| Mar 27, 2008

Letters - March 27, 2008

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Letters - March 27, 2008 Letters: March 27

Re: Alarm Over Pan Fish, Paul M. Wicher

Denbigh Ambulance, Suzanne Lee

Tourism? Hardly!Barb and Bob Waterworth

Central Frontenac Property Taxes,Michael Wise

509 Injunction,Inie Platenius

Provincial Power Greater than Federal?, Kimberly Bate

Seven First Nations People Jailed,Susan Quipp

Fuel Cell vs Solar: No Contest,Carl Winterburn

Re: Alarm Over Pan Fish Limits

I have become totally disgusted with the self-serving hysteria local resort owners are using in an attempt to arouse public support against fishery management by endeavouring to portray themselves as being savaged to destitution by the changes to antiquated fishery regulations, inferring how the rest of us will also suffer. Balderdash!

I was not aware that our natural resources, already sorely depleted and waning, were to be managed solely for the benefit of the financial well-being of the resort owners and the pleasure of their clients. These clients are “Americans who fill their freezers with pan fish” according to Mr. Cezar Spirala, owner of Springwood Cottages. “Fill their freezers”! Obviously the governing authorities in their home states awoke earlier than our MNR, putting sane limits on the size of the catch.

Amazing these butchers have not heard of the word CONSERVATION or the phrase “Limit your catch, don’t catch your limit” or how about, “Catch and Release”? Obviously the words also mean nothing to Mr. Spirala either. Filling his resort and pockets, regardless of the environmental cost and long term consequences, is paramount. Perhaps the reasons underlying reductions in Zone 18 is that the fishery is in much worse condition then in other zones. Although the Ministry of Natural Resources is far down on my personal list of highly competent bureaucracies, I would rather trust in their biological studies and data than the questionable dollar-driven biology of Mr. Spirala or Mr. Leonard or the political biology of our MPP.

Fifty fish in possession should be enough for anyone!

I further question Mr. Spirala on his assertion that “few Canadians are interested in these species”. Where is his data? The enthusiasm for pan fishing is alive and well. Canadians are discovering that fishing for pan fish can be fun, a family event, not requiring a 20 foot Lund, 200 HP Mercury and 140 gallons of gas. And even if this were not the case, there is no reason the resources should be pillaged! We have been pillaging since the first human set foot on the earth. Is it not time for logic to prevail controlling our greed and blood lust?

I have fished and hunted for a good deal of my life in many parts of the world. The claims I hear from these tourist hosts are absurd. Mr. Spirala claims it’s good fishery manage to catch as many pan fish as possible as “they eat the eggs of more desirable fish” He is taking a micro view of lake ecology. The “more desirable fish”, obviously pike, bass and walleye, depend to a huge extent on the bounty of all age classes of pan fish (bluegill, sunfish, perch, bullhead, and rock bass) for their survival. In fact, the large pan fish are also active feeders on their own kind and the young of others. Under the surface the bigger eat the smaller regardless of species: there are no picky eaters! A smaller bounty means a poorer and under-sized fishery.Further, it is impossible to “just pan fish”! Call it incidental catch or dumb luck but if you float around a body of water long enough with a worm or minnow in the water an opportunistic “desirable” is going to visit you. I will leave it to your imagination as to what happens to the “desirable”.

Paul M. Wicher

Denbigh Ambulance

It is of great concern to our community, Denbigh and area, that our ambulance service is in grave jeopardy. We demand, as taxpayers, confirmation that our coverage and service will not be compromised for the coverage of the south of this county.

At the present time our ambulance goes to the Northbrook Base for standby rather than the south fringe of our area, which already compromises response time.

We expect/demand that our ambulance stay at the Denbigh Base and not on standby at the Northbrook Base. This is a geographic necessity. The statement “every second counts” means nothing as this could add as much as 30 minutes or more to an already crucial response time, just to get back to their area. This is unacceptable.

As part of the “Greater Napanee” and the same tax base, we deserve and demand the same essential services here to serve our population as that of the south.

Logically it would seem that Belleville or Kingston could respond more quickly to calls as well as be in closer proximity to hospitals. If more service is needed in the south, manage your crews more effectively and/or add more services to solve your problems. Don’t make them ours.

Suzanne Lee

Tourism?Hardly!Replying to our present mayor’s quote "It looks like for the forseeable future our industry is tourism" (Ron McGuire Frontenac News March 20th 2008)

How much time , effort and monies have been spent, and are being spent defining North Frontenac as a prime tourist destination? IF a uranium mine is established here, what we will see is: sickness, death and destruction.

