Editorials - Nov. 25, 2022
Hate begets violence
It’s hard to say which is more terrifying, a mass shooting of random victims or one where the gunman has targeted a location based on the colour, religion or sexual orientation of the people who will be there.
Last weekend, five people were killed and 19 injured by a heavily armed gunman in a Colorado Springs nightclub that was supposed to be a safe haven for members of the LBGTQ+ community. America has a gun problem and they know it. Everyone knows it. In addition to doing nothing to stem the flood of guns on their streets, politicians are exacerbating the situation by ramping up all kinds of rhetoric that leads to hate. Even as the Colorado courts were preparing charges of first degree murder and hate crimes, would-be politician Herschel Walker was doubling down with an advertisement targeting anti-transgender athletes as part of his run-off campaign. No matter where you land on who should compete against whom, airing that commercial in the days after a mass shooting at an LBGTQ+ nightclub is completely tone deaf, which is part of the problem.
While rhetoric baselessly associating the community with pedophilia is not new, it faced a resurgence this year amid a wave of anti-LGBTQ+ activism and policies pushed in conservative-led states. When political leaders spout baseless “grooming” accusations at the gay community and spew anti-transgender messaging, a certain element of their followers will take that as permission to target them and, as we’ve seen, that will include violence. – DS
While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and seven members of his cabinet were due to testify this week for the Emergencies Act inquiry, Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) Director David Vigneault may have slipped the leader off the hook. On Monday, Vigneault said that he advised Trudeau to invoke the act to end the so-called Freedom Convoy’s occupation of Ottawa, despite also saying that the situation didn’t meet the organization’s own definition of a threat to Canada’s national security.
For many, a country’s national intelligence agency advising a leader to invoke an act in the name of the safety of that country should make for an open-and-shut case. However, many of those who called Ottawa home for a few weeks last winter eschewed the advice of the world’s top scientists and doctors on anything pertaining to public health, the pandemic and vaccination, sure that they knew better, so maybe expert guidance doesn’t mean as much to them as it does to others.
The decision to invoke the Emergencies Act is unprecedented and being able to justify its use should be important to all Canadians. Some will hear the evidence of the inquiry with an open mind, while others will cling to their vision of Trudeau as a power-drunk leader who will do anything to quash his opposition regardless of what happens.
Operating unilaterally, without input from experts in a particular field, is what a dictator does. Many with profane flags flying from their pickup trucks will say Trudeau is a dictator. Whether he was justified in using the Emergencies Act last winter remains to be seen, but what Vigneault had to say on Monday has certainly tipped the scales back in Trudeau’s favour - at least for the time being. – SL
The new way
What an uproarious couple of weeks it has been in the Twitter-verse with controversial billionaire Elon Musk taking over, firing half the company and making bold moves that some have praised while others have called questionable. Among the moves that have most divided the world on Twitter is the reinstatement of former President Donald Trump’s account, a decision that has drawn the attention of the world. Musk decided to put the reinstatement to a vote and just over half of the Twitter users who decided to weigh in (or just over half the Twitter users and bots) wanted Trump back, which led to Musk’s move.
However, that move, like everything else Musk has done since taking over Twitter, has been made without oversight and without internal consultation. It’s only now, according to reports, that he is seeking out input from what few employees Twitter has (because on top of firing approximately half, many more left as a result) on how to address issues with the social media.
So, the question is, why should we care? Well, with Mark Zuckerberg in charge of Facebook and Instagram, and now Musk in charge of Twitter, several major avenues people use to connect with not only each other, but the news they digest on a daily basis, are under the control of singular individuals. It’s a wake-up call that shows we need, now more than ever, trusted news sources to rely on, not just posts on social media. While Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even Trump’s Truth Social have millions or billions of users, the fact remains that they are owned by individuals or companies with beliefs and leanings and it’s crucial we have organizations that can sort through that bias. – JDS