Editorials - April 29, 2021
Life goes on...
As vaccination rates begin to rise here, we can look to the United Kingdom and Israel for inspiration. They are ahead of us on their vaccine distribution as they begin tentative steps to open their economies and return life to near normal.
Israel is poised to lift attendance caps for stadium events by admitting only those with a “Green Pass”, given for either full vaccination or recovery from the virus. Most of the economy is already open and the country’s infection rate has remained low. Indoor events will still require masks and physical distancing but attendance caps will be lifted.
The UK has set a range of pilot events to provide data and research into how both large- and small-scale events can begin to reopen. At events such as soccer, racing, nightclub, concerts and theatre performances, participants will be tested both before and after the event and COVID-19-status certification will also be trialed. On May 11, 4,000 fans will attend the BRIT Awards without masks or physical distancing at the first large-scale indoor musical event in England in more than a year. Participants will be tested before and after the ceremony, and provide contact information for tracing.
The research gained at all of these events will be instrumental in getting economies open and seeing life resume and will be a great step in overcoming any lingering vaccine hesitancy. – DS
Stuck in the middle
Canadian homes are for people to live in, not stocks to be traded by the global elite. That’s the message the federal government wants to send in its proposed one per cent tax on foreign-owned vacant homes.
“[Canadian homes] are not assets for parking offshore money,” said Federal Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland last week. “So, this tax measure will work to ensure that that is the case.”
Disengaged foreign ownership of land has been identified as a factor in Canada’s recent real estate boom and how hard it has become for regular Canadians to find homes to buy, let alone afford them.
The tax would take effect on Jan. 1. It is expected to raise an additional $200 million the first year and $700 million over four years.
Also included in the budget is $2.1 million over two years to create a public corporate beneficial ownership registry for 2025 in an effort to curb tax evasion and money laundering through the housing market.
This will be welcome news for those living in Toronto or Vancouver, two of the country’s hottest real estate markets, but also for many small towns across the country, which have seen dead-end foreign investment tie up homes, subdivisions and large parcels of land for years. The eyes of hopeful rural communities light up at the thought of significant foreign investment and the promise of development, only to see it languish for years as ownership changes hands and nothing happens. Meanwhile, that land is now tied up, making it impossible for other buyers or local governments to emancipate it and fulfill its promise for those who live and work in those rural communities.
Foreign ownership is not a bad thing; it can breathe exciting new life into a community. But too many towns are being held hostage for years as a property sits empty, courtesy of a foreign millionaire who doesn’t care about that community, and that needs to stop. – SL
We need a captain
Ontario Premier Doug Ford has stumbled a number of times recently, leading to many calling for a change in provincial leadership, including David Moscrop of The Washington Post, who penned an editorial calling for Ford’s resignation. It’s not surprising that people are calling for Ford to resign or be replaced, as his popularity, and that of his government, has plummeted to levels not seen since the pandemic hit. Undoubtedly, that has to do with either the decisions he’s made or the decisions he’s unmade recently, as well as why he’s making those decisions.
It’s been pointed out that Ford, who early on in the pandemic claimed to always be following the advice of experts, has stopped doing that (although he hasn’t stopped saying that he is). However, he can only really stop following expert advice if he ever did in the first place, not just cherry-pick the information that follows his narrative.
If it’s not the decisions he’s making that are eroding confidence in his government, it could be the decisions he’s walked back. Whether or not those unmade decisions are for the good or not, they show a complete lack of research and preparation when it comes to leading the province.
All of his actions have painted his leadership with an unflattering brush.
Regardless of whether Ford’s actions are awesome or appalling, regardless of whether he has gained trust or lost it, now is not the time to be calling for anyone to step aside or resign. Whether or not Ford is the right man for the job, he is the one there now and removing him would only lead to further chaos and mistakes being made. For the time being, the ship that is Ontario needs its captain, regardless of whether or not mutiny is on the crew’s mind. – JDS