Mail bag: July 16, 2020

‘Addiction not a crime’

Dear Editor:

Last Thursday, the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) issued a report supporting an idea that those of us working in the addiction sector have been advocating for years: addiction is a health issue, not a crime.

As a provider of residential and community based addiction treatment services since 1971, Stonehenge Therapeutic Community would like to thank the CACP for their progressive, evidence-based, harm reduction approach to transforming how our society understands and supports individuals with substance use disorder. Your collective voice is vital in helping us move this issue forward.

Among other important recommendations, the report endorses the decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession and safe supply programs. Stonehenge is in full support of these approaches and will continue to advocate and work to make them a reality.

Substance use disorder is a health issue that does not discriminate and impacts people from all walks of life – this is true now more than ever. Research has shown that 38% of Ontarians report an increase in their substance use as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This increase can in part be attributed to the unprecedented isolation people are facing.

This isolation has also resulted in a worsening of the opioid crisis and an even greater increase in the number of people dying from accidental overdose. Now is the time for change. By implementing the recommendations made by the CACP we can remove barriers to wellness, reduce the harm of substance use and save lives.

For too long we have persisted in viewing substance use disorder as a moral failing despite significant research and evidence to the contrary. Understanding addiction as a public health issue is a transformative shift for society that is long overdue. If we change how we understand it, then we can change how we respond. Responding by redirecting individuals away from the justice system and into health-based services, will allow us to stop ineffectively trying to arrest our way out of a health problem.

In order to push this change forward, we must build this shared understanding in our community. Stonehenge will continue to build on the already strong collaboration with our policing and health colleagues to advocate for change and the treatment options that are needed.

Support for the decriminalization of simple possession of illicit drugs and safe supply programs would ensure that people with a health issue receive a health-based response, and treat individuals with the respect they deserve while instilling hope for their future.

Kristin Kerr,
Executive director, Stonehenge Therapeutic Community, Guelph


Factual reporting

Dear Editor:

RE: Local man faces murder charge after investigation at Maple Leaf Acres, July 9.

Your online article was the only factual reporting on the recent tragedy in Maple Leaf Acres that I read. Unfortunately, other local community papers preferred not to do a little investigation to see where we are actually located.

News media, including CTV News-Kitchener, had audacity to say we were a part of the Belwood community … obviously they did not even have knowledge of where they were reporting from when trespassing onto our private property.

We are a private park owned by the Homeowners Association; our postal address is Fergus, Ontario.

As a homeowner I thank the Advertiser for its honest, factual reporting and condemn the other local news media for having no concern, sympathy or empathy for a family suffering greatly from this terrible loss of a family member. So much for getting their facts straight.

However, I did learn as a Canadian how our news media writes, reports and sensationalizes tragedies, which is beyond belief and should not be allowed to continue in this manner.

As a person who has never experienced any type of interaction with police, our OPP detachment personnel are the very best in my estimation, both professional and caring in this matter to the family as well as myself and other neighbours. The constables, detectives. forensic teams, Guelph Humane Society, along with having to do their job they also were very respectful of our residents giving us a sense of safety and security.    

I would personally like to thank Maple Leaf Acres and all the neighbours on Poplar Place for their quiet concern. It was very much appreciated.

Gayle Else,
Maple Leaf Acres



Dear Editor:

RE: Canadian company launches Fergus-Opoly board game, June 25.

In this article a Canadian Company called Outset Media was celebrating Fergus-Elora with a new “limited edition” game called Fergus-Opoly that they were releasing through Walmart.

It was to be available online or at the Fergus store.

A neighbour who is inexperienced at buying online called me to get her one of these games after she had visited Walmart only to find out from Customer Service that they had no more, they only got one skid, and it was almost immediately sold out. Further, she had no idea whether more were to be delivered.

Later, I went online for her and no matter how I entered it, the search came up as an unknown product.

I have a few choice words for Outset Media.  If they want towns across the country to buy into their concept then they need to do some serious work in the areas of dependability, responsible advertising and availability of their product. In fact, this brings me to the real point of my letter.

Why is Outset Media giving the sales of a purely Canadian product to an American multi-million dollar business? If they really want consumers here to get on board with these games then why haven’t they chosen local retailers to sell this “Canadian game”, giving our local business owners the opportunity to benefit from selling these games celebrating the villages of Elora/Fergus?

My neighbour has lost much of her enthusiasm after we discussed all these issues. Seems that in the end Outset Media is just another money hungry venture willing to sell their souls to the Americans, while trying to convince us of their patriotism and interest in our community. Balderdash!

Jan Pinney,


Service sham

Dear Editor:

I am absolutely disgusted with Service Ontario. Last year they closed their Arthur office and this year Mount Forest and Harriston offices were closed due to COVID-19 (I’m unsure of Listowel). This leaves Wellington North without Service Ontario representation.

