Editorials - Sept. 9, 2021
It’s not easy...
At a time when the environment and climate change are hot button topics, with forest fires and unprecedented storms raging, the Green Party of Canada had an opportunity to gain strength. Instead, after months of internal conflict with its leader Annamie Paul struggling to maintain her position, the party is fielding just 240 candidates - nearly 100 fewer than the party ran under Elizabeth May in 2019.
May’s long tenure provided stability that allowed the party to grow to be a viable national party. She was a highly visible leader who travelled the country promoting a very clear, consistent agenda that focused on the environment. Paul is struggling to gain her own seat, so she has not even left Toronto since the election was called. With her energy going towards her own riding, the party is leaving each candidate to run independently in their own riding with no cohesive national campaign.
Running an election fresh off of party turmoil, where Paul barely staved off a non-confidence vote, and with her role up for review at the Green Party’s next general meeting, is an uphill battle at best.
With the latest polls giving the Greens just three per cent of the decided vote and less than three weeks to the election, it appears that the public can’t put their faith in a party that can’t solve its own problems, let alone those of a country in the midst of a pandemic. It’s too bad as, while the Greens probably aren’t deep enough to form a government, having a strong environmental voice in Ottawa is important. – DS
A decisive stance
Doug Ford’s provincial government, following the lead of provinces like Quebec, British Columbia and Manitoba, has instituted a vaccine passport, meaning that, as of Sept. 22, Ontarians will have to show proof of vaccination to access a number of indoor events like theatres, restaurants, bars, gyms and concert halls, to name a few. Despite this being something Ford didn’t want to do, he said it’s the only way to avoid a devastating fourth wave and, perhaps, another shutdown.
Nearly 85 per cent of eligible Ontarians have received at least their first shot, so it’s fair to wonder why politicians like Ford are pandering so heavily to the remaining 15 per cent - even if they are loud and aggressive. However, many welcomed the announcement - including businesses and public venues that already took the matter into their own hands - because they have seen that the vast majority of Ontarians want to feel safe in indoor settings, lest they avoid them, keeping their money in their pockets. Along the way, those who have screamed about their rights have been reminded that those who have chosen to listen to medical experts have the right to be safe from a deadly virus.
It can be argued that the move has come too late, allowing several weeks of school to go ahead before the passport comes into effect, but the majority of Ontarians (according to new polling) will welcome the announcement. Ford was right, however, in saying that a vaccine passport should come from the federal government, a move that is now impossible thanks to the calling of an unnecessary snap election.
The science behind the COVID-19 vaccines is clear and the fourth wave is being called a “pandemic of the unvaccinated”. The 85 per cent of Ontarians who have done the right thing and taken steps to protect themselves and those around them shouldn’t be held hostage by a minority that puts its trust elsewhere. – SL
Communication is key
The provincial government announced that the amnesty period for renewing government documents like health cards and driver’s licences, as well as licence plates, is coming to an end early next year. That seems to be the clearest communication about the situation.
Last year, the government announced that renewals for the above documents and services that expired after March wouldn’t be necessary due to COVID-19, however the details on that amnesty period, as well as when it came to an end, proved to be, at best, opaque when what was needed was full clarity. For a year, some people have been renewing their documents and licence plates, while others have been waiting for a direct answer about when the amnesty is going to end.
Like many other decisions/announcements made by the provincial government, this one lacked clarity and left a lot of questions to be answered that now, more than a year later, are finally becoming clear.
It’s a reminder that, while Premier Doug Ford and his cabinet surprised many with their response to the pandemic, their actions have been far from perfect. Decisions will always be criticized, but what is important in selling those decisions is transparency.
Going forward, we need a better effort to set realistic expectations, because deadlines can always be pushed back if another wave hits, but if an amnesty period doesn’t have an end date, a lot of people are going to be stuck paying for years of renewals with little time to raise the money, and given the devastating impact the pandemic has had on employment, now is not the time to be springing that on Ontarians. – JDS