Editorials - Dec. 23, 2021
Santa, a test please...
Who would’ve thought that the hottest item this holiday season would be a COVID-19 antigen rapid test, but here we are. People lined up for hours last week at city liquor stores where free, at-home testing kits were being handed out by the Government of Ontario, only to leave empty-handed when the stock ran out. Online sources of the at-home tests are almost completely sold out.
With the Omicron variant surging across Ontario and families distraught at the thought of another Zoom Christmas with loved ones, people are grasping at any straw that might allow some sense of normalcy. Boosters are recommended, but appointments are scarce and clinics are filling up quickly, so families are hoping that negative tests will give security that their gatherings won’t spread the dreaded illness.
Restrictions are creeping back with capacity limits for large venues reintroduced last week and then restaurants and bars seeing capacities and serving hours reduced. Gathering limits for both indoor and outdoor visits have been slashed. While not the “circuit breaker” lockdowns of previous waves, it certainly has put a damper on the festive season. Caution and restraint are the buzzwords of the season, while the country, and the world, try to navigate the new Omicron variant of COVID-19 during the holidays. – DS
It ain’t over ’til...
Two major aspects of former U.S. President Donald Trump’s current narrative appear to be crumbling down around him with the findings of the Jan. 6 Commission becoming more damning by the day and his claims of widespread voter fraud costing him the 2020 election being seemingly discredited, though it’s unlikely he’ll see it that way.
An Associated Press review of every potential case of voter fraud in six key states has turned up fewer than 475 cases of actual chicanery, nowhere near the level of fraud that would have affected the election. The disputed ballots found by the Associated Press represent just 0.15 per cent of President Joe Biden’s margin of victory in the states of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, not nearly enough to sway the results, even if they were all for Biden (they weren’t) and even if they were counted (they weren’t, in most cases).
Meanwhile, daily revelations from the Jan. 6 Commission, looking into the deadly insurrection at The Capitol, show that even some of Trump’s family members and most ardent supporters pleaded with him to condemn the violence that would eventually result in loss of life and appear to many as an attempt to overthrow the government. The text messages being released through White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows show that just about everyone but Trump and his rabid supporters knew things had gotten out of hand and needed to stop, painting a picture of a man who would plumb unthinkable depths if it meant there was a return to the White House in it for him.
While many Trump supporters seem prepared to accept anything their leader says, irrefutable evidence continues to accumulate for the rest of us. It’s a wonder that Trump hasn’t been called to face the music for what he’s done, but that remains a tricky situation with his rabid supporter base and its willingness to incite violence. – SL
Time for municipal change
If everything goes according to plan, Huron East’s Brussels Ward will have a new municipal representative shortly after the new year is rung in, and, fortunately, everyone who put their name forward has a history with politics and/or volunteerism and appears to have the best interest of the community at heart. However, the fact that only one of those potential representatives actually lives in Brussels shines a light on an issue that could cause problems in communities throughout Ontario.
Technically, according to the Municipal Act, anyone can run in any ward in a municipality in which they own land. As stated, all three seem to have their heart in the right place, but that may not always be the case and it may be time to put a limit on where people can and can’t run.
The ward system only works if the people elected in a ward want the best for that ward. The way the rules read now, someone who doesn’t think they can win in one ward can simply hop a border to win in another or, worse yet, try to “stack the deck” by people from special interest groups running across borders to elect an entire, like-minded council.
Using North Huron as an example, people in Blyth need to represent Blyth because the community is unique. Someone from Wingham deciding to try to run in Blyth for a better chance of getting elected won’t know the community and have the same hopes for it going forward. This is also why the ward system is so important because, in a community like North Huron, it would be very easy for every representative to come from Wingham if wards weren’t in place.
So while Brussels will be well-represented, regardless of Huron East Council’s decision, the fact that this caveat exists and can be used towards more nefarious ends shows that we do need a change. – JDS