Colleen Kenyon proposal doesn’t respect health protocols
I would like to offer some comments regarding Ward 1 candidate Colleen Kenyon’s statements about her views on returning to school [Op-Ed, “Hopeful action, not wishful thinking,” Sept. 2, p. 7].
While in former times, her idea of people stepping up and volunteering to help with the students would be commendable, in the time of COVID it is unrealistic. At this time, the schools are doing everything possible to keep students safe and groupings small and traceable.
The DSBN is using its allowable reserves to hire 60-70 more teachers/support staff in order to lower class sizes. The schools are limiting interaction between students, and no volunteers, delivery people, etc., will be allowed into the schools. Utilizing public spaces, such as libraries, is not necessary at this time. Also, using public spaces would negate the efforts being made to provide accurate tracing of school-based contacts. As to matching up students with seniors, once again this would interfere with keeping groupings small and many seniors also fall into an “at risk” category.
I know we are all trying to find ways to make the school year as easy as possible for our students, but we must remember that this year is totally different and we must respect health protocols set in place by the School Board and the Health Department.
DSBN Trustee for Pelham/Thorold
Steven Soos pro bono plan ultimately anti-democratic
In a recent edition of the Voice, Mr. Steven Soos, a Town Council candidate for Ward 1, advertises that “if elected to Town Council” he will “work pro bono” and give back his salary to the Town.
This offer, although well-intentioned, is dangerous to the democratic process.
If we accept Mr. Soos’ offer, we are setting a precedent for future councillors to also work “pro bono.” In doing so, we would be creating a situation that could limit participation on Town Council only to those that are financially able to say no to an annual salary of $15,890.
Working for free is a privilege that many people in our community can’t afford. Single parents on one income, individuals working minimum wage jobs (or multiple minimum wage jobs), families facing unexpected medical bills—there are many people for whom, when faced with a choice between serving their community or putting food on their table, will make the obvious decision.
I know that statistically Pelham is, on average, a financially well-off community. But nonetheless, Statistics Canada shows that there are 5,255 individuals who make less than $30,000 a year—almost a third of our community. We also must remember that it is also true in Canada that income inequality is both gendered and racialized: women and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of colour) earn less.
Diversity is key to innovation, and if we only have councillors that can afford to work for free, we may be losing out on people that could bring to council their varied perspectives, opinions and experiences — if only they could afford to hire a babysitter, skip a shift at work or pay for transit to meetings and community activities.
I recognize that Mr. Soos thought it would be a generous offer that would show his commitment to our town. I hope he reconsiders his decision.
So Mr. Soos, if elected, take your salary and spend it according to your needs and values—donate it to the library, to Pelham Cares, to the Bandshell Committee—but please don’t start a process that makes Pelham a place where your personal income defines your ability to run for public office.
Whistler checks in to defend Padre Rob
I was born in Welland, and raised in Fonthill. I attended Fonthill Public School, as did my father before me. Memories include, of course, Keith’s Restaurant, but also Stallwoods, Stedman’s, the John Deere store, the Pelham Herald, and the glory days playing outdoor hockey at the Fonthill rink. To further validate my youthfulness, I remember when the mayor was Harold Black.
But I digress.
I am writing this letter to the editor to say how much I enjoy being a subscriber, thanks to the subscription thoughtfully purchased by my octogenarian mother, who still resides in Fonthill. I am also writing to say how much I enjoy the weekly column “Faith Lift” by Pastor Rob Weatherby. Dutifully each week —week in, week out — he writes an inspiring, uplifting religious column that often references key historical figures and events. The column is always enlightening and helpful, and never disparaging. It may not be for everybody, but it is always positive.
Enter Mr. David Fowler.
He wrote a letter to the editor [Letters, “Happiness doesn’t require divine intervention,” Aug. 19, p. 4] pertaining to an earlier Faith Lift column. Mr. Fowler found it “amusing” that a weekly column with the title “Faith Lift” by a pastor would include a suggestion that “church is good for you.” This, in an era where fear has greatly enveloped the world, and the only known antidote to fear is faith. Full stop.
If Mr. Fowler has any other prescient insights into how to live a more full and complete life, and would like to share them with us, I would suggest he contact the editor. I surmise that the editorial staff of the Voice would love to have another weekly column for its readership.
Same result, different pandemic
The pandemic rages on. To date, almost 1000 Canadians have died this year, and the outlook is for about 500 more by Christmas. No, I’m not talking about COVID-19. This pandemic is much worse—it’s the ongoing slaughter of citizens killed by drunk drivers. I say that it’s much worse because there seems to be no end in sight. It has been ongoing for almost a century, and people seemed resigned that there is nothing that can be done about it.
So, year after year after year, 1500 Canadians die at the hands of totally irresponsible people. The worldwide statistics are horrifying—in the U.S. about 10,000 people die each year in alcohol-related car crashes. Imagine the outrage if we were told that there was nothing to be done about COVID-19 and that we can only get used to losing thousands of people worldwide every year for as long as we can foresee.
