You have arrived

As the GPS, standard in most cars and smart phones completes its directions and a vehicle pulls up to the address a cheery maiden announces, “You have arrived.”

It is a gratifying salute after navigating busy highways and plenty of drivers rattling along in a world all their own. 

Apparently excluded from the rules good drivers follow, plenty are happy to ride singularly in HOV lanes, ignore passing instructions, drive without night-time headlights on and weave through traffic without contemplating others’ potentially poor choices. That was just the latest drive to Toronto.

Moving on, we well recall a flight to Miami in between closures and the use of the ArriveCan app. Yes, this is the same app now in the news which the Auditor General reveals cost just shy of $60 million. Luckily a tech savvy colleague was along for the ride and helped us install the app. We thought it stupid then and apparently, we were a soothsayer of sorts. Surely proof of a COVID test before boarding in Toronto and one re-boarding in Miami would have been enough. It was costly too, if memory serves correctly, as in $175 USD for two tests, but those were the rules at the time. 

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), it turns out, had a poor procurement process and even poorer processes for ensuring value for taxpayers. None of it surprises us and it mirrors much of the COVID years. 

Plans and solutions to problems that cropped up during the pandemic were very reactionary. That too is another topic whereby governments owe it to taxpayers to review the handling of the whole affair. Our thought would be measures to assess and apprise the good and the bad of actions taken during a very uncertain time. 

More tragic than these wasted funds would be disregarding the opportunity to re-think how agencies spend money. A shoulder shrug doesn’t cut it, nor should it ever have. The ability to tax at will, shouldn’t give government bodies a free pass from accountability and the search for value.

Here’s an idea

This past Family Day we noted most larger retailers were closed and driveways were full of cars. It looked a little like Christmas time, especially with the dash of snow the day before. A busy weekend and an almost impossible Tuesday necessitated some time at the office just to get a jump on things. 

Our idea, sure to draw hisses and boos is a little old-fashioned. In fact, most millennials and those younger than that will never have experienced what it was like when we had Sundays off. Most retail stores were closed. 

Many Christians still observe Sunday as a day of rest and other religions have their preferred day of worship. While we understand the inability to define a common day of rest without offending others, Sundays were a day to visit friends, go out for lunch after church, or simply rest. 

Apart from certain sectors like health care, agriculture or tourism-related industries, most workers were able to recharge their batteries and get ready for the week ahead. Now, it seems to us anyway, the expectation is to run full throttle 24/7. If parents aren’t working, their teenage kids are often working. Family has taken a back seat in this fast-paced world.

While imagining the benefits of the return to a simpler time when Canadians had 52 “family days” a year, we recalled that famous phrase by a Clinton Democratic operative named James Carville who said – “It’s the economy, stupid.” In 1992. Everything today seems to be about the economy and money. Oddly, ‘92 was the same year Bob Rae went with Sunday shopping in Ontario.

The chase for money pleases many, as does convenience. Governments also like people working full throttle so they can capture their pound of flesh in the economic equation. 

Taking Sundays off is now just a distant memory – sorry for those who missed it.