| Nov 15, 2007


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Letters - November 15, 2007

Letters

November1Rural Visions Dragon, Beth FreelandSmart Regulation, Lynn ShwadchuckRe: The Real Issues about Uranium Mining, Carole PepperTrue Patriot Love, Carol PealowRuaral Visions Dragon

Sometimes staff working with seniors, the disabled, or low-income households feel unappreciated. Sometimes they question whether they really are making a difference or if anybody even notices what they do. And sometimes a community member comes forward and lets them know that the community is a better place because of them.

South Frontenac parade watchers in Sydenham on November 24 and Harrowsmith on December 1 will see the pictured Rural VISIONS Centre/CFCSC float. Pictured with the float is Dave Linton, long time volunteer with the agency, who took the lead on its creation and inspired staff with the following letter:

Local _boys_BMX

“I offer you an explanation of how you created your Christmas float. Upon several efforts of construction it finally came to me that this dragon should reflect your collective character as an organization. You deal with the personal dragons of citizens in need; example, dragons of apprehension, fear, poverty, etc. Personal dragons can be hurtful so I gave this dragon claws and teeth. Your organization is flexible and accommodating so this dragon has movement. You must maintain a sense of humour; thus, the humorous signs. Tremendous energy is required of you; thus the nostril of flames. You extend kindness and display passion for what you do; thus the rose. You balance your time between work, fundraising events and family (sometimes called “juggling”); the structure of the dragon is weighted and balanced. You have tenacity and fierce determination to maintain your organization as a viable entity in the community; thus the fierce overall look of this creature. There are surely times for each of you when the energy tank is running on empty and things are not going well; thus the eyes of the dragon looking upward searching for inspiration and answers. Lastly, you provide enlightenment and hope for many citizens; thus the candle and the quote which volunteers and staff surely believe: “It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness”.

Dave Linton went further and suggested that staff dress as princesses. “If you dress up as royalty, that would be very appropriate. You are our communities’ loyal and royal family.”

Please join Mr. Linton and me in recognizing the incomparable difference that the Rural VISIONS Centre staff makes in South Frontenac Township.

Beth Freeland, CFCSC Executive Director,Rural VISIONS Centre

Smart Regulation

I've been following your thorough coverage of the mine occupation. What seems to keep coming up is a sense of astonishment at the government's lack of interest in mediating between the corporation and the environmental and aboriginal groups. I've just read an article in November Walrus entitled "Hands Off: Is smart regulation dumb for Canada's wilderness areas?" The concept of smart regulation came out of Australia in 1998 and was first adopted by the Chrien Liberals. It "encourages interested groups – conservationists, corporations, and representatives of indigenous populations – to do the hard bargaining in the absence of parties with executive power and to then submit their resolutions to politicians." The authors highlight disputes over logging of the Great Bear and gas extraction in the Mackenzie region. "David Boyd, author of Unnatural Law: Rethinking Canadian Law and Policy, a 2003 scholarly critique of Canadian environmental laws, says that smart regulation offers politicians the means to turn environmental laws into dead letters." The article is wrapped up on this discouraging note: "But governments determined to promote northern industrialization are sticking with smart regulation strategies – and leaving wilderness initiatives in the hands of activist groups, First Nations, and resource companies, in the belief that this approach will expedite development."

What I take from this article is that if we think residents' responsibility in preventing the Frontenacs from becoming another Elliott Lake ends at the ballot box, we're dreaming.

Lynn Shwadchuck

Re: Real Issue is Mining Rights on Private Lands

Richard Reid wrote in the November 8 issue about the concerns with regard to the staking of private land. There are very serious, but they are also just the beginning of the worries for our communities if uranium exploration and mining go ahead.

