Editorials - Jan. 27, 2023
A tale of two Hurons
While it is impossible to directly compare municipalities, it is interesting to note that while North Huron Council is struggling with a potential tax increase of more than 20 per cent proposed by the staff and considering drastic cuts that will impact the quality of life of its residents, another municipality in Huron County has quietly got on with it and passed a budget with a net increase of less than two per cent without cutting services and continued investment in its infrastructure.
In fact, South Huron was able to cancel a scheduled special budget meeting on Jan. 9, as it was ready to table the budget before council at the Jan. 11 meeting. With the inflation rate hovering around six per cent, one has to wonder how one municipality can justify even proposing an increase of over 20 per cent while its neighbour can deliver a budget with less than a two per cent increase, and with fewer dramatics.
It seems that every year the first budget that North Huron staff proposes is ridiculously high with the intention that when the final budget is approved, residents will be appeased. “Yes, eight per cent is a really big increase, but at least it wasn’t 20 per cent!” With few details about what in the existing budget was driving the huge increase, it’s hard to know what could or should be sacrificed. Surely, if any or all of Chief Administrative Officer Dwayne Evans’ recommendations are followed, taxpayers should be looking at a huge decrease to our property taxes.
If the North Huron staff and council keep crying wolf, the citizens won’t trust any budget that they put forward. – DS
What a year it’s been
At the end of January, 2022, the so-called Freedom Convoy rolled into Ottawa. It has now been one year since that protracted protest shut down the nation’s capital, inspiring some and angering others.
For some, the convoy has been more about the friends they made along the way; the finding of a community they never knew existed. For others, it’s been about discovery; realizing just how politically misaligned they are from some of their friends or family members.
Looking back on the 365 days that have passed since the occupation began, it’s safe to say that a lot has changed in this country. The long tail of the weeks-long protest is now ubiquitous in today’s political discourse. Pierre Poilievre and his warm reception for the protestors certainly propelled him into his current leadership role, ingratiating him to some, repelling him from others. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has become the face of those protests around the world. His name can be found on flagpoles, pick-up truck bumpers and front lawns all over the country in a less-than-flattering light.
The division created by the protests (and the ideologies espoused by both sides that led to the protests and have persisted since) has only widened in the subsequent year, with both sides pledging to “never forget” what was done to them. The country - and its people - seem to be forever changed by what happened in Ottawa one year ago, and not for the better, pitting brother against sister and neighbour against neighbour in quarrels that are bound to reverberate for years. – SL
She’s number one!
Brooke Henderson, the Smith Falls native, is now the top-ranked athlete on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) charts, a tremendous achievement for the golfer who has won two major tour championships in the last eight years. She only played in one tournament this year so far and she won it.
Henderson has been a source of pride for Canadian sports fans in recent years, dating back to 2016 when she became the youngest-ever winner of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.
This is just the most recent success story being told to the world by Canadian female athletes. At the 2020 Olympic Summer Games, 18 of the country’s 24 medals were won by women, an achievement that was noted at the time. One of the most celebrated medals won that summer was by the Canadian women’s soccer team, which finally broke through and won gold after bronze-medal finishes in both 2016 and 2012.
In 2019, it was Mississauga’s Bianca Andreescu winning the U.S. Open, shocking the tennis world by defeating the great Serena Williams. And, of course, there is the Canadian women’s hockey team that won gold at last year’s Winter Olympics, building on a foundation of podium finishes that dates back as long as the sport has been played on Olympic ice (gold in 2014, 2010, 2006 and 2002 and silver in 2018 and 1998)
Each one of these wins - be it hockey, soccer or tennis - has been credited with growing their respective games in Canada. Perhaps the success Henderson has now found can do the same for golf.
A quote attributed to President of the Children’s Defense Fund Marian Wright Edelman that has often been used in the context of women’s sports is: “You can’t be what you can’t see.” Hopefully the success that Henderson is finding will encourage girls and young women all over the country to pick up a club and head to a driving range. – SL