Letters to the Editor: July 15

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Khadr settlement deeply divisive

What I find so offensive regarding Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal party compensating Omar Khadr for his incarceration at Guantanamo Bay was not the amount of the payment but the underhanded way they dealt with their constituents by keeping us uninformed.

Kudos to the person who “leaked” the financial details of the payout.

I understand the 2010 decision of the Supreme Court relating to Khadr’s Charter rights being violated. My cynical mind suggests the best time to release such toxic news is when the House of Commons is inactive, for example, summer recess, and Trudeau is out of country at the G20.

The $10.5-million cheque was placed in Khadr’s account quickly to stonewall the U.S. civil suit initiated by Sgt. Christopher Speer’s widow.

I am embarrassed by Security Minister Ralph Goodale’s greater concerned about the leak than the lack of transparency by his government.

I’m deeply disappointed with the moral character of politics in our beloved Canada.

R.W. Niles


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With the Justin Trudeau government expanding the Charter of Rights to award $10.5 million to the terrorist Omar Khadr, I will be consulting a constitution lawyer to see if I have a claim against the provincial Liberals for abusing patients in London with unreasonable wait times for surgeries.

Nicholas Kumchy


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Omar Khadr, and hundreds of thousands of children all over the world are being terrorized, brainwashed and indoctrinated as child soldiers by members of their community or family.

Of course, he deserves to win his civil suit. He and the thousands of child-soldiers out there should be able to count on the moral guidance and care of adults. When they can’t do that, the state should give them that care — certainly not sanction their plight.

Samantha Lalgi


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Regarding the article Leaders debate kidnap ransoms (July 8).

Let me get this straight: Justin Trudeau is encouraging other world leaders not to pay terrorists’ ransom demands when Canadians or their citizens are held captive in foreign countries. He might be sending mixed signals with his latest payout to the wrong party.

Gary Manley


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Omar Khadr is a Canadian citizen by birth. He was brainwashed by his father. I am very troubled by the lack of understanding by Canadians that his confession was coerced, and is the byproduct of years of torture.

And I am extremely saddened that The London Free Press continually publishes articles perpetuating the lie that he is a terrorist and murdered American soldiers. No reasonable court would have ever allowed his confession to be entered as evidence, due to the fact it was obtained from torture — which the U.S. knows is a violation of international treaties they signed and by breaking those treaties they have committed war crimes.

The settlement is for the violation of his rights and the failure of Canada to demand that this minor be returned to Canada rather then sent to Guantanamo Bay and tortured.

John M Gaynes


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Justin Trudeau has got it all wrong — it should be Omar Khadr apologizing to Canada for becoming a traitor to our great country of Canada.

The fact that he was young doesn’t make him innocent. He was old enough to carry out an act of war to kill our ally.

When you leave Canada to join a terrorist group that is fighting against our country and its allies, you should be giving up your Canadian rights.

Where is the sanity in this?

Larry Doolittle


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The complaints about Omar Khadr’s settlement with the Canadian government ignore that it was an inevitable compromise in face of how he was treated.

Respected international voices like Amnesty International and Canadian ones like Gen. Romeo Dallaire denounced Khadr’s imprisonment and torture in Guantanamo as unacceptable as a borderline child soldier and the Canadian Supreme Court agreed in a formal judgement. With those facts, Khadr’s lawsuit for $20 million against the Canadian government was a near-guaranteed win.

So, how about we all acknowledge our country could have avoided this if we had lived up to our nation’s principles and brought Khadr home in the beginning of this affair to face justice on our terms like other nations did with their citizens imprisoned in Guantanamo, instead of abandoning him?

Kenneth Chisholm


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Omar Khadr has been given $10.5 million by the Trudeau Liberals in a midnight transaction that by strange coincidence now prevents the widow of the man he confessed to killing from extracting a settlement for her pain and suffering.

There is also the other strange coincidence that had Khadr’s father not been sprung from a Pakinstani prison years earlier by the Chretien Liberals, there is a good chance Omar would’ve not been in Afghanistan in the first place, as his father would not have been around to drag him off to fight the jihad.

Now juxtapose these two points with Justin Trudeau saying in the last federal election he was “ready right now to do those things that Stephen Harper won’t do.” I agree with Trudeau — Stephen Harper would never have freed a terrorist from incarceration or awarded him $10.5 million.

Joseph Fisher


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There are many ways to look at the financial restitution paid to Khadr, none complimentary. This young man was trained, at 15 to be a jihadist killer. As it is, his treatment fitted the “club” of which he was a member, and no matter how badly was his treatment, it was better than he would have afforded an infidel.

That he should be awarded a $10.5-million settlement speaks to a judicial system that has lost all touch with the Canadian public. Taxpayers should not be expected to pay this money to a killer. Give me a settlement for the pain and suffering I experience by living under the out-of-touch government and legal systems.

Make sure this jihadist’s money is not sent to ISIS because Khadr will have lots of reasons to screw the infidels who let him linger in prison.

Mary Taylor

St. Thomas

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No parking?

Regarding the article At its core, this highrise all about Fanshawe (July 11).

I wonder what downtown developers and assorted city officials are smoking these days.

The new highrise proposed for 150 Dundas St. “could be a game-changer” according to Janette MacDonald, director of Downtown London.

The developer hopes it will be a rental apartment for Fanshawe College students. It will have no parking, and a city planner says parking is not required for downtown highrises. A private planner working on the project says it anticipated most students will not have cars.

I have news for them. Students today do own cars, and they will clog the streets with them.

