Editorials - Feb. 10, 2022
Setting aside the myriad of controversies that create the backdrop to the Beijing Winter Olympics (a raging pandemic, climate change wreaking havoc on winter snow, the human rights record of the host country, the situation in the Ukraine), the games will be the highlight of many athletes’ career and a much needed diversion during trying times.
From perennial favourites like the Canadian women’s hockey team to the underdog medalists in the first-ever mixed ski jump event, waking up to sports stories is a welcome change to the tedium of case counts and the vaccine wars that have raged over the past 24 months. The highs and lows of Olympic competition has held our attention every four winters, and this year is no exception. Despite a lack of spectators due to the global spread of the Omicron variant, this year’s crop of competitors is providing great drama, from soaring champions like snowboarder Max Parrot who battled cancer just three years ago and stood on top of the podium this week to the heartbreaking crash during a training run that ended Elena Gaskell’s Beijing journey in freestyle skiing.
This is a good time to take advantage of the distraction, set aside our political differences and cheer on our Canadian athletes who’ve worked so hard and trained under the most difficult circumstances imaginable to get to the 2022 Winter Olympics. – DS
Crowdfunding giant GoFundMe has shut down the fundraiser for Freedom Convoy 2022, saying that the protest violates the company’s rules on violence and harassment. This comes after the more than $10 million raised had been frozen for days amid growing criticism of the company and questions about how the money was to be spent.
A GoFundMe blog post cited evidence from law enforcement that what the company believed to originate as a peaceful protest had devolved into an “occupation” with police reports of “violence and other unlawful activity”. Surely if donors want to get money to the protestors, they will - in fact, one of the GoFundMe page’s organizers has since directed donors to GiveSendGo, a Christian fundraising site that has been blocked by PayPal after it allowed funds to be raised for the Jan. 6 insurrection - and clearly there’s a lot to go around.
As restaurants, gyms, the arts, live theatre and others have suffered extraordinary losses as a result of the pandemic and associated control measures (to say nothing of those businesses impacted by the occupation), other industries have not been impacted as much. And while donors will say there is no higher calling for their money than “freedom”, it’s safe to wonder if that $10 million could have done more to improve the state of the country if it were spent in a different way.
While various levels of government and local law enforcement seem content to stand on the sidelines, allowing the Ottawa protest to spiral beyond control, GoFundMe and other private companies have stood up and said they will no longer support a situation that is destined to become more volatile the longer it goes on. – SL
No longer in the O’Toole box
The Conservative Party of Canada may have lost an important implement as, with the ousting of Erin O’Toole, the party may jeopardize its chance at capturing doubtful centrists and left-leaning individuals.
While O’Toole made mistakes, many have said that, if the Conservatives couldn’t win with him, it may be a long time before they find themselves viable as a nation-leading party again. O’Toole’s exit proves that the more right-wing members of the party are taking over and, without major changes, the party will, at best, retain 2021 support.
O’Toole played the part of a more moderate Conservative, which put him in a position to attract disillusioned Liberal voters. However, he was constantly second-guessed and, likely to avoid losing support of his own party, didn’t have a chance to show much backbone to the reformists.
While the party has made a statement by removing O’Toole as leader, the real message to the people will come when they choose his replacement. Before O’Toole’s chair was even cold, Ottawa-area MP Pierre Poilievre had announced he will run for party leadership and the chance at being Prime Minister. In his announcement, he claims he will “unite” the party and wants to bring public spending under control.
However even in his announcement, where he says that Justin Trudeau has “attacked” families, businesses and truckers, he’s showing that he doesn’t agree with all his fellow party members, as Pierre Paul-Hus, a Quebec MP in the Conservative Party of Canada, called the trucker-led protest in Ottawa a siege and asked for it to be removed from the streets of the nation’s capital. Other Conservatives, like Senator Dennis Patterson, have even left the party or said they would.
If named leader, Poilievre has a tough task ahead of him. A unified party will be a difficult task, and finding the support for a more right-wing Conservative Party of Canada could be an uphill battle if the last election is any indication. – JDS