Rosemary Ganley The Peterborough Examiner September 2, 2021
These are heavy times for Canadians. As we round the bend, tentatively, in the pandemic, and our resources are at a low ebb, we have been subjected to awful scenes of a tiny minority of people who have lost all sense of civic behaviour.
Yelling obscenities, threatening hanging, drowning-out speech others want to hear, bullying children, all of it so unlike anything in our recent experience.
It is a burning national question, a moral question we will have to face ultimately. Where did they come from? How sick are they? How does society deal with them? Is it Trumpism come across the border? Does it really have to do with masks? Or other disorders? Does any Party tacitly encourage such extremism?
The political leader most attacked by them in small-town Ontario the weekend of August 29, Justin Trudeau rose to graciousness and commented, “Everybody has had a hard time.” You bet, but the behaviour we saw bordered on pathological.
We will fast lose the quality people we most need in leadership. I was heartbroken to read Marc Miller, the cabinet minister so effective in Indigenous relations, (he speaks Mohawk), lament on Twitter “I don’t want to raise my kids in this kind of Canada.”
We have three weeks till election day. The best of the candidates continue calmly and courageously to present their policies to voters. They go about their campaign in public.
On Saturday in Peterborough, I saw the remnants of the weekly anti-mask demonstration downtown. Their sign read, “The mask is your muzzle.” But they were good-natured.
In contrast, across the road on City Hall lawn, a quickly-arranged rally organized by the local chapter of Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, drew some 50 people.
They heard from Maryam Monsef, whose ancestral heritage is Afghan, speak of that very morning being on a call with the foreign ministers of the G7 countries about the resettlement of Afghan refugees. Canada, whose Prime Minister has a daily briefing on Afghanistan, will step up for 30,000 Afghans, the most of any country in the alliance. Peterborough, with its sterling reputation in regard to Syrians in need, will no doubt lead. My neighbourhood is already talking about it.
I have to shake my head in happy disbelief. Our representative, a young woman of 36, is just off a call with the G7 foreign ministers. What global influence little old Peterborough has.
At the same gathering, people consoled Afghan women who live here, who were in tears as they described receiving desperate nightly phone calls from former classmates in Kabul begging for “a plane.”
The choice of voting on September 20 becomes even clearer. The present government has effectively guided us through a good vaccination program: 75 percent of us are fully vaccinated.
In emergency funds, CERB was a lifesaver. There are recovery plans for small business, for affordable child care, for increases to Old Age Security, for tourism support and for potential rail service through Peterborough. Millions of dollars are destined for green investments, local housing and supporting Indigenous communities.
All requirements for my vote to re-elect are ticked. Double-ticked is the climate crisis. Bill C-12 passed in June. It set out emission reduction targets starting in 2030 and culminating in net-zero greenhouse gases by 2050. That is similar to the UK and New Zealand. An environment commissioner will report to us. We now have a steadily increasing carbon tax.
Peterburians are very concerned that temperature not rise about 1.5 degrees Celsius. At the global meeting in Glasgow in November, we will re affirm the Paris Accord from 2016, and set faster targets. Finally, what persuades me to re-elect, is the quality of candidates each party has managed to attract. Leading this country is a team game. I think of the competence of Bill Blair around criminal justice, of Marco Mendicino in Immigration, of Anita Anand in Procurement, of Chrystia Freeland in Finance, of Patty Hajdu in Health, and for sure, of Maryam Monsef in Gender.
"Gleanings" is Rosemary Ganley's new book. You can purchase directly from the author at firstname.lastname@example.org or from >Amazon<