Adam Olsen is all smiles after hearing he has retained his seat during the 2020 election. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)

Adam Olsen is all smiles after hearing he has retained his seat during the 2020 election. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)

MLA REPORT: Reflecting on the ‘inexplicable year that was 2020’

Reflecting on the inexplicable year that was 2020, it is impossible to succinctly sum up how the dramatic events of this year have impacted each one of us individually, and as a local, regional, national, and global society.

The year began with demonstrations for Indigenous rights across the country and surrounding the British Columbia Legislative Assembly. We have spent most of this year in not one, but two devastating public health emergencies: the COVID-19 global pandemic and the illicit drug poisoning and overdose crisis that has taken the lives of far too many and gone without adequate response for far too long. Just two months ago we were in the midst of an early provincial election. And this short list doesn’t even begin to cover all the events that have transformed our province.

In 2020, the lives of all of us have been turned upside down and much of what we used to take for granted has been called into question. Our ability to be with our loved ones, to travel, to go to work every day feeling safe.

All of us have been tested, but British Columbians have shown their resilience and their willingness to look out for and care for one another. In the past 8 months we have found gaps in service delivery, our public health system has been stretched, business owners have struggled to keep their doors open. Many have suffered from increasing isolation, while others have continued to go to work every day, putting their own health at risk to serve the needs of others.

As we turn the page on 2020 and prepare for what 2021 might bring, we have been given hope with the approval and roll-out of the first vaccine for COVID-19, but we know that there are still hard winter months ahead.

This is an important time to reflect on how interconnected we are and how we can continue to support each other.

One thing this pandemic has shown us is that governments at all levels have shown flexibility and a capacity to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances.

Too often, governments are slow to react to needed change – they act simply because it’s the way they have always done things. It’s not often that we stop to consider whether it’s the most efficient, creative, or effective action that could be taken.

As we rebuild from this pandemic, we need a plan to rebuild our economy that doesn’t try to take us back to where we were a year ago. Instead, we need to recognize the urgent need to act on the climate crisis, to reduce inequality, and to build people’s wellbeing and quality of life more directly into how we organize our economy.

I think this year has taught us a lot about what’s really important, and the most important question of the coming year is whether we are going to learn from this pandemic or whether we will just try to get back to what we had this time last year. I am invested in moving forward.

Adam Olsen is the MLA Saanich North and the Islands.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Seattle Mariners field coordinator Carson Vitale before a game at T-Mobile Park during the 2020 season. Vitale, who grew up in Victoria, has pledged to run 10 miles a day for 2021 and to donate 50 cents per mile to the United Way of King County. (Ben Van Houten/Seattle Mariners)
Mariners coach running 10 miles a day for United Way

Saanich-raised Carson Vitale, Seattle Mariners field coordinator, plans to run 3,650 miles in 2021

Gordon English, construction manager of the Habitat for Humanity project in North Saanich, shows off the current interior of a townhouse part of the affordable housing project. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Families set to move in to affordable housing project in North Saanich by spring

Pending completion of Habitat for Humanity project comes against backdrop of new housing report

A rainbow graces the departure of CCGS John Cabot as it leaves Victoria Jan. 7. (Canadian Coast Guard/Facebook)
Follow a coast guard ship’s trip from Victoria to Halifax, through Panama Canal

Canadian Coast Guard Ship John Cabot left for St. Johns on Jan. 7

Johnathan Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to eight charges including sex-related offences against children and accessing, possessing and making or publishing child pornography. (Courtesy of Saanich Police)
Sentencing date moved for Saanich nanny guilty of child porn charges

Johnathon Lee Robichaud pleaded guilty to eight sex offences against children

(Black Press Media file photo)
Saanich repeals, reschedules two public hearings for consideration of new information

Move to hold public hearings for second time ‘very rare,’ mayor says

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

Black Press media file
Port McNeill driver tells police he thought the pandemic meant no breathalyzers

Suspect facing criminal charges after breathalyzer readings in excess of 3.5 times the legal limit

Most Read