Steve Paikin: Well, this has certainly been an unprecedented week for provincial decision-makers, John Michael. Our publicly-funded schools are closed; our sports teams are on hiatus; weddings and birthday parties are being cancelled; heck, they're even shuttering the casinos. I went to my local mall on the weekend and for a Saturday afternoon, it was shockingly empty, with one exception — the grocery store, which was quite busy and featured more empty shelves than I can ever recall seeing. Fortunately, the LCBO is still open in case we need to drown our sorrows. What are you seeing on your end of things?
John Michael McGrath: Well, Queen's Park was always going to be quiet this week: MPPs have their regularly scheduled spring break, and they've mostly gone back to their ridings. But now, we don't know when they'll come back, or for how long. The government could extend the adjournment in the name of public health, in part to protect the hundreds of staff (both political and non-political) who must come to work when the house is in session. On the other hand, the government announced Monday morning that they're already drafting new legislation to try and contain the harms to workers, promising that people who have to self-isolate due to the virus, or are simply stuck at home because their kids' school is closed, won't lose their jobs. The catch is they need to bring MPPs back to Queen's Park to pass a new law, and there may be more they need to do.
How will the government balance these factors? Get used to hearing this a lot: I don't know. The government, as much as anyone, is in uncharted waters here.
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