The building won’t be a game-changer because students have little disposable income, so they won’t patronize downtown businesses much.

If you want to revitalize the downtown, build residential units with parking, and when people buy them and live there, supermarkets and other retail places will follow. Seniors would love to live in small affordable apartments downtown. Student rentals only invite partying, pizza and tattoo parlours. Don’t we have lots of those there already?

Ana Porzecanski


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Outrage welcome

Regarding the letter Border mismanaged (July 6).

I thank the writer for his comments. Our membership strongly echoes his sentiment.

The border officers in Sarnia and across the country have witnessed millions of dollars slashed from our agency’s budget during the previous federal government’s deficit reduction plan.

Currently, further fiscal restraint that hampers proper staffing, including cuts to overtime during high-volume periods, have led to a decrease in service delivery that commercial drivers and travellers are accustomed to. The result is empty booths leading to longer wait times, combined with overworked and disgruntled employees.

Internal complaints at multiple levels have gone unheeded. Therefore, for situations involving unreasonable wait times, public outcry is welcomed and we encourage people to contact their member of Parliament or representative of Congress to express their displeasure.

M. J. Coene


Customs and Immigration Union, Sarnia Branch, Local 19

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Dead trees abound

What’s with all the dead trees in London?

Hyde Park Road between Riverside and Oxford had kids out to plant, but the compost and bark chips didn’t show up on time and all the plantings are now dead.

The London Transit building on Wonderland Road, a city-owned site, has dead trees.

On Veterans Memorial Parkway, many trees are dead.

Is city hall buying trees from the lowest bidder with no guarantee?

Compounding the issue are all the trees developers plant on their sites — retail and residential — that are now dead.

Toronto now has more trees per capita than us.

Beth McCracken


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Time for restraint

Regarding the article Rail plan sours Brown (July 12).

During his campaign-style visits to various locations throughout Southwestern Ontario, it was refreshing to hear Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown discussing business-type logic, common sense concepts, and fiscal restraint regarding the management of our financially destitute province.

At the same time we learn from Premier Kathleen Wynne and even NDP Leader Andrea Horwath, it’s all about more questionable spending, funding of mega-projects and ever-increasing support for various non-value-added programs using taxpayers’ dollars in order to secure votes in the next election.

After having the Liberals basically bankrupt the province, it is time for spending restraint, prudent funding of projects and getting back to a normal, logical, and at long last responsible governing.

John Peake


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Drive with caution

With the autonomous car descending upon us, we should celebrate a technology that trumpets “economy of motion.”

Gone will be the day of impaired, distracted drivers, whose goal is to text their friends about nothing, just because they can.

In the meantime, until we are up and running, effective use of your directional signals would be appreciated. You slamming on your brakes, as you execute your right turn, only then to put your directional signal on, is not only useless but dangerous.

Until we live like the Jetsons, it’s important that we look out for one another.

David C. Stapleford


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Spitting into wind

Regarding the article Lining up new rail hub (July 13).

Rapid bus transit changes faster than a Tasmanian devil. Now it may be rerouted to connect to the Via Rail building, which would need to be rebuilt, perhaps with taxpayer money. Who owns that building anyway?

This of course assumes that the provincial Liberals remain in power for the next eight years. The Progressive Conservatives have questioned the need for rapid rail in Southwestern Ontario. Are there alternatives?

Politicians may find themselves spitting into the wind. City councillors shouldn’t make any plans past next year’s election. It’s time to focus on more pressing issues for London.

Christine Morgan


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Spiritual act

The article Pope adds new pathway to sainthood (July 12) needs some clarification.

The Pope does not have the authority or right to consider any human being as a possible candidate for sainthood. The Bible unequivocally teaches any truly converted Christian who continues its life-changing way of life is to be called a saint. The church’s doctrine affirms this.

The article also notes the pope’s guideline that eucharist bread cannot be gluten-free. The eucharist is a memorial celebration of Christ’s death and resurrection as instituted by Christ himself. Upon receiving the bread and wine, the recipient receives Jesus in a spiritual manner only, by faith. Many Roman Catholic parishes provide only the bread to its parishioners. Faithful Christians are to receive both kinds.

Noel Paterson


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Fair definition

Inside my latest hydro bill was a flyer highlighting the Wynne government’s “fair” hydro plan. Effectively, the pamphlet says that, despite being responsible for North America’s worst electricity rates, it’s only fair that this same government should provide some sort of relief.

Always be careful with Liberal math. Let’s say your bill has effectively doubled from $125 to $250 under the Liberal reign. With an average (short term, I might add) decrease of 25 per cent, that new bill will be $187.50, which is still 50 per cent over your original average cost.

But wait — you’re going to be socked with substantially higher bills after four years. And the provincial debt will include part of this delayed benefit.

I am not sure this is the definition of fair — unless you understand the true definition, which is: Fudge Anything Improving Re-election.

Greg McLachlan


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Stunning gains

I know there is a great deal of discontent with both our provincial and federal governments, but let’s consider some bright news.

• Worldwide cases of leprosy have dropped 97 per cent since 1985.

• Since 1990 more than 100 million children’s lives have been saved through vaccinations and improved nutrition and medical care

• Every day another 250,000 people graduate from extreme poverty; about 300,000 get electricity for the first time; 285,000 get their first access to clean drinking water

• Years ago, a majority of adults were illiterate but now more than 85 per cent can read.

The most important force in the world today is not politicians or terrorists but rather those stunning gains against extreme poverty, illiteracy and disease.

Roger West


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