THE ADVOCATE 341
VOL. 78 PART 3 MAY 2020
Everything got off my desk before I left, and it’s now on someone else’s
desk. But the courts are mostly closed. Commercial deals are on hold. Conferences
have been cancelled. Bars and restaurants are closed, so my franchise
clients (many of which are restaurants) are justifiably concerned
about their future. I am on the phone with them regularly discussing the
arcane law of force majeure.
There will be very serious economic and political repercussions from this
pandemic, no matter how long it lasts. The world has suddenly changed.
Many businesses, even law firms, may not survive. I’m sure many firms are
looking at their business interruption insurance policies, and I’ve heard
some firms are laying lawyers off. Practising law from home may be the
new norm, something that might scare the willies out of commercial landlords
if the future of law firms is in the cloud, rather than in the office.
We’re obviously catching up on movies on Netflix and Prime, but our gaze
tends to gravitate to CBC News as if we’re looking at a roadside accident
from our car. I listen all day to Pat Metheny’s new album From This Place. I
I appreciate that the federal and provincial governments are relying on
medical and health care professionals like Dr. Bonnie Henry, Dr. David
Williams, Dr. Theresa Tam and Dr. Deena Hinshaw, rather than Russian
bots, “Karen on Facebook” or the factually challenged scandalmongers at
Ontario Proud, BC Proud, The Post Millennial or Rebel News—Pravda for the
right-wing trailer trash crowd who spread disinformation like … a virus.
I’ve had to correct a few members of the social media–manufactured outrage
machine who seem to think the federal government wasn’t doing anything
at Canada’s major airports. Having experienced it firsthand, there
were at least four points of entry in Toronto’s Pearson Airport (and one
point in Vancouver) where officials asked how disembarking passengers
were feeling and telling them that they had to do a mandatory two-week
“self-isolation” once they returned to their homes. A notice was handed out
as well. Anyone who says that this wasn’t done on March 16 either wasn’t
there or wasn’t paying attention, although I can’t speak to what might have
been done days earlier.
But how are you supposed to be tested for COVID-19 in Cairo or Munich
airports before you board a flight to Toronto anyway? Who pays for it? Who
performs it? What happens to you at the airport during the three to five days
for the test to be completed? Why would other countries deplete their own
healthcare resources to test comparatively wealthy foreign tourists flying
home, rather than allocating their limited medical resources to test and
treat their own nationals? Do the Egyptians or the Germans really want