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OPINION: Things the pandemic should have killed

I’ve lost track of the number of events that have been cancelled due to social distancing guidelines. The biggest gut-punch, however, came early when the 2020 World Women’s Curling Championships were cancelled just hours before the first rock was to be thrown.

And the hits just keep coming.

There are a couple of things, however, that are continuing on when, perhaps, the pause button should have hit on them as well.

The first is the school district’s rush to rename Kelly Road Secondary School. I get it that the brand new school is scheduled to open in September and it makes sense to have the naming issue done by then. Fair enough, but the fact remains it’s an arbitrary deadline set by the district itself.

The non-arbitrary spanner-in-the-works came in mid-March when the school district was given two weeks to design, and implement, an alternative to classroom learning. It’s still a work in progress. With all that being put on the school district’s plate, it only makes sense to clear off everything else that you can.

The school district should be worrying more about whether classes will resume at all in September rather than whether we’ve ticked an accomplishment box.

The pandemic also forced the district to cancel its scheduled public meetings on the name change. The district has, instead, beefed up its online/paper survey and added a call-in line for people to give their input. That all helps, but face-to-face public meetings are still the best way to gather public input because, well, it’s done in the purview of the public.

Hitting pause on the school renaming is certainly warranted.

CITY SHOULD DO THE SAME

Another item that should have been put on the back burner is the city’s move to borrow, yet again, $2.8 million for, yet again, projects and equipment.

Granted, the decision to borrow the money was made before the pandemic hit and the alternative approval process ran its foregone conclusion of only delaying, not stopping, the borrowing, but the decision to proceed was made just a couple of weeks ago. With an economic crisis looming and the very real issue of people and businesses not being able to pay their taxes this June, the city should have nixed the borrowing frenzy this year. Everyone is going to have to tighten their belts, the city should too.

City manager Kathleen Soltis made the point that borrowing costs are at an all-time low and she’s right, If you’re going to borrow, now is the time. However, the cost of that borrowing will still be borne by city taxpayers who are, very much, wondering how they’re going to pay their taxes this year. Hitting pause on the borrowing would have, at the very least, sent the right message.

ZOOMING IN

Participated in my first Zoom meeting last week. The Winston’s Breakfast Meeting Group, hit by the social distancing regulations, went virtual last week. Even though the guest speaker cancelled at the last minute, it was still a great meeting. There were about 19 of us on the call and we spent a half-hour or so catching up, sharing valuable stories (also known as B.S.-ing), and learning the platform.

It’s pretty simple to use. I’ve since been invited to a Zoom meeting with David Suzuki (me about a million other people).

Maybe the school district should think of a few Zoom sessions to help with its Kelly Road renaming efforts.

TASTELESS TACTIC AWARD

Conservative MP Marc Dalton get the Tasteless Tactic of the Week award. Earlier this week he Tweeted: “Most deaths are in care homes where average life expectancy is 2 yrs & 65% usually pass in the 1st yr. Time to start moving Canada back to work?”

Firstly, he’s just wrong. Just under half of Canadian COVID-19 deaths have been in long-term care homes.

Secondly, it’s akin to the old “put the old folks on ice floes” mentality and new “the economy is more important than people” mentality.

Dalton quickly deleted his Tweet. His re-election campaign should be put on an ice floe.

What do you think about this story?