Stupid is as stupid does

I once held the conviction that I should not label people who disagree with me on topics such as politics and religion as stupid, as this would be unnecessarily insulting. However, a line has been crossed, and I must agree with last week’s sentiment in Publisher’s Corner that it’s time to drop “any pretense that COVID-19 deniers are anything other than spectacularly stupid people.”

The signs that they carry sport exceedingly stupid slogans. The chants that they shout are utterly mindless. If they aren’t actually stupid, they are abysmally ignorant.

One of the people they look up to as a “leader” is West Lincoln Mayor Dave Bylsma, who has been reprimanded by Regional Council for “racially insensitive remarks”; a man who gets bent out of shape by the LGBTQ community, and by Indigenous activists fighting for their rights.

When I saw the picture of Mr. Bylsma addressing the assembled crazies, I thought that the police should charge him with inciting to riot or at least with breaking the anti-COVID laws. But then I decided that this would indeed play right into his hands, giving him more newspaper coverage and bolstering his self-image as some kind of victimized martyr.

Better to let the people of West Lincoln show him the door in the next election. Surely they wouldn’t embarrass themselves by re-electing him …would they?

David Fowler

Common courtesy shouldn’t be virus victim too

Whilst walking our dog on Saturday morning, I was surprised by the Town blocking off the entrance to the Harold Black Park parking lot, as a vehicle was parked in there. As we returned some 15 minutes later, the vehicle owner dismantled the blockage, and left without replacing the barrier.

I stopped the vehicle and asked why he had not replaced the barrier, and received the feeble excuse that he had been blocked in, and then he started hurling abuse because I had said it was done for a good reason.

When are people going to learn to be good citizens and follow simple rules to get out of this awful and destructive COVID problem? I did rebuild the barrier, but no doubt there will be more folks who think they know better.

John Foster


Words hurt—think before you post

Social media posts I have read over the past year that are related to COVID-19 are varied and ranged from full-on support of public health measures to outright disdain of anyone believing COVID-19 is a crisis. I am writing to express how hurtful and heartbreaking it is when I read posts denying we are in the midst of a crisis, or that somehow the health sector is whining and inflating the issue.

I might not always agree with what I read on social media, but I normally respect the fundamental and precious right of freedom of speech. However, when that right impinges on the safety and welfare of others, I cannot stand back and ignore the “noise.” Every time I read a post that suggests the crisis is overblown, encourages others to ignore public health guidelines—or worse, encourages mass gatherings without masks—I wonder if these authors have considered the impact of their words on their families, colleagues, and healthcare members, as well as the greater community.

How many have considered the feelings of families and colleagues that have lost loved ones to the virus, or those that have stood by helplessly while family members have battled COVID-19 in hospitals, or at home alone without support? I am one of those families. My sister, brother-in-law, and 20-year-old niece are recovering after being infected with a variant that has left them literally breathless.

Not knowing how they were, knowing they were faced with caring for themselves in their home when barely able to lift their heads or get out of bed, and knowing how quickly their health could degenerate, were sources of terror for me and my family. Posting messages saying we are not in the midst of a crisis is insulting to those of us directly impacted by COVID-19.

I also ask those of you creating these posts to consider the healthcare members in your communities. My husband is a nurse who was recently informed he may be caring for coronavirus patients. Although I am fully aware of the safety protocols that are in place while caring for patients, the fact remains there is always a risk that he could bring the virus home. Not everyone in our household is vaccinated so we are worried. Yet, even with our concerns, my husband would never dream of walking away from his duty because he understands the depth of the current crisis and is determined to do whatever is needed to help.

Nurses and doctors across the health sector, and particularly in emergency departments and ICUs, have worked tirelessly for over a year, and are now facing their biggest battle yet. Imagine the morale of these utterly exhausted people when they read posts that perpetuate a myth that we are not in the midst of a health crisis. They live this crisis every single day. Why would anyone want to demoralize people who are simply trying to care for you and your loved ones if you become sick? Where is the sense in that?

How do these posts impact the greater community you might ask? It is crucial that everyone in the community sees the current situation for what it is—a medical crisis, that without a concerted intervention on all our parts will result in more deaths. Plain and simple.

