Jim Taylor's Columns - 'Soft Edges' and 'Sharp Edges'

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31

May

2020

Pinching pennies kills seniors

Author: Jim Taylor

As I write this column, the COVID-19 death toll in Canada stands at 6873. Plus one potential death, that no one talks about.

            COVID-19 may finally have shaken the blind belief that private enterprise can do any job more efficiently than public.

            When death rates in long-term care facilities soared, the governments of Ontario and Quebec called in the military to help out.

            Some military members of those Augmented Civilian Care tears wrote a report on the care deficiencies they observed. Which they passed to their superior officers. Who passed it to the provincial governments. Who made them public.


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31

May

2020

Doing something worthwhile

Author: Jim Taylor

My shovel sank into the soil the full depth of the blade,  effortlessly, liker slicing butter. I turned the shovel load over.  The soil was rich, black, moist. And loaded with fat wriggling worms.

            Some robins thought I had called them for dinner. They hopped happily over the lumps of earth only a few feet away from my own feet. 

            What a difference 27 years makes. When we first moved onto this property, the land was a horse pasture. Back then, the earth beneath the sod consisted mostly of river-tumbled rock and gravel. In some earlier era, this bench had been the mouth of a rushing mountain stream dumping glacial debris into a lake much larger and deeper than today’s. It left a legacy of stones and sand.

            The remains of the streambed still lie inches  below our lawn. But this garden plot is different, thanks to 27 years of  relentless composting. 

            If I’ve achieved nothing else in my life, I’ve created rich black soil that didn’t exist before. 


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31

May

2020

COVID-19 is forcing our hands

Author: Jim Taylor

It’s hard to keep up with the rate of change. The other day, a news report announced that Army and Navy stores were closing. 

            I remember Army and Navy as the place to go to get stuff cheap. The late Sam Cohen founded Army and Navy in Vancouver 101 years ago, as a war surplus outlet. The Great War was over. He could get goods at going-out-of-business prices; hence the Army and Navy title. 

             The same week, news stories said the Reitman’s clothing chain was filing for bankruptcy. Even the survival of the venerable Hudson’s Bay Company was in doubt. 

            HBC is almost synonymous with Canada itself. The first Canadian limited-liability corporation, maybe the world’s first. Founded in 1670, before Canada was even a country. Opened the west to English trade. Made the world’s warmest blankets.

            I can no more imagine Canada happening without the HBC than without the CPR.


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