Editorials

Local groups love Canada 150, but the Feds not so much

Written by  |  Wednesday, 14 June 2017 12:51  |  Published in Editorials
Those of us who are over 55, have some memory of  Canada's Centennial year. I happened to be a kid living in Montreal in 1967, and as part of their efforts to make the World's Fair, Expo '67, a crowd pleasing success and to make it accessible to Montrealers, there was a family pass available for the entire run of Expo. I looked it up, and even accounting for 50 years of inflation, the price was indeed pretty reasonable. $35 for adults and $17.50 for children for a seasons pass. For our family the total would have been $122.50 for the season. Allowing for inflation, it would have cost about $850 in 2017 dollars, still a pretty good price for a 180 day festival. We…

The debate that rages on as no one pays attention

Written by  |  Wednesday, 24 May 2017 10:09  |  Published in Editorials
There is a debate raging in the pages of Canada’s major old school media outlets, the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, CBC, etc., all Toronto based bastions of the written word. The rest of the world is preoccupied with other matters: melting ice caps, bombings in England, and the idea that the Russian government may be controlling the executive branch of the United States government. Still every day one or two articles are published in those publications about the “cultural appropriation” debate. The whole thing was sparked off when the editor of Write Magazine, a quarterly publication for members of the Writers Union of Canada, wrote an unfortunate note to go with their spring edition, which featured indigenous writing. The now former editor, a novelist…

Final thoughts on the Srigley inquest

Written by  |  Wednesday, 10 May 2017 12:22  |  Published in Editorials
The coroners inquest into the death of Robert Srigley took place two weeks ago  in Sharbot Lake. It finally revealing some of the details around the sequence of events that led to his death. The jury that heard all the evidence will be submitting its report, with recommendations aimed at preventing similar deaths in the future. At the time, I wrote that there are some unanswered questions about the case that the public has a right to know. One was what happened when the police arrived, and the second was why only uniformed police responded to what was clearly a mental health crisis for a man who was known to hate the police. On the whole, the inquest answered those questions. Essentially, when police called…

Unanswered questions in the Srigley case

Written by  |  Wednesday, 19 April 2017 14:13  |  Published in Editorials
It’s been almost 4 years since Bob Srigley was shot by police on the porch of his trailer on Arden Road. We know a few things about what happened, but only a few. He was armed with what the Special Investigations Unit report into his death described as a weapon that appeared to be a “scoped rifle” but turned out to be an air gun.The report also says the following: “while still holding his rifle, which was pointed at the officers, the man turned around, began walking toward the front porch of his residence, and stopped at the porch stairway. The man did not heed repeated commands to drop his weapon.” The report does not say what part of Srigley’s body the bullets hit. While…

Big Pot, and big taxes, will rule the day

Written by  |  Wednesday, 12 April 2017 11:32  |  Published in Editorials
When I plant a garden each year, I am free to grow as much lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, squash, peas, beans, or potatoes as I am able to. Sometimes I grow extra and give some away. If I grow more squash than I can eat and my neighbour grows more beans, we can swap. That way we each have more variety of fresh vegetables on our table through the long, cold winter. No one will stop me from growing 200, 500, or 1000 heads of garlic if I want to. It’s really no one’s business, certainly not the business of the state. When marijuana becomes a legal plant in just over a year, if the Federal government adheres to its intended timeline, it will be legal…

Septic debate reveals the gap between economic classes

Written by  |  Thursday, 06 April 2017 11:17  |  Published in Editorials
Septic systems are as much of a defining characteristic of rural areas as pickup trucks, fishing rods, beaver dams, and rubber boots in the springtime. Urban residents can remain blissfully unaware of what happens once everything is flushed down the toilet or the sink, but not so in the countryside. One way or another, our human waste must be dealt with on our own land, and that costs money and requires due diligence. A proposal to establish a mandatory septic inspection regime has now been deferred in Central Frontenac, and a proposal to explore the issue has been pulled from debate in South Frontenac just this week. The idea is supported and has been pushed mostly by lake associations on behalf of their members. They…
“Do no harm.” That’s how Craig Bakay started his article in opposition to the Central Frontenac Septic System Maintenance and Assessment Program passed by Council. Do no harm. That is exactly what a septic system is supposed to do. It takes potentially dangerous waste, neutralizes it and returns it back into the environment. But it needs help in the form of regular maintenance. Encouraging regular maintenance is the focus of the Septic System Maintenance and Assessment Program. The benefits of regular maintenance are well documented: system performance is improved, system life span is lengthened, the likelihood of expensive repairs is reduced, property value is protected. The risks of a failed system are also well documented. People’s health is at risk either by direct contact or…

Central Frontenac to Police Septic Systems

Written by  |  Wednesday, 08 March 2017 12:44  |  Published in Editorials
Primum non nocere . . . “First do no harm.” It is indeed a pity that committees of council have no form of Hippocratic oath to adhere to. Rather, they are free to focus with tunnel vision on one particular dogma without need to consider the law of unintended consequences. What we’re talking about here is Central Frontenac Council’s planned assault on what it perceives to be a sky-is-falling situation whereby all of our lakes are going to descend into a quagmire of degradation if we don’t make sure that every last septic system in the Township is in tip top working order. The idea that mandatory inspection of all the 4,000 or so septic systems in the municipality will all end up rainbows and…

Opportunity Knocks?

