Editorials - April 7, 2023
A universal milestone
The first Canadian and first non-American to fly to the moon will be Jeremy Hansen, a CF-18 fighter pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), as part of the Artemis II flight crew. The project, planned for November of 2024, is the next phase of United States’ commitment to send a manned spacecraft to land on the moon in 2025. While Hansen won’t land on the moon, he will be flying to the dark side of the moon and back, flying deeper into space than any other astronauts have.
Canada has earned this seat through its contributions to a space station that will orbit the moon and by building a lunar rover that will look for water on the surface.
Canadian scientists have been quietly contributing to the space exploration program through partnerships with NASA and now, by sending an astronaut to the moon, we are bringing this work to the forefront, inspiring generations of future scientists, astronauts and explorers. – DS
Commander in cuffs
While many have questioned if charges against former U.S. President Donald Trump will be worth the paper they’re printed on and if anything will stick to the second “Teflon Don”, it certainly is historically noteworthy that Trump has become the first-ever former U.S. President to face criminal charges. Meanwhile, the pontificators in the media are wondering if these charges will hurt Trump’s chances of a run for the White House in 2024. It’s incomprehensible for some to think that Trump will be living in any house but The Big House for the next few years, but there are some real nuggets of truth in Trump’s 2016 comment, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay?” Side note: only someone as devoid of morality as Trump would boast of such a thing.
So, after just under 234 years, we have someone who has both held one of the most prestigious offices in the land and faced criminal charges, something many associate with the most problematic corners of society. It’s both hard to imagine and grossly overdue, as far as some are concerned. However, these charges are sure to galvanize Trump’s fanatical base, further emboldening them. If “The Establishment” seeks to punish Trump for doing something wrong, they’ll think, surely he must be doing everything right - kind of like anti-vaccine protestors who interpret a Facebook fact-checking banner as a badge of honour.
Indeed, recent polls among Republicans have shown that support for Trump has grown since February and more than half of Republicans polled support Trump, meaning that, if you were to chat up a Republican voter on the street, odds are they’d want someone facing criminal charges holding the highest office in the land.
It doesn’t seem like that long ago that an extramarital, inter-office affair brought about a near-universal loss of trust in a U.S. President and now being charged criminally is cause for a confidence bump. Strange times, but who knows? Maybe he’ll make jail great again. – SL
Wild and consequential
The race to become the next mayor of Toronto has officially begun and it is sure to be a wild and unpredictable contest. The nomination period for the June 26 by-election opened on April 3, to a crowded field of contenders who have already announced their intention to run.
The unexpected by-election comes at a tumultuous time for Toronto. The city is facing a budget shortfall of $1.5 billion left by the COVID-19 pandemic, and both the provincial and federal governments have declined to help fill the hole. Deputy-Mayor Jennifer McKelvie, who stepped in after former Mayor John Tory’s shocking resignation in February, has warned that the next mayor will likely need to oversee rapid cuts to services if additional funding doesn’t come from Ottawa or Queen’s Park.
The city’s infrastructure is also in dire need of attention. Toronto’s state of good repair backlog continues to grow, while much of its critical infrastructure deteriorates.
The next mayor will need to tackle a recent spate of violence on the city’s public transit system that has left many Torontonians deeply shaken. This issue is connected to what advocates have said are underfunded mental health and addiction services, and a lack of supportive housing for those struggling with homelessness.
Whoever takes the reins from McKelvie will also wield the controversial “strong mayor” powers bestowed by the province late last year. Ontario Premier Doug Ford has said the additional authorities will remain in place no matter who is elected.
From a perspective in Huron County that is far removed from Toronto, it is tempting to watch the city scramble to metaphorically extinguish the flames that have figuratively engulfed its political administration. It’s fun too! But the consequences resulting from this by-election will certainly be felt well beyond Toronto’s borders. – SBS