On Hurricane Hazel
Hurricane Hazel hit Toronto on October 15, 1954, hammering urban infrastructure and causing 81 deaths—roughly twice the number inflicted upon Houston by Hurricane Harvey. Press coverage centred on human-interest stories, as in, "Clung to Sturdy Willow 4 Hours, Lineman Saved." Canadians understood the storm as a ferocious act of nature. Yet entirely absent from the public conversation was the language of alarmism, and of scapegoating. No one invoked 1000-year weather events, or blamed city officials, or quoted the fictional alien Klaatu to the effect that "climate change [is] an existential threat on a par with nuclear disaster." Hurricane Hazel, in short, was not a political event.