Ontario healthcare needs treatment, STAT

This article came out a day before my own emergency surgery [Publisher’s Hospital Bed, Oct. 13, p.2]. In a recent Niagara poll most people voted healthcare shortages the most important issue. Despite “official” claims, shortages keep getting worse. And misdiagnosing too. After two years of my health worsening despite being told by very long waits for tests and several doctors not to worry and I didn’t need MRI or CT ccans, I finally got a CT scan Oct. 1, was told again Oct 9 I’m okay, then saw a urologist Oct 12. who ordered immediate day outpatient surgery for Oct. 14, two days after seeing me, to get prostate biopsies and drain my bladder. I was well looked after pre- and post-surgery at St Catharines Hospital, but now I’m at home doing self-care, my senior wife doing all the work, with a really big tube up my penis and a urine bag at my feet waiting to find out if I’m going to soon die from prostate cancer that should have been found and treatment begun two years ago that could have saved my life. People are dying because of the healthcare mess we’re all suffering from.

Steve Hartwell
Via Voice website

 

Disappointed by pharmacy’s flu shot booking policy

I just tried to book an appointment for a flu shot at Boggio’s Pharmacy in Fonthill and was told that I must go online to book an appointment. When I asked what the alternative would be I was asked what the problem was. Did I not know how to use a computer? Seeing where the conversation was going I asked her if she was planning to give me a computer lesson. Her response was simply for me to find someone to do it for me.

I won’t go into any more details as to how this conversation went except to say that Boggio’s Pharmacy absolutely would not offer an alternative to using their website to book a flu shot. I have a Master degree and know very well how to book an appointment online but there are countless people in our neighbourhoods who do not have either the means or capacity to use computers who become more and more marginalized because of elitist mentality such as this.

Fonthill is, in general, a relatively upscale community where, to my knowledge, homelessness is not as issue, but there are still many who cannot maneuver around a website for whatever reason.

In my less-than-kind thoughts around this issue of inaccessibility I wondered if choosing to establish a pharmacy in this area was a calculated decision in an attempt to avoid servicing a marginalized clientele. As I said, this was a less-than-kind thought but the thought did occur, because making no accommodation for people who don’t have access to computers, or don’t have the mental capacity to use one, makes me wonder.

Needless to say, I will be removing my business from Boggio’s Pharmacy. For sure I am only one person and they will undoubtedly not miss my business, but perhaps this letter will challenge a few people to be aware of how and where they spend their money.

For me, it is very important that I deal with businesses that have a social conscience when I have a choice. Gladly, in this case l have a choice.

Sylvia Child
Fonthill

Boggio’s Fonthill pharmacist Kyle Boggio replies:

The Universal Influenza Immunization Program (UIIP) has not officially rolled out [Editor’s note: this is not accurate; see further note below] and as such, we are not allowing people to book appointments online or otherwise. We are allowing patients to register their interest at this time on our online portal. Fonthill is not immune to the labour shortages that have been affecting many different service and retail businesses, and we simply do not have the operational capacity to perform our core responsibility of providing medication and medication services and to be registering patients for a flu shot. As a result, at this time, we are only operating a digital wait list. For patients that simply have no alternative, we will be making additional accommodations once the UIIP is formally rolled out by the Ministry of Health and we are staffed appropriately for the flu program in November. Anyone wishing to book an appointment by phone or walk in can reach out to us then and we will be happy to accommodate. With respect to those who are not tech-savvy or cannot afford a computer, there is free computer access available at your local library. There are also some fantastic, computer knowledgeable people at the library that should be able to assist you or provide some lessons on how to use one. At the Boggio Family of Pharmacies, we do not discriminate against any person for any reason. Accommodations are always made to ensure that all patients receive access to the services that we provide.

Editor’s note: In fact, the Province’s flu immunization program has already begun, and residents 65-plus or those who are considered at high risk have been eligible during October to receive the flu shot. In a follow-up, Kyle Boggio told the Voice that people in this category “can leave their name and phone number with our staff and we will accommodate as soon as possible.” Elsewhere in Fonthill, Shoppers Drug Mart will book appointments by phone. PharmaChoice, next to Food Basics, also books appointments by phone. Pharmacist Glen Sisak tells the Voice that shots for the general public will be available as of Nov. 1 and bookings are available now.

