In 2020, we are experiencing a holiday season like no other. The holidays this year are naturally accompanied by feelings of both foreboding and relief, worry and optimism.
No one knows what the future will hold, of course. The global pandemic had begun, but seemed like only a small cloud on the horizon, at this time last year. Throughout 2020, it has come to dominate our thoughts, our family lives and, above all, our profession.
Few would disagree that 2020 has not been a great year, and we naturally hold out hope that the tide of the pandemic will soon begin to recede as it already has in some countries, and optimism that the promise of the COVID-19 vaccine now being used in Alberta will be fulfilled.
At the same time, as we celebrate Christmas, the passage of the shortest day of the year, and the beginning of a New Year — a time of year naturally associated with renewal — we recognize that COVID-19 and the health crisis associated with it will cast a shadow for a long time yet.
Nor will the pressure on all health care workers ease up, for we face not only a pandemic, but a government determined to use the crisis it has generated to advance its agenda of privatization, job insecurity for health care workers, and austerity.
So even as we look to the future with hope for the vaccine and the measures being taken worldwide to limit the spread of COVID-19, we know that we have a hard fight ahead of us too, to protect the public health care system Canadians support and our ability to be able to serve our patients, residents, clients, their families, and our society.
We will keep up that fight for you, and for all Albertans, at the bargaining table and in the public forum. As we have said many times in the past, when times seemed dark, nurses go forward, they don’t go back! Together, we can succeed.
This year, more than ever before, I wish each of you a happy holiday and a better New Year in 2021.
Stay well, stay safe, and stay strong!
President, United Nurses of Alberta