Letters: week of Aug. 29

Political leaders should keep religion out of politics

Sir: Regarding the Aug. 8 article “Councillor and MP Clash,” I see plenty of room for a councillor like Nathan Colquhoun in Sarnia.

It is fully appropriate to question the motives of our MP. If she is basing her political decisions on her personal religious beliefs, that should be something to call her out on.

Perhaps the councillor called her out to raise awareness to the on-going issue of people making decisions that impact others based on their religion.

No one should have that type of power. That is the ethical issue that should be at question here.


Sarah Klassen
Bright’s Grove

Can’t hold girlfriend’s hand in Sarnia

Sir: Regarding the Aug. 15 John Parker letter, “Opposing rainbow crosswalk not prejudice.”

This past week, I brought my girlfriend to Sarnia for the first time. As I gave her a tour of Sarnia’s greatest hits, my hand kept separate from hers. I refrained from any public displays of affection.

The first time we walked together in public in London, catcalls sounded from the first car that passed us. I grew scared of what would happen in a considerably smaller and more conservative city, my hometown.

I can’t build the courage to hold my girlfriend’s hand in Sarnia in public because of comments like John Parker’s. I showed her the spot where the crosswalk will be painted in the coming months, and we both expressed our excitement for the baby steps Sarnia is taking to accept people like us.

I can’t build the courage to hold my girlfriend’s hand, but I’ll be OK. I have a support system, and I have a queer community. However, there are thousands of queer people in Sarnia who have been hiding, and cannot come out. They can’t hold hands with their partner in Sarnia because for a long time now, LGBTQ+ folk have remained invisible to a large portion of our city.

This “disfigurement” of a crosswalk, as Parker called it, is about visibility. It’s about safety, acceptance, and belonging.

LGBTQ+ folk belong in Sarnia. We’re here, we’ve been here forever, and it’s about time that we finally are visible. Deal with it.

Madeline Vrolyk


Climate deniers use science selectively

Sir: The second paragraph in Peter Clarkes’s Aug. 15 anti-U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change letter is lifted verbatim from the Heartland Institute’s website, a ‘think tank’ funded by fossil fuel interests to attack the IPCC.

‘Think tanks’ popped up in response to climate scientist testimony to Congress (James Hansen etc.) in the 1980s. Hanson is a former Director of the NASA Goddard Institute, which among other things conducted global atmospheric analysis.

Mr. Clarke cites C.H. Waddington as verification of scientific ‘error’ – from a book published in 1941! Newly discovered scientific evidence and adaptation do not mean prior evidence was ‘wrong.’

Scientific policies evolve and can revolutionize quickly. IPCC reports are peer reviewed three times by thousands of independent global scientists regulated by a non-partisan regulatory body.

Waddington’s analysis about ‘pet scientific theories can be wrong’ from 1941 is misconstrued by Heartland to push a fabrication that climate change, especially the human fossil fuel burning component, is therefore somehow ‘not true’ in 2019.

Craig Idso, Bob Carter and Fred Singer, also cited, each has been funded by Heartland and had their cherry-picked ‘evidence’ routinely and soundly refuted by actual climate scientists.

Mr. Clarke’s examples are front men paid to protect those sitting in corporate boardrooms by deliberately interfering with the communication of accurate scientific information.

The IPCC is not political; its comprehensive climate evidence is compiled by thousands of independent climate scientists. Ninety-seven percent of global climate scientists concur that the human role in climate change is substantial. The relatively few outliers represent vested interests protecting a bottom line, not accurate climate science data.

Large oil companies like Shell and producers like Saudi Arabia acknowledge atmospheric carbon increase and its relationship to burning fossil fuel. Shell ended its relationship with the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers for that reason. Shell supports the Paris Agreement and didn’t like being misrepresented.

Like the tobacco lobby, climate-denial think tank ‘analysis’ funded to protect profit margins is not ‘alternative’ scientific hypothesis. It’s part of a misinformation campaign pushed by conservative political opportunists deliberately misbranding science, hoping they have a winning strategy in grossly misleading citizens about the environment we share.

