Editorials - May 6, 2021
A multi-pronged strategy
Many experts are predicting that COVID-19 will become endemic, meaning that even once the global pandemic subsides we will likely always be on the lookout for outbreaks. In order to cope with that likelihood, most countries will be trying to reach “herd immunity” status through vaccination programs. However, due to various factors around the world, it will be unlikely that we can get enough vaccine coverage to eradicate the illness completely. This means that treating the illness will be another tool that we need to keep society functioning, free from the lockdowns that have crippled the world for the last 14 months.
While doctors and frontline professionals have gained much knowledge over the past year, most current treatments deal with the disease once the patient is already in hospital and severely ill. Pfizer is currently beginning Phase 1 trials of a protease inhibitor which could be a game-changer. The antiviral treatment, which is similar to existing successful treatments for HIV and Hepatitis C, could be given orally at home at the first sign of illness and prevent serious illness and hospitalization, and could be available as early as December.
With both vaccination and therapeutic treatments working together, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. – DS
The times are a-changin’
The debate over Bill C-10 seems to be following the trajectory we’ve become accustomed to with many of the initiatives led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government. It seems to start with a good idea, but then its reach expands a bit too far, resulting in everything from questions and concerns from supporters of the government to calls of dictatorship and wrongdoing from opponents.
Bill C-10 amounts to an update to the Broadcasting Act to reflect changing media consumption habits and reflect online and streaming content. By including online giants like YouTube and Facebook, placing their content under the purview of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), they will now be subject to the same oversight as radio and television stations, ensuring streaming services and apps contribute to Canadian culture.
This is red meat for those who oppose Trudeau and say he is already controlling the message through grants to the media. Critics have said the bill has the ability to limit free speech in Canada, though the government says only professional content will be subject to oversight.
The government says the bill is aimed at ensuring that streaming services enjoying record profits contribute to the creation of Canadian content (like Canadian broadcasters contributing to the Canada Media Fund). It’s not unlike the fight to squeeze revenue out of online content giants like Google, Facebook and Twitter making billions distributing news content, while news media companies struggle for revenue.
Hotly debated has been the removal of a section that excludes user-generated content from oversight and it’s what many Trudeau critics have clung to, sure he’s coming to regulate your family pictures.
The media landscape has changed and continues to change. Updates are needed, but it’s on Trudeau and his government to assure Canadians their freedom of speech will always be preserved, taking that extra step towards transparency that so often eludes Trudeau. – SL
While it can be easy for Huron and Perth residents to take an us-versus-them mentality when dealing with COVID-19 in rural Ontario versus hotspots, there are people across those two counties who are part of the problem, not the solution. That became apparent late last month when three individuals from Perth County were charged for actions taken at a rule-breaking church service held in Aylmer.
As long as events like the church service continue, those who cling to fringe scientific beliefs will continue to flock to them like moths to flames from all over the province, not just the hotspots.
Those gatherings may be facing tougher rules going forward, however, as legal experts are saying that those who organize such events could face manslaughter charges if COVID-19 is spread as a result and ends up causing fatalities.
Prof. Lisa Dufraimont of York University’s Osgoode Hall law school recently said that charges, including manslaughter, could follow acts that are against the rules, tying COVID-19 to bodily harm. The comments came after British Columbia Provincial Court Judge Ellen Gordan ruled against an individual who held a party for nearly 80 people. Dufraimont said the judge was right to say that, if the party resulted in a fatality, the judge could consider the individual guilty of manslaughter.
Other legal experts have said it could be difficult to pursue, but the intent behind the statement may be enough to make some people think about the repercussions of their actions. Regardless, everyone is responsible for stopping the spread of COVID-19, especially if they know their neighbours are working against the common good. – JDS