 

Appreciation for kind support

Lloyd Beamer

Recently we lost a pillar in this community as well as a husband, father, grandfather and friend. The loss was unexpected and as a result very difficult to accept. However, the community has responded with such kind words of support as well as food, cards, flowers, phone calls, visits and remembrances that we wanted you to know how much each little gesture was appreciated. He will never be replaced but your thoughtfulness will help to sustain us through the coming days.

Thanks again.

The Beamer Family

 

Pelham property taxes unreasonable

I have been concerned about my Pelham tax bill for some time. I recently “ran some numbers.” We have lived in our home, many years, without any changes. The Town portion of our tax bill has increased almost 40 percent in the last seven years. In the same timeframe, Niagara Region has increased almost 17 percent, Consumer Price Index 13 percent and the Old Age Security Benefit payment almost 12 percent. The Town portion of our tax bill has increased over 21 percent in the last four years. In the same timeframe, Niagara Region has increased just over 13 percent, Consumer Price Index just over 8 percent and the Old Age Security Benefit payment almost 7 percent. My private sector pension isn’t indexed, so that’s an easy calculation.

From my corner of the world, 40 percent and 21 percent increases by the Town of Pelham are totally unreasonable. The increases are now baked in, into perpetuity. The “horses have left the barn” but I respectfully ask that those who are involved with the preparation, review, approval and spending of Pelham taxes and dollars do so in a more diligent and frugal way.

Bohdan Brenko
Fonthill

 

House of Commons vaxx policy shows “contempt”

On September 20, Canadians had the privilege to use our voices at the ballot box. And while it turns out that the individuals returning to Ottawa aren’t that different, we are now hearing that there will be some significant changes in the House of Commons after all.

This past Tuesday, the Speaker of the House announced that the Board of Internal Economy had decided that anyone entering the House of Commons must be fully vaccinated. This includes the adjacent blocks, committee rooms, etc. This decision cannot be allowed to stand. Preventing democratically elected MPs from accessing their workplace not only robs the MP the ability to do their job, it robs their constituents of proper representation— the very backbone of Canadian democracy.

It should also be noted and not discounted that in order to have a properly functioning democracy we need other Canadians to participate in government as well. Canadians that work in the press, that have expertise to offer parliamentary committees, and regular citizens should not be prevented from accessing government buildings and participating in our democracy due to their vaccination status. People do not cease to be citizens when they are unvaccinated. If protecting people from Covid is the objective, the Board of Internal Economy could have done this by means other than forcing people to do something they are not able in good conscience to do—submitting to a regular rapid test being the most obvious.

It’s one thing to keep unvaccinated Canadians from enjoying a night out at a restaurant or taking in a Leafs game. But preventing Canadians from participating in our government? Not only is it unacceptable, it’s a slap in the face of the electorate and shows contempt for democracy itself.

Ryan Mans
Smithville

 

Loss of Lloyd Beamer keenly felt

As a longtime residents of Fonthill, we are guilty of lamenting the increasing number of changes our village has undergone lately. Increased traffic, more four-way stops and traffic lights, more housing, more people, more of everything. Throughout the years one thing has remained constant. The friendly, easygoing presence of Lloyd Beamer at our local hardware store. We know that we’re not alone in describing Lloyd as one of the gentlest, kindest, most helpful men we’ve had the great pleasure of knowing. His passing is surely the biggest change Fonthill has yet undergone. He will be missed.

Marcel and Cathy Vanderlaan
Fonthill

 

Treaty doesn’t make deer hunt right

As a longtime hiker and lover of Short Hills Park, I read with interest your story [Protesters greet start of annual Short Hills deer hunt, Oct. 20, p.1]. Paul Williams of the Haudenosaunee makes some erroneous statements. He states the hunters track wounded deer until they are found. I know of wounded deer found in the park and on private property after a hunt. If a deer is running around with an arrow in its back, this was not a “kill shot.”

