Cheers: to courage. A young woman who was only a teenager when she was brutally raped by Sofyan Boalag in St. John’s in 2012 not only had the courage to come forward and testify against her attacker, she is speaking up to encourage other victims of sexual assault as well. The woman spoke to reporters to share her relief at hearing Boalag declared a dangerous offender on Thursday, and she sent out a supportive message to others who may have been sexually, physically and psychologically traumatized. “You are still strong. You still survived, and no matter your decision to come forward or not come forward, you still have the strength of a million men,” she said. “You can come back from this.”
Cheers: to jurors. Even though they are forbidden to read this as part of having to avoid media coverage of the murder trial for which they are jurors, we’re sending a thank you to the 14 men and women — 12 jurors and two alternates — who are sitting on the jury of the Brandon Phillips trial. Phillips stands accused of killing 63-year-old Larry Wellman, who tried to intervene in an armed robbery in 2015 and lost his life. Being a juror and having to make a decision about someone else’s fate is difficult at the best of times. Having to sit through horrific video and audio as part of your duty is tougher still. But it is important work and vital in a fair and open justice system.
Jeers: to circumventing the proper channels. While reporters from various media were looking for an update on the ferry fracas on Bell Island one day last week, Transportation and Works Minister Steve Crocker was only too happy to talk. The trouble is, rather than issue a news release that would have been distributed to all media, he took to the airwaves at VOCM and shared his information on “Open Line.” Tsk, tsk, Mr. Minister — showing favouritism by selecting one media outlet as your method of reaching the public when other media were waiting for the same information is not how a cabinet minister should operate.
Jeers: to no-brainers. A plague of plastic on the land and in the ocean is a serious problem that many parts of the world are grappling with. Plastics can taint drinking water, make its way into seafood, pollute the landscape and choke and strangle birds and sea life. Do we really need to cling to our single-use plastic bags in this province when so many jurisdictions have found that life can go on perfectly well without them? Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador, and city councillors in St. John’s and Corner Brook are all for a ban. We don’t have to reinvent the wheel. No need to review or study what is an obvious problem. Just do it!