petered out enough that the concern is reduced.