EDITORIAL: Out of doors recreation advocates make their case

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It is important to take COVID-19 seriously and to minimize deaths and major consequences. It is also important to be law abiding citizens.

But it is also important to speak up if you want to make a difference in your community. This is what various groups and companies across Canada are doing now as they campaign to have the rules revised in their respective provinces.

On Wednesday, Ontario Soccer sent a letter to Premier Doug Ford saying, “It is time to take seriously the mental health of three million Ontario children and teenagers.” They want restrictions on outdoor sports to be relaxed and they state that “on behalf of the 500,000 participants we care for, this social and physical neglect of our children and young people must end”.

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It is a strong message that we support.

Children are at low risk for COVID-19 and outdoor activities are also very low. It should be child’s play that children are not denied a second summer of organized outdoor sports.

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Ontario Soccer should be celebrated as community leaders who convey a strong message.

Meanwhile, a golf course that controversially reopened despite Ontario’s restrictions spread its own message on Wednesday.

“The government has exceeded the arbitrary and illogical closings of golf courses,” The Bridges wrote in Tillsonburg in a letter in which they thanked golfers, booked tee times and played during their days of “opening in protest”.

“Golf is safe,” it continues. “There is overwhelming evidence from the medical community that outdoor activities, including golf, when practiced with appropriate protocols, are safe, but are also essential for physical and mental well-being.”

They also state that they will donate the proceeds of their illegal reopening to charities but will close due to “arrogant” enforcement by the provincial government.

While we will not be using this space to advise people to break the law, we find it difficult to blame citizens and business owners who want to take a peaceful stand to highlight the clearly unfair rules and regulations.

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The restrictions only tightened this spring in Ontario and Alberta. Canadian summers are far too short.

Officials across Canada should listen to proponents of outdoor recreation.

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