It's not hard to understand why so many Canadians are frustrated and frightened. They are concerned about kitchen table issues. After all, they have to put food on the table. They have to feed their families. So, imagine that you are a low income worker. You don't earn much more than minimum wage and you are living from paycheque to paycheque. Your rent has increased or you have fallen behind on your mortgage payments. Inflation has eaten away at your income and you haven't gotten a significant raise for quite a while. Although inflation has eased as of late, the cost of food is still rising. That's the most important item for you and your family.
When you check the morning news, you read the following headline: "Loblaw Companies reports $529 M Q4 profit, revenue up nearly 10 per cent." You read the first paragraph. It says that Loblaws Companies Ltd. has announced that it earned a profit available to common shareholders of $529 million in its latest quarter as its revenue rose nearly 10 per cent compared to a year ago. You can't help but feel angry. Certainly, it's not all Loblaw's fault and the pandemic has a great deal to do with it. Yet, you can't help feeling the unfairness of it all. You can't help feeling that companies such as Loblaw's are making excessive profits at your expense.
Most of our politicians have not faced a situation like that - certainly not Prime Minister Justin Trudeau or Ontario Premier Doug Ford - but it's very real for many people in this country and in this province. This should not be happening in a country as rich in resources as Canada or a province as industrious as Ontario. South of the border, former U.S. president Donald Trump was born with a siler spoon in his mouth and has shown no empathy for lower income Americans. Current American president, Joe Biden, grew up in a family that struggled financially. His father had to move his brood from Pennsylvania, where Joe was born, to Delaware, in order to find employment.
This is certainly not to say that people who are well off don't have any empathy for those who are struggling financially. It's just easier to identify with the less wealthy if you've been there. There are obvious exceptions such as former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher. She was a grocer's daughter, not a child of privilege. Yet, she never showed much empathy for lower income Brits.
Sadly, kitchen table issues have put environmental issues on the backburner for many people. However, climate change is not going to disappear anytime soon. It has to be dealt with sooner rather than later. For example, Premier Ford's proposed Highway 413 has to be stopped. If it goes through it will be an environmental disaster for Ontario's precious Greenbelt.
This year, the Rideau Canal Skateway, the world's largest skating rink, did not open for the first time in the history of Ottawa's Winterlude festival, due to fluctuating weather patterns and warm temperatures.
This winter, instead of flooding, a long stretch of low tides has left the ancient city of Venice with low water and dry canals. Many of its waterways are unnavigable for gondolas and other boats. Some canals have been reduced to muddy pits.
Although Venice's problems have been attributed on a high pressure weather system that has lingered for weeks over Western Europe, environmental groups have warned that the Alps have received half their usual snowfall this winter. This has caused concern that Italy could face another summer of dry rivers.
This is why, despite inflation and the pandemic, climate change can't be left on the backburner.