This means that each and every member of our society has a duty to step up to the plate and work together in fighting the virus. We can’t do this if our society is divided by social media postings that instigate dissension. This virus has exposed many things in our society, not all of which are good or kind. I believe our society will need time to heal, not just because of the deaths and ongoing illnesses resulting from COVID-19, but because we will have to deal with the emotional fallout of families, colleagues, and communities divided by rhetoric mired in dissension.

Unfortunately, I have family members who actively spread misinformation and dissent via social media, so when this crisis is finally over, I will struggle with how to balance my love for them with the reality that when our community needed them most, they failed to deliver. I also wonder if, after a period of soul-searching, those that posted messages on social media that perpetuated falsehoods and promoted behaviours that flooded our hospitals will come to regret their actions. Time has a way of doing that.

I would like to look back and be able to say I did everything I could to support our front-line workers, our healthcare workers, my community, and my country. For me, this means wearing a mask, social distancing, and being kind and appreciative to others, especially those on the front lines. This is simply nothing more than showing respect for others.

I urge everyone to think carefully about the power of social media and think before posting.

Michele Lea


More Pouli, please

Wow…just wow. Marjorie Pouli’s Column Six last week was just wonderful [“The Throwaway,” April 14, p.1]. I hope you can publish more of her articles. She’s very talented.

Janet Klingender

Editor’s note: The demand for Pouli exceeds the supply of Pouli. We’re doing our best to secure more.


Pots not for pooch poops

In my area of Sulphur Springs Drive, walkers have increased sixfold due to COVID. I love to see people walking and enjoying nature. However, what you bring in, you must take out.

Point being, if your dog relieves himself, my containers are not there to collect his doggy doo-doos. Pick them up and carry them to your house. Courtesy, please.

Paula Diamond


PELHAM AND COVID-19 | Mayor Marvin Junkin

One step forward, two steps back

On Friday the Provincial government introduced new measures to try to halt the runaway third wave of COVID variants that are the toughest in North America. Among other directives, police and bylaw officers were given the authority to stop residents who were either driving or walking, and ask them their reason for being outside their residences. After almost all police forces in the province stated they would not be stopping cars to do these checks, the Provincial government backtracked.

During his Friday announcement, Premier Ford said, “We, as a group, are not saying don’t take a walk around and get some exercise,” but added there needed to be measures in place that target large groups of people who meet in public parks without social distancing. Following this announcement, Pelham’s playgrounds like all other playgrounds located in Ontario were off limits. Many experts did not agree with the closing of the playgrounds because infections from surface contact are thought to be minimal—and indeed within a day the Province backtracked on this as well.

As of Monday, there are now checkpoints at all inter-provincial border crossings with Manitoba and Quebec, to prohibit non-essential entry. It should be pointed out that Pearson International Airport remains open, with approximately 2000 travellers entering Ontario daily.

These orders were put in place as the Province registered a record 4812 new infections on Friday. The Region had 154 new cases on Friday with 222 the day before, and 171 on Sunday. Active cases in Pelham continue to grow with 95 active cases as of Sunday. With 53 active cases per 10,000 population, Pelham was second only to Welland’s 67 per capita infection rate within Niagara. Positivity rates across the region have reached 7.3 percent, a number that was below three percent only a month ago.

On the vaccine front there was the good news that our community centre was given two more clinic days, those being this Monday and Tuesday. It is hoped that these two days will run as smoothly and efficiently as the previous clinic on April 8.

Nationally, Canada will receive 8 million additional doses of Pfizer’s vaccine with increased shipments starting in May. This announcement was offset somewhat when one of the other vaccine manufacturers, Moderna, announced its next shipment would be cut roughly in half, with only 650,000 doses arriving next week instead of the expected 1.2 million. The Massachusetts-based company also announced that it could miss its second quarter target of 12.3 million by as many as 2 million doses. The company is citing manufacturing difficulties for the missed targets.

As are most residents, I am extremely saddened to see the lockdown with these new measures extended to May 20. With ICU numbers climbing, along with the ever-increasing number of patients on ventilators, these steps apparently had to be taken. I urge all residents of Pelham to get vaccinated as soon as possible, continue to get in your walks, and practice social distancing when you are outdoors. These new variants have indeed pushed back the finish line but that finish line remains in sight.