Shares fond memories of the old barn

Thanks to Sam Piccolo for the article, “Adieu to an Arena” [Jan. 27, p.1]. It brought back lots of memories, and it was especially interesting to hear the story told from his own perspective.

We continue to be very grateful to all of those who coached our guys, or who reffed their games, or who looked after the arena and kept the ice so nice. And we remember those who have passed on whose memory will now long outlive the old arena, especially Doug Hall, Bill Campbell, Tom Coyne, and Craig Stirtzinger.

We’re also proud to be among the readers who recognized Sam in his goalie picture before seeing the caption or reading the article!

Lee & Shelley Winger
North Pelham

Pelham Council’s slippery slope toward absenteeism

In the political television drama The West Wing, Jed Bartlet says that, “Decisions are made by those who show up.” These words couldn’t be any truer when we consider the issue of proxy voting. When councillors are sworn in to office and conduct their orientation, they are given the Municipal Act, not a stamp book. Council is a legislative body that represents the interest of the people that elected them—who are you representing if you simply pass your vote to someone else?

The answer is no one.

Council is a job that requires your presence, you are not just there to vote, but to also represent (i.e., committees, discussion etc.). I do not get to pick and choose which duties I do and do not want to do at my job. If we did this at our jobs, we would be terminated, and we certainly would not be paid. Furthermore, “Councillor” is a honorary title given to those elected with the requirement of doing the job, not simply wanting the job. What is the point of being a councillor if you are going to have someone else vote/do that job for you?

Furthermore, proxy voting is a slippery slope which encourages absenteeism. Finally, there are many mechanical procedures that proxy voting would upend. One that comes to mind is quorum (the minimum required members that need to be present to conduct a council meeting). How would that be affected if we are actively promoting absenteeism through proxy voting? Quorum is a lot like being a boxer—you have to make the weight.

In conclusion, I urge Pelham Town Council not to support the inattentive concept of proxy voting.

Steven Soos
Former Pelham Town Council candidate
Fonthill

 

Check all school names for racism

Every day since George Floyd was killed in the summer of 2020 it seems there is another monument or statue pulled down, another building or school renamed. There is a reckoning happening now for the problematic figures of the past, figures who are rooted in the history of slavery and the monuments and places built or named to honour them.

No matter how hard you try to spin the name, Wellington Heights Public School will be forever associated with the Duke of Wellington. DSBN students, staff, administration (teachers, principals, superintendent and DSBN Chair, who was also Pelham’s trustee) all linked the Duke of Wellington to the school name Wellington Heights. The principals and superintendent at the time have moved on. Our trustee/Chair at the time was resoundingly voted out of office. The students who chose this name are now finishing Grade 12 and will be moving on with their lives. However, the community of Fenwick is left with a name on the wall of our public school that commemorates a man of abhorrent character.

Letters to the Voice editor in December 2020 alluded to the Duke of Wellington being pro-slavery. Since this is Black History month let me expand on that.

On November 26, 2020, the government of Wales placed two monuments, 32 street names and 14 buildings/places commemorating the Duke of Wellington on an audit of commemorations of people who opposed abolition of the slave trade or slavery. The authors of this audit were waiting on the publication of a book by the historian Michael Taylor for more information regarding Wellington’s stance on slavery.

Michael Taylor’s book, entitled, The Interest, How the British Establishment Resisted the Abolition of Slavery, has now been published. Michael Taylor is an historian of colonial slavery, the British Empire and the British Isles. I ordered and obtained a copy from the UK. Michael Taylor makes it explicitly clear that the Duke of Wellington was “the most pro-slavery frontline politician of the day” (Taylor, pg. 153). “He was also the figurehead of the High Tories, the conservatives whose hostility to reform —whether parliamentary, religious, or colonial — was implacable (Taylor, pg. 154). And that “slave emancipation would never happen on the watch of the High Tories” (Taylor, pg. 161).

Mr. Taylor writes that while Prime Minister, “The Duke of Wellington’s private papers reveal that he was working doggedly to frustrate the abolitionists” (pg.158). In a speech, “The prime minister appeared to deny the right of parliament to pass laws for the colonies,” and, “as long as the reform of slavery was entrusted to the ministry, real progress could be delayed, perhaps indefinitely” (pg. 159).

