We first heard the term "coronavirus recession" phrase directly from Alberta Premier Jason Kenney when he was in the Lac La Biche POST newspaper office on August 7 for an exclusive 'meet-the-boss' interview.
We'd heard "coronavirus" and "recession" separately over the course of the last eight months — but Kenney's linking of the two to make a specific term set off some warning bells in our heads. Since then, the premier has been using the term in most news briefings to describe the economy.
It's as if he's trying to convince us that a recession 'before' the coronavirus pandemic didn't exist. But it did. We all know this.
It wasn't Kenney's fault. The provincial NDP government before his regime was also working through an economic slump — as were the Progressive Conservative governments of Jim Prentice before that one, and Dave Hancock and Allison Redford before that. According to Canadian think-tank forecasters like the Fraser Institute and the Parkland Institute the most recent and pronounced economic slumps began in 2009 and were solidly in place by 2015.
In other words ... we were in this recession long before the respiratory flu got its chance to further pummel global markets. We all know this. But the new phrasing seems to imply an attempt to change the narrative.
By placing the two words together into a descriptive phrase, the premier — and many other global leaders — appear to be trying to shift blame ... and history.
Don't get us wrong here — putting two things together in an attempt to create something new isn't always a bad thing. Chocolate and peanut butter created Reece's Cupcakes and Labrador dogs and Poodles 'merged' together give us Labra-doodles (OK, that one may not be a vote for the 'good idea' side). And by this commentary saying that the Premier's new two-word description isn't fair, it doesn't diminish the severity of either word in that term. Yes, the pandemic has been a kick to our collective delicate bits — but we were doubled-over and reeling from years of steady below-the-belt economic punches long before the flu rolled up.
This isn't about the recession — we all realize it is bad. Nor is it about coronavirus — we know that's bad too. This is about governments just not being able to help themselves when given a chance to side-step the much-needed responsibility they are in power to provide. It only makes a bad situation worse to know that the leaders who should be helping us see the light are trying to stay in the shadows and deflect the blame with something as ridiculous as new phrasing. We have our own two-word phrase for that kind of political reaction: the first word is Bull —.