Today's date: Friday April 19, 2019 Vol 52 Issue 16
   
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The Wellington Advertiser encourages letters to the editor.
You may, if you wish, submit your letter online.

Bad idea, worse timing

Dear Editor:

As group leader of the Injured Workers of Wellington and Dufferin Counties and representative of those locally who suffer injuries and deaths in the workplace, I want to point out the downside of this Conservative government’s plans to:

- reduce the number of labour enforcement officers; and

- consider the privatization of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB).

The government claims to be about saving taxpayers money by reducing taxes. However, the Conservatives are not saving taxpayers anything, but saving businesses money and in the process hurting hardworking taxpaying Canadians.

The government plans to cut the Ministry of Labour’s budget, clearly directed at the reduction in labour enforcement officers. These individuals who have a positive two fold effect (the fines they issue generate huge revenues for the province and deter businesses from unsafe and dangerous shortcuts).

The Conservative government also plans a review of the WSIB system. Before this is even commenced, I remind people of the irony of how it is the government that has full control over Ontario’s workers compensation system budget, which includes the WSIB, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal, Fair Practices Commission, and the Office of the Worker/Employer advisor.

This budget is funded solely from employer premiums and is not funded in any way by tax dollars. So then why are injured workers forced to wait months for adjudicated decisions and waiting years in many cases for appeal decisions?

If it is not funded by taxpayers should it not be properly staffed to provide a proper service? The staffing is so bad that WSIB workers are staging walk-outs because of overwork. The reason is simple and slowly coming to a reality as indicated in last week’s budget announcement.

The Conservatives have announced they will consider privatization of the WSIB, something which is now possible after the unfunded liability was set up - something that many were puzzled by, but now are seeing why.

Privatization is not better for people; it is better for business!    

This announcement is nothing more than a slap in the face to those injured or who have died in the workplace.

It is even worse for  the Conservatives to do this now, in the month of April, knowing the annual National Day of Mourning, (or Workers’ Mourning Day) is April 28.

Paul Taylor,

Concerned neighbours?

Dear Editor:

An open letter to the residents of Mount Forest and the mayor and council of Wellington North.

A sign in front of 211 Birmingham Street West in Mount Forest reads “Aletha’s Place: Overnight Respite Accommodation for Youth.”

According to a recent media report, this means homeless, troubled youth (males and females) will be housed temporarily in this facility, supervised by volunteers. The ages of the residents and the length of stay are unknown?

Aletha’s Place has applied to the municipality for a zoning bylaw change from “institutional” to “temporary overnight accommodation,” which permits them to operate a youth shelter supervised by non-professional volunteers.

Neglected, homeless children under the age of 16 come under the jurisdiction of the Children’s Aid Society (CAS), so there is no apparent need in our community for private respite care, unless it is under CAS direction (ie. - emergency foster care in approved family homes; the CAS professionally monitors and guides the family to unification).

Troubled youth over the age of 16 represent many concerns, including addiction, mental health issues, and violent, aggressive behaviours. Shelter resident are ingenious at hiding drugs, alcohol, weapons, etc. Many troubled youth act out violently, causing injury to staff and others. Not all youth are bad, but many are troubled.

We, as residents of Mount Forest and residing in close proximity to Aletha’s Place strongly oppose any zoning bylaw amendment that would allow this facility to operate as an overnight youth respite care centre.

The owners of the facility are good people, very caring, but so are we. Some of the neighbours are over 80 years old. We only want the right to live in our homes peacefully and without fear.

Please contact our mayor and council to voice your opinion and attend the April 29 council meeting at 7pm in Kenilworth. It may be our only opportunity to advise council of our concerns.

 

Sharon O’Sullivan, MOUNT FOREST

Continuum concept

Dear Editor:

RE: Continuum of Care concept consideration pushed to strategic planning process, April 4.

I read with interest your front page April 4 article about Continuum of Care concept for seniors being considered by Wellington County.

The article may leave the impression that this is a relatively new concept, which it is, but does not indicate that there are recently completed projects of this type.

I would direct your and your readers attention to Georgian Village in Penetanguishene, which was built about eight years ago on 21 acres by the county of Simcoe.

The Simcoe website contains a Georgian Village video tour that will give readers an almost perfect understanding of the continuous care concept on a campus-type setting. There are links to the types of housing available (ie. - apartments, suites, garden homes, terraces and nursing beds, life leases and rentals).

