Week of September 5

Police Chief clarifies comments in cannabis arrest story

Sir: I was recently quoted in a Sarnia Journal article after search warrants were executed by the Sarnia Police with the Provincial Cannabis Enforcement team at two cannabis shops on the Aamjiwnaang First Nation.

Unfortunately, I did not anticipate the potential harm that could be caused by the choice of words that I used.

First, the term “organized crime” was used by me. I in no way wanted to give the impression that we had organized crime members attending, or dealing with, the Aamjiwnaang community, or for that matter the Sarnia area in general.

I also did not want to cast a negative image on the Aamjiwnaang First Nation by suggesting there was any connection to such criminal organizations.

The Sarnia Police Service is very proud to be offered the contract to police this community and cherishes our goodwill relationship with the Chief and Council, Elders and community members.

This brings me to the next misunderstanding. When asked if I had the support of Band Council, I answered that I did. The search warrants we conducted had nothing to do with Band Council and we notified Chief Chris Plain after the search warrants had been executed.

As is usual practice, we maintain a flow of information between the Chief of Police and the Chief of Aamjiwnaang First Nation. Neither I nor the Sarnia Police Service have the authority to speak for Band council, and when asked about support, that should have been my answer.

If I misled people within the Aamjiwnaang community or in the community at large to believe otherwise, that was not my intent and I apologize to those affected.

Norm Hansen

Chief of Police

Sarnia Police Service


Industry-led climate change deniers have zero credibility

Sir: I find it interesting that Peter Clarke was unable to find a single legitimate climate scientist to support his denial of human-caused climate change (“Why the politicized global warming movement is a total fraud,” Sarnia Journal, Aug. 15).

His chosen “experts” to back up his opinions included a Marxist scientist whose book that Clarke quotes from was written in 1941!   His second book choice that questions climate science was widely debunked. Its authors have a track record of receiving lucrative paybacks from industry and climate change denial organizations.

These “authors” and their backers have zero credibility in the scientific community. One of them, Fred Singer, is notorious for supporting industry-led protectionism over widely accepted scientific research findings. For many years, for example, he backed the tobacco industry by claiming that smoking was “safe” and that there was no link between smoking and cancer.

It is worth noting that a study from Drexel University determined that the climate change denial movement in the United States receives $1 billion per year from industry, wealthy groups and individuals.

There are no comparable Canadian studies but it is clear that “denier” organizations are well compensated in this country too.

If these are the bedfellows Peter Clarke has chosen to back up his opinions, then we should perhaps ask the question, “Does Peter Clarke have any credibility on the issue of climate change or is he simply one more distraction?”

In July we witnessed record-breaking temperatures in many countries, and huge wildfires across the Arctic are releasing more carbon in 2019 than in any year since satellite records began nearly two decades ago.

Drastic cuts to greenhouse gas emissions are urgently required and every government needs to show courageous leadership to make it happen.

Allan McKeown

Sarnia


Separating church from state

Sir: Separation of church and state protects against a state-enforced religion. Pause. Think about that.

It is different than requiring an elected official to put aside her worldview when she governs. In fact, our officials are elected based on the worldview they convey.

One definition of religion is a set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature and purpose of the universe. Secularism is more than the absence of religion. Secularism itself is a set of beliefs that shape a person’s worldview and decision-making.

Is the goal to have secularism as the state-enforced worldview? I hope not.

Yes, a good leader must consider the desires of each constituent. Ultimately, officials are elected to make decisions on behalf of constituents. Therefore, if you operate from a secular perspective, you should be free to govern in a way that is consistent with those views.

If you operate from a Christian, Jewish, Muslim or other perspective, you should be free to govern in a way that is consistent with those views.

Lorraine Dolbear

Sarnia


Kudos for beautiful waterfront gardens

Sir: After living away for a number of years we have been so impressed to see how beautiful the public and private gardens are in both Point Edward and Sarnia.

The waterfront is so beautifully developed and such a wonderful place to spend time for walkers and bikers alike.

There are so many activities to encourage people to use the area.

To the people who do the maintenance, it’s much appreciated.

Joan Collins

Point Edward


It’s about those city trees

Sir: I have lived in Sarnia all my life, and in 1973 moved with my family to Kemsley Drive.

More than 40 years ago the city planted trees along the boulevard on Coral Way. Before long they started dropping huge amounts of keys, leaves and seed.

It’s been a daily chore to keep the gutters clean and the sewer clear. Living on a corner lot means most of this mess collects along the gutter by our home, as it blows in from other homes on Coral Way and plugs up the sewers.

Every year, I collect about 150 bags of leaves from the city’s trees.

This year, I decided I’d had enough and stopped cleaning it up.

When I called to see if a street sweeper could come and help I was told I would have to wait until September.

The smell finally got to me and I cleaned up 12 heavy plastic bagfuls and took them to the compost.

Last week, I saw a street sweeper on Colborne Road. When I inquired, I was told that because of the government grant for the new bike lanes there, they had to make sure it was free of debris so the riders that use them are safe.

What I would like is for City Hall to help the people of my neighbourhood and come clean up the street.

Al Mitchell

Sarnia


What will happen now to the empty SCITS building?

Sir: I’d like to echo Kathy Milliken’s letter in the Aug. 22nd Journal, “Please, don’t neglect SCITS property.”

I live close to SCITS and drive by it frequently and every time I go by I wonder what will become of it.  I too fear that it’s going to be allowed to deteriorate.

Sarnia’s municipal government has had lots and lots of advance notice that this landmark, this treasure, needed to be monitored and, if necessary rescued, so that we don’t lose it.

Laurie Trombley

Sarnia


Adults who litter could learn from younger generation

Sir: We were fortunate to have our grandchildren visit us this summer.

Every morning, our almost three-year-old would ask to go on a “garbage treasure hunt” on the beach. She would trundle along with a sand pail in each tiny hand. It did not take her long to fill them up with all manner of debris that had washed up on shore.

Meanwhile, along Lakeshore Road, there is a similar phenomenon with discarded trash everywhere along our property line.

Daily, we find everything from cigarette butts to coffee cups to sandwich wrappers to copies of the Sarnia Journal heaved everywhere.

What are people thinking? When I see our little one working so hard to make a clean environment, I am hopeful.

Maybe the older generation will get it too!

Jean MacIntyre

Sarnia