Our closest office is now in Fergus, but they have cut their hours to 9am to 1pm, Monday to Friday, with no weekends.  That leaves two women 20 hours a week to issue drivers licences, licence stickers, OHIP cards etc. for all the residents of Wellington North and Fergus.

How these women stay sane I don’t know but they do. I was so impressed with their efficiency and positive attitude greeting everyone with a smile.

To get my licence sticker I had to line up along the side of the building in the blazing sun and high temperatures without an inch of shade or anywhere to sit before I could enter the air conditioned office and lined up for an additional 15 minutes.

On other days I have seen the lineup going up Gorrie Street under the same conditions, including seniors and the physically challenged.  I can only wonder how long they had to wait to enter the air conditioned office.

I have a heart condition, asthma and other medical issues but Service Ontario in their infinite wisdom doesn’t see a problem with any of this.  Shame on you, Service Ontario!

Lesley Morris,


Eye care concerns

Dear Editor:

Do your readers realize that OHIP does not cover all the cost of an eye exam by the optometrist? The optometrist  is paid only half the cost!

With the current pandemic requiring social distancing, the optometrist can see only half the patients, so their bottom line is impacted even more. They could send patients to the hospital or the family doctor, but this would result in the patient being sent back to the optometrist again.

Please bring this omission in your eye care to your local MPP and urge him to bring this omission to your MP. Who would ever have thought that OHIP  doesn’t cover all the cost of your eye care?

Do you need some eye care soon? Then be sure to do this now! You need to move.

Sytske Drijber,


Mask ‘discrimination’

Dear Editor:

It’s disheartening that some people take it upon themselves to discriminate against those who, for medical reasons, cannot wear a face covering.

A serious health risk is posed to these individuals. By claiming an exemption, it is not the intention of said individuals to put others at risk. They are merely exercising their right to be exempt.

My purpose in writing this letter is to inform others who are being harassed by fear-filled uninformed people.

Sandra Owen,


Toronto and taxes

Dear Editor:

The czar of Toronto is spending our tax dollars again. Mayor John Tory is spending millions to install designated bus routes …. and of course the initial route is on Eglinton East into Scarborough, the very fertile core of his voters.

Extending bus routes doesn’t bother me whatsoever; however, at the same news conference, Tory stated that it is imperative that the city receive millions from all levels of government; otherwise Torontonians would be  confronted with a 35% property tax increase. This is the same mayor who installed air conditioning  in thousands of subsidized city apartments .

If Mayor Tory wants bus lanes, fine. If he wants to provide air conditioning to his voters, fine.

Just don’t make me pay for it .

Jim McClure,


Sorry not enough

Dear Editor:

An open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Mr. Trudeau, sorry isn’t good enough. Pay the money given out for wages for family provided from WE to you and your family and mom and Mr. Morneau’s family members back to the Canadian bank account for our debt. This was a conflict of interest.  You gave $900 million to WE to provide student programs for jobs. By the way, was this voted on by parliament?

We also have people on disabilities who have physical and medical problems which cause valid problems with being able to work full time to earn. Yet, they struggle finding suitable rental accommodations they can afford at $600 to $700 per month and live on minimal grocery money.

Our able bodied students need to go out and find work and leave government spending for those in real need. Cut lawns. Paint. Flip burgers … please. Aren’t students currently getting $1,200 plus in COVID-19 money per month already?

If Revenue Canada notified me that I needed to pay more money on my tax return, would it be okay for me to just say I am sorry and forget that I owe the money to Revenue Canada?  No way. Revenue Canada is charging me interest for every day the money is overdue.  Revenue Canada would be sending me notices regularly until I paid.

Please take this as my notice, Mr. Trudeau. As Canadians and Ontarians, we need accountability from our political leaders. If a blunder is made financially, it is time the politicians and their party are held accountable.

If you won’t pay it back as retribution personally, which I think is justice, then the money should come from the Liberal Party bank account and be put into the Canadian debt bank account for all wages paid out by WE and please add interest paid on it for every day it is not returned at Revenue Canada rates.

This is only justice and the right thing to do. Sorry is not enough, Mr. Trudeau. Please contact Mr. Trudeau to support repayment to our Canadian debt by Mr. Trudeau, his family, Mr. Morneau, wages to daughter if applicable, and/or the Liberal Party funds account repayment option.

Carolann Krusky,


Pandemic poem

Dear Editor:

Live as if tomorrow….
If you were old before the COVID
You’ll still be old today.
All attending dangers
Won’t be held at bay.

You’re hearing will be rotten
And your knees will loudly squeak
Your kids will have forgotten that
Once you were at your peak.

You’ll fall and scrape your nose
Or even break a hip
You’ll fart when you are laughing
And won’t even care a bit.

Your spirit will have atrophied
Grown small and very weak
Letting this ugly virus
Turn you pale and meek.

But if you were very certain
That age would not come near
You danced naked in the moonlight
You have nothing now to fear.

A joyful, thankful heart is
What keeps us feeling young
For no fear is there of dying
When our living has just begun.

Joy Lippai,