THE ADVOCATE V O L . 7 9 P A R T 3 M A Y 2 0 2 1 329
Now is a time for big ideas. With the promise of vaccines and a
release from the straitjacket of COVID-19, we are finally contemplating
expanding our physical horizons, bursting past
homes, neighbourhoods and parameters beyond which those
of us with mask-fogged glasses could not see. With expanded physical horizons,
we may now also be able to focus on concepts bigger than the microscopic
particles and droplets to which much of our attention has been
directed for the past year.
There are now many large issues to tackle. Among them are the economic
insecurity and economic inequality in our society.
These economic issues are ones with which some of us grew up and to
which some of us have devoted legal careers. During the pandemic, others
of us had a jolt, especially early on, of what millions of worse-off Canadians
faced daily before COVID-19 and continue to face while some of our own
fortunes are restored: a fear of running out of food; having access only to
food of inferior quality; a fear or the reality of losing one’s livelihood and
sinking into debt; an inability to access mental or physical outlets such as
travel, restaurants and organized sports; the inability to move freely or confidently
even close to home, or to access health care; and an onslaught of
Of course, economic insecurity should matter because it is, as such, lamentable,
not just because we did not like our personal experience of either
constrained resources or of the fears and deprivations associated with
them. However, the memories of our recent experience might propel us in
ways that simply being aware, conceptually, of others’ misfortune may not.
COVID-19 not only highlighted economic insecurity in absolute terms,
but also highlighted the economic inequality in our society. Indeed, so does
the very fact that for some of us the memories of the fears and deprivations
that persist for less economically secure Canadians are starting to fade.