Mailbag: 03/09/23

‘The glue that binds’

Dear Editor:

Thank you very much for exploring printer issues and arriving at a solution so we may continue to read the Advertiser every week.

The editorial and readers’ letters provide very good insight and food for thought on a variety of issues in and around the County of Wellington. Local news is handled in a straightforward and informative manner while providing stories that matter.

The Advertiser knows its local market best. It also educates us, providing us with information to guide important decisions that will affect the quality of our own lives, as well as those of future generations.

An entire community – even non-voters – benefits when voters make informed decisions about local candidates and policies. 

Not everyone is online so it is most important to keep the community informed and connected. A newspaper does not require any technology or device to read it.

The Advertiser plays a vital role in helping us stay connected and to become informed citizens. It is the glue that binds the community politically, economically and socially. 

I look forward to reading it from cover to cover each week.

Judy McMunn,

‘Smoke and mirrors’

Dear Editor:

Premier Ford sent a full box of glossy “healthcare” propaganda books around to constituency offices. He is scheming to sell  privatization! How much money did this 50-plus page campaign magazine cost taxpayers?

The public record shows when nurses and health professionals faced duress at work, and record inflation, the Ford government suppressed  wages! The courts deemed it unconstitutional. But did it stop him? How much more anti-nurse and antisocial propaganda will we see?

Doug Ford has purposely starved our health care system of millions of dollars, leaving Ontario nurses in unsafe and even dangerous working conditions. They deserve better staffing and better wages which will help them to deliver better care and to have a life. 

This will absolutely affect you at some point in your future. Nurses are getting scarce and you would have noticed if you have been to a health care provider in the past few years.

The premier claims he “loves nurses.” If this were true, he wouldn’t be taking them to court over unconstitutional Bill 124, and then suppressing their wages.

When you love and value workers, you treat them with respect and dignity.

Don’t be fooled by the glossy presentation. It’s all smoke and mirrors. You will pay for it, too.

Gerry Walsh,

‘Fear mongering’

Dear Editor:

RE: Addicted children, Feb. 23.

I am working alongside the Wellington County councillor on this initiative, and I’d like to dispel the misinformation that was in this letter.

Many of the claims the writer made, that bringing cannabis shops to town would harm our community, are either false, fear mongering or demonstrate a complete misunderstanding of retail cannabis. The research shows that prohibiting these legal dispensaries enables the illegal market, with unregulated products, to thrive.

At least 414 municipalities across Ontario have passed bylaws to permit the regulated selling of this legal product and, as noted in our delegation to council, but not included in the article, former Wellington OPP detachment inspector Scott Lawson confirmed in his 2018 presentation to council that legal stores reduce the risk to youth and the community. 

The “cannabis fumes making the whole block smell” statement is a fundamental misunderstanding of retail cannabis outlets. It sounds like the writer is talking about cannabis grow and production facilities, which is not what our delegation to council was about. 

Cannabis was legalized in Canada in 2018. In Ontario, the retail regulations began in 2018. Having legal access to cannabis has also allowed for comprehensive studies about cannabis use and those who use it.

Many of our residents use it for PTSD, anxiety, depression, and during chemotherapy for appetite to name but a few. Over 65% of residents voted in favour of legal cannabis shops in 2018, and that number has only grown since.

The misinformation presented two weeks ago contributes to the status quo of allowing illegal drug dealers to continue to operate and continue to sell to youth. It’s time to end the misinformation and fear mongering around this legally regulated product.

John Misfud,

‘Failed miserably’

Dear Editor:

The coward we call our prime minister only needed to meet with a representative group of truckers in Ottawa, and hear and address their grievances. That was the clearly stated objective right from the beginning.

Instead, he opted to seize donated funds, freeze/seize bank accounts, and use intimidation and force to subdue an already peaceful (although admittedly unorthodox) protest.

Why were the enforcers unidentifiable by the protesters? Why have automatic weapons and heavily armoured mounted enforcers to quell an unarmed and peaceful group of protesters?  These are tactics used in extreme authoritarian regimes, not in peace-loving and democratic Canada.

Unfortunately as Canadians, we have wholeheartedly bought into a belief that our governments are primarily benevolent by nature, when in fact the exact opposite has been happening, especially over the past eight years.  

There is no such thing as a benevolent government, only varying degrees of malevolence, and given the willingness to consider instituting the Emergencies Act, let alone enacting it, is a very real indication of just how malevolent our government actually is.

The outcome declared by Justice Paul Rouleau, is not surprising in my opinion, given the admission of anything else would be unthinkable. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did uphold the letter of his oath, in that he did enforce peace, order and good government. However, the implied oath, which I believe we expect from our government is peace order and good moral government. 

On that oath, Trudeau failed miserably.

Wayne Baker,

‘Read up’

Dear Editor:

In regards to letters last week from Jane Vandervliet and Delsie Drover, let me set the record straight, since the “facts” both letters outlined read like Fox News. 

Truckers could not enter the U.S. unless they had been vaccinated. I had a medical postponed due to the critical beds being taken by anti-vaxxers, and when I went people were shouting at doctors and nurses.

Here is a clue: the rest of us have our right to freedom.

Interesting how many MAGA hats and nasty “F” signs I witnessed at the convoy protests in Ottawa. As an ex-military man, flags are not meant to be worn as a coat or headdress. Flags are meant to be flown on staffs or flag poles.

I lived in Ottawa; three weeks was more than enough time for the rabble to be moved on. Seems to them and the letter writers that “freedom is a one-way street.” 

