I am responding to the front page story as well as several comments made in the letters to the editor in the Nov. 25 issue.
True bravery is reflected in that incredible front page picture of the Centre Wellington District High School student march for fairness and social justice. This is a genuine act of kindness for the marginalized in their midst. These remarkable students are leaders of bravery who take social responsibility seriously. I am applauding them and encourage them to not give up this most important fight against the tyranny of hatred. Their efforts give us incredible hope.
However, those who sacrificed their jobs, who sacrificed their families’ financial security because they chose not to get vaccinated are not brave – rather they are unkind.
I hope they can turn their hearts and find it in themselves to consider others by being socially responsible and get a vaccine. Getting or not getting a vaccination is not a right, it is a responsibility. Every life matters, not just your own.
RE: “Fears for terminated staff,” Nov. 25.
Joy Lippai rhetorically asks several questions in her letter addressing what is perceived to be the “reckless” and “careless” treatment of those who refuse to be vaccinated and, as a result of their decision, lose their jobs.
The writer contends that only the unvaccinated need worry about interacting with others of the same status. This is a very myopic view, and clearly demonstrates a lack of clear understanding of how this type of pathogen evolves.
Notwithstanding all of the statistics the writer quoted trying to show that “almost none“ of the deaths and hospitalizations mentioned were among the vaccinated, collectively we must all look at the much bigger picture here.
According to the World Heath Organization and the world banks’ 2019 (most recent) ratings of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, Canada has only 2.5 hospital beds available for every 1,000 population. And Canada has average ICU capacity (actuals vary regionally) of 12.5 beds for every 100,000 population.
It doesn’t take much imagination to see why it is so important to utilize any means available to protect our healthcare system from being overwhelmed by surge after surge of COVID-19 patients.
All healthcare outcomes suffer when the acute-care system is pushed to the limits, or beyond.
I came up with an analogy to hopefully demonstrate to the writer, why it is so important to get the shot in order to help end this pandemic. Consider the global pandemic as a forest fire. As is the case with any fire, you need three conditions to be met. Needed are “fuel” (us), sufficient “heat” (the virus), and oxygen (community spread). Eliminate any one component, and the fire’s out.
Unfettered community spread is allowing this pathogen to continue to evolve through mutation. The most serious variants of the original SARS-CoV-2 pathogen have all come from regions where vaccination rates are woefully low, and/or have high population density.
Global travel realities will always ensure that new variants spread far and wide before even being identified. We saw that with delta, and now with omicron.
Almost 7.8 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered globally. The vast majority of Canadians have taken the shot, myself included. It has been demonstrated to be very safe, and more importantly, very effective up to this point. By allowing new variants to continue to evolve, our best tool may become inadequate.
If an individual decides that they don’t want the jab, then that should be their choice. However, they should not expect to be able to join the rest of us in unfettered participation within communal settings. The greatest good for the greatest number should always prevail.
Choices & consequences
RE: “Fears for terminated staff” and “Applauding and praying,” Nov. 25.
I know we have been here before, and we are all heartily sick of letters about COVID-19, but I just cannot let these two letters go by unchallenged.
Joy Lippai essentially states, “The only people who need be concerned about the unvaccinated are the unvaccinated.” Nancy Seiling says “the facts are out there” without saying what she thinks those facts are, but suggesting that they support anti-vaxxers.
This deliberate ignorance or malicious misinterpretation of scientific facts is the sort of rationalization that has for so long been the hallmark of anti-vaxxers and sensationalists. It simply is not true.
By Lippai’s own numbers, 1,507 vaccinated people died, and I don’t care what percentage that represents, it is 1,507 bereaved families. And whether or not they were all infected by an unvaccinated is irrelevant; the chances are always there.
Similarly, why should any of us risk any sort of infection, regardless of whether it is a “severe breakthrough that led to hospitalization?” Is someone’s job really worth the suffering of others?
This thing is not just the flu, it is damnably dangerous to many of us. I would suggest the “societal invalidation” from job loss is a whole lot more acceptable than someone’s death, especially when the cause is deliberate avoidance of potential mitigation.