Dave Prowse


High Great Lake water levels the result of human intervention

Sir: The water level in the middle Great Lakes is completely under the control of man, despite denials at all official levels. They claim it’s an act of god.

A control dam run by Ontario Power Generation and the New York Power Authority just above Niagara Falls literally controls water levels in lakes Erie, Huron and Michigan, although the Chicago Drainage Canal that empties into the Mississippi helps.

Most people don’t realize that because of historic low water levels in the 1930s, two rivers that flowed into James Bay were diverted into Lake Superior to ultimately raise water levels in Lake Michigan.

Chicago’s sewage could continue to be sent south toward the Mississippi rather than into the gyre in the lower end of Lake Michigan, where it would be returned by way of its water intakes.

The International Joint Commission has committees that control levels in Superior and Ontario via dams and associated locks on the St. Marys and St. Lawrence rivers respectively. The IJC leaves levels in the middle lakes up to ship owners, tree-huggers and OPG.

Ship owners want high water so they don’t have to pay sailors for more trips. Big money talks.

Tree-huggers want swamps (wetlands) as per ‘IJC Plan 2014’ and they sure got them, probably along with more West Nile and maybe Zika virus.

Hydro doesn’t care about high water levels because

with the de-industrialization of Ontario it can’t sell the cheap, water-generated electricity and is contractually obligated to exorbitantly expensive solar and wind power. So, Hydro didn’t bother to draw down water levels over the winter, despite very high water levels last year.

The soft-sided, middle lakes are extremely susceptible to erosion from high water levels and have suffered terribly and unnecessarily.


Cam Lewis



Acceptance of “others’ has been slow, but is occurring

Sir: We’ve come far in accepting ‘others’ but we still have a ways to go.

We get it now that folks with physical challenges need some facilitation. We’ve opened up to mental and emotional illnesses and are doing more to help those folks live better lives.

The Inn and River City provide for homelessness with dignity and a range of help. Learning disabilities are assisted and we’ve gained understanding that race, colour and religion shouldn’t set anyone apart.

Light is shining on the mistreatment of Indigenous peoples and righting those wrongs and getting lives on a better track.

But here’s my point. In my life of 65 years I’ve watched and learned as the wonders of gender and sexual range have been revealed. I admit to being shocked and fearful at times, until I began to understand and accept. It was ME who needed to open and adjust my thinking.

While I took decades to formulate my new perspective, folks living outside societal ‘norms’ were struggling with hate and the need to hide.

In 2019 we can say we’ve come a long way. The LGBTQ2 community is finally experiencing some acceptance and can begin – BEGIN – to walk down the street with heads held high and be themselves without shame —something I’ve been able to do my whole life.

The rainbow flag in June and the coming rainbow crosswalk are peaceful and benign reminders to the LGBTQ2 community that they’re OK, that shunning and shaming is not acceptable.

They are simply part of us, the big us that is the community of Sarnia.  The crosswalk will be pretty. What rainbow isn’t pretty? It will do absolutely no harm. At no cost to taxpayers!

But when LGBTQ2 folks see it it may soothe wounds and remind them that healing, a long time coming, HAS begun.

Healing and acceptance of ‘others’ is on the rise in Sarnia and overt signs of acceptance are always a good thing.

Laurie Trombley


Will the real Pontifex Maximus please stand up?

Sir: Catholicism teaches that the pope is infallible when making pronouncements (ex cathedra) on matters of faith and morals.

It seems to me today many believe in a pope, but it’s a question of who that might be.

Coun. Nathan Colquhoun’s ‘pronouncements’ regarding MP Marilyn Gladu’s motivation for voting to condemn the BDS movement suggests he considers himself to be another pontiff.

The one who currently ‘hangs out’ in the Vatican however would not or could not know a person’s motive, since only God knows that.


Jim L. Sekerak