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Sept 25/08 - Letters

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Letters - September 25,2008 Letters: Sept 25

Vision Needed for Railway Museum, Peter Hennessy

Curbside Pickup MakesNo Sense in Bedford, Bernie Gelineau

Walking on a Country Road, Kimberly Bate

"Pro-Choice" The Great Paradox, Francis MacDonald

Why Call An Election?, Sylvia Powers

Vision Needed for Railway Museum

It was heartening to read in your Sept. 11 issue about the effort to create a railway museum in Sharbot Lake. Though showing only a glimmer of success to date, the bright light of enthusiasm for local history will finally prevail.

In Kingston, where I live, there is a sputtering effort to save the CN station on outer Montreal St. This architectural gem, dating back to 1856 and the Grand Trunk Railway, is in danger of collapse as a result of a fire in 1996. With the station no longer in use, CN Rail chose not to repair the building. The City of Kingston elected not to buy the station for one dollar in 2003. The heritage protection agencies, local, provincial and federal, now stand in the way of CN selling the station property for commercial purposes. Thus, there is a standoff. The idea of a Kingston Railway Museum as a recreational and educational centrepiece in north Kingston has not made much progress because everybody concerned is hoping that somebody else will pick up the tab. The Smiths Falls Railway Museum offers a convincing argument against the faint-hearted and the municipal bean counters. Gary Giller of the Sharbot Lake Committee is quite right in emphasizing the need for a vision to bring the idea into reality. Such a vision should be formed around community memories and civic enthusiasm. When we lose our history, we lose part of our common soul.

Peter H Hennessy

Curbside Pickup Makes No Sense in Bedford

have been a seasonal resident of Bedford for almost 25 years. Before amalgamation Bedford had six dumpsites; now, under the new proposed waste management plan the district will be down to two locations. To move away from dumpsites and to provide the same service across South Frontenac, the plan calls for Bedford to have curb-side pickup where practical. For many in Bedford, this does not make sense.

Firstly, Bedford has 75% of its residents seasonal while the other districts have 9% to 18%.

Secondly, Bedford has an extensive system of laneways, some with many properties on them. In some cases the entrance and exit cross other municipal boundaries.

Thirdly, Bedford has large areas of wilderness and lakes with an extensive wildlife population.

A group of us on our laneway reasoned that if the plan proceeds, many of us will be required to have curb-side pickup somewhere away from our properties and this might result in a lack of supervision. Where there is a joint responsibility for curb-side disposing of waste, we foresee the human factor regarding the maintenance of the waste site along with the intrusion of wildlife to be a problem.

On our lane there are 15 properties. Of these, one resident is permanent; six are full-time seasonal spending almost six months at the lake; three properties are rented, and the rest are used on a less consistent basis. The seven who are more full-time have sent a signed petition to our two local councillors asking that we continue the practice of going to the dumpsite with our waste and recyclables. In all likelihood South Frontenac plans to proceed so all we ask is that Council incorporate some flexibility in the policy.

At the entrance to the Bradshaw road off Cty Rd. 38 there is a rickety sign from the old Bedford days. The man-made sign says "Keep Bedford Beautiful". That is what we want to do.

Bernie Gelineau

Walking on a Country Road

Is there someone out there who believes it is okay to put peaceful citizens who love their country into high security prison for speaking out against pollution? What do you think about using tax dollars to send police to cite ordinary, peaceful citizens for either walking upon, or listening to stories while standing upon, a vacant country road?

More than a year ago we learned as a community that a uranium mining company had set up shop, and intended to drill for uranium without notifying the people with claims to those lands. Many local citizens, organizations and Native members spoke up against this, including an award-winning teacher from Queen’s, who went to high security prison. The local, national and international outcry was huge. Finally a Toronto court ruled that the Kingston court was out of its mind (they did not put it quite that way), and Bob and others were released.

However, the story did not end there. Last winter a woman was walking along a wooded country road, when police cited her for violating the Kingston court order to stay clear of the mining company. Several others were also cited. Next week, my uncle David has to stand before the court. He was up on that road, far from the mining company gates, to listen to Bob Lovelace tell Algonquin stories. You see it's Algonquin homelands up there. Environmentalists also stop by, because they want the mining company to realize they have not forgotten it’s there. Meanwhile, you pay tax dollars for police, citations, paperwork, court appearances, judges and all the rest, so the provincial criminal justice system can stop people from walking a country road.

The higher court has said, in my understanding, it is legal in Canada for peaceful people to walk upon a country road. Yet strangely, the Kingston court continues to do as it pleases.

On September 26 my uncle David has to stand before the Kingston court. My uncle David served honorably in the military reserves. He is a trained medical technician. He is a skilled computer services man. Locals know him because you will see his truck pulling a tourist or a cottager’s car out of the ditch. He will fix your lawn mower or your computer just because. He believes in community and helping others and love of country. He retired with health issues, and his sister (my mother) is ill, but he still finds time to care about culture, neighbors, and what is right.

