Week of October 5

Local lane at bridge has hindered traffic, truck driver says

Sir:  I would like to respond to the article “Toll booth switch helps local traffic flow at bridge.”

In it, a spokesperson with the Federal Bridge Corporation, Andre Girard, is quoted saying, “So far it’s going very well.” Yet a real drone photo accompanying the article clearly supports the caption beneath, which states the transport truck traffic is backed up on Highway 402 all the way to Airport Road.

As a local transport truck driver who crosses this border daily, I have already noticed on several occasions that this new local lane tollbooth is completely devoid of vehicles and the toll collector is sitting idle.

At the same time, the transport trucks are backed up considerably.  I simply do not understand how Mr. Girard can make such a statement.  If he is solely referring to the fact that the Federal Bridge Corporation has made it easier for locals to cross the border and spend their money in the U.S., he may be correct.

Should we not be encouraging our locals to shop locally? Oh wait, that is another matter entirely.

Mr. Girard is also quoted as saying. “We constantly look at new ways to ease the traffic” and “it’s a constant concern to make the traffic flow through the crossing as smooth as possible.”

In my opinion this ‘switch’ has served to hinder the flow of traffic and made a frustrating situation even worse. I truly hope that it does not take until February for the Federal Bridge Corporation to realize the error of its ways.

William Laur

Sarnia


Legislation needed limiting criminal, terrorist access to guns

Sir: While reading MP Marilyn Gladu’s “Federal Express” communication to Sarnia-Lambton constituents, I was interested to read her comments regarding some of the recent legislation.

She voted against Bills C47 and C52 because, in part, the information they required collected may be used to partially recreate a long gun registry, similar to that abolished by the Harper government in 2012.

Since the end of that registry and the passing of accompanying legislation, all that is required to purchase a firearm from a dealer is an appropriate Possession and Acquisition Licence (PAL).

Once in the hands of a PAL holder, both restricted and unrestricted firearms may be traded to anyone without records, whether they hold a PAL or not. Not only have some two million new firearms entered Canada since 2012, but the number finding their way into the hands of criminals has increased significantly.

While rates of violent crimes continue to remain constant or decrease, police are reporting an increase in gun violence, including an increased use of sawed-off shotguns. Stats Canada reported that homicides with firearms increased by 14% in 2016.

Toronto police report that, for the first time in 25 years, most of the guns recovered from crime in Toronto originated with legal owners in Canada rather than being smuggled in from the U.S.

Removing the registration and tracking requirements has clearly had the effect of making more weapons available to criminals and gangs, but with respect to another concern of Marilyn’s, it may well have made another issue much worse. She is concerned that Bill C59 indicates that the government is soft on terrorists, but more concerning to me is the increased availability of firearms to domestic terrorists. That includes hunting rifles that can easily be converted to fully automatic assault rifles, and even the high-powered 50-calibre rifle a Canadian sniper used to kill an ISIS member at over 3.5 km, which, though very expensive, can be legally purchased in Canada as a hunting rifle.

It’s time to put the partisan politics aside and provide Canadians with legislation that will restrict criminal and terrorist access to firearms.

Peter R. Smith

Sarnia


Sarnia had no shortage of issues to deal with this summer

Sir: Here are my top 10 issues from this past summer.

1) City Council reneges on a pilot project that would have allowed bicycles to ride on the sidewalks when the road is too dangerous.

2) The Hatfield’s and McCoy’s can’t hold a candle to our councillors (that means feuding for younger readers).

3) The use of outside contractors and consultants, who have no ties to Sarnia except for money, working on Centennial Park. I’m sure my tax dollars have been put to good use, with grass that will never come back in my lifetime, and a boat launch, still to be built, located next to an outside restaurant patio. What a great idea! Wish I’d thought of that one. Maybe $15 million will cover it.

4) Punishment for graffiti in Sarnia. How is it working?

