Editorials - Jan. 14, 2021
Distribution and education
As Canada lags behind much of the developed world with its rate of immunization against COVID-19, it also seems to be losing ground in the war on misinformation.
Social media sites are rife with memes, debates, arguments and conspiracy theories surrounding vaccines and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Friends, family members and strangers are arguing about the safety of the vaccine and the mistrust of scientists, public health officials and the entire medical community is growing. It is easy to dismiss this distrust of elected politicians and bureaucrats, but it is a strange time when such a large number of people choose to disbelieve science.
The Public Health Agency of Canada, and our own local public health units can continue to issue press releases and statements touting the facts, but perhaps the proof is in the pudding. We need the vaccine distribution to ramp up. Once the public can see the safety and efficacy of the vaccines, perhaps they will resume their trust of science. After all, we have reaped the benefits of various vaccines for decades. Deep down, we know it’s not a scary government conspiracy. We just need to see it working. And for it to work, we need it to be getting into as many arms as possible, as quickly as possible. – DS
The American Nightmare
There are many things to take away from supporters of Donald Trump storming Capitol Hill, incited by the president himself. While Americans have seen their country slowly slide from their grasp and Canadians have seen their closest ally descend into uncertainty, what many world leaders have seen is the world’s de facto democracy knuckle-rapper knocked from its perch of exceptionalism. Indeed, there is plenty of work to be done to get its house in order before the U.S. can lecture anyone else on the merits of democracy and the importance of stability.
The Capitol Hill riots served as a confluence of the many issues at play in the U.S. right now. There were the “oppressed” Trump supporters turning to violence, dispelling any myths that “Make America Great Again” was about economic instability and people being left behind, but rather about hate, rage and prejudice. At the centre of it all were Trump and his enablers (many Republican politicians, family members and media companies – both social and traditional). It’s as if all of the country’s problems came together to form one perfect, dangerous storm.
Statements have been flooding in excoriating the actions of the mob and Trump for inciting his supporters and his refusal to act swiftly and then denounce his unhinged supporters. World leaders from Germany, France, Canada, Norway, Japan, Australia, India, Scotland and others have expressed their disappointment in the riots and their commitment to free, democratic elections and a peaceful transition of power, showing that the rest of the world could teach the U.S. a bit about governance.
While Capitol Hill is now secure and the Trump presidency is winding down, many are reminded of Adolf Hitler’s failed coup attempt in 1923, 10 years before he became the Nazi leader of Germany. In a video message, Trump, who still has the votes of over 74 million people, told his supporters that “their incredible journey is only just beginning”. Those on both sides of the aisle may fearfully agree. – SL
Give people time
In an era when a government could almost never be criticized by any sane individual for being overly cautious with lockdowns, the provincial government continues to leave Ontarians in the lurch.
Last week, with three days’ notice (two of which were over the weekend), many families with children between the ages of four and 14 (an age group which makes up more than 10 per cent of the province’s population) were sent scrambling to figure out how to provide childcare and educational assistance in the home and still keep their jobs.
While Dr. David Williams, the province’s chief medical officer of health, says the government wanted to wait to see whether the numbers would continue to rise until the end of last week, anyone who had seen a recent news program could have guessed that things would still be bad.
The problem here isn’t the lockdown or the children not going back to school, but the miniscule amount of time given to parents to prepare for two more weeks of online schooling. With waiting lists and rising prices, lining up childcare is difficult when not under a lockdown, however during a lockdown, when parents who are following the rules can’t even turn to family for help, it becomes that much more difficult.
The provincial government needs to ease those concerns by letting parents know when students will need to stay home and when they will be allowed to go back as soon as possible – not dither on the decision like representatives did last week.
Premier Doug Ford and Education Minister Stephen Lecce both need to remember that we’re all in this together and we all need as much notice as possible when things are going to change. – JDS