Letters, week of March 5

Anti-terror bill turns CSIS into secret police

Sir: The government’s “Anti-Terror Bill” C-51 and its approach to the conflicts in Syria and Iraq miss the target by a wide margin.

While we all agree that ISIS is a particularly nasty bunch of thugs that have to be stopped, it won’t be achieved just by dropping bombs on them. While the conflict has nothing to do with religion, ISIS is recruiting from around the world by framing the conflict as the “West vs. Islam,” and our actions are helping them make that argument.

If we want to stop the conflict, we have to win hearts, and turn off the supply of new recruits and funding, otherwise the killing will just continue.

For too long the West has seen its role as a global police officer, taking sides in every conflict through military or economic intervention, and usually making matters worse. Instead of telling everyone else what to do, and trying to impose a military solution, we need to listen to those who understand the historical and cultural issues and then support them.

At home we need to remember that terrorists plant bombs and commit other acts to “terrorize us,” and provide them with publicity and influence well beyond their true size. They want to make us change our lifestyle, turn against each other, or over-react militarily, as this will bring others to their cause.

Anti-Terror Bill C-51, is what we might expect from this government. It includes a few obvious improvements in terms of internal communication, which should have been done years ago. What doesn’t work is turning CSIS into a secret police force without robust civilian oversight. This is just asking for trouble, and is a betrayal of our forbears who fought for the rights we enjoy today. These rights were not easily won, and we shouldn’t give them away freely.

The other issue with the Bill is its vague language that we just know will be used by this government to brand environmentalists, native groups and anyone else who opposes them as terrorists.

This Bill must be amended or stopped.

Peter R. Smith

Sarnia

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OPG plan is short-sighted

Sir: As someone who lived 150 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, and lived through its meltdown, I keenly read Mr. Mathewson’s article on the Ontario Power Generation’s proposed subterranean nuclear waste facility. I agree that the OPG’s current radioactive waste management plan is short-sighted and wrought with unknown dangers and long-term financial costs.

I believe the proposed site is a litmus test. Currently, the Canadian Nuclear Waste Management Organization is searching for a permanent storage site somewhere in Canada to house high-level fissionable radioactive waste. If OPG demonstrates it can build and store low to intermediate waste then it could propose to build a bigger facility to store high-level radioactive waste at the Kincardine site.

The OPG and the Ontario government are now coming to grips with its nuclear waste dilemma. Ontario operates 18 reactors at three nuclear power facilities. These facilities have operated on average for 30-years producing large quantities of waste. In addition, to its current waste problem OPG will have to plan to deal with future waste from decommissioning its reactors when their life-cycles end. Decommissioning is a multi-year process that produces huge amounts of nuclear waste and costs millions of dollars.

Disposing of nuclear waste is not a simple or straight-forward exercise. Disposing or storing nuclear waste is not a one-generational problem, but a multigenerational problem. It requires real long-term financial forecasts, comprehensive environmental assessments and public input. I worry because OPG and the Ontario government behaviour is reminiscent of Tokyo Electric Company and the Japanese Government responses before, during and after the Fukushima meltdown. They all fail to tabulate the long-term costs, perform environmental assessments, publicly answer risk management questions or asked for public input.

If you give OPG an inch today they will take a mile tomorrow.

Mike Smith

Sarnia

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Sale of drones should be controlled

Sir: Many years ago my old uncle Willy said, “To drone or not to drone, that is the question.”

He was in his nineties, so nobody bothered to answer him.

When I was a kid in school I was told a Drone was some kind of bee. It’s strange how some things you learn at school seem to stick with you. Beekeepers might find that information interesting, but not me.

I remember after leaving school and being in a park and watching men flying model airplanes.

They would assemble a kit and fasten a battery-operated motor, and with the aid of a hand-held transmitter fly it, make it do loops, and hopefully make a safe landing … or not.

Not many years ago scientists used that idea to create something called a Drone. Initially used only by the U.S. military, it was made of metal, saucer shaped and not very big. A person sitting at a console could make this thing fly high and go a long way.

With a camera attached, the Drone could send back pictures of enemy movements, which would be sent to people who knew what to do with them.

Making the Drone a little bigger, you could attach a bomb or rocket to it and save time. Being unmanned, no lives would be lost if it was shot down.

Now, non-military Drones are available to the general public. Not long ago a man in Washington. D.C. bought one and was practicing with it when it got away from him and crash-landed on the lawn of the White House.

With a little practice that man could have flown that Drone through a window in the White House. Or with a homemade bomb attached, he could have aimed it at a commercial airliner taking off or landing.

How about an arena filled with 60,000 super bowl fans? That bothers me.

As the song says, “there’s been a load of compromising, on the road to my horizon”. But my thinking is, Drones should not be sold to any Tom, Dick or Abdul.

Jim Clarkson

Sarnia

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Our job is your job

“I scored a vintage Christian Dior tuxedo blazer at a thrift store for $2.50. I still wear it today.”

 – Lilliana Vasquez, style & fashion expert and commentator

Those who know me personally might be surprised to learn that I can quote a media-savvy fashionista whose personal motto could be summed up as, “A little bit of budget, a whole lot of style”.

As CEO of Goodwill Industries – Essex, Kent Lambton, I make it my business to know about influential people like Vasquez because our retail stores can keep her followers happy. And she has millions of followers.

Trendy bargain hunters in Sarnia- Lambton may need to be reminded that Goodwill stores offer a treasure trove of fashion and accessory possibilities. Even Lilliana Vasquez would be impressed.

But, what’s more impressive is the impact of our stores on the quality of people’s lives. Goodwill Industries exists to provide services that help people find jobs. Our Mission: To change lives through the power of work – and last year alone we assisted over 1,400 clients to secure stable employment. We depend on our communities to help us achieve success with job seekers.

When you donate quality used goods to Goodwill, or when you shop in our stores, you are helping to fund job-training programs.

Why donate to Goodwill instead of other local thrift stores? Every donation, small or large, will help great people get great jobs right here in our community! Employed people contribute to the local economy and are self-sufficient. It’s a win-w in solution; you donate excess items to help de-clutter your home, and we sell them at a very reasonable price to shoppers seeking those very items.

The proceeds from the sale go towards job creation programs. We call it the Goodwill Life Cycle: Donate.. Shop.. Train… Work.

Kevin Smith

CEO, Goodwill Industries – Essex, Kent, Lambton