Editorials - Feb. 17
Close to home
Early last week, news of the United States tracking and then shooting down a Chinese spy balloon was a news piece that, for most of us, was an interesting piece of international political drama that meant little to those living in the quiet Canadian countryside.
Even later in the week, reports of another balloon being taken out over Alaska was just a sequel to the ongoing conflict between two superpowers. But then, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave permission for a US F-22 fighter jet to take out an unidentified object in the skies above the Yukon. Now things were starting to become a little more interesting for Canadians.
By Sunday afternoon, the U.S. fighter jets were tracking and ultimately shooting down yet another mysterious balloon-like object, only this time the words “Lake Huron” in the newscast made us sit up and take notice in a whole new way.
Canadians enjoy a peaceful existence for the most part, with only a few conflicts and battles within our borders since the War of 1812. Having a possible enemy aircraft of any type shot down over Lake Huron, especially in relative proximity to the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station, does cause one to worry.
It was the current PM Trudeau’s father, former Prime Minister Pierre Trudea who warned us about “sleeping next to an elephant”. We’ve experienced “the twitch and grunt” of our powerful neighbour to the south occasionally but generally in a support role, like taking in stranded air passengers during the 9/11 terror attacks. Having fighter jets taking out spy craft in the air above southern Ontario highlights the reality of living next to the United States and reminds us what the impact of their global relationships can have on our peaceful existence. – DS
Searching for valentines
Toronto Mayor John Tory has thrown the political landscape of Canada’s most populous city into upheaval as a direct result of that age-old trope of powerful men being unable to behave themselves. Yes, despite all the years that have passed and the enlightenment the world has seen in recent years in regards to sexual relationships and power dynamics, perhaps the country’s most important lower-tier government is in a massive state of flux due to an old-fashioned office affair.
After the circus that was the mayoral reign of Rob Ford, Tory, while not loved by all, was viewed as a calm, steady hand in office. That’s no longer true. Now, at budget time, Toronto City Council is left to pick up the pieces, though Tory is doing the council (or, as some see it, himself) a favour by seeing the budget process through.
It’s unfortunate that, after all the world has learned in recent years, that someone like Tory would put so much in jeopardy, just to satisfy his most basic instincts, leaving council and the city’s residents to figure things out. The world of politics is often described by those who work within its parameters as a higher calling of public service, almost akin to the way religious leaders describe being called to serve. It’s unfortunate, then, when so many careers end with an abuse of power.
There are plenty of smart, capable people in Toronto, both on council and not, and surely the city will get up and dust itself off again. It’s just unfortunate that this circus has been thrust upon it so soon after the municipal election. – SL
Searching for equality
The Canadian women’s national soccer team - also known as the 2020 Olympic gold medalists - have been forced back to work after taking the unprecedented step of going on strike and declaring their intention to not play in the SheBelieves Cup that began this week. This comes after the team said it would stand by for the competition until concerns about budget cuts and equal pay were addressed by Canada Soccer. The team’s stance has been supported by the men’s team, which released its own statement, standing with the women.
The Canadian women have been the most successful soccer team in Canadian history, winning medals in recent years, all culminating in their win of Olympic gold. The team is now months away from the World Cup and they are still fighting for opportunities for both themselves and for their youth team. While in many professional sports settings, a line can be drawn from funding for men’s teams that bring in a disproportionate amount of revenue, the same cannot be said for the national teams in Canada. The women’s team has been, by far, more successful and more profitable for the country, its players the face of the sport in Canada, and yet they continue to lag behind, fighting for equal pay.
The conflict has garnered international attention and even national NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has expressed his support for the team. And, at a time when Hockey Canada is embroiled in a scandal of its own, the state of national sports in Canada cannot be said to be healthy with a straight face. These women have been the pride of our nation for years - in return, they deserve the support of the nation. – SL