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EDITORIAL: Cheers & Jeers Dec. 31

Cheers: to a safe New Year’s Eve for all. OK, we’re getting ahead of ourselves here, but it’s one of the best New Year’s resolutions you can make, with the fastest dividends: whatever you choose to do tonight, make sure to do it safely. If you’re going to cut loose and party, make sure you have clear plans on how to get home, and leave the car keys behind. If home fireworks are your thing, read the instructions and use them safely: what looks lovely high in the air is a dangerous explosive at ground level. A personal tragedy is no way to launch 2019.

Cheers: to the numbers game. When Seattle passed a law increase the city’s minimum wage to $15, critics, especially conservative ones, abounded. Costs would rise, jobs would flee, and jobs in places like the restaurant industry would evaporate. Strangely, the opposite has happened: turns out, putting more money in more pockets increases all sorts of discretionary spending. Restaurant jobs have shot up, and the overall effects have been good. Imagine that.

Cheers: to good press. Here’s Stacey Lastoe, a New York City CNN Travel senior editor, writing about her favourite travel memory from 2018: “A popular time to visit Newfoundland, Canada, isn’t March, but that’s when I went, and let me tell you: it’s an excellent time to go. While I didn’t get a chance to forage for summer berries or sail to see fjords, I did get to eat a Jiggs dinner (traditional Sunday supper, often with guitar-playing) with locals, enjoy a wintery boil-up (fire in the woods to make tea and snacks) and drink a pint in downtown St. John’s with some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. Newfoundlanders are a happy, welcoming bunch, and I can’t wait to go back.” Well, it’s a little hokey, but we’ll take it, especially if it brings more tourists here.

Jeers: to another day, another round of illegal drivers. Take just one day of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary’s overnight police reports, and you’ll find them: the regular harvest of people driving unlicenced, unregistered, uninsured vehicles. Last Thursday, it was three drivers in less than nine hours — all three drivers had their vehicles impounded, but it sure seems like they just go out and get the next one and keep driving. Something’s got to change in this system, and it could be as easy as having licence plates stay with drivers, rather than with vehicles. You’re paying for the damage done by unlicenced drivers in your insurance; the free ride has to end.

Jeers: to the stupidest of protests. Fans of big internal combustion engines in the United States are apparently using their vehicles, especially large pickups, to block access to charging stations for electric vehicles. Their point is … they like their trucks? The mind boggles.

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