Written by  |  Wednesday, 22 February 2017 10:58  |  Published in Editorials
It’s safe to say that a company of the size and wealth of Feihe International has never expressed an interest in doing business in Frontenac County before. As we saw from the census just last week population growth in Frontenacs not only lags badly behind the rest of the country, it lags behind the region. We also aging faster than most other places. If we are going to keep schools open, keep a business community afloat, an injection of money and jobs is just the ticket to reverse a worrying downward spiral and rejuvenate the local economy. On the other hand nothing about the rich history of agriculture in the county has been on an industrial. Factory farming is not envisioned in our Official Plans,…

MP Bossio on Electoral Reform

Written by  |  Wednesday, 08 February 2017 12:56  |  Published in Editorials
There are a lot of things that could, and have, been written about last week’s revelation that the Trudeau Liberals will not reform the electoral system even though Mr. Trudeau himself repeatedly promised they would before and after his party took power. But let’s look at what a Liberal MP said. Mike Bossio was narrowly elected in the new riding of Hastings-Lennox and Addington almost 16 months ago. I don’t know him but from what I’ve and read he is hard working, enthusiastic, and full of zeal to bring about positive change for his constituents.  Late last week, he published an open letter on the government decision. He argued that the government should not act on its own to re-write the rules of elections, seeming…

South Frontenac Wastes an Opportunity

Written by  |  Friday, 03 February 2017 14:58  |  Published in Editorials
A number of well-meaning and reasonable letters have come in to the paper over the last few months about the decision South Frontenac Council made to change the way they charge residents for waste management. Instead of charging $125 per household as had been the practice, the cost of waste management is now being folded in with all other costs and applied to the tax rate. This makes the tax system simpler,  but it shifts the burden of paying for waste management to the higher valued properties. Owners of a home valued $100,000, if there are any left in South Frontenac at that value, used to pay the same amount for waste management as owners of homes valued at $400,000. Now they are paying 25%…

Cheery Thoughts on a Winters Day

Written by  |  Wednesday, 25 January 2017 12:20  |  Published in Editorials
South Frontenac and Frontenac County have both completed their budgets for 2017.  While it may not have been a picnic for either of them, they were both at a significant advantage when compared to what politicians in smaller, more remote townships will be facing over the next few weeks. Take the example of North Frontenac, which will certainly be hit with a monumental budget squeeze when they meet later this week to consider their 2017 budget. One of the factors at play is assessment. Any growth in North Frontenac due to new construction last year was offset by a drop in value for existing properties. In the most recent assessment cycle that was completed by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation last year, property values in…

Sydenham to Sharbot Lake in Only Two and a Half Hours

Written by  |  Wednesday, 25 January 2017 12:18  |  Published in Editorials
Was anybody else stupid enough to be out driving around Tuesday night? I don’t usually write in the first person but for this brief report, I don’t have much else. Tuesday night was committee of the whole for South Frontenac Council. It was a productive meeting, a little long-winded for my taste, but knowing what the drive down through the mixed bag of stuff that falls from the sky was like, I left a little early. Not early enough it turns out. First, the drive to Tichborne was bad enough, almost an hour of essentially white-knuckles. And then, you guessed it, there was a train stopped in the crossing with all the bells and whistles going and a line-up of cars on each side.Now a…

Comings and goings

Written by  |  Wednesday, 11 January 2017 12:36  |  Published in Editorials
As we start a new year there are changes afoot with the News and across Frontenac County as well.First, readers of this paper will likely already have noticed a byline that is familiar to many but not in the pages of the Frontenac News. I have spent years sitting at the small press table at council meetings up and down the county trying to figure out how to coax Craig Bakay into a rant while we were working for different papers. It wasn’t that hard, as he is a pretty opinionated guy and he is not shy about sharing his opinion, especially on some of his pet topics (ie peeves), of which there are many. He also has a well earned understanding of the way…

Jule Koch – Brison 1951-2016

Written by  |  Wednesday, 21 December 2016 13:31  |  Published in Editorials
Last Thursday (December 15) Jule Koch died peacefully in her sleep at St. Mary’s by the Lake hospital in Kingston, two months after her 65th birthday. She took ill in late October with what she thought was Lyme’s disease, but found out on November 2nd that she had Leukemia. Treatments in mid and late November failed to halt the progress of the cancer.  A memorial service for her is set of Friday, December 23 at 3:00 at Sharbot Lake Pentecostal Church. A reception will follow at St. James Major Catholic Church Hall, also in Sharbot Lake. Many readers of this paper did not even know who Jule was. That was partly because a lot of what goes on at a newspaper and news website happens…
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