As far as Mr. Williams stating that the hunters give thanks to the deer and show gratitude, why is it that deer guts and remains have been found all over the park the day after a hunt? What about the deer penises and intestines and blood seen only a metre or two off a main trail? I suppose the hunters were showing respect and gratitude when they butchered a pregnant doe last year, leaving its unborn fetuses laying on the ground. Not to mention the disgusting sight of the doe’s stomach cut off and nailed to a nearby tree with its engorged nipples. What a pleasant site for families enjoying a weekend stroll. The hunters take great pleasure in filming their hunt every year and never have I seen this “ceremony showing gratitude.”

In no way is this hunt respectful to the park, its inhabitants or the people who enjoy it. It has become nothing more than a killing zone meant to pacify the First Nations. Just because it is their right, doesn’t make it right.

Katherine Masterson
Thorold

 

Acknowledging sacrifice does not erase pain and agony

A lot of people are finding it hard to make ends meet as costs of everything seem on the rise, but yet one group First Nations at the taxpayers expense get a whopping $450,000 so they can hunt Short Hills Provincial Park.

Paul Williams, described as an Indigenous lawyer, negotiator and historian, and involved in hunting and cultural rights for some 40 years said in the Voice that it could cost a quarter million dollars if Ontario wanted to engage in a deer herd reduction because of a possible needed environmental assessment, which could become political, and so we are fortunate to have people with treaty rights doing the deer population reduction [Protesters greet start of annual Short Hills deer hunt, Oct. 20, p.1].

Consider how fortunate people like Robin and Craig Zavitz must feel having hunters on their and other landowners’ private property, sometimes carrying uncased bows in residential areas. If the shoe was on the other foot and white Canadians were evading First Nations properties under the same conditions, how long would that be tolerated?

Reading the article one gets the feeling the continuation of the hunt is very one-sided as laid out in the first paragraph stating protesters may be looking for common ground but will not find it.

Williams lists many hunt areas they use now. One wonders how much deer meat is enough as the rest of us purchase goods for our celebrations ourselves supporting local businesses.

History has given First Nations entitlement with the treaty to do as they see fit with the deer. Williams puts forth the belief that if you thank them for their sacrifice all is cancelled out like the pain and agony. Really?

Williams is also pleased to have partnerships with government agencies owed to the involvement in the hunt, but could not partnerships be formed without the taking of deer?

The laying off of the deer hunt waiting days and weeks in between must be stressful and now using drones to hunt kicks it up any another pathetic notch and seemingly backing off of the Ministry to perform its full duties and oversee the hunts another toll on the taxpayer.

Faye Suthons
Wainfleet

 

COTE’S COMMENTS | Larry Coté

Are we getting too hot to survive?

A number of years ago a friend invited me for a flight over the Niagara peninsula in his small aircraft. Once we got to a cruising altitude I noticed an orange coloured film in the sky ahead of us. My friend explained that it was a thin layer of pollution. We were looking at it horizontally and not vertically, as it would be viewed from the ground. Because it is thin and not very dense, we see right through it. That experience has stuck with me all these years since.

Global warming occurs when carbon dioxide and other pollutants collect in the atmosphere and absorb the heat of solar radiation that bounces off the earth’s surface. Think of how the smooth surface of a lake would function almost like a mirror and reflect much of the sun’s rays back into the sky. These thermal rays then heat the particulate in the layer of pollution above the earth.

That process is referred to as the greenhouse effect. A greenhouse allows sunlight in through a transparent roof that promotes photosynthesis and retains some of the heat inside the structure. The sun’s rays penetrate the layer of pollution above the earth and some are reflected back into the sky and entrapped by that layer of pollution as heat.

This is an irregular process and as more and more heat is retained, the temperature on earth keeps rising and upsets the ecosystems that previously held those elements in balance.

