Editorials - Aug. 25, 2023
Better safe than sorry
All convention seems to have gone out the window on what is shaping up to be the most bizarre presidential election in history. Former President Donald Trump is the front-runner to be the nominee for the Republican Party for 2024, even as he is facing an unprecedented stack of criminal charges, which, if convicted, could earn him a prison sentence. Despite the turmoil, or possibly because of it, Trump’s supporters continue to rally.
In fact, Trump is using the indictments to his advantage by promoting his surrender for fingerprinting and mugshots at an Atlanta, Georgia prison as political persecution to fundraise for his campaign.
The circus that is surrounding the next election should give everyone pause. A far-right autocrat controlling the global superpower that sits on our doorstep has become such a credible outcome that Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly says that Canada is mulling a game plan should it come to pass. Our last go-round with Trump did not go well, as he worked to limit trade in long-established sectors, and he will likely come to his next term with an emboldened attitude, especially when it comes to retribution for anyone he feels has wronged him. If Trump is able to win a second presidential term, Canada needs to be prepared for it. – DS
Should you choose to accept it
The four years that lie ahead are going to be challenging for us all. From private citizens to municipal governments to world leaders, there are issues on the horizon that will require plenty of expertise to solve.
Enter strategic planning. This lengthy, yet necessary rite de passage can be applied to governance, business and everything in between. It helps to set your priorities for the years ahead and attempts to carve out a path by which you can accomplish those priorities in a practical way.
North Huron recently began this process for the 2024-2027 term and councillors and staff members chose to focus on the need for housing, industry, growing the tax base, a thriving business sector and more. It just happened to come after a lengthy debate about the township vision and mission statements, down to grammar and punctuation decisions.
How many people even know the township has mission and vision statements is up for debate. Furthermore, how integral and applicable those statements are is also up for debate. A necessary evil? Perhaps. But, perhaps that time could be better spent on practical planning.
While practical initiatives were discussed, such as creating housing and attracting industry, so too was whether the term “inclusive” was too aggressive, the placement of commas or very important commas or whether a service was appropriately highlighted under “services” or if it should be broken out to stand on its own in all its service-y glory.
We all need guiding lights, mantras, vision statements, etc., but it can be easy to get sidetracked along the way and lose the forest for the trees. Let’s hope our local officials focus on what’s on the page, rather than in the margins. The next four years may depend on it. – SL
M(icr)o’ plastic, mo’ problems
A “micro” problem could have major consequences for the health of the environment, the agricultural industry and the well-being of biological creatures dependent on access to clean and fresh water.
The Great Lakes are a vital water source for more than 40 million individuals in Canada and the United States, holding approximately 20 per cent of Earth’s fresh surface water. The region also sustains a diverse ecosystem of 3,500 plant and animal species. To put it mildly, it would be absolutely devastating if this valuable resource was mismanaged, squandered or, worst-case scenario, completely destroyed due to carelessness, complacency and inaction.
A recent peer-reviewed study conducted by the University of Toronto reveals that approximately 90 per cent of water samples collected from the Great Lakes over the past decade contain hazardous levels of microplastics for wildlife. Of these samples, around 20 per cent exhibit the highest degree of risk. However, the researchers emphasize that prompt action by Canada and the U.S. can reverse the damage. Much like the ozone layer crisis of the 1980s, collective international action could reverse and repair some of the damage done, but only if decisive actions are taken immediately.
While there exists a multitude of sources for microplastics, pollution originating from microfibers shed during laundry cycles and plastic used in manufacturing are identified as common sources. Practical solutions for these problems, such as installing filters in washing machines and storm sewers at manufacturing sites, are available and relatively straightforward to implement.
Despite the awareness of microplastic levels by Canadian and U.S. authorities for the past decade, regulatory actions are still taking too long. Political leaders of all stripes must provide a strategy for dealing with this issue and if they won’t, they need to be replaced with leaders who will. – SBS