Dave Freeman, BELWOOD

Continuum criticism

Dear Editor:

RE: Critical need, April 11.

Being at the tail end of the Baby Boom, I can well appreciate the need for some form of seniors housing.  

However, Patricia Fimio’s letter in favour of the county moving forward with a Continuum of Care suggests that help is not available to independent seniors at “critical periods of the day.”  To me this connotes ongoing staffing costs (who is going to absorb this cost?).

“Isolation and loneliness” is a reality no matter what one’s age might be.

Just because one is in an age-determined environment does not mean that one will not suffer from “isolation and loneliness”.  The older I get, the more I see that “isolation and loneliness” is a function of one’s personal choices and not a function of one’s environment.

Her argument about the cost of $5,000 per head might sound trivial to some people, but as someone who struggles to pay the mortgage, taxes, and ongoing bills, pulling $5,000 out of my hat just so I might someday have less than two chances in 100 to enjoy the benefits of paying market rent, plus parking costs, plus whatever other fee the county might deem fit to impose, and have a “Continuum of Care” lifestyle.  No thanks!  I really don’t like the odds.

In summation, what I find really sinister about this Continuum of Care concept is the fact that the county has already let itself be duped out of $1 million to “study” - or more appropriately, mimic - a concept that is in place already.  

Also, $11 million in “soft costs”.  I would love to hear from a developer who specializes in seniors developments, and find out what their soft costs (outside of government interference) are on developments with similar concepts. I am sure the number will be radically smaller than $53,000 per unit.  

I haven’t even touched on the “life lease” concept and its flawed “benefits,” or the minimal return on investment the county will see, and the macro effects that will have on the housing market, which will detract from rather than attract further “seniors housing,” leading to an even greater shortage of housing.

As I said earlier, the County of Wellington should do what it is good at, and let developers do what they are good at.

Wayne Baker, WELLINGTON NORTH

Democracy by dictatorshi

Dear Editor:

In the Community News editorial of April 11, Patrick Raftis complains that Doug Ford got only 40 per cent of the popular vote but 60 per cent of the riding seats and, as a result, 100 per cent of the power.

But this is the result of our flawed system of first past the post. So the left-leaning parties complain, but when they are in power will do nothing to change the system to a more democratic system of proportional representation.

Again and again we elect, both on the federal and provincial level, by democratic means, dictators.

But since we do not want to change the system, I guess we get the government we deserve.

Hibbert Rumph, DRAYTON

Government ‘fighting’

Dear Editor:

An open letter to Premier Doug Ford, MPPs, members of the Credit Valley Conservation (CVC) board, Erin representatives.

Taxes are high in Erin. We do not need the Credit Valley Conservation Authority to sabotage the Station Street dam and bridge reconstruction, which would put Ontario Community Infrastructure Fund grant money promised to Erin in jeopardy.

The approval process was long and thorough.

Why at the last minute is the CVC delaying construction? We know they did not get their wish to remove the dam. I would have liked that too, but the approval process dealt with all objections and it is time to do construction.

I request that you all look into this matter and resolve it as soon as possible.

Premier, it really is time to do something about the approval process for municipal infrastructure. It is costing the taxpayers an arm and a leg. Get rid of all the extra layers of government that are fighting each other!

Jane Vandervliet, ERIN

Just say no

Dear Editor:

I recently read that several provinces have pooled their results regarding “safe injection sites.” They have unanimously concluded, after spending millions, that safe injection sites save numerous lives.

I guess that study nullifies my study that cost the taxpayer nothing. My theory was abstention.

Jim McClure, CRIEFF

Retroactive rebate

Dear Editor:

An open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna and the Liberal Party of Canada.

I/we live in rural Ontario. I/we have no access to public transit (though we help subsidize transit for Toronto).

The carbon tax you have now imposed on us is hurting every time we fill up our vehicles, tractors included. And, as of yet, I have not heard of electric tractors.

 What I do want to ask is this: I/we have over 12 acres of forest on our property. Trees require carbon (CO2) to survive. Let’s call it a symbiotic relationship.

We produce carbon dioxide and our trees thrive.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, a tree can absorb as much as 48 pounds of CO2 per annum and can sequester 1 ton of CO2 by the time it is 40 years old.

A single car (of 2007 vintage) emits about five metric tons per year - close to 11,000 pounds. A single acre of woodlot would counter emissions of almost three cars. Do the math.

I/we would like a carbon tax rebate for all the good my/our trees are doing. While we are at it, let’s make the cheque retroactive. My/our forest is much older than 40 years.