5) Spending your own money for a permit to cut down a tree on your own property. Sarnia is really going out on a limb here.

6) The phragmites weed problem. Now, if we could just smoke it and the government could tax it, there might not be an issue.

7) How about traffic lights in tune with road traffic — regular traffic signals during business hours and flashing signals during off times (example: the lights along the plants going to Corunna).

8) Lawns kept cut on boulevards. Would that be asking too much?

9) Drug use. Is our health system helping, or over-prescribing for pain? Something to think about.

10) Whoops! One short.

On a positive note, we don’t have hurricanes yet and the downtown is looking better these days.

Hal Regnier

Sarnia


MP shouldn’t take credit for money in budget she voted against

Sir: I read with interest MP Marilyn Gladu’s public acknowledgement that she voted against the Liberal government’s budgets in 2016 and 2017, which enabled the transfer of $60 million to Sarnia-Lambton for Lambton College, clean tech, the bio industry, and rural Internet.

Sarnia-Lambton knows that this funding was a result of the non-partisan action of a federal government committed to science, innovation, and technology, and to meeting our community’s needs. To double down and take full credit for “quite an accomplishment when you are in Opposition” is simply not credible.

While I realize how important it is to our MP to continuously remind her riding of how hard she is trying, I would simply encourage her to be factual in her representation of those activities.

Becoming immediately defensive with a tirade about everything she sees to be wrong, with absolutely no recognition of anything that is right, accomplishes little beyond more community divisiveness. The current government leaders she condemns are the ones who have signed the cheques for $60 million, lowered taxes for the middle class, launched the Canada Child Tax Benefit, and improved the CPP.

Many of MP Gladu’s constituents actually approve of these measures as we have learned from our recent door-to-door canvassing.

It would have been refreshingly forthright of our MP simply to THANK the federal government for its enlightened investment in Sarnia-Lambton rather than to berate it.

To give credit where credit is due, rather than trying to take it, would be the most mature and appropriate response of someone elected to a Canadian leadership role.

Eileen Viola, President

Sarnia Lambton Federal Liberal Association


Business opposition to Liberal tax reforms is tempest in teapot

Sir: Regarding the Sept. 28 story: Proposed rule changes will hurt the little guy, entrepreneurs say.

The Conservative Party of Canada and its well-heeled backers have done a superb job of riling up small businesses and family farmers to believe they will be done-in by the Liberal Party’s tax reform.

Despite media and CPC hysteria over the Liberal Party keeping its campaign promise to address economic disparity, the proposed tax reforms will affect less than 10% of Canadian small businesses. Even John Ivison at the National Post, not exactly a left-wing columnist, has written as much.

The target is big fish, not small business; top income earners with average incomes in the millions who incorporate to shift taxes. Ivison pointed out most small businesses don’t make enough to be impacted by these reforms. Out of 1.8 million private corporations only 36,000 of them hold 80% cent of the taxable income, meaning just 2% of all incorporations hold 80% of the wealth. This is the target, not Mom and Pop business owner.

Out of 1.8 million incorporations 1.76 million are not affected by the reforms. And if you aren’t incorporated, you are not affected either.

Polling indicates nearly 80% of Canadians agree with the tax reforms; because most Canadians don’t earn anywhere near as much as the targeted top .01% or have access to loopholes high-income earners use.

This is a tempest in a teapot. The real purpose of the reform is to make incorporation a business decision (liability, etc.) not a tax decision as the highest .01% of earners have been using it for.

The hyperbole from those with vested interest leads one to believe there is a major tax avoidance industry in Canada. This wealthy lobby group (with Conservative Party assistance) has been disingenuously focusing on small business owners and family farmers who, by and large, are not affected by this tax reform in the slightest.

It clearly illustrates that Andrew Sheer and the Conservatives are firmly on the side of Bay Street, Canada and not on the side of Christina Street, Sarnia.

Stanton Earle

Sarnia