Editorials - Dec. 16, 2022
Reaching a milestone
Fusion has long been the holy grail of nuclear scientists. The process of combining two atomic nuclei results in the release of massive amounts of carbon-free energy with no emissions and no radioactive waste. Of course, the trick being that you need the energy of a sun to get those two nuclei to fuse.
Finally, after almost 60 years of trying, scientists in California have been able to create more energy than they used, leaving a net surplus. This milestone means that, with enough research and resources, it is possible to use fusion as a viable alternative for our electricity needs. Scaling the experiment up to a point where it can be used for a house, city or country will take an incredible amount of investment. However, the engineering obstacles to getting even the first power plant up and running are tremendous. Even the most optimistic forecast is that we are decades away from being able to rely on fusion as a power source. A realistic expectation is 50 or more years, taking it off the table as the answer to the global efforts to have net-zero emissions by 2050, but it is a step in the right direction.
Seeing the damage that we’ve done to our planet in the last 50 years, makes one wonder if we can last until a new energy source becomes viable. – DS
Is it 2025 yet?
While many Ontarians have broken free of the yoke of the COVID-19 pandemic, returning to public gatherings, family get-togethers and retiring their masks, the province’s tourism sector is still feeling the effects of the virus, not seeing the bounce-back it had hoped for.
A joint report from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce and the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario shows a significantly slower recovery for the province’s tourism-related businesses than expected. Tourism businesses in Ontario today are generating just 64 per cent of the revenue they brought in pre-pandemic in 2019 and seven out of 10 of the businesses have taken on debt in recent years to stay afloat. As a result, the Ontario tourism industry is not expected to fully recover from the pandemic and its associated lockdowns until 2025.
The provincial government had introduced the Ontario Staycation Tax Credit for Ontarians taking in accommodations in their home province, but it hasn’t been enough to buoy the industry back to its pre-pandemic levels, it seems.
Whether it’s some still bristling at travel in the age of COVID-19 or the fear of spending money at a time when talk of a recession and rising food costs is present at every kitchen table or even nation-wide staffing challenges, Ontario’s tourism sector needs our help and perhaps it’s Ontarians who are being called to action. So, whether it’s your favourite restaurant or winery, a weekend getaway a few hours from home or a regional theatre like the Blyth Festival, try to be there for them and support what they do. If we don’t, who will? And if we want them to be there for years to come, they need support now. – SL
Paging Mr. Trudeau
Canada’s premiers are united in calling for a meeting on health care with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his federal government. This represents a real chance for the leader of the country to step up and take charge of a crisis that is plaguing the entire country.
Canada’s universal health care system is a principle at the national level that is administered, largely, at the provincial level. So, while the premiers of Canada’s provinces and territories are the ones in charge of keeping their residents healthy, it’s all done under Ottawa’s umbrella. As emergency department closures continue to dominate the news and the system continues to crumble, Trudeau can’t plead ignorance. His government has to step up and do whatever it can to help. It’s not just the right thing to do to help Canadians, but it’s one of the things a true leader does when his people are suffering. Canadians are heavily divided as to whether Trudeau is that and this would be a good way to convince some of his critics that he’s up to the task.
Furthermore, hanging in the balance could be Trudeau’s Liberal government’s supply and confidence agreement with Jagmeet Singh’s New Democratic Party. Singh has said that his party “absolutely reserve[s] the right to withdraw [its] support” from the Liberals if the party doesn’t see any action on health care in the country, though he remains confident in it as the agreement’s first anniversary passes.
Locally, temporary emergency department closures are now commonplace and people like Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance CEO Andrew Williams, as reported last week, doesn’t see them going away any time soon. Meanwhile, horror stories of long waits and people dying while waiting for care are plaguing larger city centres.
A federal crisis needs a federal saviour. The premiers have come to the table to ask for help. We can only hope that Trudeau does the right thing and pulls out all the stops to save Canadian health care. – SL