February 12, 2019

Article at respectnews.ca

This just in: winter is cold


Jeff Gaye

The joke’s on me.

A couple of weeks ago, when our current polar vortex descended on most of the country, I grew a bit irritated at the constant reports of how cold it was—and how cold “it feels like,” thank you windchill factor—all over Canada.

Television news was running national stories on the unusually cold temperatures in big cities, and how people were struggling to cope.

Except for natural disasters, I consider the weather to be local, not national news. I don’t care if they need to put on a toque in Toronto or a parka in Ponoka, unless I’m planning to travel there. And then I can find that information easily enough.

With Canadians putting pictures of thermometers on Facebook or using the wind chill to exaggerate the real temperature (“it’s minus 18 here, but it feels like minus 60!”), I put up a gently sarcastic post of my own:

“Just watched the news: it's cold in Canada in the wintertime. Who saw THAT coming? […] Weather broadcasters, you might as well go home. The news department has this covered, there's nothing for you to do.”

So here I am, editor of A Major Newspaper, and what do I choose for a cover story in a region of the Canadian prairies in February?

It’s cold out.

In my defence, I’m not suggesting that people in Victoria or Fredericton should give a darn. It’s a local cold. (And a dry cold, etc.)

The cold weather brings certain hazards we should all be aware of, and precautions we should all take. At least as far as that goes, it’s worth reporting—locally.

We have cold snaps every winter, and we’ve all lived through colder than this. And of course you can feel for yourself how cold it is, you don’t have to buy A Major Newspaper to get that information. But it’s something we all talk about.

So stay inside if you can, bundle up if you’re going out. Stay warm, stay safe.

And remember the bright side, as one oldtimer said to me on a bitterly, bitterly cold morning: “It keeps the bugs down, eh.”