June 18th, 2024

COVID has made us value the little things in life

By Lethbridge Herald Opinion on June 12, 2021.

Summer is finally rolling in and with it – a welcome change in both weather and health restrictions. There’s nothing like 20+ temperatures, birds singing and vibrantly green prairies to lift the spirits and encourage weary residents of Lethbridge and beyond. Pair that up with the prospect of sharing a special occasion with extended family, or grabbing drinks with a friend at a great local restaurant – and you’ve got yourself a truly winning combination.
If I can venture to find a positive in the last year we’ve been through, I’d say it’s made us all realize how much we value the “little” things in life. The simple beauty of shared experiences is something I’d probably have taken for granted a couple years ago, a thought many may likely second. If nothing more, this pandemic has revealed to each of us, in one way or another, that which we value most. 
It’s been a tough go, no doubt about it. But hope is not only on the horizon, it’s within our grasp. We are entering into a new season of the year, as well as a new season in the fight against Covid-19. While the last season was characterized by the challenges of navigating constant re-evaluation and difficulty, this will be a season of recovery, rehabilitation, and ultimately, growth and expansion. I believe that Albertans not only can but will come out of this pandemic stronger and more resilient than ever. (This is based on the unproven assumption that it’s possible for Albertans to get any tougher than they already are!)
The past few weeks have shown a stark drop in both case numbers and hospitalizations – and I’m confident these numbers will continue to lower in the weeks ahead. As restrictions loosen and we try to remember what normal looks like, we’ll undoubtedly be faced with the economic realities that have been caused by this pandemic. I know that this period has created incredible difficulties for small businesses in particular. While I’ve been amazed at the creativity and innovation I’ve seen locally and beyond, many businesses have taken more hits than ever before.
Our public sector has played a vital and essential role in combating the reality of the virus – and now as we recover, our private sector individuals are becoming the essential workers. Alberta’s future quite literally depends on how we respond to the opportunities before us. Consider this a rallying cry to all private sector innovators, business owners, and entrepreneurs both large and small. This is your time – Alberta doesn’t just want you, we need you.
Our government wants to partner with businesses as they face the task of getting their feet back underneath them. The Alberta Jobs Now initiative is putting this desire into action by investing $370 million to support hiring unemployed Albertans into thousands of jobs. This investment will provide employers with the extra funding they need to reduce the costs of hiring and training for jobs, encouraging both job creation and economic recovery. Employers in all industries across the private and non-profit sectors will be able to apply online through http://www.alberta.ca/alberta-jobs-now-program.aspx during open application periods. We’ve also announced numerous investments in south zone developments and infrastructure over the past year. This will encourage growth and boost the economy, which will be an added support for local businesses.
There are some significant mountains ahead of us as we press forward into economic recovery but in the midst of that, let’s not forget to enjoy life and share with others all that our incredible province has to offer. With the expanded opportunities that the warm weather provides, I’m sure many will be hiking, taking the kids out for ice cream, seeing a movie with friends and otherwise enjoying themselves. I look forward to joining every Albertan as we strap on our hikers and start climbing, both literal and figurative mountains.

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