Editorials - Oct. 14, 2021
Behind closed doors
Years of public awareness campaigns and efforts by various agencies to reduce domestic violence had resulted in downward trends, only to have a pandemic undo much of that work.
Anova, a London-based shelter and sexual assault centre, released its annual report last month which showed that the centre received 2,000 fewer calls in the first 12 months of the pandemic, compared to the year before. While fewer calls might seem like a good thing, Executive Director Jessie Rodger thinks that represents the number of women who were trapped at home with their abuser, unable to call, during lockdowns. She said, “I think that those missing 2,000 calls are terrifying.”
The Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses tracked a frightening increase in femicides in the province during that same period. (Femicide is defined as the intentional killing of women because they are women, and their killers are most often a partner, family member or someone known to them.) From January to June of 2020 there were 19, but from January to June of 2021, during the height of the pandemic, there were 37.
Lockdowns and other COVID-19 restrictions that are affecting resources like shelters are putting the risk to partners of abusers at a dangerous level. Many effects of the pandemic are highly visible and making headlines, but others are hiding behind closed doors. – DS
Last week, many continued to inch towards mandating vaccination against COVID-19 in order to access services or remain employed at particular workplaces. But, with no consistent, federal direction, the approach continues to be patchy at best and sloppy at worst.
Huron Perth Public Health joined the Middlesex-London Health Unit and Southwestern Public Health to go above and beyond the provincial vaccination requirements for recreation centres, saying, essentially, that if you’re over the age of 12 and want to enter, you’ll have to show you’ve been vaccinated. Huron County and many of its lower-tier municipalities introduced their own policies. In the upper levels of government, Premier Doug Ford is under fire for mandating vaccination for many services and settings in Ontario, but allowing two unvaccinated MPPs to remain in his caucus and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has dipped another toe in the vaccine passport pool, requiring the jab for air and rail travel and for all federal employees.
Many of the aforementioned announcements follow the prevailing medical and scientific advice that vaccines are the way out of the COVID-19 pandemic as their foundation. However, with every health unit, employer, province, county, municipality, etc. left to make their own decisions, if you feel confused, know that you are not alone.
This confusion and inconsistency is part of the problem and it lends itself to people seeking out convenient alternatives instead of following medical, scientific and governmental advice and getting the shot.
Right now, the country is betwixt and between and everyone is left to piece their approaches together from scraps. Canadians need clear leadership and, if Trudeau believes that vaccination is the way out of the pandemic, he needs to stop window shopping and make a decision so expectations are clear and consistent from coast to coast. – SL
Keep it clean
What’s the best way to capture a voter’s attention? Is it to lay out carefully-thought-out policies that will direct a party’s decisions if they’re in power or is it to point at the other parties and their leaders and, as if on a school playground, talk about their character flaws? The answer should be the former, but that might come as a surprise to the parties and their consultants as, eight months out from the 2022 provincial election, attack ads have already reared their ugly, mud-slinging heads.
Last week they could be heard on the radio, with the first salvo being fired by the Conservative Party. While there was an ad featuring Premier Doug Ford saying that his party will say yes when other parties say no, there were also advertisements questioning the characters of the Liberal Party’s Steven Del Duca and the NDP’s Andrea Horwath. The problem is that those attack ads are like those trivia factoids they show before movies start in movie theatres (if anyone remembers what movie theatres are like). Sure, they fill the space, but at best they don’t stick with anyone, and at worst they will direct people to researching the other political parties, which could be counterproductive for the ad’s author.
Provincial politicians (and federal ones as well) need to take a page from municipal politicians in rural Ontario: talk about what’s important to them so voters can make an informed decision. Telling voters who not to vote for is a sure-fire way to muddy the waters and leave people wondering just who is the right candidate. It’s also un-Canadian and, with all the un-Canadian nonsense going on these days, this country needs to get back to the civility for which it’s known. – JDS