Week of November 30

Isn’t advocating for Sarnia the job description of a councillor?

Sir: I recently read a letter in another newspaper in which Anne Marie Gillis called herself an advocate for Sarnia.

Kudos to Ms. Gillis for her efforts to promote the well being of Sarnia’s citizens, taxpayers and voters.

However, am I missing something here? Would that not be her job description as a city/county councillor?

Ms. Gillis said she attended an Association of Municipalities of Ontario conference and seized the moment to “rush

over” to Education Minister Deb Matthews and introduce her to our CAO, and arrange a meeting with her to discuss funding for the Sarnia General Hospital demolition.

Kudos to her for the effort. But wouldn’t it also be part of her job description to inform and invite our duly elected mayor to this meeting? I certainly hope so.

I was happy to hear that she doesn’t “remain quiet” about Sarnia. I just hope she remembers the wants and needs of those of us who vote and pay all expenses involved.

And that she remembers we have elected a mayor for our wonderful city.

And that she remembers that many of the older, but still conscientious, voters may have difficulty voting in the next electronic municipal election.

We would also like to be advocates for our city.

Respectfully,

J. B. MacKey

Sarnia


Stories showed citizens embracing true ideals of democracy

Sir: The Journal’s recent profiles on Katie Horvath and Emily Fortney-Blunt bring a perfect focus to the impact of individual citizen initiatives in strengthening community engagement and democracy itself.

Katie’s “Vocalize Sarnia” reflects her ability to identify a need, imagine a solution, implement a plan, and directly engage so many others in the process.

Healthy democracy cannot be sustained by even the most dedicated elected officials alone. There are so few of them and so many of us that we must share the responsibility actively. People like Katie know that once it is said, “Someone should do something,” there must actually be a “someone.” Her work exemplifies true citizenship by being a dedicated and energized someone.

And Emily’s application of Restorative Circles demonstrates the creative thinking that tackles in a practical way how to experience the elements of First Nations culture rather than simply talking about it.

Our democracy can maintain and enhance its strength only through genuine understanding and inclusiveness, and Emily has clearly made the critical issue of reconciliation real by thinking creatively and taking action wisely.

These students will no doubt pass on their learning and have constructive impacts on people far beyond their own school.

These wonderful profiles done by The Journal show us all that individual people can make extraordinary contributions to the ideals of democracy… citizen engagement in every community and respect for the values and lives of others.

May we all take a moment to find our own moment when we too can think, plan, and act in our own individual ways to sustain this amazing thing called democracy… that is so, so easily taken for granted.

Sincere thanks to these outstanding women for the amazing examples they provide.

Bob Sutton

Camlachie


People are the strength of this great city

Sir: I have always felt very fortunate and privileged to be living in this great city of ours, Sarnia, and this chosen beautiful country of ours, Canada.

I have always believed that it is the people that bring the best out of you. Recently, I was fortunate to attend an Appreciation Lunch hosted by Goodwill, celebrating their impact on the community and beyond.

I was overjoyed and moved by the generosity of various local businesses and locals from all walks of the life contributing to the well being of our community.

Ordinary folks may not see it, but local businesses contribute so much to see our community be safe, grow, and enjoy living in this beautiful city of Sarnia.

We salute all of the great people of this great city!

Manjit Singh

Sitara Indian Cuisine

Sarnia


Thanks, for the Sarnia Remembers edition

Sir: Thank you so very much for The Journal’s special Remembrance Day edition, ”Sarnia Remembers.”

I am an ‘army brat,’ and 60 years ago when we were stationed in Germany our father took us to Dieppe.

He also took us to Belgium and introduced my mother, sister and I to a family who kept him safe during the Second World War. That was an education not found in a textbook, for sure.

I many not remember my name by 10 p.m. tonight, but I can still remember all the white crosses!

Thank you once again for helping us remember, and giving thanks to our veterans and their families.

Mary Ettinger

Sarnia


Canadian Taxpayers Federation doesn’t represent average taxpayer

Sir: A Nov. 5 letter-writer lamented his ‘having to leave’ Sarnia because of the ‘high cost of living.’

The author explained his decision was spurred by a mock moving truck campaign from the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, a conservative lobby group co-created by Jason Kenney.

It disguises itself as a ‘citizens concern’ advocacy group with 85,000 ‘supporters’ and supposedly speaks for ‘all Canadian taxpayers.’ Since there are over 25 million Canadian taxpayers that claim is dubious at best.

Those ’85,000 supporters’ have no influence on CTF policy or budgets either, because the entire thing is run by, with decisions made by, a board of five or six people, primarily based in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

The CTF attacks government taxation, but as a non-profit pays no taxes and doesn’t disclose its donors. It has no Annual General Meeting and its directors represent a cross-section of partisan connections to anti-union organizations with connections to U.S. anti-union organizations, to the Reform Party (now called the Conservative Party of Canada), to the polluting fossil fuel industry and to anti-universal health care groups.

It’s website, while linking to sites espousing climate change denial rhetoric, ruminates on government ‘waste’ while the CTF’s 2012 annual report showed the CTF spent over $500,000 on ‘events’ and $108,000 on ‘travel’ expenses.

It is interesting the CTF can spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on unaccountable ‘expenses’ but governments are not supposed to spend at all. Its employee compensation shows the majority of its employees earn between $71,000 and $110,000, making its claim to be on the side of the ‘average taxpayer’ also dubious at best.

The CTF lobby group goal has always has been to undermine the ‘average taxpayer’ by making jobs and communities less secure and thereby more vulnerable to the CTF’s corporate agenda.

In this light, the CTF and its moving van is hardly an outfit worth leaving the very affordable city of Sarnia over.

Stanton Earle

Sarnia


Kitten caboodle

Sir: I had to launch a tiny rescue mission recently.

A car was slowing exiting a driveway when a kitten walked behind it and parked its little butt in the way.

I got the driver to stop about a metre from the kitten, and shooed it off the driveway.

The driver continued to back out, with the door open for a better view. As I turned to walk away, I could make out a “thanks” being said. (sighs happily).

To that homeowner on Maria Street I’d like to say, ‘You’re welcome!”

Jack Lafreniere

Sarnia