| Feb 07, 2008

Feature Article - February 7, 2008

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Letters - February 4, 2008 LettersFebruary 7Former Candidate Reports Back, Jerry AckermanRe: Rail Museum On Track, Margaret AxfordFormer Candidate Reports Back

It's just two years since I found myself angry enough about what was happening to my three-county riding and my country to run for Parliament.

In the process, I learned a good deal about how our less-than-democratic government manages to give little heed to "the public interest" while continuing to cater to corporate interests. The mainstream media, directed by their corporate owners, comply. It is indeed refreshing - even inspiring - to see your paper as an exception.

The choice at election time is essentially: Vote out "Tweedledum" by voting in "Tweedledumber." The difference is simply that one of these parties is in power and the other party wants that power, but both answer to the same corporate concerns. Little wonder that 29,000 eligible voters do not bother going to the polls to exercise their rights.

The few attenders at "all-candidate debates" (forums, really) are already programmed to follow the pattern established by their parents and grandparents: "Never vote Whig" or "Never vote Tory." Never mind that in the case of this riding, there were five alternatives, each with meaningful change in mind. All one can hope for is to find an embarrassing or amusing putdown of the other candidates.

Crucial issues to be debated? No opportunity. "Here's what our party has decided is important; this is the party position; trust us to do the right thing. Vote for me." "We intend to right the wrongs of the previous government. I am sure you want that. Vote for me." "You have a specific concern? I will personally take it up with our leader. Vote for me." The election-focused media follow up. They welcome the advertising from the two wealthy parties. They emphasize the major contenders. They predict the outcome.

Real issues important to the 86,000 voters who live in the riding are ignored. The issues of clean water, healthy air, steady employment, good schools, and better roads are ignored. National policies such as the refusal to use interest-free loans from the Bank of Canada to build our hospitals, schools, roads, bridges, and ferries are ignored. Policies that continue the plunder of our nation's resources, allow permanent take-over of our businesses, and reduce our say over our children's futures are ignored. International policies, such as supporting the USA in their world conquests, are ignored. Directing 20 billions of our taxes to war machinery makers, supporting missile defense, and training our youngsters for deadly combat roles is ignored.

I am not alone in thinking that there are important issues that need to be discussed. I heard solid agreement from many of my concerned neighbours when I was running two years ago. These concerns have not gone away. Consider the Richmond landfill, the Lafarge fuel plans, the Gagne job losses, the Harrowsmith destruction, the Hershey move, the OMYA water export, the Robertsville invasion. I hear an urgent anger not far below the surface. Let us discuss these issues now, not wait for an election.

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?

- Jerry Ackerman

Re: Railway Museum Still on Track

What a pleasure to read about the progress of the Sharbot Lake Railway Museum in the January 24 edition of the Frontenac News! Building something like this is such hard work, but the rewards are tremendous. We agree wholeheartedly with Gary Giller's comments about the place of history within the life of a community and support your endeavours.

Congratulations and best of luck with this very important initiative!

Margaret Axford, Cloyne and District Historical Society

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