Letters, week of April 23

Sex-ed curriculum a hot topic                       

Sir: It appears the Ontario Liberal Party, via Premier Kathleen Wynne, will this fall put into motion the new Sexual Education Curriculum, which is really a re-introduction of the one from 2010.

At that time it opened a can of worms, and five years haven’t changed the thinking of many outraged parents who fear their children will not be taught age-appropriate lessons.  Granted, Ontario has been behind with an outdated curriculum from 1998 that needs revision, especially with all the means and ways of communication today.

Whatever happened to the age-old discussion parents had with their children, called “the birds and the bees?”  Well folks, there is probably no such thing anymore, unless kids are home-schooled. Even then, times have changed so drastically that many parents are not armed with all the important information they should have to keep their offspring safe and healthy.

The closest parents came to being ‘informed’ was last October when Premier Wynne handpicked a few parents to give their feedback without actually seeing the ‘new’ curriculum.  It looks as if the control and responsibility went out of the hands of parents and into the hands of the government, who will be passing on their own brand of thinking to today’s generation.

It is understandable that some parents will think the new curriculum replaces and overrides the morals, thinking and values they have in mind for their children. The teaching material will be different for elementary than high school-age students. However, it will introduce many adult themes some will think inappropriate and crossing a line.

A reasonable balance should be maintained, where our youth are given enough information for their own good health while still allowing them to enjoy their childhood, which seems to get shorter every day.  Parents will have to step up communication with their children each and every day, taking time to discuss the important issues they are being taught.

For interesting reading on the subject, Google Ontario’s New Sex Ed Curriculum.  Like it or not, it will soon be a reality and everyone needs to be educated on this important matter.

Nadine Wark

Sarnia

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A rugby alternative for SCITS girls

Sir: Re: The April 9 letter, “SCITS rugby team needs a coach”

As the Youth Development Director, and the Head Coach of the U18 and the Women’s program at the Sarnia Saints Rugby Football Club, I would first like to thank Michele Boire (and the 22 female rugby players at SCITS) for their commitment to the sport of rugby. Second, I would like to invite Ms. Boire and the girls at SCITS to be a part of the Sarnia Saints summer rugby program for high-school athletes.

The program has not officially commenced – it will start at the end of May – but I would like to invite the girls to open practices that have started. Moreover, I am looking for a team manager this year and would like to invite Ms. Boire to join our rugby community as a volunteer.

I am also a coach at St. Patrick’s and was sorry to hear that SCITS was unable to field a team as of the March 27th LKSSAA declaration date. However, I am thrilled to know that there are so many young women interested in learning the sport of rugby.

I will be dropping off information packages to the school for the 22 young ladies and encourage the athletes to be in touch with me if they are interested in playing.

Practices in the summer run Monday’s and Tuesdays from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Norm Perry Park, and games are on Wednesday evenings.

For more about youth rugby in Sarnia-Lambton visit saintsjuniorwomen@gmail.com.

Melissa Parker

Sarnia Saints RFC

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In defence of after-school volunteers

Sir: Re: The April 9 letter, “SCITS rugby team needs a coach.”

I would like to thank Michele Boire for her support of the ladies interested in playing rugby.

The convener set the March 27th deadline to set a schedule for a league. This helps coaches set training schedules and guidelines for their players prior to the regular season.

As safety is the paramount concern of the board, coaches need to ensure there are a specific number of practices for each player.

According to Ontario Physical Education and Health Association guidelines, players need a minimum of eight contact practices prior to the first league game (www.safety.ophea.net/safety-plan/165/1410). I’m sure the decision to field a team at SCITS was made with consideration to all the players’ – both their desire to play and their safety.

Aside from misinformation about the availability of coaches and the untimely commitment of players, I would like to address some of the issues brought up:

Ms. Boire is correct; the school board does require a teacher representative for all extracurricular activities. As the activities are “extra,” the board won’t pay the teacher for involvement. This is like asking a nurse to stay after each shift to do therapy with patients that want it. The unpaid nurse would be held to the college of nurses’ standards while volunteering, and could lose their job if anything went awry.

The volunteers who run extracurricular activities – band, drama club, and sports teams – put in hundreds of hours every year with children, and take courses to have the qualifications.

We all have families we want to see, jobs to do, and lives away from that activity that don’t stop; but we make time and volunteer for that “extra” activity.

You could ask why the School Board has a Board Certified Teacher as a qualification for School run activities? You could ask why the Board is unwilling to pay teachers to run extracurricular activities. Or you could ask me where you can register for your coaching course.

