Editorials - Dec. 2, 2021
Another new normal?
Both Canadian coasts are reeling from the recent deluges brought by atmospheric rivers. While both British Columbia and Atlantic Canada are no strangers to the wrath of Mother Nature, the events of the past several weeks have been particularly traumatic.
The damage from the floods and mudslides is catastrophic. Roads, railways and bridges are gone, and many of these are vital to the supply chain from the ports in Vancouver to the rest of the country. It will be months before the damage to cropland can be assessed.
And scientists are warning that this may just be the beginning of a new pattern of storm activity. Similar atmospheric rivers have always been around, such as the genial-sounding “Pineapple Express” that often routes warm moist air from the Hawaiian Islands along a narrow corridor to bring heavy precipitation to the northwest coast of North America. Now, the warming air and seas are causing the phenomenon to hold even more moisture. A recent study found that the storms would be 10 per cent less frequent, but be about 25 per cent longer and wider.
The planet needs the atmospheric rivers to replenish fresh water, but the severity and intensity of the storms that hit British Columbia and Atlantic Canada are wake-up calls for governments to ensure we have the resources to manage the evacuation, emergency and aftermath of these types of events on a regular basis going forward. – DS
It doesn’t go without saying
In a recent Citizen story, North Huron Councillor Chris Palmer questioned the importance of the term “inclusion” in a report presented to council on the township’s parks, recreation and culture. He claimed that council and the community it represents are not prejudiced, saying, essentially, that inclusion should go without saying. Aside from notable non-action on a number of issues that would promote inclusion in North Huron, a recent report presented to Huron County Council would suggest that inclusion is far from commonplace and discrimination, even if many of us don’t see it, is hardly a thing of the past.
The aforementioned discrimination report, presented by Kristin Crane and Mark Nonkes and featured in the Nov. 25 issue of The Citizen, studies a cross-section of Huron and Perth Counties and doesn’t focus on North Huron, but the clash between Palmer’s comments and the report’s findings shows why it’s necessary to go above and beyond with inclusion. The report showed high levels of discrimination in the counties’ first-generation immigrant, visible minority and Indigenous communities, as well as about half of white non-immigrants reporting discrimination, some based on gender or physical appearance as well. Some councillors called the report eye-opening, but for many, the report surely contained few surprises.
Huron and Perth Counties clearly have a long way to go in order for all residents to feel welcome in their own neighbourhoods. One could argue that language and mission statements, for lack of a better term, represent a good first step because the report makes clear that inclusion does not go without saying. “The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable members,” is a quotation that comes to mind. We need to do better and acknowledging that fact may be a productive first step instead of wrongly assuming all is well. – SL
Making economic sense
Late last month Chapman’s Ice Cream, which has its headquarters in Markham, unintentionally made waves by implementing a downright logical approach to managing a workforce of employees both vaccinated and unvaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
The company decided that non-vaccinated employees could remain at work (which isn’t the case for all companies) provided they are tested regularly, and those tests would be at the company’s expense. Those who refused to get tested or disclose their vaccination status would be placed on leave. Vaccinated employees, however, would get a $1-per-hour raise.
While you could read into that and think its showing preference to the vaccinated employees, the company’s representatives broke it down and explained it well: that $1 an hour, working out to $40 per week, is approximately what it costs to provide the COVID-19 tests to the unvaccinated, and the owners felt it wasn’t fair to spend money on one employee, but not another.
While there is a logical outcry to stop coddling the 10-15 per cent of the population who refuse to do the right thing, Chapman’s owners found a way to address both in a way that follows common sense. Of course, the militant anti-vaccination crowds came out saying they would boycott the ice cream company. That backfired, however, when the #IStandWithChapmans hashtag started showing up across the internet.
So, kudos to Chapman’s Ice Cream for finding a way to solve the vaccination problem where everyone is treated equally: whether they are vaccinated or not, the company is spending about an additional $40 a week on each staff member. – JDS