More of the same?

Despite the fact that how one chooses to vote is intended to be a private matter since the days of a show of hands in the public square, I make it no secret in my circle of friends how I intend to vote in any election in which I participate.  I enjoy the hurly-burly of a good political discussion —whether it be with a like-minded person as we jointly bash a politician for their inanities, or with someone of a different political bent as we have at one another with the various planks from our chosen candidates’ platforms, but a friend of mine dropped an argument on me the other day that stopped me cold and just had me staring in disbelief.  Since I don’t generally use social media, I felt compelled to share what he said, and my response, with you.  He said, “I’m voting Liberal because you never know what the Conservatives are going to do.”  I gave that a few seconds while I got my visceral reaction under control (he’s a friend, after all), and replied that he was right, you don’t know what a Conservative government would do, but you certainly do know what another Liberal

government will do:  smugly lie, overspend, demonstrate breathtaking arrogance and hypocrisy, raise carbon taxes until the the average Canadian is reduced to serfdom, tax the equity in your home, erode freedom of speech on the internet, erode the constitution by granting Quebec (who has yet to sign said constitution) sweeping arbitrary powers, etc. etc., out to the horizon.  And when it’s all done, the Glorious Leader will tell you that it’s all for your own good because he is, of course, smarter, wiser, prettier, and richer than you are.

Mike Breaton


Trudeau “demonizing” those with opposing views

It’s unfortunate that Justin Trudeau is politicizing vaccines and is pitting people against each other, demonizing anyone who does not share his views. Mr. Bingham is following his leader and spreading false and misleading statements.

Let me state for the record: Vaccines are the most important tool in the fight against Covid-19. I encourage everyone who is able to, to get vaccinated. Contrary to what is being said, I have never endorsed any alternative treatment, including therapeutics, as a cure of the Covid-19 virus.

For individuals who choose not to be vaccinated, Conservatives believe that is their choice and support reasonable measures, such as rapid testing, to help protect everyone. There are also others who have medical exemptions, like myself, who cannot be vaccinated.

Justin Trudeau and Mr. Bingham need to stop misleading Canadians.

For my complete response see my Facebook page.

Dean Allison, MP
Conservative candidate, Niagara West


Vote tactically—boot Allison

Among the interesting things I learned watching the recent Cogeco debate among the Niagara West candidates was that incumbent Dean Allison, who has held this seat since 2004, has only ever sponsored a single bill, and that was back in 2007. One bill, in 17 years.

Now Mr. Allison is in hot water because he promoted studying whether a horse de-worming drug might help treat Covid. Of course, when the dung hit the fan on that one, Allison deleted his Facebook post that showed a box of the drug, saying that it caused “confusion” for us simple people. No one was confused except Mr. Allison.

As a politician—not a doctor or medical researcher—Mr. Allison has no business telling government how to deal with this pandemic. His job is to put learned experts in charge. In fact, it’s plenty clear that if the Conservatives had been in charge this whole time, we would be in far worse shape. Look at Alberta.

There are now enough non-Conservative voters in Niagara to show Mr. Allison the door. He’ll live fat and happy on his generous federal pension. The only realistic option is the Liberal, Ian Bingham, to unseat the unproductive, uninformed, and past-his-prime Dean Allison. Vote Liberal, because we can’t afford to see a return of either Allison or the federal Conservatives.

L. Johnson


Anti-vaxx protests have gone beyond the pale

My daughter and I considered going to the Best Western this morning to hear Prime Minister Trudeau speak. Because my daughter is on oxygen and limited to how many steps she can take safely we elected not to go.

I am glad we were not there to hear the disturbing language and see the noxious signs displayed by people who once upon a time may have been proud, praiseworthy good Canadian citizens. Today they are in my estimation “toilet trollers.”

Their way of dealing with any situation which does not fit into their limited mental capacity is dealt with by the means of “potty mouth.”

Where are our wonderful, educated, diverse citizens, who are willing to be still, listen and then speak appropriately and in non-offensive language? As a former teacher who always sought to bring out the very best in all of my many students, I am appalled by the distasteful drivel seen and heard at these political events. Am I alone in my remarks? Are most Canadians apathetic? Where has all the decency gone?

