Editorials - Oct. 20, 2023
Look hard - the good is there
If ever there were a time when keeping up with current events could be considered an occupational hazard for a news organization, this is it. It’s hard to watch a news broadcast without being bombarded by heartbreaking images of war across the world. From the Ukraine to the Middle East, the average internet surfer or television watcher is inundated with the most heinous acts that humans inflict on each other over territory and religion, leaving us feeling helpless. Even after passing the headlines, the news is usually about catastrophes, crime and political upheaval, which moves us into a state of hopelessness.
But not all news is bad, and, even if you have to look a little harder, there are still people out there trying to spread a message of hope.
Take for instance, Jane Goodall, who at 89 years of age, made the news last week as she landed in Toronto to speak her message of hope in the face of a loss of biodiversity amid climate change. She works with youth to spark their hope for a better tomorrow and to inspire them to create the change needed to protect the earth and the life that needs it. After decades of work in conservationism, she continues to tour the world 300 days a year, spreading her particular brand of optimism.
Light-hearted pieces are needed to break up the monotony of tragedy in the news. It’s always been important to balance the headlines, but now more than ever, community newspapers can provide a reprieve with stories on community champions, organizations, events and sports. Our mental health relies on good news stories to stem that hopelessness. – DS
The art life
On the weekend of Nov. 3-5, members of the U11 Rep Blyth Brussels Crusaders will be in Goderich to play in the Ryan O’Reilly Tournament - a chance to compete in that most sacred of Canadian sports in the name of a Huron County native who won the Stanley Cup and the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2019 with the St. Louis Blues.
What a day it was when O’Reilly brought the cup to Goderich, Clinton and Seaforth, so local players and fans could lay hands on hockey’s Holy Grail (and the handiwork of Blyth’s late Ernie Phillips). It aspired to convince the hockey-playing youth of today that they could be the Stanley Cup winners of tomorrow.
This is the same work being done by the Huron County Museum in bringing a George Agnew Reid painting to Goderich - but for the art students of today. To see the work of a world-renowned artist, who was born in the Wingham area, shows the young artists of the community that there is a non-traditional career path waiting for them if they choose to follow their passion and work hard to achieve their goals.
While work has been done to immortalize the work of Nobel Prize-winning author Alice Munro, who was born in Wingham and lived much of her life in Clinton, frankly, it’s hasn’t been nearly enough. The young writers of Huron County should be engaging with her work.
So, thanks to the museum for bringing this work of art to Huron County. The plans to build programming around it are promising. We can only hope that such work continues to expand. As the Marian Wright Edelman quote goes, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” – SL
Ready for our close-up
Now that the Hollywood writers’ strike is over, Eastern Ontario’s leaders are pitching a bold vision: a $25 million annual commitment from the provincial government to reinvigorate the local economy by strategically investing in film and television production in their region. The plan revolves around the creation of a South Eastern Ontario Production Accelerator Fund, with the expectation of economic growth and job creation. Lights… Camera… Belleville.
The successful example set by Northern Ontario serves as a guide for its southern counterparts to follow. The province has prioritized developing cultural industries in the north, propelling it to become one of the country’s busiest film and television production hubs, complete with incentives that lure creative professionals. Production of the hit TV show Letterkenny, based on a fictionalized version of Listowel, has thrived in Sudbury due to those incentives. Plans are in the works to open new studios to increase Northern Ontario’s capacity for making movie magic. The future’s looking very bright for “Hollywood North, North”.
Why isn’t Western Ontario knocking on the same door? The opportunity is here, the blueprint is set and the potential for growth is vast. The pioneering success of Goderich’s Faux Pop Media shouldn’t be an anomaly in this area; it should be a building block. Canadian independent film director Matt Johnson, an ascendant talent on the verge of conquering Hollywood, has said that he would like to edit all of his future films in Huron County. Huron County should want that too.
The landscape of Western Ontario is extraordinarily beautiful, the workforce is dynamic and dedicated, and creative talent is available in spades. It’s time to step into the spotlight, make the investments, and ensure Western Ontario becomes the star, not the audience. – SBS