An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
WHAT DO THE QUEEN’S JUBILEE and FireSmart have in common?
I’ll explain. I was at a community FireSmart meeting the other night in which several speakers explained what homeowners can do to reduce the risk of losing their homes to a wildfire.
When it got to the part about creating a fireproof zone around buildings, one of them noted there should be nothing flammable within five feet. Then he corrected himself, pointing out the official literature says 1.5 meters and that he’s still trying to figure out metric.
I feel his pain. Canada is officially metric but we use a dog’s breakfast of metric and Imperial measurements that actually works surprisingly well.
Embattled Boris Johnson must have noticed because he wants to allow Imperial measure a new foothold in the U.K. While a few Imperial measurements are still used there, stores might now be allowed to sell things in pounds and ounces as well as grams.
For whatever reason, the move was connected with the Queen’s just-concluded Platinum Jubilee celebrations. Maybe the Queen has trouble with metric herself.
At any rate, it seems an entirely civilized thing to do. Here in the colonies, we co-exist quite well between the two systems, though it seems ridiculous that juice is sold in 1.36 litre bottles. Who can visualize that? Kilometres and Celsius, though, get along just fine beside 65-inch TV screens and size 10 shoes.
Some, of course, insist we should do away with Imperial altogether and decree metric-only as the law. Can you imagine going into a lumber store and buying a 50.8 by 101.6 millimetre board?
In my books, a full return to Imperial would be in order but that won’t happen. Canada has been at this for 52 years — not nearly as long as the Queen has been on the throne, but long enough, so let’s leave it alone. To our friends across the pond, long live the Queen, and welcome back to Imperial.
I’m Mel Rothenburger, the Armchair Mayor.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and a retired newspaper editor. He is a regular contributor to CFJC Today, publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.