Marie Rogers


Campaign signs stolen—but Allison signs remain

Last evening, Friday, September 10, just before 5 PM, I had two Liberal election signs supporting Ian Bingham placed at the end of my driveway. When I returned home just before dark they were still there. By 7 this morning only the metal stands that had supported them were left and the posters themselves were gone. Someone had removed them under the cover of darkness. If someone has a problem with my support of a particular candidate, perhaps he or she could find the courage to knock on my door and ask me why I am supporting a candidate they obviously reject. I am open to talk, but I disdain the cowardly approach these individuals have taken.

My reaction to the removal of the signs was swift and unequivocal. I was angry that someone had had the audacity to try to deprive me of my right to free speech or to muzzle me. I don’t know exactly who was behind this, so in my comments below, I am making no direct accusations. However, the appearances we are left with are telling.

After my initial reaction, I tried to process what had happened. It immediately crossed my mind that teenagers were once again out having fun—not an unreasonable thought in this part of Pelham, since over the years our rural mailbox has frequently been the target of pranks ranging from mutilation to theft. The last time it was set ablaze at about 2 in the morning.

But was I jumping to conclusions? Pranks just don’t seem to fit into our present pandemic climate. Was there perhaps another alternative? I had to know what had happened, so I took a quick tour in my car, driving about a kilometre east, west and south, from our home. If teenagers were involved, I reasoned, they would probably take all of the signs. There would be virtually none left. I drove about a kilometre in all directions from our home.

But this was not the case. Two doors west of our home there were about ten Dean Allison signs lined along the side of the road. At the same time, I noted that a large number of Liberal signs—that had stood in a sort of electoral rivalry—had been removed from the home across the street. Notably, only the Liberal signs were gone. As I made my short tour, I encountered several signs, both large and small, all but one (for Maxime Bernier’s PPC) supporting Dean Allison.

Significantly there was not a Liberal, an NDP, or any other party sign anywhere to be seen. You can draw your own conclusions.

I am quite aware that this is a safe Conservative seat, so safe in fact that I am actually convinced you could put a blue Conservative tie on a goat and have it elected in this riding.

In view of this fact, are these bully tactics really necessary? I think not. But no one—I repeat, no one—has the right to limit free speech nor to intimidate voters who are exercising their democratic rights.

We vote for the party which reflects our values. Are these the values of the Conservative party? Are these the tactics it would employ to win? I don’t know who removed these signs, neither am I accusing Mr. Allison nor the Conservative party. But appearances are everything and it is fairly obvious to me that it was not a Liberal supporter.

Even if Mr. Allison was unaware that someone is deliberately targeting his opponent’s signs, he could prove that he rejects the support of these weak-minded bullies by vigorously denouncing their tactics. I have contacted his office to inform him, but was told: “Why should he?” He has nothing either to condemn or to apologize for.

I do not know who was behind this selective vandalism. But the removal of election signs is a punishable offence, if the perpetrators are found. I have yet to review my security camera footage, but if it shows any activity, I shall pursue it. Furthermore I shall report these events to Elections Canada.

Don MacRae


Move forward, not backward

This pandemic has been challenging for all. Families are working and parenting without support. Others have lost their livelihoods. Many worry about their health. Far too many mourn their loved ones.

I have knocked on many doors and had many conversations. While we may disagree on a few issues, almost everybody agrees on the path forward:

Continuing pandemic support for families and businesses

■ Focusing on economic growth and re-housing manufacturing in Niagara

■ Enabling our farmers through a pan-Canadian food strategy and better succession laws

■ Actually delivering on climate change by stepping into the green economy and shifting away from the carbon economy.

■ Providing support for working families like affordable housing, pharmacare and childcare.

Let’s rebuild, stronger and better than ever before. On September 20, let’s choose the path forward with the NDP, not step backwards with others.

Nahmeer Rahman
NDP Candidate for MP
Niagara West


Killing petroleum today won’t solve tomorrow’s issues

In reply to reader Liam Winters’ comments [“Act on climate now,” Letters, Aug. 25, p.5], regarding climate change, I consider myself to be a quasi-environmentalist, as I am only a guest on this planet for a short time. What I do will either benefit or destroy my grandkids’ existence here. But I have to say that I am getting sick of people forcing their beliefs that doing away with the petroleum industry will solve all the environmental problems.

