Ravings, meet Facts
Two pages in the January 12 issue of the Voice led me to despair. The first was on page 5: the letter from the landscaping contractor. The owners of this business are so bent out of shape by an editorial cartoon that they are going to cancel future advertising. So there.
Their assertion that Covid vaccinations cause injury and death to healthy people cannot be supported by any facts, unless we count ravings in social media as “facts.” Your printing of their letter with all of its unsubstantiated nonsense followed by your calm presentation of facts in response shows the best that truly balanced journalism can give to us.
The second irritation was on page 9, where we were presented with a display of ignorance and stupidity in the form of “protesters” taking their inanities to the home of Dr. Hirji. Signs shouting that Covid control equates to “communism” would be amusing if the pandemic weren’t so serious. We have benefited from Dr. Hirji’s decades of education and experience, and he has done an extraordinary job of reducing the severity of Covid in Niagara.
I am grateful to him for this, and if you are blind to this, please take your futile protests far from his home.
I was reading the Publisher’s Corner last week [“Time’s up for anti-vaxxers, the willfully ignorant, and greedy grinders—a few New Year’s resolutions,” Jan. 12, p.2]. Such a great article. I like the no-nonsense way you tell it like it is.
We are all sick and tired of doing the right thing, so when you get comments from those people that say they will no longer be advertising in your paper because, I quote, “this paper is not balanced,” I wonder where they have been hibernating. They say the vaccine is useless and the virus has a 99 percent survival rate. Methinks they have fallen down the rabbit hole called the internet.
All the above untruths are generated information from so-called Google doctors and Google scientists, ignoring real data and science professionals. Thank you for your blunt honesty that is sometimes needed in these days we all find ourselves in.
By looking out for each other and doing the right thing we show our children what teamwork and humanity looks like.
In response to last week’s editorial comments about anti-vaxxers, the Voice received the letters printed above. In addition we also received: a response from the business involved, informing us that they were lodging a complaint with our press council; a handful of both negative and supportive comments, as well as a respectfully neutral email not for publication; plus emails from four anti-vaxxers, which cited, in no particular order, various conspiracy theories that featured microchipping, “Nazi-Marxist” plots, and false claims that mRNA vaccines “alter” DNA; compared Ontario and Premier Ford to the Soviet Union, alleged that “medical professionals” were trying to “vaccinate unborn children” (with a reference to Thalidomide), asserted that mRNA technology was new and rushed (it’s not and wasn’t — research into mRNA cell delivery started in the 1970s); and, in a 2053-word manifesto that included “Phizer,” “Madarna,” and “cast dispersions,” came an assertion that the World Economic Forum was attempting to eliminate private property by 2030, and a threat that “bullets” would be needed to regain the freedom lost to the tyranny of vaccine passports imposed by Canada’s “communist” federal government, run by the dictatorial Justin Trudeau, who “pays off the CBC to pedal his propaganda,” and who has “grouped women.”
There was also one obscene voicemail, left by a youthful-sounding female.
Anti-vaxxer also identifies winter tire conspiracy
I refuse to put on winter tires because:
■ It’s my car, my choice, my freedom.
■ The effectiveness of winter tires is not proven, except by studies carried out by the manufacturers (like I’m supposed to trust them).
■ My neighbor Bob had an accident even after putting on winter tires.
■ Some drivers are already on their third set of tires, which proves their ineffectiveness.
■ I do not know what the tires are made of.
■ The tire manufacturers scare us with winter just to enrich themselves.
■ In fact, I read on the internet that the tire giants invented snow and spread it at night when you sleep.
■ If I have winter tires, the government can track me in the snow.
Educate yourself, open your eyes, stop being sheep!!!
Niagara’s “affordable housing” myth
Whilst there may be a few local affordable housing projects here in Niagara, they are very few and far between, and the actual cost of purchasing or renting “affordable housing” continues to rise, driven by the insatiable demands of planners for more agricultural and rural land being overrun as new, urban expansion lands.
This is driven by a growing and influential development lobby who would rather have clean agricultural and rural land to develop than “brownfield” lands, within existing urban areas, which often require costly environmental cleansing before being declared fit for development.
Somehow the fact that it was previous developers who created these now potentially contaminated lands never seems to reflect negatively on the planners who recommended them after consulting with the developers, then persuaded their politicians to approve them.
And little has changed in recent years. In fact, the present housing boom has apparently been welcomed by planners at all levels of government. Perhaps they view all these prospective, new high-end developments as an additional property tax revenue streams for their regions/municipalities?
It’s more difficult to understand why so many elected politicians find it impossible to refuse or question any proposed development once their own planner has brought it before them in council, with a recommendation to approve. There are many ordinary residents and property owners who, once upon a time, believed our elected councillors chose to be on council with their first and foremost priority being to serve the best overall interests of their municipality and their communities.
Did any municipal or regional politician campaign last time on promises to support poor planning and over-development? I’m sure some may have alluded to “affordable housing,” but if they did it, it’s a broken one.
With developers being an integral part of the whole problem, and now actually consulting directly with local planning staff before their councils even hear about a particular planning application, particularly contentious ones, it’s easy to lay the blame on them.
However, I see them as just being motivated by pure greed and the ability to increase their profit line. After all, if they can get away with submitting a planning application that they know conflicts with provincial policies and Regional and municipal Official Plans and Zoning Bylaws why shouldn’t they?
It is our own planners who submit the projects to council and our own politicians who just blindly approve them.
And if planning staff from upper tiers of government have no problem with planning staff from lower tier government totally ignoring policies put in place to protect the environment to safeguard against harm to property owners and their properties, and to ignore any and every concern submitted by the local existing communities and property owners, then who cares? Planning staff certainly do not!