Taylor also writes that, “The Duke’s hostility to slave freedoms infected his views of other colonial policies. He noted in 1829 that no slave, whether male or female, ought to marry without the consent of the owner,” and, “a planter who was found guilty of cruelty towards an enslaved person would not forfeit ownership of that person; but if that enslaved person could not prove an allegation of cruelty against his owner, the ‘false’ nature of such a complaint deserved punishment.” (pg. 160).

Wellington’s racist character and policies make him an appallingly offensive choice for a school name whose students, alumni and school board must be firmly committed to combatting racism in all its forms. A school name should instill pride in every student, alumni, school board and every community member regardless of their race, religion, or sexual orientation.

February is Black History Month. The “Wellington” of Wellington Heights Public School was the most pro-slavery politician of his day. So what does the continued use of this name on our public school say about us today? And what would the removal of this name say about us today?

I, like the others that have written letters to The Voice, asked the DSBN to institute a policy to examine all school names in its district, not just Wellington Heights, to ensure they meet the commitment to “work towards the elimination of discrimination with the purpose of enhancing public confidence in the DSBN response to claims of discrimination of any kind.” At the January 26, 2021, DSBN board meeting our letters were referred to the Policy Committee for further review.

Please let your voices be heard as well. The DSBN needs to hear from the school community. Call our hardworking Trustee Nancy Beamer at (905) 892-5280, or email your thoughts to her at [email protected] Please include our School Superintendent Kelly Pisek [email protected] and the Chair of the Board Sue Barnett [email protected] in any correspondence to Nancy Beamer.

Jina Ker
Fenwick

 

Hunt leaves Short Hills a tarnished gem

In your article [Protests continue against Indigenous hunt, Feb. 3, p. 10], Southwest Ontario Zone Manager Greg Wilson states, “I have certainly seen a lot of behaviour from the harvesters that was very respectful.” First of all, Mr. Wilson hasn’t been present for the 2020-2021 hunts. I have. I have been hiking after each hunt and have seen multiple blood trails, mutilations with body parts left beside trails, and numerous gut piles. I have also seen pictures of a pregnant doe’s guts with twin fetuses left beside a trail, as well as her skinned nipples left nailed to a tree for all to see. Yet this once- beautiful park is still called the “hidden gem of Niagara.” Now it is a sad and bloody remnant of what it used to be. A tarnished gem.

A spokesperson for Trout Unlimited stated in the article that erosion damage in the park is due to the large amount of deer hooves. Yet large herds of deer in this park have never been documented other than by the Ministry, when they conduct its deer count from a helicopter. Are they counting each deer individually or the same ones over and over within the park’s boundaries? This Ministry helicopter was spotted just last week circling far outside the park’s boundaries.

The Ministry has protocols and rules and hunt zones and buffer zones in effect, or so they say. Mr. Wilson has stated that as long as hunters are inside the park, these protocols and zones cannot be enforced. Of course not. There were no Ministry officials inside the park during these last hunts, only hunters leaving bloody desecration and destruction behind them. I know for a fact that many homeowners abutting the park have had these hunters on their private property.

The park is being destroyed by hunters and their ATVs and trucks. Wounded deer with arrows stuck in them are wandering the trails until they die. The hunters are destroying living trees by pulling them down and making blinds. It is not a safe place to take your children or dogs for a walk. It won’t be long before a deer is a rare sight indeed in Short Hills and the once “hidden gem of Niagara” will be no more.

K. Masterson
Thorold

 

Hunting is not “harvesting”

The word “harvest” is associated with grow, raise, farm, ranch and other active verbs according to Roget’s International Thesaurus. There is no mention of Indigenous people “harvesting” deer. Wonder why?

A farmer toils for many seasons prior to bringing in and harvesting his hard-earned crops, unlike the hunters. The deer of Short Hills Park that lived successfully there up until 2013 have had no care by the Indigenous people. The deer have maintained themselves, thank you very much, with no race being able to take any credit for what they have become.

The Indigenous people refer to their hunt as a harvest and the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks refer to it as a harvest in all their written correspondence. Wonder why it is used by these two parties. My guess is that it is a kind word and it automatically muffles the true harshness of what is and has taken place.

