Editorials - Sept. 29, 2023
The man who sold the world
Sure, Ontario Premier Doug Ford has backed down on the decision to allow development in the Greenbelt, but the public isn’t convinced that he did it out of any concern for the environment or a sudden moral awakening after the damning Auditor General report. The move was purely self-preservation at this point as voters were clearly upset with the Ford government’s scheme to open up the protected lands in such a way that certain developers had advance knowledge.
And, on Monday, the provincial Conservatives shot down a proposed bill by the NDP that would have protected the more than 7,000 acres that were removed by the Ford government last year, and return land taken from the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan.
Yet, the Greenbelt Act needs even more reach and power. There has to be a way to make environmentally-protected land beyond the reach of political whim. With real estate development running into billions of dollars, politicians cannot be trusted to do the right thing. Ford and his ministers have proven that the temptation is just too great. – DS
Despite a brilliant proposal by a brilliant columnist in this brilliant newspaper last week, Alberta Premier Danielle Smith is coming to terms with the fact that Wild Rose Country can’t split from Canada. It can, however, take its ball (and pension contributions) and go home.
Under the current Canadian Pension Plan structure, a province can withdraw with the appropriate notice and a plan to go it alone. Smith, however, has some wonky thoughts (imagine that) on how much of the CPP pie Alberta gets to eat. Smith’s government has said the province is entitled to more than half of the CPP’s worth, a number that has been questioned by experts. Furthermore, while Smith has vowed to hold a referendum on bringing the pension plan in-house, she doesn’t seem to have a lot of support. Non-Albertans aren’t big on the idea of Alberta pulling out an amount of money that would cripple the CPP and many Albertans aren’t in favour of Smith managing their pension money.
How such a decision would affect Alberta, as well as the rest of the country, remains to be seen. However, it’s a situation that demands all Canadians take notice, because it could affect us all. Wherever the math lands - in the real world or Smith’s fantasy land - and whatever the will of Albertans, there are sure to be strong opinions on both sides. And, as for what will happen as a result of this unprecedented step, should it go forward, we will all just have to wait and see. – SL
The Spiders from Mars
Incredible and/or terrifying news landed in the Utah desert last week, the culmination of a seven-year project led by NASA known as OSIRIS-REx. While the mission’s name may sound like a dinosaur-themed constellation or the name of a progressive rock band, the acronym actually stands for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resources Identification and Security-Regolith Explorer, which also sounds like the name of a progressive rock band.
The success of this project could turn out to be a phenomenal new resource for scientists to explore and better understand the origins of our solar system, or perhaps, particularly in the minds of science-fiction readers and horror film fanatics, an opportunity for an extraterrestrial creature to hasten the enslavement and subsequent annihilation of the human species. Fifty-fifty odds, really. A coin-toss. Always remember to factor in gravity when engaging in a space-based coin-toss.
The mission’s spacecraft blasted off from Earth in 2016 and snatched up the samples in 2020. The incredible journey ended outside of Salt Lake City on Sunday, for better or worse. Canadian contributions to the project entitle our scientists to partake in a sweet little slice of that potentially magical space dust. Congratulations to all the hardworking and brilliant minds who contributed to this monumental achievement, even if it does end up destroying us all. Totally worth it!
The goods won’t be arriving on Canadian shores until appropriate facilities are built to store the special samples. Suggestion: build a multipurpose complex to house the Prime Minister and the regolith acquired from the asteroid known as Bennu. The sit-com writes itself!
It’s too soon to know whether we should be welcoming our new alien overlords or running and taking cover from the relentless onslaught of space-laser weapon attacks, but until we know for sure, let’s celebrate this amazing human achievement before it’s too late. – SBS