Mail bag: 04/08/2021

No right to cause harm

Dear Editor:

RE: Form of control, April 1.

Even respecting the lady from Minto’s right to her own opinions, I just find it very difficult to believe that she thinks she has a right to partake in society and travel freely , without some form of repercussion.

History does indeed reveal “some shameful actions,” including killing half the “New World’s” population with smallpox, etc. carried by “the great explorers.” We do  really need to study and learn from history, but make that all history.

This woman’s high ideals do not give her the right to even potentially  cause harm to others. Would anybody want to sit next to this lady on a two-hour flight? Who knows what other shots she didn’t think she had to get. That’s why we need laws and regulations in the first place. There already exists an “Ontario Ministry of Health Immunization Record Card” that can be tucked into one’s passport.

The other strange part is that she seems totally unaware that we are now into a “third wave” and younger persons are being targeted by COVID-19 variants. These variants apparently “have legs” and have arrived in Canada despite all the existing guidelines.

The only way to finally beat this pandemic is to get everybody vaccinated as soon as possible and give up a few freedoms for a while.

Malcolm McCulloch,



Dear Editor:

RE: Bob Foster axed from healthy growth committee, April 1.

Rather than getting caught up in the story line that Centre Wellington councillor Bob Foster was removed from the healthy growth committee because he was not following the party line, I chose to watch the March meeting to hear firsthand what the committee was facing.

Councillor Foster’s behavior was appalling. However, there was something even more troublesome. He simply was not on the same page as the other members of the committee.

This committee is poised to begin tackling the hugely important issue of attainable housing. Its community members are well equipped and eager to start. Councillor Foster wanted to see the numbers before agreeing we have a challenge. What? Lack of attainable housing is recognized as a problem by virtually every jurisdiction in the country. It is a widely reported issue. That the committee is ready to move forward and work towards proposals for council is commendable.

As to his behavior, councillor Foster monopolized the meeting. He repeatedly beleaguered two points. Firstly, whether or not the “healthy growth work plan” needed to be approved by council. The answer was no – it not was not a report, nor did it contain any proposals or recommendations. It was shared by staff as a possible roadmap for committee discussions on attainable housing.

Secondly, he insisted that heritage considerations could not be ignored. The answer to his concern was it is mandated that heritage issues be reviewed when they arise.

The community members of the healthy growth committee do not need to be hindered by such unproductive participation.

Teresa Gregg,


‘Malicious deception’

Dear Editor:

I found the Advertiser’s April 1 political cartoon not only offensive but a malicious deception.

In 2020 when the carbon tax increased from $20 per tonne CO2 to $30 per tonne, or a 50 % increase, the consumer price index increased by less than 1 % over the year – hardly a bell ringing endorsement of the cartoonist’s portrayal of the effect of the carbon tax.

In a recent letter to the editor, (Carbon tax rebate, March 25), I showed that I am getting back over $100 more than the carbon tax cost me in 2020. In fact, 70% of households get back more than they paid as a result of the carbon tax. The carbon tax and rebate is one of the more efficient ways of weaning us off of burning fossil fuels.

We are in a climate crisis and we should be fighting against it as if it’s a world war, because it is! What does the cartoonist think will happen to the cost of living if we don’t win this war – if we can’t grow food because of drought and floods, if we freeze because of infrastructure failure, if we die because of excessive heat and humidity?

We have been warned. The carbon tax is here and it increases every year. If you don’t burn fossil fuels, you don’t pay the tax. So, drive less, drive smaller more fuel-efficient vehicles, go electric if you can, improve your home insulation, put solar panels on your roof, grow your own vegetables instead of grass and vote for politicians who support dealing with the climate emergency. If everyone would use less and use smaller, we might just have a chance – no fooling!

Ron Moore,


‘Re-think’ closures

Dear Editor:

As an avid cyclist, living in Elora is a true blessing; there are so many beautiful back roads to enjoy all around us in Wellington County and Waterloo Region.

