Skip to content

FOULDS: Behold! The crystal ball sees all in 2022

It has again fallen upon my shoulders to prepare you, dear reader, for what to expect in Kamloops and beyond as 2022 makes its grand entrance
Foulds column head

It has again fallen upon my shoulders to prepare you, dear reader, for what to expect in Kamloops and beyond as 2022 makes its grand entrance:

***

Due to rising case counts of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, and because the virus is spread primarily through the mouth, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announces a tough new public health order in early January.

Henry orders all British Columbians to stop talking in a bid to bring down case counts.

Despite having a communications department the size of which media outlets can only dream, the wordsmiths have difficulty creating a catchy Bonnie Henry phrase.

“Be kind — and shut up!” doesn’t quite catch on with the masses.

***

In mid-January, the cost of the forensic audit of expenses at the Thompson-Nicola Regional District under former CAO Sukh Gill comes in at $250,000, well over initial estimates of between $50,000 and $75,000.

The TNRD board, under pressure from taxpayers, decides to review the audit costs during a weekend conference at the Sparkling Hill Resort in Vernon.

Meanwhile, KTW’s legal team peruses the audit report and considers filing a lawsuit for copyright infringement.

***

In March, just before the WHL playoffs begin, Kamloops Coun. Sadie Hunter files a notice of motion demanding that council tell the Kamloops Blazers they must immediately cease playing their unofficial anthem, Takin’ Care of Business, at home games.

Hunter says she is haunted by the stigmatizing and dehumanizing language and lyrics contained in the BTO song.

“It is simply not appropriate in this day and age when so many people do not own businesses that they can take care of,” Hunter says in her notice of motion.

“Those who have the good fortune and privilege to take care of their business constitute a great minority of residents in our city. I feel those who cannot take care of business, be it due to monetary or other reasons, could be traumatized by hearing this song.”

***

Amid the controversy involving an investigation of two senior administrators, alleged to have engaged in harassment-related behaviour, and criticism of its habit of communicating to the public through the media via statements, Thompson Rivers University makes a bold change.

The university in April announces its Open Communication Commitment, vowing it is henceforth pledging to dispense with statements and will instead offer interviews to media outlets on all issues — provided media outlets sign non-disclosure agreements before commencing interviews.

***

At the same time, Interior Health’s communications department is seen taking copious notes.

***

Kamloops Coun. Dale Bass, under continued pressure to apologize for comparing a proposed rural recovery centre to a concentration camp, addresses the issue in May.

Bass says the media mixed up her words and their context on the recovery centre proposal from fellow Con. Denis Walsh that never got past the discussion stage.

“I never likened the proposed recovery centre to a concentration camp,” Bass says.

“I said a camp at which those recovering could concentrate might be something worth looking into. Of course, the words were garbled when they left Radio NL’s AM studio and landed in the speakers of radios across Kamloops.”

Bass said the mangled message never would have happened had she been interviewed on FM radio.

The former journalist chalked it up to another incident in which the media mishandled the message.

“They always get things screwed up,” Bass said. “I should know. I didn’t believe half the stuff that I wrote when I was in the business.”

***

The civic election in October is held amid much discussion of a rise in voter numbers due to myriad controversial issues.

Alas, the turnout is less than 30 per cent. On the referendum front, the arts centre proposal is defeated handily, while a concurrent plebiscite on paving all potholes in the city as soon as the pavement crumbles passes by a 100 per cent margin.

***

By October, the pandemic has passed and life has returned to normal.

The city’s remaining collection of anti-vaxxers/flat-earthers/5G- network-naysayers find themselves without an opponent — until Halloween arrives, with all those kids in masks.

***

Winter arrives with its usual bitter cold and BC Housing is again caught unprepared, with the provincial agency promising to have new shelters ready by the spring of 2023.

BC Housing explains it has finally determined why it is consistently late in addressing cold weather concerns for the homeless population.

It turns out the government body has for years forgotten to turn its clocks back in the fall, leading to its calendar to be off by several months.

The agency blames the Kamloops-based Stop the Time Change movement for adding to the confusion, believing erroneously that the campaign to end the time change had become legislation a long time ago.

editor@kamloopsthisweek.com

Twitter: @ChrisJFoulds