And can we please eliminate the other oft-used rationalization of anti-vaxxers by putting to bed the definitions of choice and consequence. We make choices every day, and every one has a consequence, good or bad. The fact that a consequence is bad does not turn it back into a choice. You choose to apply for a job without having the technical knowledge; the consequence is no job. The employer gave you no choice? Nonsense. You choose not to be vaccinated; the consequence is you cannot take part in some activities (like being with other people in a work environment). The employer is giving you no choice? Garbage. You are being asked to be responsible, avoiding so far as possible the chance of infecting others.
That choice is yours to make, but if you do not make it and you lose your job, the employer still gave you the choice, and they are not and should not be obliged to accommodate you. The consequences are entirely your own, and if your resistance/belief/denial is worth your job (or Lippai’s child feeding/mental illness/addiction etc. concerns), so be it.
And these people have not been disenfranchised. They have exercised their right to choose, and they have suffered the consequence. Likewise, their circumstances are irrelevant to the case; in this instance they are totally within the person’s own control.
If having people take the responsibility and consequences for their own actions is a sign of society’s descent I’ll take it. I wish it were true in many more areas.
‘Ideations’ of control
I find it very interesting that the Wellington Advertiser is willing to publish dissenting viewpoints from the official narrative (“get vaccinated or else”). I really appreciated Joy Lippai’s “Fears for terminated staff” and Nancy Seiling’s “Applauding and praying.” I was dismayed by Karen Eddie’s “No hospital passport?”
Unfortunately, what people like Eddie are missing is the long-term consequences their attitudes bring to our political environment and ultimately our well being as a freedom-loving nation.
Let me clarify my comment by stating some of my beliefs:
– there is no such thing as a benevolent government, only varying states of malevolence;
– highly malevolent governments can only function when there is total conformity; and
– moral dissention is not only good, but very healthy for a properly functioning democracy.
When we conform we are essentially giving the malevolent dictators permission to do what they wish to us. I once had a very wise person tell me that it seems that psychopaths function best in government. It seems to me that they function best in non-elected government, and with my limited experience, they tend to gravitate towards the top of the heap.
Lets take this logic a little further. If a malevolent person with ideations of total control over his/her subservients wanted to identify the potential dissidents to his/her ideation what better way than to introduce some form of enforced compliance with loss of employment being the only other option?
What happens when there is no dissenting nurse that will challenge a doctor while advocating for the patient? Or there is no dissenting police officer who will stand up and challenge the injustices they are ordered to perform? They will only get worse as the malevolence increases and moral boundaries decrease. What will you do when they come knocking on your door? By then it will be too late.
COVID-19 is very, very nasty, and we should do what we think is best to protect ourselves in whatever form that takes. But that is where this political game and accompanying enforcement needs to stop.
Some may be aware of the local government plans to shunt Fergus Highway 6 traffic east to a northbound highway along a presently residential street, Anderson Street to be specific, and impacting the Grand River and adjacent lands with a new bridge.
Local residents and others, including a public school student, have repeatedly pointed out the negative influence this traffic plan would have.
However there is a bigger, even more important, aspect this all has on the people of Fergus. That is the likelihood of future donation of lands, by citizens, to the town of Fergus and its people.
Let me point out that the Beatty Company (an early prominent Fergus industrial group) and family donated the facility and land on which the original Fergus outdoor swimming pool stood at 190 St. David St. S. This was an iconic spot loved by generations of Fergus families and their children. The chatter and laughter of children pervaded the town all summer long.
“The pool was designated under the Ontario Heritage Act in 2006 by the Township of Centre Wellington to preserve the community landmark for future generations” (quoted from the Ontario Heritage Trust).
When the new Fergus “sportsplex” was built it was not long before our municipal government officials reneged on their promise and took it into their own hands to violate this wonderful gift, sell it to local business interests and deny that important private gift to all of those in Fergus.
Similarly, as previously noted, the current plan to divert Highway 6 traffic would equally break the intentions of a person who made a perpetual gift to the people of Fergus. The intent was to keep the Grand River and its adjacent Pierpont Park lands free from development, keeping it as a natural preserve of nature to be enjoyed by all.
The question is, after these types of violations of the gifts intended for the people of Fergus how many persons in the future are likely to make such important enduring gifts to our community? Wake up, local government officials and keep those gifts in perpetuity as they were originally intended.
RE: Some camel, Nov. 18.
Referencing your editorial, you have hit the “proverbial” nail square on.