Barb and Bob Waterworth

Central Frontenac Property Taxes The province is holding the 2008 education levy for the Central Frontenac taxpayer at the same level as last year. The county is reducing their levy by 3.7%. What are township officials proposing? An increase of 10.1%. That's par for the course - township taxes have increased an average of 9.2% a year for the last six years. Ifaccepted by council, their draft budget would continue this tradition of increases well in excess of the annual rate of inflation.

The challenge this council faces is to demonstrate that now, with the experience of over a year in office, it can stem the township's ever increasing thirst for property tax revenue, that it can provide the leadership necessary to enable the township to live within the budget constraints facing the average taxpayer. I doubt that many taxpayers saw their incomes increase by over 10% last year.

Councillors - at your next budget meeting on April 1, show your sensitivity for the electorate's ability to pay. Given that costs are increasing for the township just as they are for everyone else, I wouldn't expect a decrease comparable to that provided by the county, or even the zero increase implemented by the province. But a 10.1% increase? No! A township increase in line with the annual rate of inflation, say 2%, would be more appropriate. The overall property tax increase for 2008 would then be 1.2%.

Michael Wise

509 InjunctionI am confused and concerned about the injunction relating to Frontenac Ventures property. A February 15 statement from the OPP says: “Pursuant to the court order, anyone within 200m of the gate, or any Frontenac Ventures employee at the site, can be arrested and charged with criminal contempt. As well, anyone obstructing Frontenac Venture employees or equipment can be arrested and charged with criminal contempt. Buildings and/or structures may not be within 500m of the gate on Robertsville Road or Hwy 509”.

As far as I know, there is no sign on the 509 warning the public of this prohibition from being on a public road allowance. Does this mean that any citizen who inadvertently strays into the zone is now liable to prosecution? Does it mean that if I stop there to let my little grandson pee, I am in contempt of court? Is my grandson? This is, of course, a far-fetched and unlikely scenario, but I raise it because recently my respected friend Oskar Graf was caught in the snare of this injunction. He had stopped within the proscribed zone not to protest, and not to defy the law, and he was subsequently charged with being in contempt of the injunction.

At this point, the situation on 509 seems to have gone beyond the ongoing dispute over the rights of Frontenac Ventures versus the rights of the Algonquins, beyond the court attempting to define the limits of protest. It appears that the court has made it possible to charge any citizen with contempt for simply trespassing on a public roadway. I am very concerned.

Inie Platenius

Provincial Power Greater than Federal?

Kudos to you for your continued clear, detailed, specific coverage of the anti-uranium protest and the court events related to it. I can always come to your newspaper to find the real facts.

Yesterday I phoned the Hon. Premier Dalton McGinty's office, meaning to register with the clerk who took my call a request that the Premier review the mining act, and that he step in to free wrongly imprisoned Bob Lovelace. Instead of "I'll see he gets the message," as they said last time I phoned, a woman began to ask me pointed questions. Her tone seemed to be sincere interest, as well as seeking to gauge my depth of knowledge on the topics. She at first, it seemed to me, assumed I was calling in opinions about something I know little about.

Happily, I do know a little, and I have heartfelt opinions and concerns, so we had what turned out to be a lengthy discussion. At its end I sincerely thanked her for taking the time to talk with and listen to me. Isn't that what any "little person on the street” asks for from our elected officials? I dare to hope her willingness to ask me questions, to tell me her points and to listen to my opinions, signals a change in the Premier's office toward our concerns. All we want is that they be open, sincerely, to examination of the issues and concerns.

I found it most interesting that this woman, whose name I did not get, mentioned not once but twice, "perhaps provincial law SUPERCEDES federal law in this case", meaning, I believe, the province would have been within its rights to grant mining permission on disputed land that the federal court said could NOT be mined without consult.

How this could be true baffles me entirely. Is the classroom teacher over-riding the school principal? I told her I have no idea if that is the case, it seems unlikely, but the point we all want, what Bob Lovelace wants most dearly, is an open discussion about these very questions. We are upset because the door has been slammed in our faces, a number of times, by the mining companies, by the shameful and punitive courts, and by the premier. Sadly and literally, prison doors are slammed upon those dedicated to a most peaceful protection of the earth, of human rights, of our environment. Prison doors slammed upon those seeking peaceful inquiry.

