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Letters: week of May 2

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Candidates should be vetted

Sir: I read how five member of council recently wanted to delay the lifting of sanctions against Mayor Mike Bradley until they had heard from a lawyer, because they were afraid of being sued somehow.

I was really disgusted by that. They knew the public wanted the sanctions lifted, but they don’t seem to get it that the public is their boss.

The former council, as everyone knows, was constantly wasting taxpayer money, especially with their namby, pamby accusations against the mayor. As a result, they were ousted by the public for their stupidity.

So a new council was voted in and the mayor given a great, reassuring vote. But now, some members of the new council are also bringing forward motions that are self-serving, wasteful and stupid.

It seems to me, the root of the problem is the fact the wrong people get on council, every now and then.

Running the City of Sarnia is like running a very big business. What’s needed are intelligent, competent and business-like councillors — or in corporate language, a board of directors.

Personally, I feel a candidate selection board should “weed out” those applying to be a candidate for council. Those that are considered unfit should be given no reason other than “NO.”

Because this problem probably exists across the whole province, I have taken steps, asking Premier Doug Ford to pass legislation to correct this root problem.

Right now, anyone with $100 can be a candidate for council. Voters need to know that when they are picking from a group of candidates, that these are people qualified for the job.

The present system may have worked for many years, but I see a definite need to review and change.


John Parker



Not much thought goes into the public subsidies doled out to business

Sir: Last month, the federal government announced a $12-million subsidy for a major food chain to upgrade its refrigeration units in 370 locations.

Ottawa says the upgrade will reduce carbon emissions by 23%. But how did the experts arrive at this estimate? Are they claiming the upgrade will reduce power consumption? If so, who gets the savings?

The company declared profit of hundreds of millions of dollars in 2018 alone. So why does the taxpayer have to shoulder the cost of this upgrade?

Beginning in 2016, senior governments provided more than $40 million in subsidies and interest-free loans for a $184-million bio-chemical plant in Sarnia. After construction, it operated for two years and went into receivership. That shows the expertise of the experts in this regard.

How about the $5 tire tax that came in to recycle and reuse tires? Nothing came out of it, but I believed the tax is still in effect.

Most of these subsidies are nothing but a political move that do not have a lasting effect. They are a technique used by politicians to get the people to vote for them, and they know it. Duct tape solutions easily peel off in time, and the problem persists or gets worst.

The solution would be a government branch composed of 11 technical people of various engineering and scientific disciplines, which would investigate all requests for subsidies before they are approved.

Respectfully yours,


Marcelo B. Villanueva



Rude letter didn’t help intended purpose

Sir: A recent letter defending the change from clear plastic to paper bags for leaf collection is not likely to persuade anyone to rally behind the change.

The language is condescending, antagonistic, and insulting. People who prefer plastic to paper are, we are told, lacking imagination, compounding the problem of leaf collection, acting like the human variety of biodegradable paper bags (whatever that means, it does sound nasty), not using their “miraculously endowed” intelligence, and “whining” away their lives ignorantly disregarding the future of the environment.

In the middle of this diatribe, the three positive suggestions – compost the leaves, don’t set the bags out too early, cover them with a tarp – are so simplistic as to seem patronizing.

So the result is a fine example of a very good way not to win an argument: bury a trivial and banal positive position in a massive pile of scorn and derision, and definitely make it personal.

After all, who could resist the change to paper, having been told that if they do resist they are dull, problematic, unbearable, stupid, ignorant, and environmentally irresponsible?

In this case, an important subject that might have been presented as a calm objective exposition has been sabotaged by anger and insult.

How much better it would have been if the slurs had been omitted, if the positives had been explained, and if there had been greater recognition of the basic problem; namely, that the inherent weakness of paper will require more frequent collection and a longer clean-up season.


Bryan Trothen




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