The only thing that I could add to your prose is a line from the novel True North by American author Jim Harrison that reads “…There is something very troubling when we allow ourselves to become proud of our destructiveness of a natural environment in the creation of a sprawl of urban ugliness.”
‘Rethink in order’?
Just a little reading is required to understand that electric vehicles (EVs) are not the environmental saviour they are touted to be.
The manufacturing of EVs has a huge carbon footprint, especially from the mining and processing of raw materials for batteries. Mining equipment is powered by fossil fuels. One calculation reported that overall, an EV only emits 24% less carbon-dioxide than a gas powered vehicle – not exactly zero emissions.
Another problem is that a good portion of the cobalt used in the batteries comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo, where children as young as seven years of age are earning $1 a day digging cobalt with hand tools, and as a result suffering from chronic lung disease from cobalt dust.
The Ontario government needs to make sure that any EV batteries manufactured in Ontario use only cobalt mined here, as other sources are not tracked to exclude child-mined cobalt.
The EV industry needs to clean this up because otherwise buying an EV is no different than, for example, buying something made by the forced labour of Uyghurs in Communist China.
The materials in EV batteries are “rare” earths. Will these earths be all mined out just when governments have legislated away gas-powered vehicles?
EV batteries are also extremely dangerous. They can blow up in an accident and the resulting fire is hard for firefighters to put out. In a California case, firefighters had to extinguish three spontaneous fires in the same battery over a six-day period. Will insurance costs rise if firefighters have to stand watch over EV batteries that have been breached in an accident?
Not only are accidents a problem, but end-of-life recycling for EV batteries requires specialized care as the individual cells in the batteries can blow up when taken apart. Ontario will need to build a recycling industry for these batteries.
It is critical that none of these batteries is allowed to deteriorate and their contents leak into the environment as a 20-gram cell phone battery can pollute a water body equivalent to three standard swimming pools and if it is buried in the ground, it can pollute 1 square kilometer (247 acres) of land for about 50 years, so said Wu Feng, a professor at Beijing Institute of Technology.
Extrapolate that to a huge EV battery; these batteries could poison us long before climate change gets us. Maybe a rethink on EVs is in order.
Light show returns
The 3rd Line Lights are back and collecting donations once again for the food bank and Humane Society.
You can see the computerized musical light show nightly from 5 to 11pm. Please be aware that a bridge is out on the road, but you can access this display from 30th Sideroad still and there is a place to U-turn just up the hill from our homes, with signs marking it.
Last year we had amazing success and hope to collect more this year. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.
The Tosos and Hendersons,
An open letter to Warden and Centre Wellington Mayor Kelly Linton and CW council.
Welcome to “bag village.”
Why couldn’t municipal workers pick up all the leaf bags in Elora before the Santa Claus parade? There was no snow to plow.
It was not very inviting for visitors to come into town with streets lined with bags.
This is a rant. Recently our Canadian news outlets referred to the high-level talks between Canada, the United States and Mexico as between the “three amigos.”
Does not our media realize how inappropriate it is to refer to the leaders of these three countries as amigos? It is childish, immature and harkens back to another era. It is juvenile in 2021 and time for our broadcasters to grow up.
I watch the American outlets as well and never once have I heard them use this term. Unfortunately, it probably won’t change in this country because our broadcasters must think it is cute or endearing. It is neither.
‘What a catch’
So many people have laughed at me for hitting a rock with my new boat six hours after buying it. Yes, I hit a rock. Yes, I took the bottom end out of the motor.
So now the rest of the story: hooked onto a musky, massive, powerful, stupendous, and was pulling our boat like 15 miles an hour. I was holding on, setting drag, Wayne was trying to steer, put the motor in reverse and yell directions when suddenly this massive fish jumped right in the air, it was magnificent.
We froze in absolute awe as it flew right over a rock. To our horror we now saw its nefarious plot. It was trying to rip the boat loose. I calculated the situation and then decided I would not release, hang the consequences. There was a blinding flash, a scrapping blast of sound but I never wavered! I held on. It looked back and saw I was too much for him, with one last plunge to the depths, one futile try at besting me, it gave up, swam over and bowed in defeat.
Magnanimous to the end, I saluted a worthy warrior and released him to fight another.
As I surveyed the damage to the boat, I let out a satisfied sigh. Yes, the damage was profound but what a catch.
Eric Van Grootheest,