Editorials - Aug. 27, 2020
The Prime Minister of Canada always has the proroguing of parliament as a tool at their disposal. The tool, which pauses parliament and all standing committees without dissolving the government, has come to be a handy political tool. When then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper used prorogation several times to avoid difficult political situations, the Liberals derided the action and pledged not to use it. In fact, they campaigned on that pledge during the 2015 federal election.
It’s disappointing that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has now chosen to break that pledge, especially during a pandemic when Canadians need to be assured that their government is working for them.
Perhaps it is time to re-examine a procedure whose modern usage has become primarily a way to avoid scrutiny. – DS
The great unequalizer
In a matter of days, barring a last-minute provincial policy shift, students will be returning to the classroom in Ontario. While there will be plenty of changes, there will be inevitable similarities between this and previous school years. Students will be thrown together in a great social experiment with an uncertain conclusion in the era of COVID-19.
This means that the 2020/2021 school year will serve as an equalizer for Ontarians. Children from families that have spent the last six months isolating, wearing masks, physical distancing and practising good hand hygiene will be thrown into the same room as those from families who have behaved badly, not taking the virus seriously and perhaps even standing staunchly against measures designed to slow the spread of the virus. As a result, the work done by the well-behaved family could all be for naught thanks to the luck of the draw that lands a student in the same classroom as a student whose family has not taken the virus seriously.
And while school is destined to level the playing field for good- and bad-behavers alike, in a very real way, it could tip the scales, which are already tipped, even further, disproportionately affecting lower-income families without any other option. While wealthier parents can afford to keep their students out of school or explore safer transportation options, those without anywhere else to turn must send their children to school, likely on the bus, whether they like the idea or not. Therefore, the virus could prey on lower-income communities even more than it already has.
No one knows where we’ll find ourselves in the next month or two, but many will be wondering who will suffer as a result of this decision, that many find to be premature, to send kids to school. – SL
It’s far from over
While our public health officials say that the significant spike of COVID-19 in Huron and Perth Counties, mostly related to Zehr’s Country Market in South Huron, isn’t concerning, it does serve as an important reminder of how virulent the Novel Coronavirus is.
On Monday, Dr. Miriam Klassen, Chief Medical Officer of Health for Huron and Perth Counties, said Huron Perth Public Health isn’t overly concerned about the cases in the two counties which, thanks to recent spikes in confirmed and active cases, has now topped 100 cases.
She said that, with increased testing, spikes were inevitable and, as long as the cases were able to be tracked and linked to existing cases, she and HPPH weren’t concerned. She also said the fact that people aren’t hospitalized was another reason to not panic over the pandemic. However, with so many cases being connected to one location, this does serve as a reminder that the pandemic is far from over. All it takes is one case and dozens of families may find themselves once again in lockdown at home at best, or hospitalized and fighting for their life at the worst.
This spike in confirmed cases and active cases in Huron and Perth Counties serves as a reminder, while we open up the country and look forward to sporting events, the first day of school or just getting out from under the yoke of COVID-19, we aren’t safe yet and we won’t be until we have a confirmed, reliable vaccination. In light of the ongoing crisis and how it’s still a concern, remember to be safe by washing your hands, keeping your distance from each other, wearing masks whenever necessary and staying home as much as possible. We’re all in this together, but the only way we’ll win is if we face it separated. – JDS