Editorials - Nov. 18, 2022
In for a wild ride
Hold on to your hats, folks! This winter looks like it’s shaping up to be a triple threat, according to Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health. COVID-19, influenza and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) are hitting the province hard, especially in Ontario’s population of young children, and while stopping short of reintroducing a mask mandate, both Moore and Premier Doug Ford are urging the public to wear masks in indoor spaces.
On top of this perfect storm of circulating viruses, Ontarians are dealing with an understaffed and overworked health care system and now a shortage of over-the-counter cold remedies and pain medications, especially pediatric.
Some hospitals, including Sick Kids in Toronto, are already adjusting surgery schedules to divert staff to Intensive Care Units (ICUs). Other hospitals are having to treat pediatric cases in adult ICU wards.
Masks in crowded indoor settings can help to curb the spread of these viruses and protect the most vulnerable. Fortunately, COVID-19 and flu vaccines are in good supply, giving another layer of protection. While neither measure has proven to be a silver bullet against the viruses, masks and vaccines are infinitely preferable to lockdowns.
Since it appears that we can’t count on the Ford government to inject any resources into the system, it is up to the citizens to do what we can to prevent the system from imploding. – DS
The will of the few
The mid-term elections for our neighbours to the south were a little more successful for Joe Biden’s Democrats than many pundits and talking heads suspected. The left-leaning party will retain control of the Senate, while the composition of the House of Representatives remains up in the air, but the real developments have come from some of the clear trends the American people have shown to embrace this election.
First, there has been a clear rebuff of many candidates who have clung to the lie that Donald Trump actually won the 2020 election over Biden by way of widespread voter fraud and other chicanery. In fact, many political prognosticators are envisioning a bloody battle for the Republican Party leading to the 2024 election, with some notable Republicans turning their backs on Trump in what could be an interesting bit of infighting. Second, the results have shown that many Americans, be they Democrats or Republicans, prize the right of a woman to have safe access to abortion. Even a red state like Kentucky voted down an anti-abortion measure, while Michigan, California and Vermont all voted in favour of abortion access. This voting trend follows what polls told us in the wake caused by the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade last June: the majority of Americans favoured the right to choose, despite the contrary decision of the court.
With this vote, the public is fighting back against one of the glaring faults of democracy, the fact that a handful of strategically-placed, high-powered people can make monumental decisions, regardless of the will of the people. In June, six judges voted to abolish the landmark decision and now, millions voted to keep abortion legal in their state. Whether you agree with it or not, it’s clear that voters in many states disagree with the court’s unilateral decision made earlier this year.
The world may not have changed on Nov. 8, but some things were heard loud and clear in regards to truth and freedom of choice. – SL
The Government of Ontario, led by Conservative Premier Doug Ford, is making some quick and aggressive moves for housing through Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act. However, one has to wonder if the old adage of haste making waste could be applied to the act in retrospect, with many municipal and county councils expressing their concern.
Aside from conservation groups being justifiably alarmed by the act’s callous disregard for the environment (through limiting conservation authorities’ power and allowing, or, in the case of Hamilton, forcing municipalities to allow building within the Greenbelt), Ford is trying to make more room for Ontarians by taking away the land used to feed those same people. In Hamilton, again, thousands of hectares of prime agricultural land that the city decided to keep as such after significant community feedback, will be forced into a developable state thanks to Ford’s actions, completely steamrolling not only the city’s council and staff but also the 18,000 people who helped to inform council’s actions.
Local municipal councillors have also pointed out that aspects of the bill will have a significant financial impact on rural municipalities. Rules that will force municipalities to refund planning expenses in certain situations may have a small impact on larger centres, but in places like Huron County, it could result in significant financial strain.
Everyone agrees the province needs more houses, especially affordable ones, however, many people aren’t convinced that Bill 23 is the way to do it. Only time will tell if they are right. – JDS