The nation’s capital sets an example for us all

By Michael Fraiman – MacLean’s

Image of the Week: A desert streetscape in Ottawa shows how seriously residents are taking the COVID-19 crisis—and that’s a good sign

The empty streets of Ottawa (Tobin Grimshaw)

It has become commonly glib to declare that we are living in the dystopian future. Evidence of the punchline is everywhere: empty-shelved supermarkets hold long lines of shoppers outside their doors; large public gatherings are forbidden by law; anyone craving conversation must stand six feet from their associate; and on and on. For our federal politicians, however, this situation is very much a reality, and they reckoned with a solution this week, quickly passing an emergency relief bill in the quiet pre-dawn hours of an all-nighter. In some ways, $107-billion bill seems a throwback to a bygone, war-time era, granting the government exceptional power (though not for as long as it initially wanted) to doll out public funds as it sees fit. Upon leaving Parliament Hill, those same politicians may have glimpsed the National War Memorial, pictured in solitude above, aptly reminding them of what past Canadians have sacrificed to survive. In that light, maybe this isn’t a dystopia after all. Canada has endured existential crises in the past. All signs are it’s about to do so again.

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