Over the years I have discovered many routes that take me and my riding buddies and families off the beaten path and away from most automobile traffic. The routes we ride are often frequented by hikers, dog-walkers, fishermen, farmers and Mennonites in their buggies.

These routes are always chosen to have plenty of gravel back roads and many of them with barely used or even closed bridges to cross the many streams and rivers in the area … this makes for a wonderful and safe way to enjoy cycling in our area.

I understand that the cost to maintain this rural infrastructure (bridges) can be high and unsustainable, especially when the traffic volume using it is quite low, so I understand the tendency for the township to close old bridges to motorized vehicles, but my concern is that I see the township not just closing these bridges, but then proceeding to remove them altogether, leaving no river crossing alternative in place.

For example, the bridge across the Grand River at Twp. Rd. 60 (Weisenberg Road) which is frequently used by the recreational public is now posted to be completely removed. The same for the bridge on Peel Street across the Grand River just west of Winterbourne, and I am sure there are many that I am not even aware of yet. This will simply force the recreational and farming community to use much busier and dangerous roads and increase the possibility of tragic events with the motoring public.

Is it not possible for the municipal government to simply barricade these bridges properly to prevent motor vehicles from using them and keep the structures in place (assuming they can at least support the light-weight pedestrian traffic) to promote healthy outdoor activities in our communities, which is more important now than ever?!

Just as our network of rail-trails in Ontario is a thoughtful and positive way to re-purpose old unused infrastructure for healthy and safe recreational use, the continued use of these bridges should be considered in the same way.

I am asking our council and municipal management to re-think these closures and instead envision a healthy, active, sustainable use for the community!

Mark Walker,


MZOs ‘non-democratic’

Dear Editor:

It is alarming that the Ford government seems intent on dismantling Ontario’s environmental protection regulations. Does this government truly understand what it is doing and the risk it is taking?

It does seem that in burying revisions to Minster’s Zoning Orders (MZOs) within Schedule 3 of the Omnibus Bill 257, Supporting Broadband and Infrastructure Expansion Act, 2021, the government is at least sensitive to how it is perceived by the people of Ontario in its use of this non-democratic manoeuvre.

This government’s use of MZOs, especially in the past year, has not only been excessive but draconian in nature. In particular, the MZO issued to allow construction of a warehouse on a Provincially Significant Wetland at Duffins Creek in Pickering has resulted in widespread condemnation from the public and legal action against the government.

The government has rescinded this MZO but only after Pickering council made the request when the potential occupant of the proposed warehouse indicated it would not be proceeding in locating to this site. The government’s strong-arm tactics failed in this instance because the potential occupant of the warehouse did not want to become embroiled in an environmental fiasco initiated by Pickering and supported by the provincial government.

The lawsuit against the provincial government arises from the argument that the MZO was used in violation of Ontario’s Planning Act. In addition, the Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) has indicated that it was forced to issue a construction permit under duress by the Ford government.

This was contrary to its normal practices and was only made possible by the government’s recent questionable change of responsibilities mandated to conservation authorities.

To counter this lawsuit the government has produced Schedule 3 to shield itself from its infractions of the Provincial Policy Statement regarding this MZO. Schedule 3 of Bill 257 proposes to amend the Planning Act to allow an MZO to be inconsistent with the Provincial Policy Statement. In addition, the changes would provide that any existing MZO (for example, for Duffins Creek) was never required to be consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement.

In other words, to counter breaking the law, the government is simply changing the law to accommodate its own goal. Unfortunately, the goal is quite hazy and the benefits even more so. Apart from a few rich and powerful friends of the government, there is little or no advantage to the people of Ontario. There is a general perception by the public that Minister’s Zoning Order’s are being issued mainly to reward large financial contributors to the Conservative Party of Ontario.

It is ironic that the government talks about using MZOs to protect provincial interests, like environmentally sensitive areas, while attempting to bring in legislation that will do the complete opposite. The minister should rethink his stance concerning zoning orders and leave it to the municipalities to determine if and what should be developed within their jurisdictions. To do otherwise supports the perception of corrupt practices at play.

