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Letters, week of Sept. 24

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River swimmer saved by boaters

Sir: I was sitting on a bench on the casino side of the Blue Water Bridge on Sept. 17 enjoying a beautiful day at our wonderful waterfront when I observed two people doing the “river run.”

All of a sudden, I realized the man was being carried out further and further into the river by strong currents and he began waving for help.

Thankfully, a boat came along, realized the situation, and turned around and threw him a lifejacket. Because of strong winds it blew away, and he flagged another boat down and they also threw out a lifesaving device.

Luckily, the man was able to grab the bow of the first boat and eventually get the lifejacket on, and was able to climb aboard the boat, all the while being attended by three boats by this time.

I would like to give kudos to the boaters who came to his help and brought him to safety. Apparently it was their first “river run” and I’m hoping it will be their last.

Thanks for coming to his aid, at what must have been a very scary time for this man and his girlfriend. The outcome could have been very different.

Lynn Fischer



Refugees could enhance our lives

Sir: I appreciate James Clarkson piece in the Journal of Sept. 10th ‘The Other Side of Immigration.’

I have great empathy with him and his wife and many others who find themselves on waiting lists due to health funding cutback. And it was interesting to hear his family’s immigration story.

The Canada that Mr. Clarkson and my parents immigrated into is not the present Canada, and I think a story of illegal immigrants in England siphoning the system is a bit of a red herring.

When my parents and Mr. Clarkson immigrated, jobs were plentiful. It took Mr. Clarkson less than three months to earn enough to bring over his wife and children. My parents also met our basic needs fairly quickly.

Twenty-five years ago there were no food banks in Canada, and in the ‘60s there were no storage units. It would be an interesting study to compare the growth of food banks to storage facilities.

As a society we have bought into the scarcity myth, so if there is not enough for us there is none for others. We have monetized all aspects of life, claiming this will bring prosperity to all. At the same time, we hear all taxes are bad, all debt is bad and only private companies know how to provide and create growth. We have also taken for truth that managing a country’s budget is exactly the same as running a household budget.

Canada has a shrinking population. Schools continue to close and basic services are leaving rural Canada. We are a rich country with lots of space for immigrants and refugees. Our history has plenty of examples of how immigrants and refugees have enhanced our collective lives.

We live in turbulent, disparate and insecure times, and so we long for stability and security. Let us be wise and not be taken in by false and simplistic arguments. Leaving masses of people without work and children without access to education will not make a safer and more stable world.

Inaction on climate change will create more food and water insecurity, which is actually what led to the initial uprising in Syria.

Being generous has never led to any of us being without.

Thea deGroot



Leave ‘Big Tom’ in Canatara

Sir: We have read with interest the articles concerning returning the cannon to Veteran’s Park from its current location in Canatara Park.

We understand that as history buffs these gentlemen want to honour our past by returning the cannon to its original home. That makes sense and we applaud them. Both of us have attended every Remembrance Day ceremony for the last 15 years, and one of us have worked downtown for that same amount of time. We do not see the benefit of this relocation.

The cannon is a tremendous, some might say iconic symbol of the sacrifice made on our behalf. In its current home in Canatara Park it is a meeting place for many charity events. A meeting place for families to reconnect. A meeting place for lost loved ones who have wandered away from their caregivers. It is all of these things because it is so iconic and recognizable.

It stands out to young and old, new and current residents and visitors alike. To us, there is no better way to honour the sacrifices of those who fought for our freedom than to enjoy what they secured for us. We respectfully request you leave the cannon in Canatara Park where it can be enjoyed many more days a year and by far more people.


Lou Sprenger and Shauna Carr



Syrian men should fight


Sir: The sight of a dead three-year-old boy, lying on the beach after the boat he was in capsized, while his family was trying to become refugees in a foreign country, has stirred the conscience of the entire world.

Germany alone has said it has taken in one million of these refugees. I would guess that all the other European countries combined have taken in at least that many.

The crisis is now out of hand with some countries refusing to accept any more refugees. I have a suggestion that should be taken seriously. It’s this:

I have noticed that on the news that a good third of these refugees are able-bodied men. I think we should allow the women and children in and really take care of them. The able-bodied men should be given a rifle, a weeks training, and sent back to Syria to fight for their country.

The Syrian army will organize them. An extra 400,000 soldiers should be able to take back their country. American, Canadian and other NATO countries should not have to put their military at risk trying to recapture Syria, while able-bodied Syrians prefer to run rather than fight.

If you want to have that warm and fuzzy feeling go ahead and let in 100,000 refugees. But unless someone stops the fighting in the Middle East there will be another 100,000 next year

We should have a plan B ready.

Jim Clarkson  




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