Nina Bifolchi

What is really dividing us?

What is really dividing us?

Warning up front … this may not be seen by some people as being politically correct at times (I rarely am) and some of my comments will surely rub some people the wrong way.  Some of what I have written will be re-worked by my non supporters with a negative spin but some things need to be said if we are ever going to close the divide that is growing daily in our town, province, country and world.

As politicians the municipal act sets out our responsibilities as elected officials. We deal with many matters that come across the council table. Sometimes politicians at all levels make things worse by acting in a way they see as being politically correct, diving into issues not under our mandate or authority but instead in a way to try to please individual groups or people.  Every time we as politicians recognize one group over another, we are essentially creating a larger divide. I know this, because I hear it when council makes decisions to raise flags, paint crosswalks or make proclamations about certain matters.

I want to recognize and acknowledge that bad things have happened and will continue to happen throughout the world. People of different races, religion, education, financial standing, ethnic background and gender have faced horrible things throughout history. But when and how do we put a stop to it? When and how do we stop blaming everyone forever for some people’s behaviour? How do we stop the divide?

This past year learning about horrific events that occurred at Canada’s residential schools has people looking into history throughout the world. The Rosewood Massacre of 1923, the Pearl Harbor attack of 1941, hate crimes against the LGBTQ community, the Holocaust, the slave trade which encompassed people from every nationality and the 9/11 trade centre attack are a few that make my skin crawl.

The horrific events throughout history make it clear to us that it doesn’t matter what race, gender or religion you are a part of … so let’s stop making it about those issues. Nasty people come in all forms from everywhere and will take their hate and anger out on anyone.

In my heart I believe that the majority of people are good, but the bad ones are very loud, annoying and arrogant. Their bad behaviour and hate needs to be recognized and squashed.

Social media such as Facebook and Tik Tok add another layer of opportunity for misinformation, lack of accountability, bullying, disrespectfulness and rudeness.  Wasting our days swiping through non facts and mind numbing ridiculousness with keyboard warriors wearing PJs in their parent’s basement are having far too much influence in today’s world. I encourage people to send their kids outside to play with other kids, in the mud with bugs … that kind of activity won’t rot the mind like so much of the content found on social media does.  Instead, it will teach our future adults and leaders how to interact in person.

COVID-19 has created more of a divide between people who believe in the vaccine vs those who don’t. I will admit I was not the first in line to get my shots. Officials at the top had not gained my trust early on through their actions and inconsistent information and messaging.

People walked around looking and feeling horrible for a very long time because we were told going to the hairdresser was far too risky yet we had hoards of people cramming themselves on to the provincially owned beaches with little to no enforcement. Many scratched their heads at this. Now apparently it is no longer risky to get your hair cut.

Now a server at a restaurant serving people is not required to have their vaccine but those paying to eat there must be vaccinated. Again, some are scratching their heads at this. How does this make sense? These types of decisions create a further divide among people.

The next question is who is enforcing these rules that the province has set out? The government comes up with the rules then leaves local level municipalities to deal with enforcement. The reality is that there are not enough Provincial employees to manage the divide and confrontations that will occur with these new rules. They comment that municipal by-law departments will assist provincial agencies, however, municipalities do not have the manpower to do so.

For the record I do have both my shots, but I also empathize with those who have yet to come to terms with it.

As for whether these vaccine passports will be our forever future or just temporary like we have been hearing …I think we heard that about HST too.

If the government is making decisions based on sound evidence for safety and or medical reasons it needs to apply to all or none. If I go for a ride in a vehicle it is a law that I must wear my seatbelt for my safety. If I ride a motorcycle I must wear a helmet for my safety. But these rules don’t apply for everyone.

There are also religious differences that are not understood by all. A Kirpan is a religious iron or steel object that may range in size from 6-9 inches. Initiated Sikhs, both men and women, must wear the kirpan next to the body at all times. If I wore this publicly I would most likely be arrested.

Different rules, lack of consistency, political correctness and in some cases misunderstanding of religious beliefs is creating a further divide among people.

I have been asked if I am interested in running for a higher level of government. Currently the answer is no. Party politics, seat filling and being over paid for very little interaction with those I represent does not interest me. I also doubt any party would want me because I will insist that I get to speak my mind and share my opinion.

Learn tolerance for other people’s situations and learn to judge less. You don’t have to agree with everything your family and friends believe nor do you have to support them in it. You can however, grab a drink, break bread, socialize and laugh at something silly without hating them because their opinion differs from yours. These moments are the ones that will make you smile in dark times. Nothing harms your soul more than hate.

Earn your position or job … don’t expect it because you are a certain race, religion or gender. No one should feel entitled. May the best person get the opportunity to prove themselves on the job!

Having a difference of opinion is a good thing, but sometimes you just have to agree to disagree and move on! Losing a relationship with family and friends over a difference of opinion is a waste.

These are my views. I love being the Mayor and CEO of the Town of Wasaga Beach. We have great things happening here. I will continue to share my opinions, vote in what I believe to be in the best interests of our community. I won’t argue with my family, friends, neighbours, colleagues or strangers about differing beliefs or things out of both of our control.

I believe we all have the right to have our own beliefs and not have the beliefs of others shoved down our throats.

It is time we all started to be responsible for ourselves and those of you who are always pointing the finger at others blaming  them for the shortcomings in your life … knock it off!

Only you have the power to change your life.

To members of the Federal and provincial governments, please be consistent with your rules, be fair and do not make decisions on what you feel is politically correct or will get you the most votes during the next election. Do what is right for Ontario residents/Canadians. Stop segregating certain people in our country and province and making different rules to suit them or the government’s situation.

To those higher level politicians who constantly whine and criticize the other leaders … quit your whining and provide a viable solution to make our country and province stronger … or stand down. You are not helping to heal the divide.

Get rid of the CERB and get people back to work! Someone has to make up the money for the CERB.  Let’s face it, it is the struggling businesses trying to keep their doors open that will have to make up the financial shortfall so that others can sit at home doing nothing.

Look after our veterans and people starving on our streets before patting yourselves on your backs for sending money around the world. You at the top are weakening Canada daily. You are creating a divide among your own residents and the rest of the world.

Horrible humans come in all forms. I choose to support the good ones, the fun ones, the honest and hardworking ones, and the ones who want to enjoy this very short life and make it better for those around them and for future generations.

Wasaga Beach is an inclusive community with great diversity. Let’s start to end the divide in our community.  Invite others to a family gathering, introduce them to your cuisine and culture and family customs, then go to their house and learn about theirs!

These have been really trying times for everyone.

Stay strong, we will get through this!

End the divide.