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Week of Sept. 8

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MP Gladu responds to critical letter

Sir: In response to Ms. Trina Smith’s comments (Aug. 25, 2016), I would like to remind constituents that any time they have a concern, they can call me at 519-383-6600, and I will always respond. This is usually the best way to clear up any misperceptions that may exist.

As chair for the Parliamentary Committee on the Status of Women, I tabled reports to the House of Commons to advance the gender-based analysis of legislation to ensure fairness for all.

I challenged parliamentarians and staff to take the online gender-based analysis training, resulting in over 1,000 participants. I am also chairing a study to eliminate cyber bullying of young girls and prevention of date rape on campus.

In addition, I was a member of the pay equity committee formed in response to the motion in question, which tabled its report in full support of pay equity and a proactive approach to remedy the current status quo, where women in the workplace earn 73 cents for every dollar earned by men in Canada.

To clarify why I suggested an amendment to the NDP motion; be aware that the motion falsely suggested the Conservative Party had removed Charter rights from federal employees, while also calling for an additional “special” committee at considerable taxpayer expense when the Status of Women committee was perfectly capable to undertake the work.

With respect to the vote on the national anthem gender neutrality bill, please also be aware that I keep a database on all calls, letters and emails received at both of my offices tracked by issue. Two thirds of the inputs received were against the bill, and since my role is to represent the majority view of constituents, that is what I did.

Finally, I would say that as the first female engineer in the House of Commons, and as one involved in supporting organizations like Equal Voice and Women in Engineering, I believe I am indeed leading by example. It is an honour to represent our community in Parliament.

Thanks for the opportunity to clarify.

Marilyn Gladu

MP, Sarnia Lambton

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Cost of two rescues don’t match up

Sir: I would like to make a comment about two recent events in the local news:

Scene 1: A SeaDoo is found on our shores, south of the bridges. Someone calls the Coast Guard to look into the matter.

Instead of calling the U.S. Coast Guard in Port Huron, which have a helicopter on site, standing by, they call the nearest Help & Rescue Centre at the Trenton Air Base, which is damn near in Quebec, to fly out one of their C-130 Hercules planes, staffed by a crew of five, plus ground crew, to fly at over 300 miles per hour to Sarnia and circle over the St. Clair River a half-dozen times, looking for the possibility of finding someone bobbing in the river.

All this at a height of over 1000 feet, at 300 miles per hour, three hours after the original phone call. No chance of surviving.

The result? Huge expenses, and not a single person helped.

Scene 2: The Port Huron Float Down.

It is an annual event, usually with little problems but this year the weather turned a bit nasty.

Many of the float participants were unable to fight the Westerly winds and currents and unwillingly became temporary illegal immigrants, with no money or documentations.

And what did we do? We helped by inviting them to our shores, handed out blankets to those who were cold and suffering, and put them on a bus to take them home, back to their good old USA.

The results? Over 1,300 folks were helped by numerous organizations.

But a lot of Sarnia taxpayers are whining about an estimated cost of perhaps $8,000 to the City of Sarnia, for being great neighbours to our American friends, while unintentionally receiving a million dollars of goodwill in worldwide publicity. We lucked out with all this good PR.

So why is the float down blown out of proportion, and not a word about the SeaDoo incident?

Some things I cannot understand.

Jerry Baljeu

Sarnia

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MPP’s bird-killing bill is Draconian

Sir: Re: the guest column by MPP Bob Bailey, entitled “Why I introduced bill to control cormorants.”

Let’s clarify some of the spin-doctoring MPP Bailey has done in his op-ed to make the cormorant the scapegoat for the decline in fish populations and the destruction of trees and overall ecology.

First of all, Bailey states there were “125 nesting pairs in 1973 and the population has increased to 115,000 pairs at last count in 2005.”

However, he fails to mention that in 1973 cormorants were an at-risk species because of a significant population decline, which was a major concern.

The current numbers have levelled off and in some areas there has been an actual decline in the population. Furthermore, it has been shown these birds are the primary predators of invasive fish species, and not a threat to native fish. Overfishing is the culprit here.

And finally, the overall destruction of trees is small and not unique to these birds. It is a natural process that happens globally where colonial waterbirds live.

I urge the public to research this issue to see for themselves that there is no valid reason to support this Draconian Bill.

Deborah Harris

Denfield, Ont.

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Let’s celebrate cormorants, not kill them

Sir: There is no population explosion of the double-crested cormorant in Ontario, as MPP Bob Bailey stated in his recent guest column.

In 1973, double-crested cormorants were on the brink of extinction with only 125 nesting pairs left on the Great Lakes.

Their population plummeted because of the widespread use of PCBs and DDT. The chemical produced soft shells in eggs that cracked when adult birds attempted to incubate. It also caused young birds to develop crossed bills, making them unable to fish and eat.

So dramatic was the decline of the cormorant that the United States placed them on the Endangered Species List and gave them full protection under the law, consequently banning PCBs and DDT from the Great Lakes.

The recovery of our native cormorants to their former range in the Great Lakes should be celebrated as a good news story, not only because they have survived as a species, but also because PCBs and DDT are now banned because of them, making the Great Lakes healthier for all life, an important fact that Mr. Bailey did not state.

As MPP, Mr. Bailey has a responsibility to base his legislative opinions on an ecological understanding of issues, based on fact.

Double-crested cormorants are an integral, restorative, interdependent part of our shoreline ecology, and should be celebrated as such.

Maureen Flynn

Parkhill, Ont.

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What being a Big Sister means to me

Sir: I have been a Big Sister for almost four years, and it is an amazing and rewarding experience.

I meet with my little sister weekly in the summer, and every other week the rest of the year while attending school in London.

When I left for school two it never crossed my mind to close the match. I didn’t want to give up the relationship, so alternate arrangements were made.

I applied to be a Big Sister as soon as I turned 18 because I wanted to make a difference in the life of a child. Watching my little sister grow while building a strong relationship together is rewarding for both of us.

She has impacted my life in so many ways, and I look forward to seeing her because it’s always a blast!

You don’t need to spend money to have a good time. We find activities that are low cost and fun.

There is a need for volunteers, especially with Big Brothers. It takes only three to four a week and you get to do fun activities together. It’s like being a kid again!

When people worry about the child they may get, I tell them to be optimistic and think of the positive impact you could have. During the matching process, caseworkers look at the strengths of the volunteers and needs of the child to make a suitable match.

I look forward to what the future holds. Our relationship is strong, and I see us being friends for a very long time.

Cereena Heffer

Corunna

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Optimism

Sir:

The Blue Jays are hot,

stop them you’ll not.

They’re on a winning streak,

the World Series they seek.

They’re in top spot in the East,

to win would be a feast,

we’re waiting to see

since nineteen ninety three.

Lorna Pominville

Sarnia

 

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