Editorials - Oct. 7, 2021
Truth and Reconciliation
For the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, designated as a federal statutory holiday, federal employees, Canada Post and national bank employees all received the day off with pay to “reflect on the tragic history of residential schools and honour their Survivors by engaging in reconciliation activities within our communities.”
It is hard to avoid the tough conversations that surround the treatment of our Indigenous peoples. Social media was lit up with orange in recognition of Orange Shirt Day, which was the original designation for Sept. 30 each year since 2013, to bring awareness to the damage from the residential school system. After the discovery of so many unmarked graves over the past year, the naming of a federally designated day seemed an important step in the reconciliation process.
Unfortunately, even Prime Minister Justin Trudeau didn’t get his own memo, as he spent the day on vacation with his family in Tofino, British Columbia, but he brings up an important discussion point. What is the correct way to spend the day? Trudeau should have been setting the example for the rest of the country by engaging in as many activities as possible or at least attending a drumming ceremony with the Tk’emlúps, who announced the finding of 215 unmarked graves at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School earlier this year.
Unlike Victoria Day (a birthday celebration) or Family Day, which are much more relaxed days that can be marked by fun activities, somber occasions like Remembrance Day and now the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation need to be spent in quiet reflection and education, not used for a Costco run or a springboard to time at the cottage. – DS
Whose side are you on?
The COVID-19 pandemic has made for some strange bedfellows; people who may have very little in common, but find themselves on the same side of debates over lockdowns, vaccinations or the virus itself.
Texas Senator Ted Cruz, one of today’s more despicable politicians, recently Tweeted his support for a foursome of professional basketball players who didn’t plan to be vaccinated. Cruz has been critical of the National Basketball Association (NBA) in recent years for its support of movements like Black Lives Matter, but, on this issue, he has found people with whom he agrees. Furthermore, Cruz has been criticized for using the #yourbodyyourchoice hashtag with his vaccination Tweet, despite not sharing that same sentiment when it comes to abortion.
Several pundits have pointed out that, if Cruz is on your side, you may want to reconsider your stance. One of the best weathervanes on controversial issues is who else is on your side. This came up when People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier was asked about his support among white nationalist groups. If your opinions attract questionable supporters, perhaps it’s time to look in the mirror and wonder why.
This has been an issue locally with a certain racist street name. Sure, there are those who live in Blyth who speak about preserving history and perceived inconvenience, but then there are cheers from those who couldn’t point out Blyth on a map, but applaud the village for “fighting back” or “taking a stand”. Garnering support from these folks who long for the “good old days” should give pause and provoke introspection.
A good way to understand the side you’re on is to look at the others on your side. You just might learn something about yourself. – SL
Last year’s heroes
The past months have proven that any industry or profession can have significant portions of the community turn on them quickly, regardless of how well thought of those individuals may have been beforehand.
Take, as the best example, medical professionals. The COVID-19 pandemic saw people across Canada literally lining up (in their vehicles) to honk their horns and show their appreciation for those in the health care system last year, letting them know we appreciated their sacrifice.
Fast-forward to 2021 and you might be forgiven for thinking that never happened. Medical care professionals and the patients they care for are having to wade through ill-conceived protests against vaccine passports while doctors, especially those in Alberta, are facing threats if they won’t give patients fraudulent vaccine passport exemptions.
To be clear, doctors, nurses, patients, engineers, janitors and candy-stripers had nothing to do with the passport, so protesting in front of a hospital makes as much sense as protesting government spending in front of a grocery store: all you’re doing is inconveniencing people who have nothing to do with your gripe. Locally, North Huron Deputy-Reeve Trevor Seip pointed out that people have been aggressive with North Huron staff regarding COVID-19 controls, so it’s no surprise that people would yell at a doctor for not providing a requested vaccine exemption.
The entire country is trying to figure out a way forward, but there seems to be a strong contingent convinced they need to pull us all back. Don’t be a part of that. Protest with letters, follow the rules and don’t blame people who have no control over the decision. – JDS