Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Jack Knox: How bad is it? Other Canadians feel sorry for us

Damage caused by heavy rains and mudslides along the Coquihalla Highway near Hope, Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

That’s it?

That’s all you’ve got, Mother Nature? Fire-hose rain, farm-eating floods, a succession of hellacious storms lining up to tag-team us — pow, pow, pow — just like the bad guys on Saturday night wrestling?

C’mon, Mama, we’ve seen highways wash out like Trump in a Women’s Studies program, bridges collapse like the Green Party vote in September, but we’re still on our feet, a little punchy perhaps, but we’re like George Chuvalo fighting Ali, haven’t gone to our knees. So bring it on, hit us with another storm and then another one after that, except maybe throw in a plague of frogs and a toilet-paper shortage, too.

I mean, where are the locusts? If you’re going to go all Old Testament on us, you have to throw in some locusts. Also lice, fiery hail, sulfur and pillars of salt. And don’t forget boils. Gotta have the boils.

It has been soul-suckingly sloppy, gloomier than a goth, more miserable than a Canucks fan, more destructive than social media. Santa Claus bailed out of the Christmas parade and was replaced by Aquaman.

Port Renfrew had almost 1,200 millimetres of rain in November. That’s enough to drown a weatherman, not that I’m necessarily suggesting anything. Like Jeff Bell after happy hour, the ground just can’t soak up any more and needs a bit of time to dry out. The Roto Rooter man is doing the backstroke in your basement.

It has been so bad that — get this — the rest of the country actually feels sorry for us.

That last bit is unnerving. Usually when the Wet Coast is hit with wild weather, other Canadians ask “What’s wrong?” and we say “It’s raining really hard” and then they smirk and ask if we need grief counsellors or just dry rolling papers.

That’s the natural order of things. There are two types of Canadians, those who buy snow shovels and those who purchase umbrellas.

The latter think Gore-Tex is winter wear and minus 40 is the sale price. The former pray that the next time Vancouver Island is on the television, the screen will show earthquake-book author Gregor Craigie standing in a pile of rubble, providing expert commentary as looters turn the City of Gardens into a scene from Lord of the Flies.

We don’t expect people from the land of gas-line antifreeze and square tires to fret about our weather. Having just, for the millionth time, smacked their frozen knuckles on the grill of the truck while unplugging a stubborn block heater cord, they are not likely to weep for wimps who need stress leave when their socks get wet.

Except this time, people from the other side of the Rockies are showing genuine sympathy. Trudeau came, and didn’t even surf. Saskatchewan sent sandbagging machines.

The CBC reported that when an Alberta restoration company asked for people to help with cleanup in B.C., some volunteered to come from other parts of the country and work for free. An Alberta Christian group drove a massive disaster-response trailer to Abbotsford. Global News said the Okotoks Dawgs baseball team donated $2,000 to help the Abbotsford Cardinals recover.

Again, this is unsettling. Three years ago, Albertans were so damn mad at us that they banished B.C. wine from their liquor stores and threatened to turn off the oil taps. Now they’re acting like the physician who, after wincing at your test results, gently asks about your bucket list.

It would be more reassuring if, when Albertans talked about burying the hatchet, they meant in our heads, just like in the good old days.

Or maybe their concern just means the shared pandemic pain has brought our bickering family together. Maybe those broken supply chains have proven how interdependent we are.

Maybe there’s a sense that after almost two years of lockdowns, travel bans, home-schooling, day-drinking, anti-vaxxers, “we can’t hear you” Zoom calls, bubbles, Plexiglas, masks and 911 calls to narc out Alberta licence plates (don’t you feel bad about that now?), and after the heat dome and wildfires, to subject us to a series of meteorological muggings worthy of their own state of emergency smells just a tad like overkill.

It’s like being run over by a bus after being struck by lightning. And oh, just to top it all off, now we have Omicron to worry about. What’s next, the winged monkeys from the Wizard of Oz?

Never mind. The water might be up to B.C.’s knees, but we’re still on our feet. Keep going forward.