But with freedom goes responsibility and I witnessed none of that. Maybe you would enjoy trucks blowing their air horn 24/7 outside of your house. 

By the way, the RCMP moved in on a group of “terrorists” in Coutts, Alberta. Check and read up.

Jim Trautman,
Simi Valley, California

‘In this together’

Dear Editor:

Ontario’s healthcare system is being aggressively pushed to the brink; two million Ontarians don’t have access to a family doctor, patients are facing unimaginable waits for emergency care, routine surgeries, and diagnostics, and are being looked after by burnt-out staff who are incredibly demoralized. 

I know this because I’ve been a registered nurse in Ontario for years, and am only one among thousands of RNs who have fled Ontario because of Ford’s Bill 124. After working short staffed for years, before and after COVID-19’s start, Ford’s appeal of Bill 124 – between Christmas and New Years – is beyond disrespectful.

The widening economic inequality, housing unaffordability, cost of living, and unmitigated climate crises all have worsened directly due to Ford’s corporate welfare, landlord -friendly, environmentally destructive policies. 

Additional reasons for this include Ford’s failure to implement evidence-based social welfare improvement policies, choosing instead to defund human needs while enriching his already wealthy industry friends. 

As a direct result of Ford’s disgraceful decisions, I have been unable to afford ongoing housing, transportation and food costs, and instead am only intermittently able to afford to live and work in Ontario. The other months of the year I spend outside of Ontario, for only a small fraction of the cost it would otherwise cost me to stay in Ontario to continue working my full-time RN job with my additional part-time RN jobs.

Ford’s Bill 124 undervalues public healthcare and those working in it. This is all being exacerbated by Ford systematically under-funding public care in attempts to sell privatization as a solution, which decades of evidence-based research conclusively demonstrates is false.

Invest public money building a robust, resilient healthcare system that works for all patients and healthcare workers, because we are all in this together.

Travis Frampton,

‘Hamstrung by province’

Dear Editor:

Last week I attended the information night at the Belwood townhall.

Almost all of the questions that I was prepared to ask concerned, “Is it possible for the township or county to legislate builders to modify or change houses to comply with requests in subdivisions?”

 The answer was “No.” As long as the builder complies with the building code and the zoning he is generally immune to town requests. 

The builder may put in a sump pump, but nothing says a one way back up valve is required. You may want an accessible house, but if the builder does not have any in the production house plans for the subdivision, the you are out of luck. Builders will make minor changes, such as the back up valve, at the request of the customer. 

What I came away with is that in many areas that seem logical, the town is hamstrung by the province.

Chris Woode,

Relocate park?

Dear Editor:

I believe it would be a good time to re-locate BT Park in Fergus to across the river where the seating is in back of the library. 

The park is never used and visitors do not really know it’s there. 

Relocating would allow visitors to have a great view of the Grand  River and enjoy the park in place of a cement pad.

Brian Mackay,

‘Blue violence’

Dear Editor:

Recently I listened to eulogies delivered at the funeral for Tyre Nicols, who was recently murdered by five police officers, members of an elite police squad called Scorpion in Memphis, Tennessee.  It is important to note that the officers were Black as well as the victim. By listening we learn!

I have listened to police commissioners and police chiefs in Canada and the United States talk about the need for public safety and the “lived” experience of police officers.

I have listened to the Vice President of the United States, Kamala Harris, who asked at Mr. Nicols’ funeral, “Did he have no right to public safety?”  As a member of the Black community, did he have no “lived” experience? Profound, all encompassing questions!

Reverend Al Sharpton, who addressed the congregation the day of the funeral, recalled his days of activism from the time of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. to the present. Sharpton spoke about the struggle of the Black community for acceptance into better paying work, including the police force. How now he felt ashamed that it was five Black officers, among others, who will be indicted for the brutal slaying of the victim. What humility!

The attorney for Tyre Nicols’ family approached the issue of “colour” from a different perspective. He said it was the colour of the victim that is important, describing it as blue violence by the police, on a Black victim. It isn’t a matter of a “few bad apples” in policing; it is the culture deeply rooted that allows and permits such behaviour to exist and flourish.

When crime goes down, police ask for more resources. When crime goes up, police ask for more resources. And the sad thing is police budgets keep increasing. Sad for them, and sad for everyone. 

It is time to listen!

Janet Calderwood,

‘Double whammy’

Dear Editor:

In February, the Ontario government touted a win when it announced that recipients of the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) could now earn more money from working, without their ODSP support being affected. 

But for Ontarians with the most severe disabilities, including amputees, it’s status quo amidst the skyrocketing cost of living.

What the government misses completely is that amputees receiving ODSP simply cannot work – let alone work more – without the artificial arms or legs needed for basic tasks such as walking, dressing or holding objects. 

Thanks to outdated funding models from the Ontario government, these crucial artificial limbs are often impossible to afford for ODSP recipients, leaving amputees literally without a leg to stand on.

While Ontario’s Assistive Devices Program (ADP) states “75 per cent coverage” for artificial limbs, this coverage is based on outdated prosthetic costs. In reality, ADP covers only about 20% of the cost of an artificial limb for the average Ontarian.

As a first step to alleviate this double whammy against amputees, ODSP must be increased to be on par with other provinces. 

At a maximum of $1,228 per month, Ontario lags behind Quebec ($1,463), BC ($1,358) and Alberta ($1,685). Better still, the government must recognize that this amount is well below the poverty line and provide a living wage to all persons with disabilities and increased coverage for artificial limbs – it’s the least we owe to Ontario’s most vulnerable and in need.

Annelise Petlock,
Director of Advocacy for The War Amps, Ontario