Brookman: Can we pull back from a tipping point?

When we reach the tipping point of any situation, is the result inevitable or can the outcomes be reversed?

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We all understand the meaning of a “tipping point” and the implied concept that a series of events can lead to larger and more important or disruptive change. In our world today, the question is whether a tipping point inevitably moves toward a foregone conclusion, or can its effect be reversed.

Saturday will mark two years since the invasion of Ukraine, and last week the Russians captured the city of Avdiivka. News media reported this as a major tipping point in this unimaginable war.

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Will this war end soon? Have the Russians reached a point from which there is no turning back? Alternatively, can Ukrainian soldiers retake lands the Russians have so blatantly invaded like some 15th-century hoard?

Listening to reports from the teachers convention in Calgary this week, we hear that classroom sizes have continued to grow and that many teachers have reached their limit of effectiveness because the number of students in their classrooms exceeds what they feel they can deal with. We have seen this coming for many years, as more children pour into the system but governments fail to plan for this influx of little people who are the future of our nation. What is the tipping point for our education system and can we pull back from where we are today?

In many ways, we face the same dilemma in health care, with hospitals facing issues of patients in hallways, and having to be discharged as quickly as possible to reduce demands on nurses and doctors. Is there not some way to avoid constantly acting in a state of crisis and reaching the breaking point of these hard-working people?

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The tipping point can also be a tool to reach a goal that might not always be popular. I recently wrote on the imposition of new zoning rules, or rather the removal of zoning rules, and the reaction from the public was loud and long. I received many calls and emails from individuals voicing their concerns and worries about the changes proposed for their communities, yet the process continues. Almost daily we can see houses being fenced for demolition to allow for council’s dream of urban density at all costs.

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The city has reportedly hired Tim Keane from Boise, Idaho, as the general manager of planning and development. Keane is leaving Boise after two years in that city, reportedly as the man charged with increasing density and finding ways to incorporate more housing into established neighbourhoods. There is little doubt that our city council has come to the conclusion that the time will come when we will all just accept the abandonment of zoning as inevitable, throw up our hands and stop complaining.

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Perhaps they are applying the same philosophy to their incredible spending on the Green Line LRT project without confirming just how much it is likely to go over budget. What will be the tipping point for that project?

Our climate-obsessed government in Ottawa may have reached its tipping point if recent polls are any indication. It sounds as if Canadians have finally said “enough” to the imposed taxes, regulations and ideology that have overtaken our lives. The carbon tax that is supposed to be introduced April 1 may finally have taken the Liberal government to the brink of self-destruction and, hopefully, an election will come much sooner than the current government was hoping for.

When we reach the tipping point of any situation, is the result inevitable or can the outcomes be reversed?

It is a question we should all be asking ourselves as more authoritarian governments make decisions on issues that were barely raised during elections. The best way to reverse any outcome before it reaches a tipping point is to speak up, let your voice be heard and never give up the things you believe in.

There are no irreversible tipping points, only people who decide the fight is not worth the outcome and allow disruptive change to occur because it is easier than trying to stop a trend that is taking us along.

George H. Brookman is chair and company ambassador of West Canadian Digital.

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