Editorials - March 3, 2022
A patchwork once again
As Ontario further eases restrictions this week by lifting all capacity limits and removing proof-of-vaccine requirements for indoor non-essential settings, the public will be faced with confusion as businesses are now left to decide whether they will continue with the vaccine passport for their customers. Some businesses have indicated that they will continue asking for it, based on feedback from their clientele. Other businesses who have felt the economic pressure of the closures will welcome everyone back. Ontarians will be watching closely to see what the impacts are on the healthcare system, as keeping it from being overwhelmed will remain the ultimate goal.
The next step in phased reopening is the removal of the mask mandate, which may prove the trickiest. No one liked the dreaded face covering, but, for the past two years it has been a symbol of safety for some and a symbol of oppression for others. As the province and its residents move forward to a life with the COVID-19 virus, the masks are likely to remain part of our lives for some time, even if they are only brought out when people are feeling poorly and want to protect their family, friends and colleagues from any germs they might be carrying.
The battle over vaccines and masks has divided everyone in the final push to overcome the pandemic, and with both becoming a matter of personal choice, it seems unlikely that either side will be declared right or wrong. Hopefully soon people who are vaccinated will feel safe enough to be out in public with unmasked crowds and that those who were angry about the mandates have calmed down enough to accept the odd masked face out in public. – DS
Not making it anymore
It was famed author Mark Twain who said, “Buy land, they’re not making it anymore.” It’s hard not to think of that musing last week on Canada’s Agriculture Day and the always-astounding statistic that 175 acres of productive farmland is lost to development in Ontario every day, according to the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.
Of course, one could make the case that development is giving more people the opportunity to make Twain happy and buy land so they can own their own little slice of paradise, but in reality this useful land is being chewed up, never to return to the natural splendor of farmland.
In Huron County, one of the most agriculturally-productive regions of the province, our leaders hold farmland tight like a firstborn child. With few exceptions, there are many hurdles to clear if someone wants to develop on land that could be used for farming. However, as the housing crisis continues, new options are being considered every day that would house more and more people, at the cost of available land.
For Canada’s Agriculture Day, Huron County residents could likely reflect on the impact of farming on their everyday lives. Perhaps it’s your source of income, maybe you just feel lucky to live in a land of abundance where it’s easy to make meals full of local ingredients or maybe it’s just a way of life you respect. However, we can be happy that we’re not seeing that massive loss of farmland in this area. Sure, parcels of land are being developed here and there, but for the most part, we’re doing what we can to keep farmland in production.
Losing the equivalent of five family farms per week in Ontario is certainly alarming and we all need to be part of the solution. – SL
The fight for freedom
Starting with a “military operation” in a neighbouring state, arresting protestors minutes after they start protesting (and in some cases before they get the chance to) and ending with allusions to potential nuclear reactions if “western” nations interfere, Russian President Vladimir Putin is showing the world what a true dictator is and what it looks like to live in a country where people lack basic freedoms.
Last week, Putin’s Russian army began moving into Ukraine much to the chagrin of governments and leaders around the world and even some of the country’s own people, who took to the streets to promote their frustration, many of whom were promptly arrested. While some claim that Putin was looking for a quick victory (whatever that looks like when starting an international incident that garners worldwide criticism), the reality is that, thanks to the gumption of the people of Ukraine, including their President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Russian army isn’t making the inroads some may have thought were possible at first.
What’s going on in both Ukraine and Russia is a reminder, especially for those of us not old enough to have lived through World War II, that freedom, the kind of freedom enjoyed by every single law-abiding Canadian, is not something won lightly. The protestors in Russia and the soldiers in Ukraine, many of whom weren’t soldiers until their nation came under attack, are a reminder that while many people are yelling or Tweeting about freedom, the fact that they can do that proves they have it. Those people in Russia and Ukraine, however, don’t, and have to fight for it. Here’s hoping they don’t have to fight long. – JDS