Mike Shackleford,


Questionable moves

Dear Editor:

Watch out for your parents!

Who would give a 92-year-old with a negative balance in her bank account a $5,000 line of credit? Especially when the only income showing in her account is Canada CPP and Canada OAS.  How did they suppose she could pay it back?

I receive a call from my mother recently. She was concerned that maybe she signed something she shouldn’t have. I asked her where did she sign this paper? After my mother tells me it was at the bank, I start to relax a little. How much trouble could she get in at a bank?

Then I learn it was a $5,000 line of credit at 8.24%. But why would my mother need this? She doesn’t spend that much.

Because I have joint ownership on the account, I immediately looked at her recent transactions.  The bank, with my mother’s permission, moved $1,800 into someone else’s account. Even though I am joint owner on the account, the bank won’t tell me who they moved the money to. According to the bank manager it would  violate some privacy law to tell me.

The bottom line here is: who would give a 92-year-old with a negative balance in their bank account and with no ability to pay it back a $5,000 line of credit?

Isn’t that crazy?

Joyce Reimer,


Water ‘solution’

Dear Editor:

“Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink!” This was an old poem in our  school reader in the 1920s.

How could they  have known of our “water crisis?” When did we become so parched?

Who remembers when we  didn’t need  a bottle of water in the seat pocket of the car? When did it become fashionable to  visibly, carry a bottle of water?

Why does every politician  on TV  seem to need a bottle of water on the podium? So much water wasted needlessly! And yet we read of our water levels declining  in lakes and wells.

My solution is that we only drink when we are thirsty. Also, a trip to the water tap could quench our thirst, as well as create exercise. Speakers should ask for a glass of water and not a whole bottle! Also, there would be  no plastic bottles in the garbage disposal.

Perhaps my humble solution may save our water.

Sytske Drijber,


‘A better tomorrow’

Dear Editor:

So many tragedies, so many shortfalls brought to the headlines; so many wanting to make a difference, but how?

So much pettiness and bickering among you, our elected officials and opposition! So much “I” when we need unity.

Enough with the finger wagging, he-said/she-said, digging up skeletons mentality.

We require your guidance, direction on how we can embrace humanity with kindness, how we can diminish the flames, the toll this virus has imposed on us! A simple “perhaps we could try ______ and this is how we might implement same.”

You in your chosen field of medicine (you remember the one you selected with a desire for better). You see it all; the good, the bad, the inevitable, the heartbreak and joy. You know how wrong isolation is when “imposed restrictions” deprive a patient of holding hands, laughter and comfort while not knowing their fate but anticipating the worst.

In infants you call it “failure to thrive,” in seniors you re-label it end of life – so inconsequential! Actions required to deem yourself “safe” should and could be extended to all who wish to share moments with their loved one.

We cannot change the past but we can unite as one to ignite a spark to resolve the here and now of this current pandemic, this worldwide crisis. When we take the “I” out of you and me, miraculous things can transpire. We can grow from our yesterdays and secure a better world for tomorrow.

We have been witness to several astonishing, wonderful gifts during this journey. “Good Samaritans” have crawled out of the cracks and crevices of this era:

– an army that reached out to the seniors in our long-term care/retirement homes despite COVID-19;

– pilots demonstrating love overhead;

– people cheering and entertaining frontline workers and us from their streets, their balconies;

– unique and amazing ways were found to celebrate the little things, the milestone and the tragedies.

Collaboratively a brutal and violent obstacle of destruction and despair was curtailed with hope (vaccine). The victory and success we can attain when working together has been clearly demonstrated. The imprint remarkable!

We all come from backgrounds and experiences exclusive to us. Some believe in the sciences, some in what is seen, others in things unseen, some faith but we can all walk the walk, greeting people we happen upon (even with masks) asking if perhaps we could say a prayer for them or asking them to say one for us. We don’t need to wait for an invitation.

We were not designed to do life alone, but with purpose; each with a voice, so please let it resound. Build your community, your neighborhood with love and rejoice in a better tomorrow.

Valerie Clay,