Editorials - Sept. 23, 2021
After 36 days and $600 million spent on an election, Canadians woke up Tuesday to essentially the same government as was dissolved on August 15, leaving a nation to wonder what exactly was accomplished with this snap election. Trudeau was seeking a majority government but the voters hadn’t changed their minds. Even as polls showed Trudeau’s popularity waning throughout the campaign, in the end no one wanted to rock the boat while the country is battling an unprecedented pandemic. In fact, Maxime Bernier's People's Party Of Canada, which touted the "no more lockdowns" agenda to appeal to the unvaccinated, gained no seats in the election, not even Bernier's own.
The Liberals had hoped to capitalize on the positive feedback from their handling of the pandemic through massive spending to support individuals and businesses and the push to achieve high vaccination rates. They failed to recognize that the public would prefer not to go to the polls during yet another wave of the virus, driven by the highly contagious Delta variant. A lackluster campaign by all parties failed to ignite any excitement, so it seems that there was a lot of money and time spent with absolutely nothing to show for it. – DS
Don’t think twice, it’s all right
North Huron Council’s decision to not even ask Huron County to review infrastructure names for potentially racist or offensive references has established council as Dumb and Dumber’s Lloyd Christmas, plugging his ears and singing while his pal Harry Dunne assures Lloyd that he cannot triple-stamp a double-stamp.
The request originated with the Blyth Festival, whose General Manager Rachael King suggested the potential renaming of Gypsy Lane to the Blyth Business Improvement Area (BIA), citing the racist nature of the term. It then evolved into a potential infrastructure name review, which eventually made its way to North Huron Council at its Sept. 13 meeting. Locally, the issue became known as the “Battle for Gypsy Lane” when, in fact, the BIA was suggesting prudence and due diligence on an issue that is, in North America, becoming prevalent as legacies are being re-evaluated and figures are being, literally, toppled from their pedestals. The BIA request provided an opportunity for council to get out in front of potential issues with the foresight that has so eluded council in recent years. It was no surprise then to see council turn it down, opting for blissful ignorance rather than inclusion.
After a robust, fulsome discussion, perhaps council may have decided to stick with the racist Gypsy Lane and other potentially problematic references. Perhaps not. But, to not even entertain a review, when many clearly see a problem, feels like councillors are burying their heads in the sand at best and, at worst, accepting borderline racism as unavoidable in their communities. Reeve Bernie Bailey and Councillor Anita van Hittersum at least wanted more information, in an effort to make an informed decision. The rest, however, chose to plug their ears and sing.
More information, education and perspective should always be welcome, especially as an elected representative. – SL
Giving them what they want
Last week the Alberta provincial government came out with steps to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and prevent a collapse of the province's healthcare system. The measures, however, weren’t enough for Calgary City Council and Mayor Naheed Nenshi who decided they would start looking into solving the problem themselves.
Nenshi said the city could consider partnering with local pharmacies to create more mobile vaccination opportunities, saying that Alberta Health Services have abandoned targeted vaccination efforts, with the exception of a single bus for all the province.
While it’s wonderful to see a mayor stepping forward with that kind of initiative on behalf of his ratepayers, it’s playing into the hands of leaders like Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and even Ontario’s Premier Doug Ford who have, according to experts and leaks, eyed changes to healthcare systems. By putting funds towards healthcare initiatives, Nenshi may unintentionally be laying the groundwork for Kenney to say that, if a city can provide its own healthcare initiatives, maybe the province doesn’t need to be earmarking so much capital for the province’s healthcare system.
Local politicians have correctly made the same comment when asked to contribute to local healthcare initiatives. While they are in favour of supporting the community, they aren’t in favour of municipal dollars going towards what should be provincially-funded healthcare.
Every week The Citizen takes a look back at what was news in previous decades and provincial downloading seems to be a constant issue, so giving any opportunity for a provincial government to consider cutting back capital, like showing a city funding healthcare initiatives, could be a step in the wrong direction. – JDS