Following the last hunt day, I heard from persons who went into Short Hills Park to explore and what did they find?

Deer guts and blood. But the worst part of all the guts of a once- pregnant doe and “to make it worst” twins. It does not stop there. The sickening pile was adorned above with a strip of flesh supporting the nipples of the dead doe. Why?

So if you were the one responsible for this disgusting find, perhaps you too would say I “harvest” deer.

Something that jumped out at me from the article “Protests continue against Indigenous hunt” in last week’s Voice was when the Haudenosaunee Wildlife and Habitat Authority said in part, “This is not just about deer hunting. We are building solid, respectful partnerships and working relationships with agencies and officials of other governments.” So why do you then need the deer to suffer instead make those partnerships in another way?

Tourism is a wonderful, peaceful way to bring money in for all parties regardless of race. Short Hills Provincial Park since its existence prior to 2013 was referred to as a gem.

The Ministry would proudly point out over 100,000 visitors yearly to the park, but with the black veil of negativity and myriad horrific stories circulating that number is spiralling down.

Have the Indigenous people work with the MEC&P in creating educational venues for tourists, who could enjoy the beauty of the deer as well.

There are so many ugly facets to the hunt in my mind and I also cannot understand the humans who have not a grain of acceptance for deer trying to live their lives naturally. Now the deer are condemned for stepping on plants. Well, pardon if they are not perfect like us humans, aye?

Enough said here, but I wondered what would have happened if that pregnant deer had been a dog? How then would the public have reacted. Just wondering.

Faye Suthons
Wainfleet

 

Deer hunt is treaty right

Great article, very informative [Protests continue against Indigenous hunt, Feb. 3, p. 10]. Imagine that, white people complaining about First Nations treaties and rights. Treaties were provided because the government stole their land. The deer are harvested, many celebrations are enjoyed over a good meal, and the bonding and tradition of hunting by bow is enjoyed by First Nations. It does not get any better than that.

Rod Scapillati
Voice website

 

PELHAM AND COVID-19 | Mayor Marvin Junkin

With worst likely still ahead, we need to stay strong

With yet a further reduction in vaccine doses to be delivered to Canada over the next two months, and with our federal government trying to obtain supplies from an agency set up to help “developing countries,” I think it is safe to say—albeit in so doing one is contributing to the noise, as Mr. Trudeau calls it—that our country’s strategies for obtaining vaccine doses on the world market are, at best, faltering. To be honest, this was always going to be a tough row to hoe, having to depend on manufacturing companies located in foreign countries to export from those same countries doses that they desperately need for their citizens, to Canada.

Europe, where a large percentage of the Pfizer vaccine is made, has a death toll approaching 800,000, with some individual countries seeing fatality numbers of over 1000 a day. The E.U. has now set in place a means to oversee exports, and will make sure their needs come first. We can’t really blame them for that kind of thinking.

The U.S., where Moderna currently has most of their present-day production, is seeing fatality numbers surpassing 3000 a day, and that country has already stated that American needs come first. Canada now ranks 33rd on the list of vaccinating countries on a per-capita bases. I believe it is going to get worse before it gets better.

In the Niagara Region, total number of doses administered is at 5374, with 568 people receiving shots last Friday. Almost 22 percent of residents living in long-term care homes have received their second shot. We also saw nearly a doubling in our new cases, going from 34 on Thursday to 61 on Friday. Pelham’s active cases continue to fall, now being at 27, with all of these residents self-isolating at home.

One side effect of these lock-downs is the deteriorating state of our collective mental health. A health unit in Eastern Ontario has registered a 100 percent increase in infant abuse over the last year. This number would include head trauma, brain injury, and broken limbs. We all must do our part in reaching out to friends and family members, offering support and friendship wherever we can. The number of new COVID-19 cases is trending down, for the most part, both provincially and nationally, so I am hopeful that if we do it slowly and carefully, we can ease some of these restrictions.

Bundle up, get outside for some exercise and phone a friend.

Until next time…

 

 

1 COMMENT

  1. Excellent! I can’t believe we would name a school as we have; I was against it from the start. We should be glad to get on the bandwagon and reverse this outrage, with apologies, a.s.a.p.

    Thanks for the work you have done on this!!

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