Editorials - March 24, 2023
Up in flames
A fire has taken another piece of history; this time in London at the site of the former psychiatric hospital. The building itself, built early in the last century and housing a recreation hall and a chapel, had been designated as a heritage property.
The property is currently under development as a high-rise apartment building, with the protected buildings being preserved as part of the site plan. The developer, Old Oak Properties, has faced criticism for failing to secure the buildings in the past with at least one other fire destroying another outbuilding that was part of the complex.
Canada is not an old country and many people don’t view our buildings as “historic”, but we are missing the fact that they are our history. People lived, died and worked in this hospital and other heritage sites and the buildings are what are left to tell the story.
Other buildings, even locally, are designated as heritage structures, but once they become too expensive to maintain or are in the way of development, we de-designate. Preserving our heritage shouldn’t be abandoned once it becomes inconvenient. A heritage or historical designation for a property should mean that we fight to protect it.
Whether or not the developer had incorporated it into the design of the modern complex, the province has now lost another of its valued heritage properties, which are already in such short supply. Once these properties disappear, they are gone forever and we can’t retrieve them. – DS
No Pride in play
The National Hockey League (NHL), like many other professional sports leagues, appears to have a homophobia problem. Quietly, the sport that in many ways spearheaded inclusion of the LGBTQ community with 2012’s ahead-of-its-time “You Can Play” project has chipped away at that veneer of acceptance. And the league, as well as its teams, have stood by their players, allowing Pride Nights to be quashed and Pride-themed jerseys to stay hanging in lockers.
Philadelphia Flyer Ivan Provorov was the first player who refused to wear a Pride-themed jersey, saying it clashed with his Russian Orthodox religious beliefs. Both the Minnesota Wild and the New York Rangers would go on to cancel planned Pride Nights and, just last week, San Jose Sharks goaltender James Reimer refused to wear a Pride-themed jersey due to “personal convictions which are based on the Bible” and the team then shared his statement on Twitter.
While Reimer is Canadian, The Athletic has since connected many of the refusals to Russian players and President Vladimir Putin’s harsh laws that severely restrict the rights of LGBTQ citizens.
Sports are the ultimate meritocracy with the message that was heralded by the aforementioned You Can Play project, saying that, “if you can play, you can play” regardless of a number of factors.
The NHL already has a well-established racism problem and the actions of a handful of players are further highlighting a homophobia problem as well. Unfortunately, it’s foolhardy to blame a few bad apples in this, as coaches, teams and even the league have, at best, turned a blind eye, and at worst, stood up for intolerance.
If the NHL wants people to believe that hockey is for everyone, it needs to walk the walk and open its doors to all. – SL
Those closest to you
The U.S. and Canada are historically considered to be friends and allies. The two countries share the world’s longest international border and an even longer history of close economic, cultural and political ties. The relationship between the two nations is often characterized as one of the closest and most extensive in the world, despite occasional disputes and disagreements, or temporary periods of divisive leadership. As with any relationship, it’s important for both parties to remain aligned and actively engaged or risk of small fractures growing into larger rifts.
President Joe Biden is making his first in-person visit to Canada since taking office in 2021. Traditionally, an American President would prioritize an official visit to Canada early in their presidency, but Biden has stalled for more than two years for reasons that are not entirely clear. The delay is not necessarily cause for bilateral concern, but it does raise questions about whether the relationship between the two nations is as stable and close-knit as it has traditionally been projected and perceived, or if it has somehow become vulnerable to modern forces of division.
The last two years have been notably chaotic and this could just be a case of better late than never. The “Freedom Convoy” protests of 2022 tested and exposed social and economic vulnerabilities in the international relationship and it’s likely Biden waited for a sense of political stability to resume before returning to Canada himself.
This is a reminder that nothing should ever be taken for granted, especially something that is as consequential as Canada’s relationship with its troublingly powerful neighbour to the south. So, thank you for the visit, Mr. President. Next time, don’t be such a stranger. – SBS