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Letters, week of Jan. 21

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Why didn’t churches help homeless shelter?

Sir: I applaud the efforts of the Refugee Committee to raise money for Syrian refugees to relocate in Sarnia, but have any of these people ever heard the expression, “Take care of business in your own yard first.”

Where were these church groups when River City Vineyard was attacked and involved in an unnecessary battle with an uncaring and mismanaged Sarnia city council, all for the thankless job of trying to house people with no home?

I am appalled at the amount of our money that was thrown away at the urging of a few ‘NIMBY’ neighborhood locals, and in my opinion the people responsible for that legal farce should be shouldering the cost and try and get their priorities in order.

When we have no more need of homeless shelters and food banks in Sarnia then we can afford the luxury of importing someone else’s homeless.

There seems to be no common sense left in our society and it is certainly and glaringly missing from our leaderless council. My apologies to Councillor Scholten, and thank you for telling the Emperor he had no clothes.

Fordie Smith,

Sarnia

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Bombing won’t defeat ISIS

Sir: War is never black and white, even the Second World War displayed more “shades of grey” than an E. L. James novel.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Middle East where, time and again, Western intervention has only made matters worse. We just don’t understand the historical and cultural differences behind these conflicts.

The war in Syria began in 2011 when President Bashar al-Assad began a brutal crackdown on growing peaceful protests. Initially the West supported the uprising, and there was even talk of bombing the Syrian forces to help rid the country of Assad.

Then along came ISIS, a particularly brutal, fundamentalist and radically anti-Western group, which has inspired a number of homegrown terrorists to action. These attacks have been successful in creating a sense of fear that has been magnified by the media and manipulated by some politicians.

What ISIS really wants is to create tension and conflict against Muslims in Western countries, and to see the West expand its military role in Syria. ISIS attracts support by framing the conflict as a Western war against Islam, a tactic that relies on us over-responding to these attacks. Unfortunately, politicians like Donald Trump are only too ready to over-react.

So how should Canada respond? First, there is no reason to believe that bombing ISIS in Syria or elsewhere will make us safer at home. The exact opposite is arguably the case. They need to be defeated militarily, but the defeat must come from within the Middle-Eastern community.

While we need to starve them of finance and arms, our greatest task is to reduce their supply of recruits. Rather than the West against Islam, we have to reframe it as a civil war, and we can only do that by exiting the direct conflict, stopping the bombing and keeping Western troops out.

We cannot advocate for the victims, and for peace, if we are one of the ones dropping bombs. What Canada is doing, by withdrawing from air strikes, to concentrate on humanitarian aid and military training, is the smart thing to do and the only way to defeat ISIS. Sincerely,

Peter R. Smith

Bright’s Grove

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The grandeur of SCITS

Sir: In 1922, the most impressive public building in Sarnia was officially opened on Wellington Street. The grandeur of the Sarnia Collegiate Institute and Technical School was the pride of its citizens.

Not only was it a beautiful building, but, in the year it was built, it received the national architectural award. Many firsts were incorporated in its design – terrazzo floors, two gymnasiums, one with a balcony, a large auditorium, a swimming pool and room–to-room telephones.

Most impressive was the original front entrance with its wide steps and banisters, further enhanced by tall, stately lampposts. This was changed about 60 years ago to the current glass-enclosed entrance.

While there have been many internal alterations, as well as a huge addition to the rear of the building, they have not detracted from its stately appearance.

The auditorium, complete with a large stage and balcony seating, was used for student assemblies and productions, as well as for public meetings and entertainment, most notably the Polymer Glee Club.

The pool was in almost constant use for Red Cross lessons and student swim programs.

The gymnasiums were used not only by phys ed students and student dances, but also by city basketball and badminton leagues.

Unlike today’s big-box schools, 94-year-old SCITS has an architectural grandeur unequalled in public buildings in our city.

Under no circumstances should it ever be demolished or allowed to deteriorate.

Pat McLean

Sarnia

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Stripping the light fantastic

Sir: This letter is directed to the individual who stole my LED lightshow multi-colour projection swirling light from our front lawn the week before Christmas.

I have the empty box if you would like to store it safely until next Christmas!

Stop by 741 O’Dell Ave. — you remember where you took what wasn’t yours.

If something like this just shows up at your home without a box and explanation, ask where it came from, and tell the thief I would really like it back.

Oh by the way, it does have a security mark on it.

Alice Frew

Sarnia

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Meeting to close SCITS was painful

Sir: The first Accommodation Review Committee meeting on the proposed closure of SCITS high school was a painful process.

It was held in the gym at St. Clair Secondary School, and instead of having committee members sit on the stage so the crowd could see who was talking, they sat at tables on the floor.

For the whole second half of the meeting, the committee discussed figures, diagrams and pictures from their written material. Nothing was displayed on a screen set up on the stage, nor was printed material available for the audience.

At a supposedly public meeting, the crowd had to wait three hours to ask a single question, and it only happened because an audience member stood up at the microphone before it was allowed.

The next meeting is in March at SCITS, and the committee plans to hold it in the school cafeteria instead of the auditorium.

So we have a committee, and a Lambton Kent District School Board, that can barely run a public meeting, and we’re supposed to should trust their judgment on decisions that will affect hundreds of students, thousands of parents, millions of dollars and deeply change the character of a neighbourhood?

Not that these meetings will have any sway.  It was very obvious from the reports (with missing details and questionable conclusions) as well as the lack of answers from school board staff, that a decision was made long ago and this process is only for show.

Kevin Forbes

Sarnia

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Should we fear Muslims entering Canada?

Sir: There are lots of articles and opinions on why we should not accept Muslims into Western society.

The two main reasons are that they will come over, have large families and become the majority, and that some of their values are very different and even opposing to ours.

Let’s look at the first fear. Many immigrants in the ‘50’s came from Europe with large families and had large families. There were large pockets of immigrant populations who banded together to help each other thrive in their new country. No immigrant group has emerged to dominate and change what Canada is.

Every Western society has seen a decline in religion and a decline in the birth rate. By the third generation, that will be no different for Muslims coming into Western society. They will be affected by secularism and affluence and will end up being assimilated into Western thought and culture.

Western culture, including Canada, has been progressively moving towards equality. This equality has been permeating throughout the world and will continue to do so, with no religion being able to stop or reverse it.

Even though I am a Christian, I believe that most religions, including Christianity, are really just ‘sin management systems.’ To me, true Christianity is a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. I believe that Jesus came to give life, and if something gives me life, it is ‘Jesus.’

Most aspects of religion don’t give me life, so to me, it is not Jesus. The only way any religion will last is if it moves from a “sin management system” to a relationship with God and each other, based on love. It is the “sin management system” part of religion that seems to cause the most problems in the world.

I believe that the vast majority of Muslims are good people and that we should make it a point to get to know them. Once you get to know the people you are afraid of, or have strong opinions about, your attitude will begin to change and you will be become more accepting.

In other words, more ‘Canadian.’

George Esser

Sarnia

 

 

 

 

 

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