Editorials - March 25, 2021
Headlines out of the United States last week drew attention to the vastly different diplomatic tone set by President Joe Biden, compared to the isolationist policies that were the standard for the past four years.
On the side of good neighbours, the U.S. is set to “loan” four million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to its closest neighbours. Canada and Mexico will receive the vaccine and return the doses later in the year when production is catching up to global needs. Biden understands the country cannot operate in a vacuum. By ensuring the vaccination programs of neighboring countries, he’s ensuring that the American population can reach herd immunity even faster, while also improving the relationships with countries Trump went out of his way to jeopardize.
Biden also seems to be antagonizing Russian President Vladimir Putin to solidly differentiate his leanings from his predecessor. While Trump placated and fawned over Putin, Biden engaged in some schoolyard barbs back-and-forth with him, appearing to be standing up to the bully. It will be interesting to see how this will affect international relationships. Russia has recalled its U.S. Ambassador to Moscow, essentially freezing diplomacy for the time being. The situation has continued the fall of the ruble against the dollar and the Euro. Even though the tactic appears to be working in the short term, the two countries will have to return to the table with a more mature dialogue.
To avoid a return to the Cold War climate of the mid-twentieth century, Biden will have to step up his diplomacy game. – DS
We already know that current generations are, by choice, having fewer children for a number of reasons. However, there could be a very scientific reason for the world’s reproductive crisis – one that has been brewing for generations according to Shanna Swan, an environmental and reproductive epidemiologist at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York and the author of the new book entitled Countdown.
Swan’s research posits that sperm counts around the globe are steadily declining. She says sperm counts have dropped nearly 60 per cent since 1973. If humanity stays on that trajectory, sperm counts could reach zero by 2045 and Swan says hormone-disrupting chemicals are the culprit. Even penis size and teste volume has declined, Swan says. On the female side, miscarriage rates have also risen, culminating in a one per cent drop in the world’s fertility rate every year from 1960 to 2018.
Swan’s research suggests chemicals like PFAs (known as “forever chemicals”), which are found in so very many of our day-to-day products from soaps and shampoos to electronics and carpet, steadily build up in the body, but never break down, affecting our ability to reproduce.
With Silent Spring, published in 1962, Rachel Carson, essentially launched the environmentalist movement as we know it today, blowing the whistle on harmful chemicals and what they were doing to the world around us. Since then, there have been numerous investigations and legal challenges on everything from cancer clusters to deformed livestock connected to chemical exposure, often through illegal dumping. This research though, appears to confirm what’s been suggested for years: these “new” chemicals are negatively affecting us through everyday use.
What many feared appears to be coming to fruition and humans could be facing an extinction crisis unless something is done soon. – SL
Bending to the racists
Documents have been obtained by La Presse, a daily independent newspaper in Montreal, proving that, 10 times last fall, a regional health authority in the Laurentians region of Quebec attempted to hire people who had to be white for a hospital in Saint-Eustache. The documents state that the requirement was brought on due to a “difficult patient” at the hospital “who unfortunately [only wanted]” a white female nurse.
While innumerable people have been incredibly upset by the situation, one person who wanted to take a wait-and-see approach to the situation was MNA (think MPP) Benoit Charette, the Minister of the Environment for Quebec, who was appointed just weeks ago to lead the fight against racism in Quebec. Charette, in what could be the most ridiculous pandering to racists since President Donald Trump left office, said it was too soon to say that calls for “white women only” was racist.
Charette had a chance to score an easy win in the fight he is supposed to be waging against racism by saying that, despite the demands of one racist patient, Quebec should be making sure people of all backgrounds are entitled to positions. It was a slam dunk, yet somehow he missed.
This is an opportunity to push for diversity and to show that, regardless of whether a patient wants to be cared for by white people or not, the best people will get the jobs. The hiring of those of different races, instead of allowing one bigoted patient to dictate hiring practices should be an established process, however, the government now has a chance to show that it represents all Québécois. – JDS