Year-end Answers

On this New Year’s Eve, you’ll recall 12 Questions asked at Harderblog almost one year ago:

  1. Will Canada achieve stated goal of having every citizen who desires the shot to be inoculated by end of September, 2021?
    Yes. Evidence indicates that Canada met its goal of vaccinating everyone who was eligible and/or desirous of receiving the Covid shots by stated date of September 30, 2021. Global Affairs Canada’s report by August 12th announced plans to donate 10 million additional doses of vaccines to the Covid Vaccine Global Access Facility (COVAX), that brought Canada’s total donations to COVAX to over 40 million doses. This contribution was possible because of the reported success in securing a supply of vaccine doses to meet Canada’s needs and stated goals. Unfortunately, that goal, albeit accomplished, loses relevance in the light of challenges posed by subsequent variants and task of inoculating eligible individuals who remain unvaccinated and at greatest risk.
  2. Will the national security risks posed by expansion of right-wing extremism in the internet ecosystem be seen as a diminished or greater threat to democracy by the end of 2021?
    From all reports, threats posed by right-wing extremists in the internet ecosystem have proliferated through 2021. The threats have become increasingly transnational, as extremists become increasingly sophisticated in their use of the Internet to recruit and radicalize. Mainstream social media platforms are now a major tool to target new audiences. Extreme right-wing groups collaborating online that search out financial aid, operational support for their collaboration across national boundaries, are posing increased risks of undermining democracies across the globe.
  3. Will lumber markets be more predictable in 2021 than was the case in 2020?
    No. Increasing intensity of climate change superimposed on pandemic-impacted variables cast shadow of greater unpredictability on both supply and demand factors that shaped markets in 2021.
  4. Will the U.S. be as largely divided by partisan identity at the end of 2021 as it is at the end of 2020?
    From all indications, the divide is at least as large.
  5. Will North American major professional sports leagues have returned to ‘normal business’ operations by Autumn 2021?
    Not really. While fans were back in the stands for baseball’s World Series and other season startups of NFL, NHL, NBA, MLS, Covid-caused disruptions included postponement of games and news surrounding individual cases (see: Aaron Rodgers vax story). Ongoing challenge with new Covid protocols has been exacerbated with new variants – most recently, the Omicron variant.
  6. Will the record destruction caused by wildfires in California in 2020 be eclipsed in 2021?
    No. According to data collected by Cal Fire, the 2021 fire season was the second worst on record in terms of most land destroyed (1,863,324 acres on all their protected lands vs. the record of over 4 million acres destroyed in 2020). Here in BC, the 2021 seasonal wildfires were challenging also, with over 2 million acres destroyed. The cost of $585 million ascribed to BC’s wildfires compares with $649 million in 2017. It’s noteworthy that the wildfire that destroyed the village of Lytton June 30th occurred during record high Canadian temperature 49.6 Celsius (121.3 Fahrenheit) three days in a row.
  7. Will Justin Trudeau be Prime Minister of Canada at the end of 2021?
    Yes. Trudeau’s Liberal party won re-election in September, with results that largely mirrored the election of 2019 – again resulting in a minority government in which the NDP party holds balance of power.
  8. Will President Biden find a job approval rating higher or lower than the 63% enjoyed in January?
    Lower. President Joe Biden’s job approval rating is 43% according to the most recent December survey.
  9. Will the Random Lengths Framing Lumber Composite Price break the all-time high of $955 reached in September, 2020?
    Yes. The Composite Price reached an all-time high of $1515 (May 25th) before crashing to $389 (August 26th). In the December 28th Random Lengths Lumber Report, the Composite Price broke through $1000 for the second time this year ($1038).
  10. Will all things China be as dominant in international relations news stories by the end of 2021 as they are at the year’s outset?
    Yes. The pandemic, climate change, along with other geopolitical issues, ensured that China remained central to news dominating international relations in 2021. By year end, the challenge of constraining tense relations between the U.S. and China to “healthy competition” rather than evolving into military confrontation remained a delicate balance, with China’s warning to U.S. not to support “Taiwan Independence” following Biden’s Zoom meeting in November.
  11. In the overcrowded virtual event market, will organizations – including lumber distributors – find new ways to encourage online connections?
    While engagement on social media is not a new trend, record lumber prices ignited an explosion of growth in online communities and engagement among bewildered lumber distributors, dealers, homebuilders and forest industry analysts in 2021.
  12. Will the fashions that male lumber traders exhibited in Zoom meetings this year still be considered to be trendsetters by year-end?
    Year-end reports indicate that the “slob-chic” style of early pandemic Zoom era lumber trader fashions are still setting the pace. ‘Comfort’ remained top of mind on the rollercoaster that was 2021, even as traders began to return to the office.
Floodwaters over Abbotsford’s Sumas Prairie (Photo credit Stan Harder, Nov 2021)
Sumas Prairie (Photo Credit Stan Harder, Dec 2021)
New Year’s Day 2022 – South Memorial Park, Vancouver, BC

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