Mail bag: 03/02/2023

‘Do a little research’

Dear Editor:

RE: Addicted children? (Feb. 23).

I continue to be concerned by letters submitted by people who don’t appear to take the time to do a little research regarding their subject. 

Malcolm McCulloch warns that a cannabis store in the area would cause child addiction, criminal acts, homelessness and, of course, environmental issues. 

I don’t know how children would suffer when you have to be of legal age to purchase product. You also can only purchase a certain amount due to criminal charges if you are discovered to have over that limit. The verdict is still out amongst researchers as to the viability of marijuana addiction. The only somewhat solid information is that approximately nine per cent of users become dependant. 

As well as recreational use, many people with medical conditions also use it for chronic pain, Alzheimers, AIDS, Crohn’s, epilepsy, glaucoma, MS, and others. Ready access nearby would be a plus for folks who need it medically.

As for crime, check the stats. Since legalization, cannabis related crimes have dropped between 55 to 65%. Let’s address the environmental issues that the smell and smoke will somehow contaminate the building. You can only buy it there, you can’t smoke it. And you can’t smoke it in public. 

Until recently, I had a legal medical card for marijuana that allowed me to possess twice the legal limit for medical use. The issue was chronic back pain. I could order CBD, THC, edibles and organic product for this malady. The pain went away but I didn’t become a homeless derelict breaking into the store because of my addiction. 

Another point to consider is that it is legal to grow your own in the backyard with certain restrictions as to accessibility and number of plants. 

I don’t mind people having opinions, but I do mind when they seem to be knee-jerk ones. Check statistics, research benefits, look up the law. To serve as an outlet in a community, cannabis retailers must have several licences, supply contracts, etc. and the operators must be stringently investigated as to history.

Communities that have outlets indicate no significant increase in crime and serve a need, whether medical or recreational. Children have no more chance of being influenced by this than they have of becoming addicted to alcohol and cigarettes. Last time I checked, both of those items were a lot more available to children than marijuana.

Terry Filce,


‘Greenwashing’ ads

Dear Editor:

Every day I open Facebook in the morning. It’s only 6:30am, and my little dog, Pip wants to get up, so to soothe my old bones and his, I turn on the TV to select soothing music but before we can settle down, the ad comes on. 

It opens with music that could put us in a trance if we let it; a clear blue sky and pristine nature panoramas. Then it begins, driving the message home in a smooth, seductive voice, claiming with certainty that the dirty energy industry is succeeding in cleaning up their act to make oil and gas a “clean and ethical” choice. 

Pathways Alliance – launched by six companies responsible for over 90% of tar sands production in Canada – is a multi million-dollar misinformation machine which has been flooding social media, airwaves, and newspapers with greenwashing ads. Clean, ethical gas and oil is a fiction! And we can’t let the fossil fuel industry get away with spreading their big fat lies with the public. 

The problem is that people who want a clean planet for their kids are being seduced into believing that those big fat lies are the truth. The ad even caught my attention with its introduction. It draws you in. 

Please don’t fall for the sinister greenwashing you are seeing on TV and lots of other places, too. Dirty energy companies are like the Pied Piper, trying to lead us to a place far from the truth. We, unlike the children in the fairy tale, can think for ourselves. What will save us is an informed public, ready to fight for the climate solutions we deserve.

Gerry Walsh,



Dear Editor:

I’m not sure how familiar you are with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, but access to health[care] is part of the second tier, just above food, water and shelter. 

Seeing as our government has no positive solution for the massive housing/homelessness crisis, wouldn’t it be nice for those individuals to at least have access to healthcare in a timely manner? Our most vulnerable and financially strapped populations are the ones who need our healthcare system the most. And Ford is working his hardest to strip that basic necessity from them. Private sector healthcare will absolutely draw workers from the public sector, leaving fewer experts in the field of the public realm, and a drastic differential between the care provided between the two sectors. 

Our society is so broken and hell bent on profit/power, that our premier now thinks it’s more important to line the pockets of the powerful (and his own) than to look after the constituents he promised to put first and protect. 

We need the truth to be seen. Wait times are already horrendous. It’s only going to get worse. Instead of investing in the private sector, he should be investing all the same time and resources into addressing our public healthcare crisis; for the good of our people, and in turn, our province/country. 

We need to follow in BC’s footsteps. Invest in public healthcare. Invest in our people. Show Ford we’re watching. We see what he’s doing and we don’t like it. Vote him out, he isn’t for the people at all. He’s for himself and those like him; always putting profit before people. But people make his economy function. 

He’s so short-sighted, he doesn’t even see the state he’s propelling our province into. Use your voice. Stop privatization.

Samantha Cudney,


Don’t mess with it

Dear Editor:

For my first 80 years, my use of our public healthcare system was mainly limited to annual routine check-ups. No big problems, but it was re-assuring to know we had a good public system. 

However, in each of the next two years I was rushed into emergency in the middle of the night, and now I’m kept alive by a pacemaker. It would be hard to handle the situation if the cardiologists had said “we can keep you alive, but the bill will be several thousand dollars.” 

How does a person make a decision on such a purchase of healthcare? Do you consult three cardiologists, and go for the best quote? Or which heart surgeon has the strongest advertising, or who has the best patient survival stats? Which brand of pacemaker do I want? How does the public learn about buying healthcare?

In the middle of emergency surgery will I get warranty information about each brand? Doug Ford, don’t mess with our healthcare system … it may not be perfect, but it sure beats private/profit systems. 

