Editorials - Oct. 6, 2023
A logical next step
On Sunday, Ontario Health Minister Sylvia Jones announced that the province was adding six additional ailments for which pharmacists can now prescribe drugs. Since January, Ontario pharmacists have been able to diagnose and prescribe treatment for 13 common ailments, ranging from hay fever, oral thrush, pink eye, dermatitis, hemorrhoids to urinary tract infections. They can now add acne, canker sores and yeast infections, nausea and vomiting related to pregnancy, diaper rash and parasitic worms to that list.
The list of illnesses are common, but normally require a prescription to treat. Freeing up doctors to diagnose and treat more sinister diseases seems like a common sense revolution to the overwhelmed and underfunded medical system.
Pharmacists are trained specifically for knowledge about drugs, and giving them the ability to treat the things that we feel could be occupying the doctor’s time, taking it away from more pressing matters, but need something to clear it up seems like a smart way to use our resources.
To save the healthcare system as we know it, we need some out-of-the-box solutions and this is a great first step. – DS
Remember the saying, “If you ate today, thank a farmer” or, “If you got it, a truck brought it to you” from Teamster union leader Jimmy Hoffa? Well, if you enjoyed going to a [insert fun, group-based activity like a concert or a wedding here], you might want to thank a scientist.
Scientists Katalin Kariko and Drew Weissman have been honoured with this year’s Nobel Prize for Medicine thanks to the hand they had in developing mRNA vaccinations to push back against COVID-19. Thanks to them, the world can live again, crawling out from under the rock of early 2020, free of fear and severe illness (in many cases).
Of course, not everyone sees it that way (another reminder to never, ever read the comments sections on news websites). There are plenty of Facebook doofuses who have not, as of last check, won Nobel Prizes who will have you believe otherwise, but our world is, for the most part, back to normal thanks to the achievements of Kariko, Weissman and their teams, working away at the University of Pennsylvania.
People are back doing what they love with the people they love and it’s thanks, in large part, to the work of Kariko and Weissman. They spent countless hours in labs to get the world to where it is today. This is in stark contrast to the scientific expertise of your retired aunt who just shared a bogus link on Facebook, complete with a spelling mistake, but she doesn’t know because she can’t spell that word either.
Remember this when the time comes to listen to science once again, whether it be this fall as many viruses return or when we reach the next pandemic, to be on the side with the Nobel Prizes. – SL
Back from the dead?
Ontario Liberal Party leadership hopefuls gathered in Stratford on Sunday for the second of five debates ahead of choosing a new leader later this fall. The afternoon affair in “Festival City” was another opportunity for candidates to make their cases as to why they are best suited to helm the decimated party after it suffered consecutive, humiliating defeats in 2018 and 2022. If the Liberals hope to displace the governing Progressive Conservatives in the next election, they will first have to elect the minimum number of MPPs to achieve official party status at Queen’s Park, which is three more than the nine members currently contained in caucus.
Debate participants included Mississauga Mayor and perceived frontrunner Bonnie Crombie, Liberal MPs Yasir Naqvi and Nate Erskine-Smith, and MPP Ted Hsu. Former leadership candidate MPP Adil Shamji recently dropped out of the race and threw his support behind, you guessed it, Mississauga Mayor and perceived frontrunner Crombie.
At the debate, candidates covered a variety of topics including farming, climate change, infrastructure and Indigenous issues, among other things. Naqvi proposed creating an “Ontario farmbelt” to protect agricultural land, with Crombie suggesting a “food and water belt.”
Ostensibly the candidates were attempting to capitalize on the unpopularity of Premier Doug Ford’s management of the Greenbelt scandal, but the underlying ideas of protecting farmland, food and water sources are critically important to the province’s future. How will Ontario feed a growing population if it doesn’t ensure the protection of farmland? What good is development if it jeopardizes access to clean and fresh water? Ontarians deserve policies that aim to answer these questions responsibly, not ones that create confusion and instability like those on offer from Ford.
The next Liberal leadership debate is scheduled for Oct. 24 in Toronto. Liberal Party members will vote by ranked ballot on Nov. 25-26, and the new leader will be announced on Dec. 2. – SBS