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Letters, week of Oct. 08

Published on

Toward a more civil political system

Sir: It seems that political leaders never discuss or present proposals for tackling the root causes of continuously growing citizen disengagement in our political process.

Perhaps they do not wish to face the reality that a major factor is their often combative and demeaning conduct, both inside and outside the House of Commons, and in blatantly divisive attack ads. It simply drives us away.

As a small group of caring citizens we are hoping to have others join us to seek the following commitment from every candidate, to be reinforced by 50,000 petition signatures seeking a return to civility in our democratic process:

I will dedicate myself to not cheering, laughing, or applauding belittling remarks toward another Member of Parliament. I will not cheer denigrating remarks offered in place of answers to legitimate questions from opposing parties. I will not approve the attempted demeaning of anyone inside or outside the House of Commons, and I will work diligently to encourage my party cohorts to make this same commitment.

In doing our best to have our and other citizen voices heard, we have created a website with our rationale at and a link to our petition to support this project at aimed at all federal leaders.

We can act quietly by not voting for those who demean, or we can publically seek commitment at debates for our pledge. It is time for all of us to join together to bring dignity back to democracy and citizens back to engagement.

Bob Sutton



Why we need to talk about suicide

Sir: The Sarnia Lambton Suicide Prevention Committee (SLSPC) thanks the people of Sarnia-Lambton for participating in World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD).

The fourth annual local commemoration was held at Canatara Park on Sept. 10. About 180 people gathered to share stories, music, cookies, kites, and resources and, most importantly, support and hope.

We joined people around the world to talk about this year’s theme, ‘Preventing Suicide: Reaching Out and Saving Lives.’

In 2014, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared suicide a major Public Health problem. Issuing a call to action to reduce suicide by 10% by 2020, the WHO proclaimed: “We need to address this worldwide problem that has been shrouded in taboo for far too long.”

If stigma makes suicide unspeakable, why did we gather to talk about suicide? Who came? How do we help?

Who came: children, youth, families, fathers, mothers, grandparents, daughters and sons, neighbours, musicians, artists, storytellers and a Member of Parliament.

Why: We talk and listen because the simple caring act of listening non-judgmentally and talking openly breaks stigma and can save lives.

People who are thinking of suicide almost always have reasons both for wanting to die and to live. When someone listens non-judgmentally, people often become willing to seek help, they see things differently, feel hope again and can sometimes even talk themselves out of suicide.

There are many ways to help. One is through safeTALK workshops. This prevention education teaches people how to be alert to the idea that anyone may be thinking of suicide. We teach the importance of listening and how to ask difficult questions like, “Are you thinking of suicide?” Participants learn how to connect a person with the help that they need to keep them safe and to help them want to live.

Learn more about suicide prevention at:

[email protected]

Sarnia Lambton Suicide Prevention Committee 519-932-6101

Emergency Connections:


CMHA Lambton Mental Health Crisis Line 519-336-3445

Distress Line Sarnia Lambton 519-336-3000 or 1-888-347-8737 (1-888-DISTRESS)

Cathy Butler

Public Education Coordinator, SLSPC



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