I just want you to know that Ontario citizens are still being harassed, cited and expected in court, despite everything we achieved and the court agreeing with us. The mining company makes no indication they care whatsoever about toxic byproducts or violating land claims or sneaking onto your property without your permission. They seem to be quietly waiting us out. It seems the Kingston court, the mining company and whoever is hoping to line his pockets with mining revenue, are quietly expecting that we forget. However, we will not. We will not forget the vitality, beauty and safety of our water, our land, and the future of our grandchildren.

So I ask you to be there in thought, if not in body, with David, on 26 September.

Kimberly Bate

“Pro-Choice” - The Great Paradox

I would like to address some inaccuracies and inconsistencies in the “Pro-Choice” movement as well as the left wing media’s dishonest and unethical coverage of the abortion debate.

During the Quebec Referendum, the Bloc initially referred to the rest of Canada as “English-speaking Canada”, accurate, albeit mildly misleading. This label was, however, quickly replaced with “English Canada”, inaccurate, in that this country is comprised in large part of the descendants of those who fled to Canada to escape racial or religious persecution in their own countries at the hands of the English (as was the case with my own Scottish ancestors), and dishonest in that it was intended to play on centuries-old distrust and animosity between the French and English. The same holds true for the labels applied to both sides of the abortion debate by those who support abortion, labels that are so uniformly accepted by the mainstream media.

The label “Pro-Choice” connotes a positive. “Pro”, progressive or positive, and “Choice”. The label “Anti-Abortion” on the other hand conjures up only negative images. As an ardent “Pro-Lifer”, I take issue with the Anti-Abortion label for two reasons. First I consider myself to be pro-choice. I cannot imagine an LCBO with only one brand of wine in stock or a gas station with only one type of candy bar on the rack, and second because I don’t believe that the Anti-Abortion label fully exposes the viciousness and depravity of my pro-life views. I am also opposed to murder (in any other form) including genocide and euthanasia of the elderly or infirm.

The Conservative Government has recently introduced Unborn Victims of Violence legislation that would, in a case where a pregnant woman was assaulted and her baby was killed as a result of the attack, force the judge to consider the unborn child’s death in sentencing the accused. The Pro-Choice movement in Canada has voiced their opposition to this bill, citing the fact that it would undermine existing abortion legislation in this country but in doing so have unwittingly undermined their own position in the abortion debate, not to mention their credibility.

In order to credibly refer to yourself as Pro-Choice, you must defend just as vigorously a woman’s “choice” to continue her pregnancy as you do her right to end it. As Ayn Rand once said “Whenever you experience a contradiction in your philosophy, it’s time to rethink your premises because one of them is wrong.”

In the end, the publicly-funded left wing media in this country will not ask the Pro-Choice movement to change their mantra from “I respect your right to choose” to “I respect your right to choose if you choose like me”. Nor will they be asked to “rethink their premises”, but it is my submission that those ardent abortion supporters are, at best, not only “ “ Pro-Abortion” but possibly “Anti-Life”.

Well, I threw it out there. Let’s see if that label sticks.

Francis MacDonald

Why Call An Election?

Canadians are likely wondering why Stephen Harper called an election before his mandate was up especially since the Liberals have supported all of his 43 motions but two, not a dysfunctional government. Perhaps it is because on June 3, 2008, a motion in the House of Commons was approved stating “that the government immediately implement a program to allow conscientious objectors and their immediate family members who have refused or left military service related to a war not sanctioned by the United Nations and do not have a criminal record, to apply for permanent resident status and remain in Canada” and that any moves towards deportations cease. The conservative government chose to ignore this motion despite a poll showing 64% of Canadians would support it.

They also ignored the Federal Court of Canada which respected the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the UN Declaration on Human Rights regarding rights of conscience in its decisions regarding two such refugee claims made on July 4 and 9. On the 4th the federal court sent Joshua Keps’ refugee claims back to the Immigration and Refugee Board for consideration. On the 9th Corey Glass’s deportation order was stayed by the Federal Court. Yet on the 11th of July another “war resister” was arrested and was the first to be deported on July 15. He will face months of detention, a long prison sentence and loss of health benefits because of a felony conviction. War resisters are former U.S. soldiers who refused to serve in Iraq because of the illegality of the war and its impact on the thousands of Iraqi civilians. Canadians cheered Chretien when he would not join the U.S. in this non-UN sanctioned war. Canada has a history of providing refuge to people who refused to fight in Vietnam.

The conservatives are ignoring the wishes of parliament and the federal court and the majority of Canadians. Also Stephen Harper has been having secret meetings with U.S. officials to integrate our currency, armed forces, and immigration policies. It has been only thanks to whistleblowers and the Council of Canadians among other organizations that this has been exposed. He is acting outside of parliament through orders-in-council, imitating his friend George Bush who seems to have more power than Congress. He must be stopped. Unfortunately, there are too many parties on the left, which will spread the opposition vote. Can they not get together to support the leftist candidate most likely to win? I think that Scott Reid is a nice person but like all the other members of his party, he has to vote the way Stephen Harper dictates.

Sylvia Powers

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