Electric vehicles in the city are fine but try and travel outside the urban areas and see how long you love your EV. The lack of charging stations, line-ups to charge the EV, or broken charging units. Let’s try and get answers from government officials on how they plan on recovering the $25 billion dollars a year collected from gas taxes for road and infrastructure repairs (oh, wait, higher taxes and electricity bills). How many of these EV supporters currently use drive-throughs, travel above the posted speed limits, or idle their vehicles unnecessarily?

Try planting a half-dozen trees, install a clothesline, do away with two of your TVs, turn your air conditioner up five or six degrees or turn it off all together. Best of all, since Canada produces approx two percent of the world’s CO2 gases, let’s punish the big three—China, India, and the USA—by not buying their products, or at least researching in what region they are made, how they supply the energy to produce them (hydroelectric, coal, solar, or nuclear), before you buy the product. Stop demanding that we do away with our petroleum industry because you can not change your habits.

I have no issue paying a reasonable “carbon tax” such as it is now but I do not want to pay two or three times more for my natural gas or propane that I need to heat my home in the winter, after all, we do live in a cold climate and have to heat our homes.

Instead of taxing those that have to heat homes, let’s demand our politician find alternative ways to collect “carbon taxes,” say charging ten cents on every drive-through purchase, collect 25 cents on every case of single-use plastic bottles, charge two cents on every throwaway cup used to sell coffee or drinks, tax imports from countries that still use coal to produce electricity, and reward those that do buy EVs, plant trees, install clotheslines and insulate their homes.

Yes I drive a pickup, but not a day goes by that I am not using it for delivering dirt, stone, lumber, or household products. Try doing that in a Tesla. Stop increasing my gas bills with carbon taxes that do not go into helping the environment (as they go into general coffers) and realize that these tax increases are going to directly hurt the consumer as companies pass them on to you. Lets see how excited these anti-petroleum users are when their electricity bills are four or five times what they are now.

We can all do our part in protecting the planet without gouging the consumer. Sit down and think before you try and force me into unwarranted expenses. There are so many ways we can protect this earth without hitting Canadians in the wallet.

Paul Folkes


PELHAM AND COVID-19 | Mayor Marvin Junkin

Alberta experiment failure; Sulphur Springs success

After 60 days of having only minimal Covid protocols in place with very few negative results, Alberta has had to reinstate its public masking rule because of its soaring Covid hospital cases, caused mainly by the Delta variant. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, stated last week, “Clearly the move to endemic was too early.” Alberta has 75 percent of its population with one dose of vaccine, and 69 percent are fully vaccinated. As of September 9, 80 percent of Pelham residents have received their first shot of vaccine, with 76 percent of residents being fully vaccinated. Our town vaccination numbers are significantly higher than the Region’s, which are 73 percent and 67 percent respectively. Pelham case numbers had spiked the first week of September, due to one private event held in the town. As of September 9, Pelham had 15 active cases with all the individuals isolating at home and none requiring hospitalized.

As of September 7, Town Hall reopened to the public, and I must say, it seems mighty strange to just pull the door open, without having to unlock it first. The receptionist informed me that there was a steady flow of residents coming into Town Hall, but she points out that an appointment is necessary if a specific staff member is sought— for instance, someone from the building department.

In reference to Town Hall, we have experienced the departure of several promising junior to intermediate staff in such areas as finance, engineering, sustainability planning, and communications. It was the experience they gained while working for Pelham and their strong performance during the pandemic that made them attractive candidates for higher paying jobs in other, often bigger, municipalities. In the coming weeks, Town Council will be assessing the Town’s compensation model both for staff and elected officials, to ensure that we remain at least competitive. It has been five years since compensation has been reviewed, and as the departures show, it is time for a review. It can be argued that the succession management policy is working well, but if we are simply training people up to make more money elsewhere, then obviously this approach does not bode well for the future of the Town.

The contractor working on Sulphur Springs Drive has informed me that his company has been given an extension to work on the project until October 15. Luckily the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada has the final say in this matter, and it’s a good thing, because the Niagara Escarpment Commission is already whining about it. This should allow time for the total repair of the washed-out section of road.