Editorials - May 20, 2021
Right at the time
Last week, Ontario, along with several other provinces, suspended all first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine over concerns of an increase in a rare blood-clotting condition and a shortage of supply. Prior to that, Ontarians had been told that the “best shot to get was the first one available”, as case counts rose and more transmissible variants were being detected.
With AstraZeneca supply becoming unreliable, and the weekly delivery of both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines ramping up, the game has changed. The public health authorities now have the option of switching more people to first doses of Pfizer and Moderna, which have less risk of blood clots.
This new directive doesn’t make the previous advice wrong. The risk of blood clots caused by the AstraZeneca shot, while concerning, is still far lower than the risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus, so while the supply of the other vaccines couldn’t keep up with the demand, AstraZeneca was the only option to get as many people vaccinated as possible, as soon as possible. The gradual decrease in new cases that we are now seeing means that it was the right thing to do at that time. And now, with more access to the other vaccines in the province, holding off on AstraZeneca for first shots is the right thing to do at
this time. – DS
Absent without leave
In the thick of Ontario’s third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s crucial that we all stay home and limit interaction with others. No one can say that Premier Doug Ford doesn’t practise what he preaches.
Ford has been noticeably absent from the public eye since his head-turning press conference late last month in which he gave police more power under the province’s stay-at-home order. Early reports indicated Ford had a brush with a staffer who had tested positive for COVID-19, but that was weeks ago and he has barely been seen since. This, at a time when Ontario is seeing its highest daily death totals in months, the bungling of the province’s vaccine rollout is making international news and an audit has discovered that Ford’s government has failed to properly track billions in COVID-19 relief funding.
Last week, CTV reported what many suspected: Ford’s break from the public eye is a calculated strategy to let others shoulder the blame of his government’s decisions for a while in an effort to preserve his image. The term “Protect the king” appeared in the story, courtesy of an unidentified party source. Ford’s government denies the existence of an official strategy, but the CTV story quotes a source who said that every day Ford is not in the public eye, his approval rating rises.
Amid calls for Ford’s resignation last month, The Citizen’s Editorial Board posited that the Ontario ship needs a captain and a change in leadership at such a crucial moment, despite Ford’s shortcomings, would plunge the province into further disarray. But the province does need a captain, someone to lead, not someone who hides when the going gets tough. Ford needs to prove that he cares more about Ontario residents than he does about himself and his image. – SL
Until proven guilty
Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been cleared of any conflict of interest in the WE Charity scandal, though former federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau didn’t emerge quite as unscathed.
Federal Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole feels there needs to be more stringent rules or punishments and federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says the findings reveal a consistent pattern of behaviour benefitting friends of the federal Liberal organization. However, under the laws of the day, Trudeau has been found not to be in conflict.
Those are only some of the important takeaways from this issue. One that may not have been considered is, despite the fact that Trudeau was declared innocent in the months-long investigation, the damage was done when doubt was cast not just upon him, but the WE Charity and its founders, the Kielburger brothers.
While wrongdoing was done, and while Trudeau does share some of the blame for putting Morneau in his position, Trudeau didn’t actually do anything wrong according to the letter of the law. However, that didn’t stop people on both sides of the political spectrum (including many journalists) from acting like he had already been found guilty.
In everything from our court systems to our ethical rules, those being investigated are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. However, as a society, we are quick to let even allegations taint our view of people, especially those in power. The lesson here is that, when the next scandal breaks, everyone should refrain from assuming guilt before the details come out and those being investigated are cleared or indicted. – JDS