| Feb 16, 2006

Feature Article - February 16, 2006

Feature Article

February 16, 2006

Letters to theEditor

Business as Usual

Change? What change? On his first day in office Stephen Harper appoints a Senator and names him to his cabinet and has an elected Liberal cross the floor to join his cabinet. This despite campaign promises about an elected Senate and the huge stink made over Belinda Stronach’s floor crossing just half a year earlier. And when Conservative MPs such as Garth Turner spoke out about it, they were called onto the carpet by Mr. Harper and read the riot act.

At least Ms. Stronach had the guts to cross the floor while the house was sitting, making her subject to all sorts of verbal abuse (from the party of values?). At least she had sat as a Conservative giving her the plausible explanation that she had come to see her position didn’t match her party’s.


Now we have an appointed, non-elected cabinet member and another one who left his party without serving for even one day in his elected capacity! Ms. Stronach may be chasing power but David Emerson? If he was my MP I’d be checking to see if he could be sued for fraud. And as for our MP, Scott Reid, why haven’t we received a mailing canvassing our opinion on this travesty of values?

Conservative party spokesmen Peter MacKay and Gary Lunn both shrug it off and focus instead on David Emerson’s qualifications. We’re talking about an elected official, not the winner of a head-hunter search. Is this going to be a government that’s about business qualification and connection? Business, by definition, is about making profits, not about values; do we need too many guesses who will profit if our government goes down this road?

Canada does need change in many ways if generations to come are going to be able to enjoy anything that approximates our current lifestyle. Yeah, our government now wears a blue tie instead of a red one but, after one day on the job, it is apparent that it’s “business as usual”.

- Tom Waller

CF roads inferior to neighbouring townships’ roads

I must respond to the recent letters seeking sympathy and support for the folks that manage our roads.I live in the southern tip of Central Frontenac. My weekly travels which are frequent includethe dropping off and picking up of grandchildrenat Tamworth school,late night trips for old timers hockey, and many miscellaneous trips. I cross several township borders in these travels at all hours of the day. Sometime ago I came to the veryfirmconclusion thatroad maintenance in my area of Central Frontenacis clearly inferior to that of our neighbouring townships.

The roads of Portland and Stonemills are ploughed andsanded/salted within hours of a weather event. Many roads of Central Frontenac are not ploughed or sandedoften for several days! If there has been an overnight snowfall, I'm consistently greeted at the Portland and Stonemills borders by clear, professionally maintained roads, including blacktop and gravel roads. When I return home and cross the borders ofCentral Frontenac, I'm greeted by nightmare driving conditions; the contrast is immense.

In the summer, the frequency of grading in Stonemills is easily three times greater than that of Central Frontenac! At one of the final Road Committee meetings it became evident that Central Frontenac does not manage its roads in aprofessional, scheduled manner. What we have is a 'complaints based system' whereby the need to maintain a roadis not based on a weather event, or, in the case of grading, is not basedon a regular schedule, it's a system based on how many complaints have been received.

Logan Murray made excellent suggestions advocating a management system based on establishing objective maintenance schedules. His ideas were rejected or ignored by the superintendent and the mayor.

Certainly we all appreciate the complexity of maintaining such a diverse network of roads. And clearlywe all know and appreciate the sacrifices made by the lads of the road crewswho face the challengesof severe conditions and the unfriendly hours inherent in their jobs. However,when our neighbouring jurisdictionsare used as a basis for comparison, Central Frontenac needs significant improvement in the management of its roads.

- Doug Adam

CPP supports war in Iraq

Most Canadians like to think of their country as an international peacekeeper nation. I have never heard one person say they wished we had sent troops to Iraq. Yet, my friends, we are very much involved in that ongoing US-led war/occupation that kills hundreds of Iraqi people every day.

If you are a working person making CPP (Canada Pension Plan) contributions, you are supporting that war as well as many other aggressions around the globe, including Afghanistan and Haiti, to the tune of $2.5 billion to date.

Like many pension funds, your CPP contributions for disability and old age are invested, in this case, in the Carlyle Group, a huge US firm that handles military industry stocks. Your hard-earned money goes to the manufacture of AC-130 "gunships" made by Lockheed Aircraft, Apache helicopters and B-52 bombers made by Boeing, Abrams battle tanks made by General Dynamics, LAV's made by General Motors Canada Diesel Div. as well as many bombs, guns and missiles including the Hydra 70, an unguided rocket with different warheads such as white phosphorus used against "soft-skinned targets" made by General Dynamics and the GBU-28 "Bunker buster", a 5,000 pound laser-guided munition made by Lockheed.

If you don't want to support the military industry with your CPP contributions, too bad for you, it's mandatory.

The CPPIB, a private investment corporation claims, "social investing...is extremely difficult, if not impossible to implement for an institutional investor representing over 16 million contributors..."

Change IS possible but only if Canadians speak out and demand that their pension money not be invested in corporations profiting from the business of war.

For the full scoop, contact COAT (Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade) in Ottawa at 231-3076 or online at www.coat.ncf.ca

Sleep well, my friends.

- Jennifer Tsun

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