For instance, the rising temperatures melt the polar ice cap at a faster rate, which in turn will raise the level of the oceans, which will flood over the shores of previously dry land. The rate and severity of storms will increase. The fertility of agricultural land will diminish. Further reductions in the forest cover will lessen the amount of carbon dioxide previously absorbed by trees.

The waters of the world are an integral part of the warming and cooling systems that make the earth inhabitable. However, these waters are being heated due to the greenhouse effect. As a result, the ambient temperatures around the globe are rising and contributing to making the earth less hospitable to sustaining all forms of plant and animal life on the planet.

So the point of this basic exploration of global warming is to reinforce the warnings of the experts. We are perilously close to exterminating ourselves on this planet. Unless each of us makes a commitment to reducing our individual contributions to polluting our earth, the damages will be irreversible in the not too distant future. On a positive note, it seems that some in our world are becoming more aware of this precarious position and beginning to take actions that will help heal our planet. Best we join them and keep up the good work.

 

PELHAM AND COVID-19 | Mayor Marvin Junkin

Capacity limits eased, farmers honoured, loss of an icon

Last Friday, Premier Doug Ford was speaking at a news conference, stated that the province aims to end all Covid-19 restrictions by March 2022. He tempered that statement with two caveats: Covid numbers must continue to be low, and no vaccine- resistant strains emerge among the populace. Continuing the reopening phase, as Of Monday Oct 25, was to lift capacity limits and physical distancing requirements in restaurants, bars, gyms, casinos, bingo halls, dance studios and indoor event spaces. These new rules will have minimal effect on the day-to-day operations of the MCC, as all vaccine mandated protocols to enter the facility remain in effect.

Regional case numbers of Covid-19 continue to remain low, with Pelham, as of October 20, having zero active cases. Total number of hospitalizations was 14.

Last Friday, I had the privilege to attend what I believe to be a first in the Region, a Farmer Appreciation recognition, co-ordinated by the Niagara District Catholic School Board. The event was held at Hollow Maple Farms, which is owned by the Iftody family located at 627 Church St., just south of Fenwick. The board’s lead person for the event, Marco Magazzeni, did an excellent job of including area Grade 7 and 8 students in the program, by having each student read two names of farmers receiving recognition, who then came forward and received a very nice wooden plaque, for either the living room wall or to hang in the office. Although approximately 60 farmers were invited to the event, the majority were unable to attend as they were finishing up the harvesting of their crops. Those farmers in attendance had nothing but praise for the event and the event organizers. It was great to see our MPP Sam Oosterhoff and Regional Chair Jim Bradley in attendance.

At the last Regional Council meeting, Thursday October 21, I seconded a motion put forward by fellow councillor Dave Bylsma, which called on our fellow councillors to declare a state of mental health emergency in Niagara Region, thereby acknowledging the alarming state of poor mental health in a growing number of residents throughout Niagara. This declaration would give the problem the exposure it deserves and hopefully encourage the upper tier governments to allocate additional monies to Niagara to increase services. In offering my support to the motion, I quoted the last paragraph of a letter that Shawn Baylis, CEO of Pathstone Mental Health, had sent to Regional Chair Jim Bradley and all regional councillors: “Our staff have been taxed to the max since March of 2019. Programs that never experienced a wait list, are now 250-plus kids deep, and they are waiting three plus months to get into a short term program. If this alarm bell is not loud enough to result in the issuing of a mental health state of emergency, it’s our kids that will lose.”

Unfortunately, due to some astute political maneuvering by a councillor from Lincoln, the motion was not allowed on the floor and the presenting people who have the facts and work with these residents, were not allowed to address council, and of course no vote was taken. I was ashamed by this action and can’t for the life of me understand this council’s reluctance to face this problem head-on.

It was sad to hear of the passing of long time Fonthill resident and businessman Lloyd Beamer. Talk about a fixture on main street! Lloyd operated his store, Beamer’s Hardware, for 35 years on Pelham Street, and always had time for a friendly chat with customers. His deep knowledge of his business and his helpful suggestions when asked “How would you fix this, Lloyd?” endeared him to all who shopped there. I send my condolences to his wife, Shirley, and family.