As property values continue to spiral any myth of affordable housing finally becomes that, just a myth.
There have been one or two recent instances of developers having to walk away from proposed “affordable housing” projects. The rationale for doing so makes for interesting reading and begs the question what does “affordable” actually mean to planners?
The biggest complaint from the developer(s) seems to be that the local council has not given them enough in tax breaks (reduction or elimination of development charges). Another, on revisiting their costings, discovered they were not going to make a profit and might even lose money.
Developers just can’t afford to build “affordable housing” any more!
So, what is “affordable” to a developer?
Perhaps a $4 million (Port Colborne) and a $3 million (St. Catharines) tax exemption over the next few years for high-end condo developments, which apparently the particular planners and councils approve of. I wonder if either ever considered asking their constituents what they thought?
In one of the cases where the condos are being sold for up to $1 million each, and which will not be completed for two years, one condo, already sold, is back on the market just to be flipped in the hope of a quick profit. It would be interesting to know just how many others have been sold for the same purpose.
One thing is certain.
There won’t be any folks out there waiting and hoping for the “affordable housing” their politicians keep promising, or who can afford to even dream of flipping houses to make a quick profit!
If Nova Scotia can do it, why can’t we
In Nova Scotia, leadership is demonstrated with access to free rapid antigen tests. It normalized making getting tests a common experience.
Why isn’t Premier Ford supporting the taxpayers by providing readily available free tests?
The residents need to let our representatives at all levels of government know that taxpayers want these tests. Roughly 20 million tests are somewhere sitting idle. Get them out to communities ASAP.
COTE’S COMMENTS | Larry Coté
Growing government debt—a crisis in the making
One of the perturbing outcomes from the Covid-19 pandemic is the rather worrisome increase in indebtedness for governments, businesses, families and individuals. Many of these entities and individuals face significant challenges to recover from these dire conditions. The number of bankruptcies will invariably be at an all-time high. The delinquency rate for rental housing payments became so high that the government imposed restrictions on property owners attempting to evict tenants behind in their rental payments.
Obviously the costs associated with the pandemic have soared for governments at all levels. The debt numbers for the Canadian federal government are almost beyond discernment for many. Likely, few people can write this figure with enough zeros to accurately record such an amount. These numbers are much and beyond the arithmetic learned in elementary school.
In recent times no federal government, regardless of party affiliation, has produced a balanced budget and consequently deficits are added to the debts incurred in previous years.
To establish the gravity of federal government’s current indebtedness, one can begin with a brief summary of that liability. These numbers should alarm every Canadian but it appears many prefer to ignore such near calamitous premises. Ignorance is bliss, so it is said.
The federal government’s recent budget estimates as of April of 2021 revealed some astounding numbers. One of the estimates indicated that Canada’s debt as of that date exceeded the $1 trillion dollar mark and was estimated to reach the $1.4 trillion level over the next several fiscal periods.
Canada currently has a population of approximately 38 million. So when that debt number is divided by that population figure each and every resident’s share of that debt is $37,000 or more. That number does not include provincial or personal debt and so each individual’s total debt load is much higher. That translates that the debt load for a family of four exceeds well over the $150,000 dollar mark even before including mortgages, credit card and other household debts.
According to figures provided by the Department of Finance, the federal government paid over $24 billion in interest expense in 2020. It is expected that increases in government spending and loss of revenue due to the pandemic dramatically increased indebtedness and interest expense in 2021 and will continue to do so in the coming years.
On a positive note, the interest rate on borrowed funds is comparatively low at this time. Interest costs on borrowed funds are paid from current tax revenues and thus reduce the monies available for government-sponsored programs.
Clearly, to get control over the continually increasing debt load, all levels of government need to be very innovative and inventive to avoid continuing the trend to rely on deficits to underwrite government-sponsored programming.
It is hoped that Canadians can look forward to responsible fiscal management by those elected to govern this country of near- infinite potential. The challenge will be a significant one and the rewards will significantly improve the lives of Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast. ◆
PELHAM AND COVID-19 | Mayor Marvin Junkin
Severe cold, the gypsy moth’s enemy, is our friend
As I write this on Saturday morning the temperature for the day is a high of -12, with mostly cloudy conditions. This will be the coldest day so far, in what could be called a mild winter. Last week the grape farmers were able to harvest their ice wine grapes, as the night temperatures were well below the required -8 degrees.
For the past ten or so years I have been keeping an eye on our winter temperatures due to a prediction from biologists that if an area receives three straight nights of -18 degrees, this would be cold enough to injure the gypsy moth eggs deposited on our trees, thereby decreasing the hatch rate in the coming spring. Of all the municipalities in the Region, I believe Pelham spends the most on a spray programme to control this pest, with most not spending any monies on control. Two things got me thinking of this: the pest and tree services ad in last week’s Voice, and emails received from the southwest part of Pelham, asking if the Town could move our spring programme south a tad. These residents were disappointed that the Town had not increased the budget for the spray programme, but unfortunately, tough decisions had to be made, and neither council nor staff could find the money to increase the spray area. When the company that is hired by the Town to do an egg survey releases the data that will show the areas of thickest infestation, hopefully the area to be sprayed could be adjusted.
As the Omicron variant continues to infect large numbers of Canadians, many expect the numbers to start showing a decrease, if in fact this hasn’t already started, by the end of this week. Of course we in Pelham, as everywhere else, would love to get our facilities opened for our resident use. Thankfully outside walking conditions have, for the most part, been free of ice, although there seems to be more wind blowing across the land.
Dress warm, keep walking, lend a hand to a neighbour—it’s what we’re all about. ◆