There was a talk last week in Carleton place given by Dr. Gordon Edwards of the Canadian Centre for Nuclear Responsibility. He is a well respected authority on the topic of uranium. Here’s a summary of what he had to say:

Uranium has many other products that are formed as it breaks down after being taken from the ground and exposed to air and water, both surface and underground. Radioactivity from waste piles, called “tailings” and radon gas which is released are linked to cancer and other serious or fatal diseases. It can take 15 to 20 years to show up. Children are especially at risk.

Contrary to what governments and mining companies may say, there is no safe level of exposure to radioactivity

Uranium exploration (most government and industry doesn’t say this) can be dangerous to the environment and our health if exploratory holes are drilled deep into the ground and left unfilled.

Uranium waste is radioactive for a very long time (Hundreds of thousands of years)

“Tailings” are stored under water, or clay, and are dammed to try to stop them from letting off these dangerous particles. Problem: dams fail. The mining company is long gone with its profits after 10 to 15 years, leaving this all behind. Can we leave this to the coming generations to maintain and pay for forever? How many people will get sick? How will we live when the land, air, and rivers are poisoned?

I suggest that we all learn as much as possible. Write to your elected representatives about it. For more information go to www.ccamu.ca .

Carol Pepper

Patriot Love

I spent every summer with my family north of Havelock, Ontario. My parents owned a small fishing camp. I loved the freedom of being at the lake. No phone, no television, just the beauty that is the Canadian wilderness. I couldn’t wait for the summer to come. I was born in New York State, but my heart belonged to Canada. After moving to Ohio as an adult, I vacationed every chance I could in the country I felt was home. The friendly people and amazing wilderness kept me wanting to make this land my own. After four long years of going through the process of immigration I moved to the land of my heart, Canada. Being a landed immigrant I was able to do everything that a Canadian citizen could do except vote and run in an election. I studied for a month wanting to learn all I could about Canada. I took the citizenship test and was sworn in as a new Canadian. The ceremony was touching and emotional. I am proud to be a Canadian.

I got a call from a friend in October. He asked if I wanted to work the upcoming election. Well, Andy had asked me before to be on a committee or two. So of course I asked what would I have to do? He said I would have to go to a training day and work the day of the election. I said, “Sure, put me down.” Thinking there had to be more to it than that.

October 10th came. I had my training under my belt and showed up bright and early to experience the day. Often throughout the day I thought…here I am, a new Canadian, sworn in May 17, 2007 and not only did I have the opportunity for the first time as a Canadian to vote but being able to work the election as well. What an honour, the right to vote is important to me. There were the expected bumps to start the day. Wanting to do a good job I was nervous. The others working the poll made things smooth out quickly. I had not met many of the others that worked that day. I wondered if they felt the same feelings as I did, the pride in being Canadian, the right and responsibility of each and every Canadian to vote.

People looking to be very young and those not so young came and went, each placing their vote. Some laughed, others did not but each wanted their voice to be heard. That’s why we were all there of course. I couldn’t help but think of those words I had read in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms: every citizen of Canada has the right to vote in an election. I feel lucky to have this right, many in other countries do not.

Nearing the end of the day as the voters slowed, we started to prepare to close the poll. With five minutes to spare a man came in. He wasn’t sure if he had the proper documentation and said, “I know it’s late but I just want to vote. If you let me vote, I will sing O Canada.” It had been a long day, 13 hours to that point and I was getting tired. Laughingly I said I would love to hear that. We all went about closing our polling stations. The man was able to place his vote on time, stood up and began to sing O Canada. I stopped in my tracks, amazed, almost forgetting his promise to sing if he could only place his vote. I quickly stood up and began to sing along, as did every other person working the polling station that night. As tears welled up in my eyes, I thought what a privilege to be in the same room with these patriotic men and women.

I don’t know who that man is. Even if I saw him on the street I couldn’t pick him out. I want to say Thank you for making this already amazing milestone in my life (becoming a Canadian citizen, voting and working in my first election) even more memorable. It’s people like you, who just want to vote, that make Canada the great country it is. That is True Patriot Love in my eyes.

Carol Pealow

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