Editorials - Oct. 28, 2021
Canada’s inflation rate hit 4.4 per cent in September, the highest that it’s been in nearly two decades. The pandemic has wreaked havoc on supply chains worldwide, causing prices on nearly every commodity to be on a steep upward trend for almost every month of the pandemic.
Gasoline prices alone have shot up 33 per cent in the last year and new cars are up over seven per cent. What’s most troubling, though, is the high cost of food. Almost every item has shot up in price, but beef has risen by 13 per cent and chicken and pork have also seen increases. If these trends continue, basic protein will be out of reach for many. Already, according to Statistics Canada, nearly half of Canadians have cut their meat consumption in the last six months due to rising prices.
Early response to the inflation rates was that the pandemic was causing a temporary disruption and that things would eventually level out, but economists are now cautioning that the high cost of goods and services is beyond what they expected in a “transitory” period and the Bank of Canada may impose higher interest rates in an effort to control inflation, despite its efforts to keep those rates low to stimulate economic recovery. With many Canadians buying homes at record levels, interest rates are a huge concern for most families.
Caught between investors, producers, retailers and the Bank of Canada, most of us feel like the shoe on a big game of Monopoly, just getting pushed around the board until we pass “go”. – DS
A path forward?
Last week, the provincial government released “A Plan to Safely Reopen Ontario and Manage COVID-19 for the Long-Term”, its plan to gradually ease COVID-19 restrictions, all leading towards March 28, 2022, when it’s anticipated that all safety measures will be lifted.
After intense scrutiny and several back-tracks and reconsiderations, earlier this year Premier Doug Ford introduced a plan that seemed to work. His government tied easing restrictions to vaccination and virus caseload milestones, following the advice of medical and scientific professionals. With this smattering of dates, one has to wonder how they were chosen and why. Furthermore, this plan has given those against vaccination a goal. Now they can simply wait it out until Ford says it’s OK for them to resurface. With an economy bouncing back thanks in large part to people feeling confident in returning to settings that require vaccination, this seems counterproductive.
It’s easy to see the move as politically-motivated with the next provincial election set for next June, but even through that lens it seems foolhardy. If Ford is making his play for the votes of the unvaccinated, he may have miscalculated. Ford is, after all, the man who brought in the proof of vaccination program in the first place. Those votes, surely, are destined for People’s Party candidates. Furthermore, with first-dose figures approaching 90 per cent of those eligible, you have to wonder why he would bend over backwards for 10 per cent of the population at the potential cost of alienating the rest.
There are plenty of off-ramps in the plan, allowing the government to change course if cases rise or new variants develop. However, while the proof of vaccination program worked in getting more shots into arms, Ford pleading with people to get vaccinated, despite giving them every reason to wait it out, isn’t going to have the same impact. – SL
We expect and need better
Families are coming out against Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston MPP Randy Hillier after he not only used images of their deceased loved ones, but did so erroneously, in his bid to fight against the COVID-19 vaccine.
In a social media post, Hillier, who was kicked out of the Conservative Party of Ontario and is now an independent, attached several individuals’ deaths to the COVID-19 vaccine, only to have two families say Hillier had not only used their loved ones’ likeness without permission, but also using falsified information about the cause of death.
Ammarah Navab, a Cambridge woman, says that her sister Farisa was highlighted in a social media post by Hillier, linking Farisa’s death to the COVID-19 vaccine. In reality, Ammarah says her sister died of a rare blood disease and her death had nothing to do with COVID-19 or the vaccine. Natalie Preddie, a friend of another person in the post, said her friend passed away from a genetic disease, and not the COVID-19 shot.
While Hillier’s post was in bad taste, the problem here isn’t his lack of humanity or respect for the deceased, but in his continuing spread of misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine. Regardless of his, or anyone’s stance on the vaccine, connecting deaths with the vaccine with no evidence to support those claims is irresponsible. If Hillier weren’t a person in a position of power, this disgraceful behaviour could be written off, however given his role he needs to be held to a higher standard.
Our elected officials need to do a better job of vetting their information before they release it into the wild. We rely on them for the truth and, as Hillier has proven, that reliance may be misplaced. – JDS