Editorials - Oct. 8, 2020
Video again tells the tale
Once again it has taken video evidence for society to take notice of racism. Now Canada is forced to deal with the systemic racism that our Indigenous people have been pleading with us to recognize for years.
Joyce Echaquan’s Facebook Live video in the hours before her death at a Quebec hospital showed nursing staff calling her stupid, questioning her life choices, saying she’s only good for sex and would be better off dead. Because Echaquan had experienced racism while trying to receive medical care previously, she had taken to recording her visits.
With the harsh reality of a smartphone video casting this country’s relationship with its Indigenous population into the international spotlight, we can no longer claim any kind of moral superiority over the United States and the race riots we witness on the evening news.
A nurse and a patient attendant have been rightly fired, and a public inquiry into Echaquan’s death has been called, but Canadian society as a whole must do better to create an atmosphere where no one feels the need to film a trip to the emergency room. – DS
On the rise
With COVID-19 cases rising steadily in the province, Ontarians need only to look to Quebec, specifically Montreal, for a fearful prediction of the future if we fail to contain the spread of this deadly virus.
After keeping Ontario’s daily confirmed cases around 100 for a while, cases are now exploding, rising by hundreds every day as much of the province is now open again and students are back to school. Quebec’s provincial government has taken swift action in an attempt to curb its rising caseload, closing dine-in options for restaurants and bars in “red zones” and restricting travel between certain districts. Politicians, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, warn that the country is in the midst of the dreaded second wave, which has come right on time, consistent with much of the scientific modelling early in the pandemic. And while many in the restaurant industry feel unfairly targeted, figures in Ontario seem to point to these locations being part of the problem. Recent research shows that 44 per cent of Toronto’s outbreaks in late September can be linked to restaurants, bars and entertainment venues.
While cases continue to rise, schools are quietly seeing infections, though most don’t meet “outbreak” criteria, allowing the schools to remain open, which is perhaps why there has been a lack of reporting. Late last week, Ontario had just under 400 cases in students and while epidemiologists have insisted that student cases are to be expected, it’s another worrying ingredient in a stew that’s threatening to boil over.
If Ontario doesn’t get its case count under control, it’s possible we could face another shutdown, negating all the progress of recent months and further harming the province’s already fragile economy. – SL
A positive outlook
Wading through the memorable moments like the “will you shut up man?” and the analysis of the first U.S. presidential debate, including expletives being used by news media to describe it, could leave people feeling overwhelmingly negative about the entire experience. There was, however, one shining light that will speak to a number of people in the United States and that was Joe Biden’s support of his son Hunter.
The debate saw fairly one-sided discussion, however, in one of several departures from the questions at hand, President Donald Trump took what some may consider a cheap shot at his would-be successor’s son Hunter Biden, who has struggled with drugs.
It was bad enough that Trump used Biden’s tribute to his late son Beau, who died of cancer in 2015, as the starting point for this personal attack that has next-to-nothing to do with the election. However from there he was savage and wrong; not a bad slogan for the entire debate.
While he could have focused on Biden’s (and his son’s) international dealings (his interest in which led to Trump’s own impeachment), Trump briefly mentioned them only to attack Hunter for a dishonorable discharge from the military for cocaine use (untrue).
While Biden could have easily answered every one of Trump’s challenges to his family with a dozen more about how Trump’s nepotism has run rampant, he decided to handle it differently. He looked at the camera and spoke to those watching at home, and admitted his son had a problem with substance abuse. Unlike other political personalities who may have tried to hide it, Biden was open and honest about it.
“My son – like a lot of people, like a lot of people you know at home – had a drug problem,” he said. “He’s overtaken it, he’s fixed it, he’s worked on it. And I’m proud of him. I’m proud of my son.” It was a refreshing moment and, given the recent focus on mental health and drug addiction here, likely one that has crossed borders.
So while the debate itself may have been the kind of circus that Trump wanted, in it Biden found a chance to show his humanity, which is what the leadership of the United States of America is missing. – JDS