Still Standing’s Jonny Harris on the stage in front of a limited audience in Chemainus. (Photo by Susan Margetts)

Still Standing’s Jonny Harris on the stage in front of a limited audience in Chemainus. (Photo by Susan Margetts)

Lottery system would have been better to fill extra Still Standing seats

Excluding ordinary townsfolk defeats the purpose of the show

Dear Still Standing:

Well hello and goodbye Still Standing; it was great not meeting you! Chemainus seems to carry an ongoing curse when it comes to public emergencies and how we are subsequently treated by the national media on the rare occasions they even take any notice of us. It looks like rank-and-file Chemainus residents were totally screwed when it came to any prospect of being represented during the one-off visit by your show to our town, in part because of COVID, and in part because of the CBC’s lack of flexibility in dealing with the necessary protocols. It would indeed be ironic if our town should be done-in by your half-baked tactics after surviving countless other setbacks over the years. Fortunately, Chemainus is made of much stronger stuff than Still Standing, so I think we’ll be OK.

I gather you initially had to deal with the fact that B.C. had a 50-person limit for theatres and halls a few weeks ago. You didn’t think you could upgrade to the higher limits that came into effect on July 1 without continuing to exclude the proletariat from Jonny Harris’ main performance and stuffing the extra seats with privileged members of the local Chamber of Commerce and a few service clubs with exclusive membership policies.

In fact, there was a way you could have done this that was better and more fair than your biased approach. You could have held a lottery that was open to the public and filled your limited seats that way. Not everyone who may have wanted to come could have been let in, but we would have accepted the results of a lottery as fair play. However, we resented being systematically shut out based on our social status while all the perks went to the VIPs and high rollers. I think there was time for you to organize a lottery if you had been on your A-game. It was announced by the B.C. government back in June that the seating restrictions would be eased at the beginning of July, so there was no lack of time to set up a selection process that would have given the entire community a fair shot at getting in.

Doing one of your shows in Chemainus might bring us some economic benefits, but it could have been a once-in-a-lifetime community event with at least some representation by the rank-and-file. But instead, you chose to make it an elitist conclave. We ordinary townsfolk may feel some gratitude for having Still Standing come and shine a light on our community, but the way you did it has left a somewhat bitter taste with many who live here.

This just goes to show what can happen when the government puts a group of slow-working civil servants in charge of a television network, show or series. Since the show is taking a break until September, I find myself wondering if any further easing of restrictions will subject Chemainus residents to the indignity of seeing the show reopen its doors to the public now that you’ve left town with no prospect of ever returning. Well, maybe not. It looks like the Delta variant may soon be knocking on our doors. Good luck with that.

Chris Carss,