Editorials - April 22, 2021
The vaccine roll-out continues as our local health unit temporarily suspended new vaccination clinics while their scheduled supply is redistributed to hotspots in Ontario. Pharmacies and primary care providers welcomed an increase in AstraZeneca vaccine and a lowered age limit for distribution. Then on top of the redistribution plan, Moderna announced major delays to scheduled shipments but was quickly replaced by an additional eight million doses from Pfizer.
While the distribution of the vaccine in Canada has been slow, confusing and frustrating, it’s important to put things in perspective. Canada has focused its efforts on getting as many citizens their first dose as possible and we are now ranked third among G20 countries, behind only the U.S. and the UK in first dose rates. Everyone wants to put the pandemic behind us and get back to at least a semblance of normal life and waiting for vaccinations while a third wave is raging around us is difficult. The key to getting the pandemic under control is getting shots in arms, especially in areas where infections are outstripping resources.
Our next challenge will be reaching herd immunity and overcoming vaccine hesitancy. In the U.S., almost half of all adults have now received at least one dose. However, the numbers seem to be stalling as less people are now getting vaccinated. Some mass vaccination sites are now closing, as there is no uptake. While the exact number for herd immunity has not been determined yet, the goal of most countries is to get to at least 70-85 per cent immunity in their population, and vaccines rather than infection would seem to be the preferable route to take. Hopefully the spread of misinformation and fear doesn’t jeopardize the rate of vaccination and our ability to get ahead of this virus. – DS
Here we go again
How did we get here? Perhaps we have always been here. At least since amalgamation at the turn of the century here in Huron County.
While Morris-Turnberry and North Huron Councils should be applauded for working towards a cross-border servicing meeting with a third-party mediator (with varying degrees of enthusiasm), it’s fair to wonder how the blood turned so bad between these two neighbours.
Not unlike divorce proceedings, the need for a third-party mediator signifies an absolute breakdown in communication. One could argue the councils should have turned to mediation even earlier, but we’re here and it’s safe to say it’s unfortunate all around.
While other municipalities have been creative and found ways to be more efficient by working together, these two municipalities have been at each other’s throats for as long as many can remember, but things have turned especially vicious since the last election when North Huron Council made cross-border servicing renegotiation a priority.
While it can be tempting for a politician to cling to a sense of tribalistic protectionism, the hope can only be that councillors on both sides aspire to be good neighbours, as opposed to ruthless politicians.
There is always plenty of talk of “hats” around a council table. No doubt many residents of both municipalities hope councillors will wear the hat of a good neighbour - though not Robert Frost’s idea of a good neighbour, made by way of good fences - looking beyond his or her own home and considering the betterment of the whole block. – SL
A promising direction
It took over a decade, but a former Buffalo police officer who stopped a fellow officer from utilizing a chokehold on a handcuffed suspect has received some closure. Officer Cariol Horne was fired from the Buffalo Police Department, which she had been a part of for 19 years, due to her actions. She stood by her intervention at the time, saying that while her family may have lost everything, the suspect still had his life. “If I have nothing else to live for in life, at least I can know that I did the right thing and that [he] still breathes,” she said at the time of her dismissal.
With 19 years on the force, Horne was one year shy of receiving her pension for the position, however last week, a ruling restored her pension to her and vacated the court ruling that upheld her dismissal.
The move is an important one, as Supreme Court Judge Dennis E. Ward, who issued the verdict, drew reference to the deaths of George Floyd, who died after having an officer using his knee to put pressure on his neck for more than nine minutes, and Eric Garner, a man from New York who was killed by police after being placed in a chokehold.
In his ruling, Ward acknowledged the importance of the role of other officers on the scene and how, by not acting, they are failing to save the life of the person being the target of “unreasonable physical force.”
Ward also pointed to Buffalo lawmakers naming a law after Horne, compelling officers to intervene when they witness excessive force and protecting them, showing that lawmakers know that change is necessary.
These protections and officers like Horne are necessary to make people see the police as trustworthy, approachable and able to police themselves and they need to be the rule, rather than the exception. – JDS