Editorials - July 15, 2021
A new chapter
While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may take heat from what some are calling a symbolic gesture when he named Inuk leader Mary Simon as Canada’s next Governor General, it doesn’t mean it wasn’t time for the first Indigenous representative of the Crown. Simon’s appointment can be a bridge to reconciling what she calls “the tapestry of Canada”.
Simon’s background as an advocate for Indigenous and Inuk rights and an ambassador for the Arctic will serve her well as she moves into Rideau Hall. Simon’s appointment comes after the last Governor General, Julie Payette, resigned in disgrace over fostering an allegedly toxic work environment. Hopefully, Simon’s reputation as a level-headed and thoughtful leader will help to heal a fractured staff that is still in transition. Additionally, Simon intends on moving into Rideau Hall, unlike Payette, who refused to do so, despite ordering over $250,000 in renovations to improve privacy, which is another good sign.
After Payette’s tumultuous tenure, Trudeau had been accused of being star-struck by having an astronaut in the Governor General role and not properly vetting her. He did not make that mistake this time and set up a new advisory board that brought him a shortlist of suitable candidates. In this instance, Trudeau relied on a panel of peers to bring the right person to the position at the right time. – DS
Out of the frying pan...
The future is now, according to some scientists, but not in the cool, technologically advanced, flying cars kind of way. Rather, it’s the way in which we humans will all, just maybe, cook to death.
Talk of global warming showing its dire consequences in real time was all over the airwaves late last month when a “heat dome” inflated over western Canada, shattering dozens of weather records, resulting in temperatures nearly 20°C over the norm for the season. Experts said they’d never seen anything like it, also warning that these heat dome conditions could become more normal around the world going forward.
On June 29, the town of Lytton, British Columbia recorded the hottest temperature ever in Canada, reaching 49.6°C, serving as a factor in the fires that would eventually wipe out the small community.
Some scientists, however, believe that sweltering heat waves like those that took hold in western Canada are just the beginning. “Wet bulb” conditions represent a deadly combination of high heat and humidity, hitting a point at which evaporation due to sweat no longer cools a person down, meaning otherwise healthy humans will overheat and die. Wet bulb conditions were not expected on earth until the middle of the century. However, in the last 35 years, over 7,000 wet bulb instances have been recorded. Most of these instances were found in south Asia, the coastal Middle East and southwest North America, but with temperatures rising all over the world, some scientists are saying it’s only a matter of time until these conditions expand further.
This kind of research is meant to prepare humanity for the perils of the future. Our generation was likely never meant to even know about wet bulb conditions, but the climate is warming faster than models had anticipated. Once the global threat of COVID-19 is contained, our world leaders need to focus their attention on the long-term health and sustainability of our planet before things get much worse. – SL
A case for cautious optimism
The province recently announced that, with the populace having exceeded the vaccination requirements for Step 3 of its reopening plan, that restrictions would be further eased early tomorrow morning, July 16, at 12:01 a.m., five full days before it was originally supposed to happen. Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s new chief medical officer of health, says he didn’t see a reason to hold the province back due to Ontarians pursuing vaccinations.
While it’s great that, as a province, Ontarians have put such a priority on getting fully vaccinated, there are a number of reasons that this announcement should be received with cautious optimism, not the least of which seems to be the laissez-faire attitude the province has adopted with following even its own rules.
This change wasn’t set to come until July 21 at the earliest and, while everyone will likely welcome it, there are some businesses that may not be able to pivot so quickly to meet the province’s constantly moving goal posts, which could cause confusion and concern. There are also some worrying statistics concerning the recent surge in the Lambda variant of COVID-19 in North America, which was discovered in mid-2020 but didn’t make the World Health Organization’s watch list until last month.
There is even local concern as the Grey and Bruce Counties have been declared a hotspot for the Delta variant, which marks one of the first local areas to see such a designation.
While we should celebrate the reopening and the lower provincial (and local) case counts, there are still plenty of reasons to mask up, disinfect, wash our hands and continue to be careful and vigilant. – JDS