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EDITORIAL: Debate detracts from urgent problems

Jordan Peterson event has eclipsed more pressing matters

There are a lot of big issues affecting British Columbia and the rest of Canada.

Housing supply and housing affordability are affecting individuals and families province-wide.

The use of food banks is on the increase around the province. Nearly one-third of food bank clients are children.

An opioid crisis, declared a public health emergency in April, 2016, continues to take its toll. There were 2,293 deaths resulting from the use of unregulated drugs in 2022 alone. These deaths are not confined to large urban areas, but are also affecting smaller communities.

A low unemployment rate is affecting employers and by extension, the province’s economy.

At present, there is a risk of flooding in parts of the province this spring, and some communities have already had to cope with rising waters.

Crime is taking its toll in many communities, including in places which have traditionally enjoyed low crime rates.

And there are plenty of other examples of problems that should demand immediate and urgent attention.

And yet, in the Okanagan Valley and beyond, these topics have been eclipsed by the announcement of a speaker.

Jordan Peterson, a Canadian psychologist and author whose views are considered controversial by some, is scheduled to appear in Kelowna in late May during his Beyond Order tour.

This announcement has resulted in two petitions. One called for Kelowna’s mayor and council to stop Peterson from holding his Kelowna stop. The other came out in support of Peterson.

On one side, there are concerns that Peterson’s statements are hurtful to marginalized communities, especially women, transgender and gender non-conforming people, On the other side, there are concerns that stopping Peterson would be a form of censorship.

Ultimately, these comments are serving to further divide a society that is already polarized.

More importantly, by focusing on the upcoming tour stop, attention is being diverted from addressing problems which affect us in our day-to-day lives.

Whatever the outcome of the two petitions, British Columbians will continue to face issues relating to housing, poverty, opioid deaths, a labour supply and climate disasters.

Addressing these issues is far more important than the discussion surrounding a speaking tour.

— Black Press

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