Every week this paper publishes the names of about 20 people who are charged by the Niagara Regional Police Service with impaired driving, and these are just the ones who are caught. Clearly our justice system doesn’t offer enough of a deterrence to impaired driving.
If you’ve had enough and want to try to do something about it, contact MADD—Mothers Against Drunk Driving—and offer your financial support to their efforts to end the carnage.
More reaction to Colleen Kenyon op-ed
It’s too much asking for a little town of 17,000 people. Her ideas would get lost in trying to ask for too many things. Maybe Toronto would be okay for all of that. Here things are smaller, and her stand that we have too many old people is shocking. I am one of them.
Gordana Cica Laban
Praise for Lloyd and crew
Beamers Hardware has been a rock solid support to both rural and urban residents in the Pelham area for decades. Wilson’s started it in 1946 and Lloyd Beamer took over the business in 1986. They have really knowledgeable sales staff who can answer your questions and recommend the appropriate solutions.
They have a repair department that can fix your broken windows and screens, TVs, lawnmowers, appliances, all at reasonable rates. They also provide a key cutting service.
I recently needed an item fixed. A new part was going to cost $175. They checked their used spare parts bin, found one, tested it and it worked perfectly and only charged me $25 for it.
What other repair centre would even suggest that as an option.
A special thanks to the staff at Beamers for looking after me all these years.
Would criticism of Christian faith extend to Indigenous rituals?
Catching up on missed Voice issues after holidays, I came across David Fowler’s personal worldview reply to Pastor Weatherby’s Aug. 12 submission [Faith Lift, “Why church is good for you,” Aug. 12, p. 19].
The fact that Fowler is chiding a pastor for doing what pastors are supposed to do makes little sense. Yet his ideological response is exactly what is expected of an atheist. But would Fowler dare voice his atheistic rant to, let’s say, an Indigenous chief happy to pray in his native tongue encouraged by government funding for aboriginal language revival? One longhouse ritual participant said, “When we’re conducting ceremonies it feels like we’re doing it for the Creator.”
On an interesting note, Jesuit Priests helped the learning process along via their linguistically rich records of native languages.
Today’s politically correct tyranny means a lot of cherry picking goes on.
Call to stop upcoming double-breasted cormorant hunt
Sunday morning, the last one of the long weekend, has proven to be beautiful and peaceful. Peaceful because there are presently no sights or sounds of hunters assaulting and warring on nature, but soon that will quickly change.
The Doug Ford government has given the green light to allow the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry Minister John Yakabuski to hold a 106-day hunt from September 15 to December 31 against the double-crested cormorant.
According to what I’ve seen online, there is an open letter to Minister Yakabuski from 51 wildlife experts—both Canadian and American—who signed on to announce in their learned opinion the hunt is totally wrong-headed.
Surely Minister Yakabuski will have the courage to learn and do the right thing and stop the hunt completely.
Upon researching I have learned these birds fought their way back from near extinction through the use of DDT, and now only to come to this. The experts above believe they could be totally eliminated this time around.
The cormorants are being blamed solely for sports fish being taken. Never to realize that humans play a large part in this with their habits of spewing millions of tons of plastics, chemical runoffs, garbage, human feces when accidents happen all too often, the list goes on.
What hypocrites humans are.
The hunters will be allowed to kill 15 birds a day, which are said to be inedible. So where will those dead bodies be left to decay and thus kill more wildlife?
PELHAM AND COVID-19 | Mayor Marvin Junkin
By-election process moving smoothly—don’t forget to vote
As of Friday noon Pelham had zero active cases of COVID-19, and since the beginning of the pandemic there have been 41 in total active cases. The Niagara Region as a whole has 10 active cases, with seven municipalities reporting zero active cases. The numbers in the Region continue to be great, especially when one considers the number of people visiting the area, either in the typical tourist areas, such as N-O-T-L and Niagara Falls, but also the higher than usual numbers of tourists visiting the beaches in Niagara.
Town Clerk Nancy Bozzato and her staff have been tasked with running an election in Ward 1 during this pandemic. Last Thursday was the first of two advance polls, located at Fire Stations 2 and Station 3. The next advance poll is this coming Saturday, September 12, with Election Day occurring net Tuesday, September 15, at these same two locations.
My wife, Candi, and I voted last Thursday at Station 3, located just north of Sixteen Road, on Cream Street. As I expected, everything went like clockwork, from the staff screening at the entrance, to the individuals taking names, checking I.D.s, and the last person showing voters how to place their ballot in the voting machine. Sanitizing of the booths is done after each use, and an added bonus because of the pandemic, is that each voter gets to keep the pen they used to mark the ballot.
Two hundred and one people voted at this first advance poll, with the votes not being tabulated until after 8 PM on Election Day.
Municipal government is the grassroots of the three governmental levels. This is the level you phone when your road isn’t plowed in the winter or has too many potholes in the summer; and yes, every once in a while, a resident will phone either myself or Town staff to say “Job well done.”
I encourage all Ward 1 residents to do their democratic duty and mark their choice! ◆