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Letters, week of Feb. 18

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Re-think needed on countering ISIS

Sir: In his letter “We’ve a moral imperative to stop ISIS” (Jan. 28), Dave Mitchell criticizes Peter Smith’s valuable insight on understanding the conflict (“Western meddling gave rise to ISIS”, letter Jan 21).

Both writers agree that ISIS should be defeated but that is increasingly looking like an impossibility, and Mr. Mitchell ascribes too much responsibility to achieving that goal to Canada and other Western nations. Unlike al-Qaeda, ISIS is at war with the Muslim world (not the West) and wants to create a caliphate throughout the Middle East – not a global caliphate as Mr. Mitchell claims. Such a grandiose plan as global domination is to flatter ISIS and sow unnecessary fear.

The key to defeating ISIS is for Middle Eastern countries to demonstrate greater co-operation and mount an appropriately large military response, assisted by Western intelligence and military and humanitarian supplies.

Until there is greater commitment and co-ordination from the Arab states to take the war to ISIS, the latter will continue to be emboldened to continue its madness.

The Canadian government understands this, just as the last Liberal government of Jean Chretien refused to commit Canada to the disastrous invasion of Iraq, a war that not only destroyed a country but led directly to the creation of ISIS. The Western powers have never achieved peace in that part of the world – only inflamed the fires of sectarianism and increased political turmoil and suffering.

This is not primarily Canada’s or the West’s war, but Arab states are apparently willing to let the West do the heavy lifting while they twiddle their thumbs. Bombing ISIS only aids President Assad of Syria who is guilty of even worse atrocities and who is responsible for the siege of Madaya and other cities, where many have already starved to death.

Does Mr. Mitchell, who is rightly concerned about death and destruction in the region, also propose a war against the Syrian army to help counter the slaughter and ethnic cleansing?

Until there is a re-think by all involved the loss of life in the Middle East will continue as ISIS marches on.

Allan McKeown

Sarnia


New pension plan a smoke screen

Sir: In the Feb. 2nd edition of the London Free Press, there was a most interesting article by Andrew Coyne with respect to the proposed Ontario Pension Plan.

Mr. Coyne wrote that it was not about helping the “under savers” as the premiere would have you believe.

The premiere’s “obsession” in establishing this pension plan becomes obvious in a line buried in a recent budget which states that by “encouraging more Ontarians to save through a proposed new Ontario Retirement Pension Plan, new pools of capital would be available for Ontario-based projects such as building roads, bridges and new transit.”

Undoubtedly, the premiere is not concerned about helping retirees, but about financing her infrastructure ambitions.

One wonders why, with all the revenue generated by the HST on gas purchases, house sales and each time a vehicle changes hands – and on absolutely everything – the province looks for yet another way to dig deeper into taxpayers’ pockets.

Surely, no one really believes there will be any pension funds available to those forced to contribute into this government’s latest scheme by the time they would be eligible to collect. It would be interesting to learn just how much money has been spent on TV and other ads promoting it.

Kathleen Wynne stated that she would scrap plans for a provincial pension if a Liberal government was elected federally. Guess this was just another lie.

Bernice Rade

Ontario


Who needs Vegas?

Sir: When my husband was with Dow Chemical we lived in Varennes, Quebec and a new 20-something comedian/impersonator took the Montreal Just For Laughs Comedy Festival by storm.

Andre Phillipe Gagnon began to appear on Quebec television shows, at the 1988 Olympics in Calgary, and then landed a spot on The Tonight Show.  From there he went on to Europe and a 10-year run in Las Vegas.

The recent evening with Andre Phillipe Gagnon at the Imperial Theater did not disappoint.

It was fabulous Las Vegas-quality entertainment and we agreed that it was absolutely one of the best shows we’ve seen at the Imperial Theater.

Margo Snow

Sarnia


Thanks for a great 90th anniversary

Sir: The executive and staff of the Point Edward Ex-Servicemen’s Association would like to thank all those who joined us on Feb. 6 to help celebrate our 90th anniversary.

We’d like to thank all of the individuals and businesses that helped out, and want all of our valued friends to know how much we appreciate their efforts and attendance, which made our event complete.

We Will Remember Them.

G.Douglas Neely

Anniversary Committee Chairman

Point Edward


Mentally ill are succeeding

Sir: Re: the guest column: “Employers failing the mentally ill.”

I am sure the writer means well, but we are a broad and diverse demographic, earning up to millions, holding every university degree, and every professional and white and blue collar job.

Harold A. Maio

Retired mental health editor

Fort Myers, Florida

 

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