David Tinker,


‘Make you sick’

Dear Editor:

In 1947 Tommy Douglas, Premier of Saskatchewan, envisioned universal health care for all Canadians!

In 1979 an S.O.S. Medicare Conference saw the formation of the Canadian Health Coalition. This coalition’s work resulted in the 1984 Canada Health Act, our beacon and statutory protection for health care for all, from cradle to grave.

In 2002 the The Honourable Roy Romanov, Head of the Royal Commission on the future of Health Care in Canada warned, “Don’t let our guard down!” 

To protect and expand universal health care has been an ongoing fight, and here we are, in 2023, continuing to fight for the protection and improvement of our public health care system in Ontario. 

Yes, I agree with a reply to my letter (“Brutal dismantling,” Feb. 9) that the current government is by no means the only government in Ontario to have set its sights on eroding services from our current OHIP. But I can only deal with the here and now … the present crisis. 

Our current provincial government has systematically created a health care crisis in our province. Facilities are available throughout Ontario; staffing is not! Rather than support an integrated, robust system of health care, this government is proposing to allow a parallel system, private clinics. 

We have all heard the dangers of this plan: high costs for service only available to a few citizens; poaching of staff from our hospital systems and in fact, from beyond our Ontario boundaries; exclusion of patients with more medical complexities even though they may need cataract work or joint replacements; the extended travel for patients as private clinics will be focused in larger centres. We have all heard about the long wait lists, the temporary, sometimes permanent closures, of emergency departments, the existing staff shortages of nurses, doctors, specialists, the splitting of dollars between public and private settings. Privatization does not address the crisis in our health care system but continues to promote chaos and crisis. 

Nothing is proposed to address the staffing shortages. Our government would rather appeal Bill 124 and allow nurses to leave their profession or seek employment elsewhere. 

Nothing is proposed to address the shortage of doctors. Our government would rather drag its feet on accreditation and allow Canadian doctors living out of country to remain and not practise at home. 

Nothing is planned to encourage specialists to practise in Ontario. Our government would rather not provide incentives to attract top calibre professionals. Yes, our government would rather pursue their privatization plan at all costs to Ontarians. 

Let’s fight for saving our universal health care in Ontario. Losing services could make you sick!

Marta Hoyles and Ken Feakins,
Mount Forest


‘A mighty mess’

Dear Editor:

There is a lot to consider when deciding if Justice Paul Rouleau’s report was fair in its decision. The justice himself is a known Liberal Party supporter so that is a conflict of interest as this protest was very political in nature.

This was a necessary protest for those fired for not taking the vaccine. The truckers who would not take the vaccine were right to object to the vaccine mandate as they had been crossing the border with no issue for two years and mandates around the world were being removed when this border crossing rule came into effect.

The trucks in Ottawa were parked illegally but I saw video of Ottawa police guiding the trucks into place, so why would the truckers think they were doing anything wrong? I also saw a photo of an Ottawa police officer hugging a protester. Rouleau was right on the bad policing aspect of his report.

The honking was terrible and any neighbourly-minded person would not have made non-stop noise, especially at night. Rouleau was right about the protest leaders not doing enough about that.

By saying the government met the high standard to invoke the Emergencies Act for this protest in Ottawa, Rouleau puts all political protesters at risk of being so attacked by future governments. Using it once for this protest makes it easy to use again.

The borders were already open when Trudeau invoked the act so there was no longer any risk to the economy. 

A concern for what might happen is not a reason to use unreasonable force. If we were to invoke the act for fear that there may be a war the act would be in effect all the time.

Invoking the act did get the police to finally remove the illegally parked trucks but if a protester was on a sidewalk they should have been allowed to continue their protest.

Why did Rouleau imply populism is bad? It may be bad in the minds of those in power but all it means is grass-roots democracy. If those in power abuse that power then the people need to reign them in.

I could go on and on but I have to conclude this protest and the resulting report are a mighty mess that would not have happened if our government had treated all citizens with logic and respect for their rights.

Jane Vandervliet,


Decision a ‘shock’

Dear Editor:

  It is a shock for many Canadians that it was deemed the federal government met the threshold to enact the Emergencies Act to deal with Ottawa protests last year.

Not everyone that disagrees with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is automatically a Trump lover, or a grifter – au contraire, I find it insulting that any time someone does, they are deemed as such. 

 Our sitting prime minister won the last election with the slimmest overall share of electoral support in Canadian history, so there are many who disagree, and why not? We are a diverse bunch.

Every sitting government should and needs to be questioned by the official opposition.  That is their job. 

A MAGA crowd? Please, just a gentle reminder, we are  Canadian. We can and do think for ourselves, thank you very much. 

I find it deeply disturbing that anyone should take the time to gloat over the results of such a serious matter. More questions need to be answered and we need more transparency on why it was used. It is our right to know. 

Brian Peckford, the only surviving first Minister who helped write the Charter, wholeheartedly disagreed with the Emergencies Act being enacted. 

Canadians still (I believe) have the right to peaceful protest, and yes, in large crowds you will always find a few people of dubious character, such as the Nazi flag and Confederate flag holders.

Ignorant troublemakers?

Yes, no question about that, but let’s look at the hundreds of Canadian flags that were flown or carried by citizens of every demographic possible.

Lastly, the contentious selection of Justice Paul Rouleau who has very strong, deep ties to the Liberal Party of Canada (and has for decades), the optics are not great. 

An independent body should have been appointed to keep sceptics without any doubt whatsoever.

Delsie Drover,