| Feb 14, 2008

Feature Article - February 14, 2008

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Letters - February 14, 2008 LettersFebruary 14

Re: Uranium Coverage, Shastri Ablack

Re: Uranium Coverage, Ken Fisher

Re: Former Candidate Reports Back, John McEwen

Justice?, Mavis Wade

Re: Uranium Coverage

I read with great interest the articles in your Feb. 7 issue concerning the Robertsville Site (page1) anduranium mining in Ontario (page 10). I must confess that although I am aware of thedebatein recent years on the subject of the use of nuclear energy,I have been somewhat ignorant of the facts surroundingthe fiasco to resolve the issue at Robertsville. From these articles it would seem that a compromise was about to be reached when the Ontario (government?) negotiator insisted on sabotaging the process. Whatwas hispoint ofinsisting that"drilling would have to take place" during consultation? As it stands now, there is no consultation and there is no drilling. Had ClarkacceptedLovelace's alleged proposal, perhaps the process would have movedmuch closer to a resolution.

It also seems to me that the currentnegotiations should not befocused on the land claimissue but rather on the health and safety aspect, after which resolution the claims issue could, more comfortably, be tackled. Nuclearpower plantsappear to be the more economically feasible source of energy to satisfy the growing needby the masses of humanity. However, if isotopes are needed for energy production and,to save human lives elsewhere, we mustalso protect the lives of,not only those who produce the material but also the wider community, which would suffer from the effects of the by-products of uranium mining.

No question, the issue is a complicated one; and the governmentappears to be rather silent, neglectingits responsibility.The powers to be should thereforeremove the blindfolds "protecting their turf", look at the bigger picture and get on with developing a scientific strategy to safely and effectively store/dispose of tailings/thorium/radon or whatever. Meantime, a moratoriumon drillingis in order.

Thanks to Jeff Green forthrowing some light on the subject for me.

Shastri Ablack

Re: Uranium coverage

Thank you for your continued balanced coverage of the possibility of uranium mining at Robertsville.While we quickly have to abandon carbon-based sources of power, and develop alternatives that may include the nuclear option, it is a disservice to the human community to impose any alternative unilaterally.

Why is our provincial government so tuned-out to the obvious need for a moratorium?Where is Queen’s Park’s transparency on what is so obvious a basic need for the safety and respect of the rights of all our citizens?What is the basis of their intransigency?What accountability does the government view itself as having that supersedes the resolutions of the adjacent municipalities?The McGuinty Government’s actions are in defiance of the democratic process that we have taken centuries to develop.Like others, I am beyond perplexed.

While repeating the obvious, as referenced in your recent article, I am of the opinion that our provincial government’s policy sequence should be:

The settlement of aboriginal land claims;

Changing the mining act to enfranchise land owners;

Respect the resolutions passed by all the adjacent municipalities;

Clean up all existing contamination and compensate commensurately;

As a bio-region, as a province, and as a country, rethink and re-decide our investment in a nuclear future; and...

If technically possible, establish millennial standards for the processing of tailings.

If this is too daunting, then a moratorium should last until all of the above is resolved. Given the pace of our democratic process, the moratorium would last a few decades.

In the immediate, I hope the O.P.P. with its mandate of keeping the peace will keep the drill rigs stuck on the 401.

Ken Fisher

Re: Former candidate reports back

Last week Jerry Ackerman asked, "What can we do to ensure that the electoral process works for us and helps us ensure the well-being of our children and our grandchildren?"

We have a great deal to be thankful for, including a country where we can speak our minds, albeit at times it seems no one listens. Also, with embarrassing exceptions, we all eat every day, and we all have shelter. I'm throwing that part in because it's important that nations enjoy that basic degree of stability in order to get to any degree of "democracy". And we have to accept that "at the end of the day" a person, or a small group of people, will make decisions, at times tough ones, on our behalf. Be it a dictatorship, a monarchy or a republic... decisions have to be made and functional societies move in but one direction at a time.

We are blessed with a system, which, yes is dominated by parties, but which still allows for independent candidates to voice their concerns. This system was created here, in Upper Canada, by regular Upper Canadians fed up with the previous "Family Compact" system. It was no small feat; be very proud Ontario.

As to party politics - don't think that just because a party has mustered out a “Policy", everyone in the party agrees with it. All those "real" critical issues Mr. Ackerman mentioned get kicked around all the time, but as party A or B, we gestate a policy that we all can "live with”. In my party, the Liberal party, policy is created from the bottom up. A riding association presents a policy to the party as a whole to be voted on, and if the "whole" passes the policy, it becomes the party's policy.

Re: parties answering to corporate concerns: I own a corporation consisting of one person - me. Incorporating simply provides a convenient legal framework so that I can operate my business effectively. Corporations are not necessarily evil by definition, and they are a necessary component of modern society. If not for the corporation, what would you be driving and how would you put fuel in it? And where would many of us be working? So, yes, parties answer to corporate concerns; but parties also answer to "labour" concerns as well.

I guess the question is, how much influence do corporations have?

Enter Elections Canada, and Elections Ontario, independent bodies we created to ensure "fairness". Federally a party CANNOT accept any money from any corporation, mine, or GM. Further, there are limitations on how much any individual can donate (generally $1200). Beyond that, there are limitations on the amount we can spend on an election - about $80,000 / riding, but $30-$40,000 will buy you a decent campaign. Compared to the US of A, and the way we "used to do business here", it's good. Not perfect, but not bad either.

As to citizens not voting, I don't see a problem with 40 to 50% of the electorate “taking a pass". Many people have absolutely no interest in politics. It tells me that things are "good enough" for these potential voters and that overall they don't feel compelled to vote. God forbid we should ever have an issue that would demand 90% of the population vote.

My advice: find a party you're comfortable with and help them create the policy you want, and if that doesn't work out, change parties. It's as easy as picking up a phone and contacting a riding association. That will cost you $10 a year. If "mainstream" does not suit you, support independents like Jerry; at one time Tommy Douglas was an "independent", as was Preston Manning,

Still not happy? Be an independent. Elections Canada and Elections Ontario will support your efforts.

Too much effort? Pick up a pen and send a letter regarding your concern to your MP and/or MPP. If they are doing their job they will reply. Reply not to your liking? Send a copy to the premier or prime minister. They do get read. Further, all parties comb the papers, even the Frontenac News, feverishly trying to get the "feel" of the public.

Democracy is not a spectator sport.

When I was a child (and grandchild), good political things were done by political parties for me on my behalf by adults. I'm an adult now (more or less) and I will similarly try to pass "good stuff” on to future generations. Finally, we are a truer democracy one day every four years. Thank God & the Upper Canadians who marched the streets of Toronto to make that happen. I suggest you take advantage of that right. I'm sure on that one point at least, Jerry will agree with me.

John McEwen


The Funk & Wagnalls Dictionary defines "Justice" as: “(7)The abstract principle by which right and wrong are defined”.

Believing that, as you sit in a court of law, you think that whether you are right or wrong, you will be heard and you will be treated fairly.One does not expect to feel that no matter what your argument you will be deemed wrong and guilty.Such was the feeling in the Superior Court in Kingston on Feb.12 at the hearing for individuals charged. No matter the argument, it appeared that the result was a foregone conclusion. As is the "new norm", it is not a matter of right or wrong, it's a matter of what government wants, and what money will buy.On both counts we continue to fight an uphill battle against mining uranium.

Mavis Wade

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