There are problems with the school boards’ extracurricular programs – the problem is not a lack of amazing volunteers.

Trevor Mitchell

(Not a school board employee)

Sarnia

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Government failure on pollution

Sir: There should be no discussion regarding burying radioactive waste near Lake Huron. It shouldn’t even be considered.

The track record of the government and large corporations is deplorable. There are 2,000 previous mines and factories that are now closed and left with dangerous byproducts, polluting the nearby soil and waters.

The government welcomed these companies with no safeguards, and when finished they just left for the locals to live with it.

The city of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories has to contend with the closing of the Giant gold mine, which left behind 237,000 tons of poisonous arsenic buried at the site. Who pays for this cleanup?

The site of the Arctic DEW Line was left with many contaminants. Locally, there’s Centennial Park and Holmes Foundry – what a beautiful sight for tourists travelling on Hwy 402 to beautiful Bluewaterland.

Our governments have excellent hindsight, but otherwise are totally blind.

Do you think our liberal government with their track record could possibly make a correct decision?

Technology is moving rapidly, cars can park themselves, your gadgets talk to you, but who is protecting mother earth?

I’m not anti-government but I am anti-stupid (stupid is as stupid does). Our politicians need to listen and use some common sense.

We are not leaving much for our grandchildren or any who follow.

Canada is great at helping the less fortunate in foreign lands with aid, clean water and sewage problems, but cannot look after the needs and problems the First Nations people have all across Canada.

We should be ashamed.

Daniel Marshall

Bright’s Grove

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Sarnia General Hospital – What’s the real problem?

The recent collapse of the proposal to develop the former SGH site appears to be a sad commentary on the ability of all parties to come to a reasonable agreement to achieve a benefit for all concerned. What a lost opportunity!

As I understand it, at least in the beginning of this saga, Bluewater Health could divest itself of an on-going maintenance and security cost. The City/Province could divest themselves of a demolition cost and increase the taxable value. The developers presumably entered their proposal to somehow improve the value of the property and make a justifiable profit. The prospective tenants would have found a solution to their needs. The neighbourhood would gain positive service and security benefits.

An abandoned building draws crime and creates negative attitudes no less than you would experience viewing an empty storefront. Occupied buildings can increase the vitality of a neighborhood and exist to serve a variety of community social and economic needs.

Reuse of the buildings would represent a significant act of sustainable urban design. Compared to the continued negative presence and financial losses of an empty building or an empty lot, the building shells represent: a much greater financial asset in savings over demolition, savings in construction time, and savings in the sheer value of the replacement.

Conversion of medical spaces into integrated residential, office, and retail/commercial is a natural fit for the existing building and the neighbourhood. As one example, there is a great need for residential accommodation of independent, physically and developmentally challenged adults with medical and social service support in Sarnia-Lambton.

So what’s really wrong with the current picture? The desire of all parties to come to a reasonable agreement to improve the quality of life in the City of Sarnia.

David Lavender

David Lavender Architect

Sarnia

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Tax credit idea euthanized

Sir: Re: Pet project by Sheila Kozmin

I cannot agree with this guest columnist’s idea of “a provincial veterinary income tax credit.”

Really?  A tax credit because you decided to pay $700 (or a lot more) to cover your vet bill?

Having a pet is a choice, which means you take on the responsibility to care for it; therefore taking it to a vet is no surprise, whether it is for regular health care or injuries.

Why should the government institute a “tax credit”?  Where do you think that “tax credit” money would come from?  Why should non-pet owners have to pay for somebody else’s pet?

Don’t argue this point with “choosing to have a child.” If you incur a large vet bill there is the dilemma of what to do, and you know what I mean, but that is the pet owner’s difficult choice to make. Unless of course the pet owner is wealthy, but if not, then the decision is different.

And to say that vet costs would go down?  This would be no different than humans with dental and health plans. The costs related to our plans are reflected in how much it costs for us to have care, such as these costs are escalated.

The dentists and doctors feed off of these plans.  The cost of getting our teeth cleaned has climbed substantially because of these plans, so you can relate the high costs of our health care to this.

What do you think will happen when the pet tax credit kicks in? I find it hard to believe that the vets will lower their costs, and truly believe their costs will rise, since they know more people will come in because they will be getting their pet’s care paid for due to less money out of their pockets.

Sheila’s comment that vets are not government funded sounds like she thinks vets are not making enough money, so lets help them out.  I don’t think they are hurting, and it was their choice to become a vet.

Ted Bissonnette

Sarnia

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