Since we are having this dialogue, could we please get in on the same freezer/fridge deal that you did for Loblaws ?

Delsie Drover, BELWOOD

Successful seminar

Dear Editor:

The mental health seminar held at Speedside United Church on March 29 was a great success.

The capacity crowd heard from three speakers: Bethany Parkinson, a Laurier University graduate, “Farmer Tim” May and Rebecca from Mental Health Education Service.

The message promoted is mental health is important to physical health. When you suffer symptoms of depression, extreme exhaustion, desiring isolation, don’t ignore the signs. These changes can be caused by stress at home, work or school. Perhaps there has been a life change because of a loss of a loved one or accidents on the farm.

One comment made is “talk is cheap” - yes, it is, and that talk could lead you to understand why you are feeling so empty and alone. Let’s lift the stigma of mental health. No more hiding, no more ignoring your feelings and thoughts.

There is nothing like rural life, but it has its challenges. Do your part; listen and talk or cry. Make people aware there is professional help available and be a friend.

A special thanks to the Wellington Advertiser for promoting our seminar.

Joan Gordon, ENNOTVILLE

Well-being paramount

Dear Editor:

How can we take the recent survey results from Centre Wellington seriously when so many voices are missing from the survey?

Who speaks on behalf of children who do not have a safe way to ride/walk to school? Who speaks for the environment?

I am tired of this survey fad that wears the guise of democracy and the belief that it is listening to the people. I think it is a tool used to keep us away from what is really important, from what really needs fixing. You know, the stuff that really smart people spend their life studying and warning us about: our well-being (physical and mental) and the well-being of our planet.

What if the survey asked: would you rather drive on bumpy roads for the rest of your life or add five healthy years to your life? Perhaps our priorities might shift from our automobile-centric view to a more equitable active transport view!

I want my elective representatives to be thoughtful and brave, and I want the people advising my representatives to be up to date on recent research on urban planning and reading heavily about future trends. And I want to know what is informing my representatives.

As for my fellow citizens, I want us to be informed and not to react quickly to our own personal wants. We must allow our representatives to be guided by thoughtful professionals instead of politically expedient topics that lead to easy talking points and favourable election results.

We all must allow our representatives to take risks and experiment with these ideas on how we can live with a lighter touch on the world and a greater sense of well-being and happiness.

John Scott, ELORA

‘Paved paradise’

Dear Editor:

For quite a while I’ve had Joni Mitchell’s iconic song, Big Yellow Taxi playing in my head.

In the past 18 months there have been dozens and dozens of trees cut down within six square blocks of my Elora home. Wake up, Elora!

“Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got ‘till it’s gone. They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.”

Shame on our council and mayor for not protecting and respecting the natural beauty that makes Elora unique.

Heather Wood, ELORA

‘Poor track record’

Dear Editor:

Re: Follow the science, April 11

In his response to my letter, Victor Shantora says that he chooses to believe the findings of science experts at the UN IPCC, rather than “a guy who wrote a book”.

That guy is Dr. Tim Ball, who has a PhD in historical climatology, taught 25 years at University of Winnipeg, published 23 peer-reviewed articles and a university textbook, etc.

Ball agrees with German physicist and meteorologist Klaus-Eckart Puls who stated: “Ten years ago I simply parroted what the IPCC told us. One day I started checking the facts and data – first I started with a sense of doubt but then I became outraged when I discovered that much of what the IPCC and the media were telling us was sheer nonsense and was not even supported by any scientific facts and measurements.

“To this day I still feel shame that as a scientist I made presentations of their science without first checking it … scientifically it is sheer absurdity to think we can get a nice climate by turning a CO2 adjustment knob.”

The IPCC may have started out well, but it has become a politicized source of biased scientific information, with a poor track record in making predictions.

Henry Brunsveld, PUSLINCH

Lions Home Show

ReliableFord

Business Leader Spring 2019

BUZZ

Wellington North’s inaugural open forum tackles housing
Study shows $85 million in pavement work needed on county roads
Seawaves Homes proposes 28-unit townhouse development in Arthur
County working toward launch of rural transportation network
Mozambique mission an overwhelming experience for Rockwood’s Kaylie Arsenault

COLUMNISTS

Jaime Myslik
Stephen Thorning - 1949-2015
Kelly Waterhouse

EDITORIAL

Dave Adsett: Hockey night in Eramosa

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