Letters: week of Sept. 26

This election let’s raise the bar and strengthen democracy

Sir: As the focus of the federal election grows, it is my sincere belief that citizens and candidates in Sarnia-Lambton have the capacity to avoid polarized and corrosive confrontations, and to communicate in ways that truly further our understanding of issues.

Too many media reports continuously make reference to ground wars, battles, war rooms, and victories or losses, to describe election-related events.

And the attack ads have begun dropping upon us in almost perfect alignment with the dropping of the writ. We need much less of these types of “communication” that can lead to endless and unproductive toxicity. Surely our expressions of differing perspectives can be made without an automatic condemnation of others, and surely they can be delivered with respectful rather than caustic and sarcastic tone.

The words of a highly regarded Canadian political leader and diplomat suggest what many of us feel:

Somewhere in my soul I cherish the possibility of a return to a vibrant democracy, where policy is debated rather than demeaned, where the great issues of the day are given thoughtful consideration, where Canada’s position on the world stage is seen as principled and laudatory, where human rights for all is the emblem of a decent society.

Sarnia-Lambton could become a beacon of civility and constructive engagement, where citizens and candidates alike can come out of the campaign more informed, more humbly respectful, and more appreciative of the possibility that we can truly strengthen the real vision of democracy through respectful community communication.


Bob Sutton

Camlachie


Excluding the fringe party leaders from TV debates unfair

Sir: Once again, the freedom of speech has been violated for the lesser-known, fringe federal political parties.

The leader of the Christian Heritage Party, for example, is being excluded from the national TV debates for the lame-duck excuse of not being popular enough.

The debate committee assumed (falsely) that on the basis of low polling and profile the party can’t compete in the big leagues with the Liberals, Conservatives, NDP, Bloc Quebecois, and now the Greens.

But here’s the irony. The debate organizers excluded minor party leaders for the very reason (lack of popularity) that they should be included, to give them a chance to become popular, perhaps overnight, and become serious contenders for the crown.

Perhaps that’s the real reason the leftist debate team and mainline party leaders, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, won’t defend the fringe party leaders’ right to speech. Consequently, they are denying all Canadians the right to be fully informed on different points of view, in order to vote their belief and conscience.

All we hear is crickets from them concerning “rights and freedoms” for all. I don’t think any of the five party leaders, including Trudeau, wants to be challenged, or to be seen squirming and dodging on National TV when confronted, for example, by Rod Taylor of the CHP on controversial issues like abortion, euthanasia, etc.

How embarrassing that would be!

The top echelon of government and left-wing media want to limit debate to the prominent, established few, which is a corrupt and unfair practice.

We the people (the real government) want a public debate to hear from all candidates vying to become prime minister. After all, we have the right to hear and be fully informed.

 

Harry De Boer
Wyoming

 


High school students showing lack of respect for environment

Sir: The staff and students have been in place at Great Lakes Secondary School’s “new” location since Sept. 3.

Since then, the garbage in the neighbourhood on Murphy Road between Confederation and Wellington has increased daily. Litter includes pizza boxes, chicken boxes, sandwich wrappers, disposable cups and water bottles.

Clearly, the young adults attending GLSS are not concerned in any way whatsoever about the environment, their community or the reputation of their school as it relates to the neighbourhood and the city.

If it’s like this now, we can expect that with each passing school day, it will only get worse. The winter months should be a treat! This is shameful to say the least.

And before I sign off, a warning to drivers. Some students are not afraid to jaywalk across Murphy, in front of traffic, when you least expect it, so be prepared to hit the brakes.

I am not sure if this shows a complete disrespect for the driving public or a sense of invincibility on their part.

This is not a happy start to a new school year and a “new” school. Sincerely,

 

Claudette Gasbarini
Sarnia

 


Sarnia, it’s time get this flow on the road

Sir: Why was it that when the population of Corunna was 1,100, the River Road speed limit was 50 MPH, the slide rule the latest thing in higher mathematics, and a mechanical clock with jewel bearings the ultimate in timekeeping, that the traffic lights on Brock Street stayed in synchrony year-in and year-out?

Why is it that when Corunna’s population is about 10,000, the River Road speed limit is 50 KPH, a pocket phone has enough computing power to program a lunar landing, and in this A.I. era of smart electronics, atomic clocks and titles like ‘Traffic Engineer,’ even the supposedly in-synch traffic lights on central Brock are often completely asynchronous?

Why are the lights on the west end of Confederation, which service a few hundred vehicles, synchronized at the expense of the lights on Brock, which serve 10,000 plus many of the Sarnia’s industrial workers?

Is it a police-generated dogma that stopping for non-synchronized traffic lights is a traffic-calming device? It may calm traffic, but it infuriates the drivers in it and wastes huge amounts of time, gasoline and brake pad asbestos.

Why does it feel like Sarnia’s traffic engineers are deliberately placing obstacles in the way Corunna residents making pleasant journeys to Sarnia?

I would have thought that it might just be possible in this era of A.I., smart electronics, supercomputing and semi-intelligent engineers to smooth the flow of Corunnians into the core of the metropolis via sedately synchronous traffic lights on Brock Street. Thanks,

Cam Lewis
Corunna


 

Do drivers must have new lease on life?

Sir: When I returned to live in Sarnia after 57 years away I started noticing a lot of brand new vehicles, especially “hot dog” pickup trucks with high cabs, studded extra fenders, larger than normal wheels, blinking lights, etc.

They didn’t appear to be work trucks because they had no “caps” on the back.

The drivers seemed mostly in their 20s to 50s and were noticeable for the manner in which they drove these vehicles, fast and aggressive, but only going short distances. They hustled to get to a red light first.

Young women also driving low-slung cars aggressively like the young men.

I asked myself, why? Don’t they know the strain put on the transmission, brakes, drive train and engine will soon cause serious money repairs?

Don’t they know their gasoline consumption will be considerably extra?

And why are they all in such a hurry to go a short distance? They must have lot of money and no brains to treat expensive vehicles so harshly.

Often, if one was behind me on the road, they’d roar their engines, frustrated by my slower driving. They couldn’t wait to pass even if it meant crossing a double line, just to get to that red light first.

Much to my amusement, I’d see them when passing give me “the finger.”

But after three years here I think I’ve finally figured it out. These vehicles they’re driving so aggressively aren’t their own, they’re leased vehicles. So they’re just driving the living hell out of them and paying only for the excess gasoline.

I may be wrong, I’m usually not, but what else is the answer?

John Parker
Sarnia