Editorials - Feb. 11, 2021
In the spotlight
All eyes were on Canada this past weekend, or at least on Canadians, as some homegrown talent shone on the world stage. After CBC’s hit comedy Schitt’s Creek racked up five Golden Globe nominations and five more with the Screen Actors Guild, co-creator and co-star Daniel Levy hosted Saturday Night Live. Scarborough’s own The Weeknd headlined the halftime show for Super Bowl LV. This put Canadian talent into two of the most coveted positions in entertainment on one weekend. We’ve also witnessed an outpouring of admiration for the late, great Christopher Plummer as the world mourned his passing after seven decades in film, television and theatre.
Canadians shone with pride thanks to the achievements of their countrymen, even catching the eye of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who Tweeted about all three. Culture and media continue to be among our greatest exports and these three examples held up our very diverse culture to the international spotlight and we should all be proud. – DS
The winds of change
As the Huron County Planning and Development Department works to bring its new residential density intensification guidelines, given the name of a “housing-friendly lens”, to lower-tier councils, Senior Planner Denise Van Amersfoort told Huron County Council that hurdles await.
A lack of resources? Too few qualified professionals to improve the housing stock in Huron County? Developers unwilling to build duplexes, triplexes and quadruplexes? No. The problem that awaits planners and local councils is an anticipated lack of education and acceptance from members of the public. Central Huron Mayor Jim Ginn hit the nail on the head, saying Central Huron Council cannot pass a change allowing more than one single-family dwelling on a property without facing a mass of opposition. Neighbours who aren’t in favour of the change flood council chambers, he said, and council will often cave to the pressure, killing any opportunity to increase housing stock in the county and to provide a variety of housing options beyond one house on one lot – a scenario that composes an unhealthy majority of housing in the county, while becoming less and less affordable for the average county resident.
Ginn said the county is in “crisis” when it comes to housing and something needs to change and people need to change with the times.
In Huron County, people are often quick to direct the county on what to do with properties those people don’t own, meaning the fate of a property can often lie in the hands of neighbours, rather than those of the owner or planning professionals. Housing stock is low in Huron County and homes that are selling are hitting prices that would have been unthinkable five years ago. Those prices are completely incompatible with wages being paid in the county, meaning the dream of owning a home here is inching farther away from more people every day.
The county is doing the right thing and doing its best to open doors for more of its residents. Let’s see if the public can drop its “not in my backyard” attitude and aid the county in its efforts. – SL
Entitlement comes with age?
For nearly a year, everyone has known that leaving the country is a bad idea for a number of reasons. Everyone except the Canadian Snowbird Association apparently.
The Canadian Snowbird Association, which represents people, usually retirees, who spend their winters south of the border, is seeking an exemption to the new travel rule that requires people returning to Canada to spend time in isolation in a hotel, costing approximately $2,000, before being allowed to go home.
While the association lists a bevy of reasons as to why the rules just don’t apply to them (which almost sounds like an association representing millennials, rather than boomers), the most audacious has to be they didn’t know this was going to happen. The association says that, because the rules came into being while many of the snowbirds were south of the border, the rules shouldn’t apply to them.
This ignores the fact that approximately 70 per cent of Canada’s snowbirds made the wise decision to stay home this winter and that everyone knew we were in a pandemic with travel restrictions in place. The fact that the majority of their members didn’t go south of the border should probably indicate how misguided travelling actually was.
Failing not acquiring the exemption, the association feels they shouldn’t have to pay the $2,000 charge, leaving hard-working taxpayers trying to build their own retirement fund to foot the bill.
Most of us are making sacrifices, but the association feels its members are above that and should be able to not only travel to a country with an extreme COVID-19 problem, but also eschew advice and leave the country after we were all advised to stay put for safety’s sake.
The government needs to take a strong stand on everyone who thinks they’re above the common good, including this association. – JDS