| Oct 23, 2008

Oct 23/08 - Letters

Back toHome

Letters -October 23,2008 Letters: October 23

Re: Rogers Plan for New Tower, Rick Brown

Funding Cut to Kinship Families, Ina Turner

Electoral Reform?, Hannes Friedli

Policy Needs Change, Jerry Ackerman

Re: Rogers Plan for New Tower

I hope you and your readers will join with me in expressing our dismay at the news that a new com.- tower is planned for the intersection ofHarold Burke Road and Hwy 7. At present we have nine towers from just west of Kaladar, north of Kaladar, east to Sharbot Lake, Mountain Grove, and Parham. It is now possible to multi-task these towers, and I certainly think that Central Frontenac should be looking into this, before accepting another metal-mass along Hwy 7, which was once known as the scenic route between Peterborough and Ottawa, and is now known as Cell-Tel Alley. I am sure Rogers would be happy to hear our concerns!

Rick Brown, Arden

Funding Cut to Kinship Families

In writing this letter I hope to make people aware of what is going on with our Social Services.

Madeleine Meilleur who is the MPP, Minister of Community and Social Services is planning to cut off funding for all Ontario kinship families (children being raised by their grandparents or other family members). Now thousands of kinship families will no longer receive Ontario Works...Temp Care Dependant child allowance! The allowance is approximately $231 per child plus limited drug, dental and eyeglass coverage.

Could you raise a child (you did not plan on) on that?

Now approximately 15,000 children in Ontario as well as their caregivers who are already struggling are going to be affected.

Somehow I find it hard to follow the reasoning behind this brilliant plan of Mme. Meilleur as we are well aware of how much more foster parents who are not related to the child are being paid and if you have a special needs child the pay might be as much as $50 per day, plus travel expenses, plus recreation (i.e. hockey or baseball) paid for. These are all expenses that we as kinship parents somehow manage to pay out of our already overburdened pockets.

If this plan goes through there will be more children going into foster care at more expense to the government, which of course the taxpayers will pay for.

The children will be living with non-relatives instead of with their own families who love them and are willing to carry the burden instead of enjoying a well-deserved retirement.

There will be a rally at our nearest MPP office on November 20 and I will certainly be part of that protest.

Ina Turner

Electoral reform? The sooner the better

In a democracy, elections are undoubtedly the most basic and at the same time the most important political events. Voting is a far-reaching act; it should not be taken lightly, neither by our elected representatives nor by us, the voters.

Elections should result in a true representation of voters’ choices. Unfortunately, our elections do not deliver what they seem to promise. After this recent election, again, what we see is a shameful distortion of the voting reality.

After October 15, the media were busy uttering and reporting complaints about the poor voter turnout. All kinds of reasons were considered and there is no shortage of suggestions towards improving participation in elections. Some commentators even suggested making voting compulsory. Personally, I find such a measure undemocratic.

Elections have different meanings for different people. For some citizens they mean nothing at all, because someone else will take care of the political business for them, so why bother. For some, elections mean an exercise in futility as they feel utterly powerless opposite an anonymous and crushing political machinery. Then for some, voting in a federal or provincial election, against all odds of success, means an honest and thoughtful effort to help shape the country for the sake of the well being of its citizenry.

Whereas the first two categories of voters mostly abstain, the latter care to vote. The trouble is, for millions of them their effort ended in minimal reward or none at all. Of all the votes cast nationally, less than half actually elected someone. Orphaning more than half of the active voters is a dismal failure of our electoral system. The present first-past-the-post system does not just fail the smaller parties, as is often thought, but it wreaks havoc right across the whole party landscape.

A publication of Fair Vote Canada of October 17 says about this recent election: “In terms of party support, more than 2.1 million Orphan Voters cast votes for the Liberal Party, 1.8 million for the NDP, 1.7 million for the Conservatives and just under 1 million for the Green Party.” But millions of wasted votes are just one aspect in this electoral calamity. An article in the Calgary Herald of October 16 quotes another figure illustrating the catastrophic voting distortions resulting from our out-dated electoral system. Deploring the ineffectiveness of 940,000 Green votes nationwide, the Herald continues: “...813,000 votes concentrated in Alberta were enough to send 27 Conservative MPs to Ottawa....In Toronto, 225,000 people voted Conservative, but no Tories won seats. The system is sick and it is undemocratic.”

Canada is one of the very last democracies using the first-past-the-post system, and change is absolutely urgent. If change does not happen soon, cynicism towards politics, politicians, and the government will increase, and so will voter abstinence. To give an effective voice to every vote cast in this country, we need a form of proportional representation. This change will result in a positive change in Canada’s political landscape, in a change of how the different political parties and organizations operate and co-operate, and, most importantly, in a change of how Canadians see themselves as active and effective participants in the democratic processes of their country.

Fair Vote Canada is a group committed to electoral reform. Readers who think that electoral reform is a cause worth fighting for can become members of Fair Vote Canada. Call H. Friedli at 613-374-5254 or visit www.fairvote.ca

Hannes Friedli

Policy Needs Change

Thanks for publishing some of my thoughts about our federal government. I note that no improvement is in prospect. Same old, same old. And only a third of the citizenry made this happen; one third voted for some one else and one third didn't see any use in voting. Until we can force a preferential voting system, a majority of Canadian voices will not be represented in our government. (Jack Layton COULD have forced this by keeping the Paul Martin Liberals in power with THIS condition.)

Your choice of headline for my letter, "Jerry hates Harper", distorts my intended meaning. My "hatred" is not directed against any one person, ever. Only against wrong-headed policies and programs that are advocated and implemented without consultation with the people affected. Stephen Harper's government practices are the result of direct consultation with only one segment of the people affected, namely, the bankers and the major business corporations. He is precisely "in their pocket".

The consequence is that Canada's fundamental rights to make decisions in our own best interest are swept away by preventing the majority of voices being heard. I am only one voice but I echo what is on the minds of a goodly number of thoughtful citizens.

Conserving our resource base - oil, gas, minerals, timber, water - is of the highest priority in the minds of everyday Canadians. Serving by conserving is an old and well-tested political philosophy. It does not intend a selling off of our resources and sacrificing the country's future just because a foreign market exists.

The unfair trade agreements requiring this (FTA and NAFTA) ensure that 70% of our oil and 60% of our natural gas MUST go South (even if we freeze in the dark).

The giveaway royalties and the instant capital write-offs bring only a temporary boom to a few Albertans. All will have to live with a permanently destroyed environment.

In effect, Harper is cutting taxes for the already-rich American companies. The rightful owners of these resources are left with the opportunity of loading the pirates' gold. Our rights to our own resources get lost in the deal and our official representatives pad their pockets and excuse the sellout as inevitable.

Same with the value of our money. Canadians have our own central bank. We all own it. It served us well during the war and provided interest-free postwar improvements in our infrastructure, our health, our pensions. Inflation was manageable. So was our nation's debt.

Now our leadership takes direction only from the chartered banks, the foreign controlled businesses, Wall Street and Washington.

Tens of billions of dollars are being dumped into the system in exchange for bad debts created by the chartered banks. The consequence? Deflation of the value of all our assets…to be followed by a sharply receding economy, huge unemployment and a dismal future.

Am I really "hating Harper"? No, I'm not. I am protesting the cutback and removal of our fundamental rights, rights to choose our own future well-being as a sovereign nation. I do not expect foreign-based interests to accommodate these rights.

Jerry Ackerman

Support local
independant journalism by becoming a patron of the Frontenac News.