Editorials

It is time to leave the monarchy behind

Written by  |  Wednesday, 04 October 2017 19:47  |  Published in Editorials
I happened to be driving while the ceremonial investiture of Julie Payette as Governor General of Canada was taking place late on Monday morning. The CBC Radio 1 commentators were talking in breathless tones about the spectacle, making it all sound like the Grey Cup or Rose Bowl Parade. The ceremony featured music chosen by Payette herself, an address by the Prime Minister, wherein he, or a clever speechwriter, managed to work in that Ms. Payette is, and I paraphrase, one of the few people who have demonstrated that for them at least, ‘the sky is not the limit.’Payette herself spoke not only in French and English, but in Algonquin as well, and made a point of saying that one of the goals she has…

Minimum wage and income tax

Written by  |  Wednesday, 27 September 2017 18:09  |  Published in Editorials
Like many very small business owners I was wary when I read about increases opf the minimum wage to $14 in January and $15 a year later. It is a big jump from where it is now, big enough that it will affect the entire labour market over the next year or two. It will impact the entire wage structure for a lot of us, and is something I have talked about to other business owners about a fair bit in quiet conversations over the summer. When $15 an hour becomes the minimum wage, what do you pay the employee who you are already paying $15 an hour. The quick rise of the minimum wage, from $11.40 on December 31, 2017, to $15 on January…

Controversy free planning for development on lakes? – never

Written by  |  Wednesday, 20 September 2017 17:53  |  Published in Editorials
A lot of people who live in rural areas value their privacy. For those living on lakes, privacy is hard to come by. That view of the water brings a view of other people with it. There are next door neighbours, across the bay neighbours, and boaters and fishers buzzing along the lake whenever they want to.The attitude of lakefront property owners, and this is played out in planning applications throughout Frontenac County all the time, is basically “last one in bar the door”. This is not irrational, it is not wrongheaded of people. It is in fact clear-headed. The moment someone buys a piece of waterfront property, whatever they see and hear when they walk out their door on the first sunny morning, is…

Sir John A MacDonald: Hero or Villian?

Written by  |  Wednesday, 06 September 2017 14:09  |  Published in Editorials
When the Central Frontenac planning committee were putting their agenda for the year together they came up with the idea of a John A. Macdonald Ball in October, to celebrate the local heritage of the countries’ first prime minister. Macdonald invested in both Perth Road and the K&P railway, and a mural in Sharbot Lake marks the day his funeral train transferred to the K&P on its way from Ottawa to his home town of Kingston. It seemed anything but controversial when plans began taking shape a year ago. Suddenly late this summer Sir John A. has indeed become a controversial figure, at least as far as the Elementary School Teachers Association of Ontario is concerned. At their annual meeting they called for his name…

It's time to start loving the K&P Trail

Written by  |  Wednesday, 30 August 2017 16:05  |  Published in Editorials
It’s been a long haul for the development of the K&P Trail in Frontenac County, and as was pointed out at the Grand Opening of the Trail in Sharbot Lake last Saturday, the trail is not quite complete even yet. In fact, even though a Trans-Canada Trail official told CBC radio last Thursday that the remaining 1,500 kilometres in the nationwide trail will be complete by the end of 2017, a couple of short trouble spots may prevent the final 8 kilometre stretch of the K&P link between Sharbot Lake and the Cataraqui Trail junction in Harrowsmith from being up and running by then. It’s almost fitting that this difficult project, which has consumed much more time and capacity from the small Frontenac County Economic…

NF Mayor is taking a risk by acting as promoter

Written by  |  Wednesday, 09 August 2017 14:19  |  Published in Editorials
North Frontenac Mayor Ron Higgins is a retired consultant who ran for the position of Mayor when a vacuum was created in North Frontenac politics after the sudden death of former Mayor Bud Clayton. None of the people who were on council at the time, and no former members of council, stepped forward to run for mayor. Higgins had already put in his nomination for council, and he decided to run for Mayor instead. He defeated the only other candidate, Claudio Valentini, who had also never served on council. Higgins is also relatively new to the township, having retired to Malcolm Lake, but he had been active in lake association politics for a few years before running for council, and was the founder and President…

Sharbot Lake slated as a stop on the Shining Waters line

Written by  |  Wednesday, 26 July 2017 16:16  |  Published in Editorials
Last year then Frontenac County Warden Frances Smith met with representatives from Via Rail who were working on developing a business case for the Shining Waters Railway line, a fast rail that if built, will bring passenger rail from Toronto to Peterborough, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City. They met with Smith because Sharbot Lake was one of the proposed locations for a station along the line. Smith did not publicize the meeting at the time, thinking the whole thing was a bit speculative and there would be plenty of time to talk about it if it turned out the be a serious possibility. But when the story came out in the community that contractors working for VIA were walking along the abandoned rail line turned…

North Frontenac Futuristic Plans

Written by  |  Wednesday, 26 July 2017 15:01  |  Published in Editorials
On July 13’th Craig Bakay of Frontenac News wrote about my plan for trying to resurrect North Frontenac’s economic viability. The article, titled “NF Mayor “two months” away from a futuristic plan for community development” generated a concern by our Council that the article seemed to portray it is endorsed by Council and I am writing this article to provide some clarification and to expand upon my plan. At our June Council meeting I had presented to Council an administration report which presented an innovative concept on how to improve our community well being, to decrease reliance on hard to obtain government grants and to address ever increasing expenses. Council agreed through resolution that this concept seemed viable and agreed that I should continue researching…

Recycling - Why bother

Written by  |  Wednesday, 05 July 2017 12:44  |  Published in Editorials
(Editors note - The path forward for our waste systems in Eastern Ontario has become identified as a long term issue by Frontenac County Council, and Addington Highlands Council as well. Here Gray Merriam takes a look at recycling in terms of environmental impactgs, in contrast to the incineration option) The basic reasons for recycling are to conserve natural resources and to save energy. But what drove us to recycle was the difficulty of finding spaces to dump our waste without getting in trouble with neighbours, near or far. The most critical reason for recycling is actually protection of our atmosphere. Recycling reduces our use of energy and that reduces the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere traps…

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…
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