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Week of February 9

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Kudos to all those fighting to save our parkland

Sir: I want to express my gratitude to all the people of Sarnia and beyond who signed the petition opposing the selling of our parkland for urban development.

C. E. Wasman



Shame on all this city’s un-scoopulous dog owners

Sir: I walk my dog daily, and I scoop her poop, daily!

I am just as disgusted and frustrated as many of you to find the evidence of those irresponsible dog owners who do not scoop the poop.

I walk the Howard Watson trails, Blackwell Trails, the Wawanosh and Twin Lakes areas and see the poop (don’t blame coyotes) on or beside the trails and I also see it on or beside our sidewalks as well.

Along the way I also come across garbage cans with unscooped poop just a few feet away. Or I see a bag filled with the evidence sitting for some time along the trails.

It’s so inexpensive, with many choices nowadays in the variety of poop bags available. This purchase is simply part of pet ownership.

Of course there is other human garbage on our trails and streets left by careless people, but let’s not make a wrong seem less wrong. The joggers, bikers, rollerbladers and everyday walkers, some with children who love to walk on or off to the side of the trails, have to watch out in fear and disgust during their outdoor activity time.

So SHAME to those irresponsible dog owners who make our trails and city streets look so unattractive. You know who you are!

Louise Lamb




Canadians can fight Trump bigotry with their wallets

Sir: If others are also horrified by recent events in the United States and our country, yet feel they have no power to be heard, they can speak with their wallet.

Many Canadians visit and shop in the U.S.A., especially during the winter.  Trump and his cronies don’t seem to understand or support basic human rights but they sure love money — so don’t give them any.

Rethink vacation plans.  If you are thinking of visiting a state that supports his regime, cancel your plans or don’t make them at all. Write to Disneyworld (red state Florida), state governors etc. and tell them that you refuse to spend a cent in their state or business due to Trump’s policies.

Research which states voted for this regime and determine if you want to support their economies. Do not shop across the border and write the Better Business Bureaus and mayors of neighbouring American communities and tell them why.

Refuse, if possible to fly an American airline or use an American airport. Make financial donations to Planned Parenthood, the ACLU etc. Personally, I love shopping at Trader Joes in Grosse Pointe MI and Kohls in Port Huron.  I won’t be doing that again soon.

I am deeply ashamed of some citizens of my country right now. Hate comments on the Internet from Canadians are up 600% since the U.S. election. Trump and his policies have emboldened them.

The attack on the mosque in Quebec City made me weep. If you are a concerned citizen, not just of Canada but also of the world, then work together to find ways to be heard, to let “them” know that we will not tolerate hatred and bigotry and the erosion of human and religious rights.

Anyone know where I can find a knitting pattern for a “pink pussy” hat?

Margot Gulliford



Lambton College should use local labour on projects


Sir: Re: Construction of a new health centre and fitness complex at Lambton College.

While these new additions will benefit our community, the general contractor doing the building will not be using any local labour.

College president Judith Morris has said she has faith that the community and college foundation can raise the $7 million needed locally to complete financing of the two projects.

The college should be encouraging the contractors doing the work to use local labour. If nothing else, it would show good faith in the community that is expected to raise all that money.

Frank Harris



Sting showing the Hive’s not empty yet

Sir: The Sarnia Sting have sent a message to the Ontario Hockey League that their season isn’t done just yet.

When the team traded its top scorer, Nikita Korostelev, and Alex Black, a top defenceman, it seemed to be “toss in the towel” time.

But, in sports, anything can happen.

The team picked up Nick Grima and Drake Rymsha, and they have brought new life and energy.

Goalie Justin Fazio and has stolen a couple of games and backup Aidan Hughes is playing much better in 2017.

And there are many undrafted players playing their hearts out.

Since the trades, the Sting have been on a tear, quickly knocking off Windsor, London and Sault Ste. Marie, all powerhouses. Last week, Sarnia had a record of 7-2-0-1 in its last 10 games.

That has helped put them in good position for the playoffs.

Can this team get to the Memorial Cup, two hours down the road in Windsor? The road will be winding, crooked and slippery.

But as the faith night signs said: “Bee Lieve.”

Finally, congratulations to Sting graduates Jakob Chychrun, Travis Konecny and Pavel Zacha, who are doing well in the NHL this year.

Cam Ross



Mentally ill shouldn’t have to pretend they aren’t disabled

Sir: In honour of this year’s Bell Let’s Talk Day, I decided to address an issue that bothers me a lot. It’s been suggested to me that the mentally disabled should avoid discrimination by employers by pretending not to be disabled when applying for jobs.

After all, I’m told, it’s invisible, so why not just pretend to be able-bodied?

This bothers me for a number of reasons. First, if a mentally disabled person doesn’t disclose their disability, how are they supposed to be accommodated by their employer, as the Human Rights Code requires?

Second, my disability is so integrally tied to who I am that it’s impossible in the long term to pretend that it doesn’t exist. It would be like asking a black person to pretend to be white.

Most importantly, though, it’s really offensive. To illustrate this I phoned up a friend of mine who’s black and asked him how he would feel if, were it possible, he had to pretend to be white to keep his job.

He hung up on me. That was his way of saying, “f*** you.”

That’s the right answer. It’s the right answer for anyone suggesting that black people should pretend to be white, that women should pretend to be men, that Muslims should pretend to be Christian, or that anyone should pretend to be anyone except who they are.

And it’s the right answer for anyone suggesting that the mentally disabled should pretend not to be disabled.

Gary Roach



Letter writer sets record straight on Ecuador

Sir: Re: letter from Thea deGroot, “Not everyone can retire in Ecuador.

I feel terrible that she thought I was being self-centred, but she made a couple of “assumptions” regarding my take on Ecuador.

I didn’t say I was retiring in Ecuador, simply that it would be a good place to go, relative to the benefits to seniors on a fixed income.

She also assumed that once in Ecuador I would return to Canada for medical reasons, and that Ecuador has bad health care.

Wrong on all three.

I thought the reason for my letter was completely transparent. Seniors will have a rough row to hoe if the Wynne government continues on its deplorable road to ruin. If I did retire to Ecuador, it would be paid for by my CPP and OAS (which I self-centredly earned over 55 years, retiring after 39 years in one profession and no pension) without any other means of support.

Can I do that in Ontario? Not on your life, even with “free” OHIP.

Here, my wife and I have two part-time jobs just to keep our heads above water. As for medical coverage, Ecuador offers it to all seniors, including ex-pats. Husband and wife can buy state insurance for about $140 per month.

Doctors, for the most part, are U.S.-trained. It would seem the medical care and treatment is as good or better than at home. An example – teeth cleaning by a U.S.-trained dental hygienist, $25, extraction $30, visit to doctor $20.

Ms. deGroot seems agitated that I want a comfortable lifestyle and found a way to accomplish that. No, I’m not a Millennial but I am a realist who decided to get my head out the sand and do what is right for my wife and me.

I’m writing this from San Clemente, Ecuador on a sunny 88 F. day listening to the breakers crash on the beach. Perhaps Ms. DeGroot would call this self-indulgent, but the reality is we have saved for this trip over years to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary.

Don Ballantyne








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