Editorials - March 18, 2021
Is it time to move on?
Watching the royal family drama play itself out over the past couple of weeks is a bit like watching the final few episodes of a reality television show. With the alliances forming and secrets rolling out, the sideshow could have been hosted by Jeff Probst (of Survivor fame) instead of Oprah Winfrey. These current generations of the royal family are slipping into the trope of celebrities famous for being famous.
The print and television reporters who chased and hounded Princess Diana are now joined by throngs of social media users, each with an opinion and the ability to post it. The royals are a larger-than-life dysfunctional family destined to remain a media feeding frenzy.
With the monarch only a figurehead in the government of the commonwealth, perhaps it is time to rethink the relevance of the royal family as it relates to the public in modern times. The position itself is merely a symbol of the past, giving speeches and making public appearances and, although she is briefed on state matters, the Queen does not weigh in on political matters, nor is any final decision in her hands.
As the Queen slowly fades from public view in her senior years, the rest of the family has demonstrated little ability to give any leadership. There is much history behind the throne that can be honoured through museums, artifacts, documentaries, literature, etc., without having the next King adorn our currency or provide the largely ceremonial royal assent for our laws. Surely our nation is grown up enough to safeguard its own rights, freedoms and democratic system of government. – DS
Premier Doug Ford’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has polarized Ontarians. Most but his most die-hard supporters, likely had to pick their jaws off the floor when they heard that help was there for the province’s long-term care homes, but rejected as being too expensive.
What came out during a commission on the impact of COVID-19 on the long-term care system in Ontario has been damning for Ford’s government. Infectious disease specialist and member of Ontario’s science advisory group Dr. Allison McGeer said a number of proposals were made and all were said to be “too expensive” by the Ministry of Health. McGeer was one of several doctors to testify before the commission and the group was clear that the province chose not to hire thousands of additional staff members, like Quebec had done.
Ontario’s long-term care system needs help. This was laid bare by an inquiry after the Elizabeth Wettlaufer murders, all of which occurred in long-term care settings, and the state of homes has again taken centre stage due to the pandemic. And yet, as medical professionals offered solutions that could save lives, they were seen as cost-prohibitive.
Politicians – from the Prime Minister down to local councillors – have to make tough decisions every day and some things have to suffer because there will never be enough money to go around. But when the age-old question is asked – How much is a human life worth? – this testimony will be a tough pill to swallow for those who lost loved ones, knowing that things could have been different if the provincial government had applied another set of priorities. – SL
On the inside looking in
While it can be funny to look back at television shows and see what they thought of the future, it can also get a little unnerving when those predictions come true. Sometimes, when that happens, the laughs stop.
A recent situation in Canada has seen Admiral Art McDonald step down as Chief of Defence over misconduct accusations. This comes as his predecessor, Chief of Defence Staff General Jonathan Vance, has also been named in similar accusations. So, what show predicted this? Well none. Not in the way that, say, The Simpsons predicted the Donald Trump presidency, and the failure that resulted with unnerving accuracy.
The Simpsons did, however, see a future where heads of the U.S. Navy were all embroiled in scandals and thus unable to punish the series patriarch Homer for his misconduct as a result. Homer stands before a tribunal and each member excuses themselves for being investigated in some kind of scandal. The scene seems to be playing out in Canada.
While The Simpsons played the situation for a joke, no one should be laughing in Canada. Vance, who took the position in 2015, spent his time as Chief of Defence trying to confront sexual misconduct, only to find himself accused of the same act. At the same time, former military investigator Retired Sergeant Jesse Zillman is saying the investigation and prosecution of such cases need to be handled by a third party because the Armed Forces’ own system clearly isn’t working. He has told the media that commanding officers have interfered with the kinds of investigations that McDonald and Vance find themselves facing.
While everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty, it may be time to follow Zillman’s advice and deal with these issues outside the forces. After all, they protect us, we need to return the favour. – JDS