I think we are all stunned and horrified that our legitimate concerns have been met with not only silence, but disregard, and harsh punishment. As if to say, "You naughty disruptors need to learn a lesson! Stay out of the way of all mining companies!" Why should we stay out of the way of a profit-making, U.S. owned company who is encroaching on disputed, and privately owned, land? Companies operating with environment impact regulations out of the 1800s? Companies who sell 80% of the resources they find to other countries. At least one company shows absolutely zero regard for our position. We should get out of THEIR way? In particular, I must add, if you are a person belonging to the First Nations. I will tell you why that is: Because ONLY the First Nations people have the legal right, upheld by the federal court, to legally protest mining activity upon their lands. The rest of the people, stunning as it may be, have NO rights to say what happens under the thin line of your property. You have no rights, so far as we have seen, to be heard in your voiced opposition to environmental impact, either. You have no rights to a full and complete investigation into those environmental impacts. You have no rights to be consulted, heard, or respected. You have no rights to delay a profit-seeking company in order to determine first how this activity affects you and your children and your grandchildren. You have no rights to demand that regulations written in the 1800s be updated to apply to today's society. At least so far, that's what the court has said.

I believe the court has dealt harshly with the First Nation people, and them alone, because those are the people who can legally, and are determined to, stop the mining companies. They alone have legal grounds for a halt to the mining company activity, upheld previously by the Federal court of this nation. And therefore, they suffer grave injustice. They suffer right now in cold and dank cells, far from their families, and in the future when they have likely lost their jobs and have a felony record. Will a 60-year-old professor be able to pay over $25,000 in fines? This is no joke, what they are suffering. For the sake of all of us. And they need our powerful support, in every way we can provide it. Because no, we WON'T get out of the way. We will be heard. That is a Right belonging to each of us.

Kimberly Bate

Seven First Nations People Jailed

How is it that in the last two months seven First Nations people have been sent to jail for six months each for peacefully obstructing exploration and mining near their communities and the mining company just dropped charges against three white people last week for exactly the same activity?

In the protest against the proposed uranium mine north of Sharbot Lake, First Nations people and non-native landowners and concerned residents have been united in their opposition to this mine and the ecological consequences of the toxic mess it would create in the surrounding watershed area. Why, then, has the mining company Frontenac Ventures opted to request only the most extreme sentence (six months in prison, $25,000 fine to Mr. Lovelace, plus $2000 for every day that he refuses to comply with a gag order forbidding him to continue to protest plus a $10,000 fine for his community)?

The six First Nations people from north of Thunder Bay will also be in jail for six months for similar protest. And why did the Ontario civil court comply with the mining companies' requests? In my opinion it's a shameful and disturbing use of the courts to squash opposition to the government's plan to push through uranium mining and nuclear power plant development, trying to convince the public that this is a great solution to the energy crisis. It's not. It's outright madness - expensive, dangerous, polluting and potentially disastrous.

Is it possible that the mining companies and the government want the people of Ontario to believe this is solely a Native land claims issue? Do they want to hide the fact that property owners, cottagers, organic and regular farmers, parents and grandparents, all, are opposed to this mine and the destruction it will create? This is a health issue, a property rights issue, an ecology issue and affects all of us in so many ways. It is now also becoming a civil liberties issue.

We need a total moratorium on uranium mining and a complete overhaul of the mining act as well as the settling of First Nations Land Claims. And we need it soon.

Susan Quipp, Perth

Fuel Cell versus Solar: No ContestI understand our governments are offering to throw away $1.5 billion on developing and producing a “fuel cell hydrogen car” at $1,000,000 each. Right at this stage the money would run out at the 1500th car. How many of you who read this could ever afford one?

Hydrogen is expensive to separate from other compounds, hard to store and handle. I wonder what will happen to the driver of one of these wonder cars when one gets crushed by a truck transport.

Hydrogen, mixed with air, is very explosive. Wouldn’t this very large investment be much better invested in a much safer and economically feasible solar or wind avenue such as improving storage batteries for sunlight storage? How about converting the automobile by reducing its weight?

This could be accomplished by removing the now redundant engine, transmission, differential, gas tank, radiator, drive shaft, etc. etc. Cars, (like the huge trucks used in mining) should have an appropriately sized electric motor on each front wheel.

The sun is forever. It’s free! Solar panels could be built into the car’s roof. As long as they are parked in the open, it will charge some. Extra panels could be installed at the residence to top up the battery while the car is idle and, when not needed, to heat our water, etc.

I believe we should forget hydrogen completely. It’s a great place for politicians to spend our taxes. Investing huge amounts in an industry in the hopes of something that might work doesn’t follow the KISS motto: Keep it simple, stupid.

Carl Winterburn

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