| Apr 21, 2005

Letters,April 21, 2005

Letters April 21, 2005

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Re: On Death and Dying

The April 7 piece by Jule Koch Brison on the Terry Schiavo case (Days of Infamy and Horror) prompts me to write.

There is another perspective, I think, on the question of how we can treat those who are dying with compassion. Many of us would want our spouse to have the final say about our medical care when we could no longer speak for ourselves. Chances are Terri Schiavo wanted her husband to have that responsibility. The tragedy in her case appears to be the way in which his efforts to carry out such responsibility were thwarted for such a long time.

It sounds as though there is no circumstance in which the author believes a person should be allowed to die, but many would disagree and say that when a person suffers an injury from which they cant recover and in which only their body is being kept alive, that it is only their dying that is being prolonged, and that out of human kindness one would stop any artificial life support and allow the person to die.

There are worse things than dying.

- John Glassco

No confidence in South Frontenac council


It would serve Mayor Lake and South Frontenac councillors well to remind themselves of the system of government in place in Canada. Recent actions point to the fact that they are blissfully ignorant of it. The following meaning, taken from Merriam-Webster Online, clearly outlines what I understand to be that system.

democracy a: government by the people; especially rule of the majority b: a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people

Only in South Frontenac does a level of government move ahead in the face of 90% opposition from parties directly affected by their actions. I refer, of course, to the communal water system planned for the village of Sydenham.

On April 5, Mayor Lake and council awarded various contracts for the installation of this system, planned to start May 2005, at a cost of $7.7 million, $1.8 million of which will be borne by the 240 affected ratepayers. This cost does not include individual property hook-up costs. Taking this into consideration, the cost per ratepayer will range from $8,000 to over $25,000.

It is astonishing that in the face of such overwhelming opposition, council went ahead and approved a project that encumbers individual ratepayers with costs of this magnitude.

I appreciate that there are a handful of wells in the village with poor quality water. However, at no time in the two years since the introduction of the water system by-law has council been willing to explore alternative means to address this problem. Instead, they have repeatedly pointed to the recommendations of an aged and flawed report prepared by Totten Sims and Hubicki, consulting engineers. It is of interest that the same firm is now retained as project managers for system installation.

It is my view that Mayor Lake and members of South Frontenac council are simply out of their depth. Instead of conveying the rationale behind moving forward under such opposition, or engaging in any dialogue with the affected residents, they have simply stonewalled, or stated empty platitudes; any alternatives would require that they know, at least in part, what they are talking about.

It is shameful that this council has ignored the petitions of the people it purports to represent. It is shameful that such behavior is allowed to go unchecked. It is shameful that the residents of Sydenham will be encumbered with significant personal debt, as a result of a decision into which their input was ignored.

The way in which this council has ridden rough-shod over the residents of the village of Sydenham should be of concern to all residents of the Township. Today it is water in Sydenham; tomorrow it could be an issue that may affect each of you more directly.

The behaviour of this council is an embarrassment to the democratic process, but embarrassing behaviour at every level of government seems to be the order of the day. From Gomery to gormless, the state of all levels of government in Canada leaves much to be desired.

- A. Lamb

Thoughts on farming today

Eventually the current farm crisis will pass and with it perhaps many of this generations family farms. There is a major crisis happening in Canadian agriculture today and the mad cow epidemic is only a symptom of that event.

Canada long ago embraced a cheap food policy, choosing to depend upon low priced foreign imports for many of its needs, instead of encouraging a strong and diversified domestic industry. When was the last time anyone bought Canadian lamb, and can one even find potato salad that is made from Canadian produce?

As our food imports rose, our farm machinery and processing industries headed for the border and overseas. Proud Canadian companies, like Cockshutt and Massey Ferguson were either swallowed up by conglomerates or simply disappeared altogether. Most of our meat processing capacity is foreign owned or dependent upon cross border plants.

Will Canadian agriculture survive? Definitely in some form, be it large commercial factory farms with enough depth to deal with todays stringent regulations and guidelines, or perhaps small farms serving a distinctive and unique niche of a market unmet by commercial agriculture. Many of todays generation will simply quit and seek employment elsewhere, or given that the average age of todays farmer is in the mid 50s, perhaps move into semi- retirement before all their equity is used up in a sadly declining marketplace.

The real loser in all this is the consumer, with todays rock bottom beef prices everywhere except in the freezer section of your local grocery store. Packing plants are enjoying untold profits on the backs of both the farmer and the consumer. Farm gate prices are low both in the beef industry and the field crops industries. Give the consumer a break; so what if they buy more? Were not going to run out, Canada is a net exporter of both beef and cereal grains.

Yet, for farmers facing an uncertain spring, input costs remain high for diesel fuel, fertilizer and seed. Not to mention the cost of replacement parts and equipment. And dont look at those hydro bills. No wonder off-farm incomes look very attractive, as everything that we need keeps going up and what we get paid is at an all-time low.

In closing , two comments: The only thing worse than a nation that cannot defend itself, is one that cannot feed itself.

And to the farmers, the next time you launch a protest, leave the fancy equipment at home. You and I both know that it is needed and necessary for what you do, and we know that it is usually leased or heavily financed, but the guy on the street does not know that and he is the one we need the most help from right now.

Bill MacPherson

Think before you toss

As we approach Earth Day on April 22, I want to encourage people in every municipality to "pitch in" for the earth.

On Saturday afternoon, my five-year-old son and I walked a 1.5 km. stretch of our road collecting garbage. It took us three hours to walk the ditches and we collected SIX green garbage bags full of garbage, fifteen beer cans (most of them recent additions) and eight beer bottles.

Only two weeks ago my husband and son walked about 1 km in the other direction and collected a garbage bag full of garbage and numerous beer cans and bottles. Last night we went for walk on that same stretch of road and found more garbage in the ditch, amounting to about half a garbage bag.

My son was disturbed by the amount of garbage he found and kept asking me why people litter. I had no good answer for him and all I could mutter was that some people "don't think". Although I never articulated this to him, I was also disturbed by the number of "empties" I collected. Clearly drinking and driving occurs on my road more often than I would like to believe.

What makes this all more disturbing is that we do our part to "pitch in" throughout the spring/summer/fall, so all of this trash accumulates on a regular basis.

So, I ask people to "think". THINK about your actions because there are consequences. THINK before you toss your trash out of your vehicle's window. THINK before you drink while driving. THINK before you toss your garbage into the back of your pickup truck. Don't you ever notice that it isn't there when you get home?

THINK about taking a garbage bag and gloves with you next time you go for a walk. THINK about doing your part, every day, to take care of this precious earth.

- Nicole Kasserra

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