Letters to the editor: Sept. 2

1 London

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Photo unfair

I am disappointed with The Free Press for running a particular type of photo of the rally at city hall on the front page of Monday’s paper. This is not true journalism; it is sensationalism.

This photo is not representative of the intention of the majority of peace-seeking, well-meaning people who were there to oppose intolerance and hate speech.

Unhappily a shouting match arose between two opposing parties, which then turned into an altercation, even though many people were instructed in advance not to engage in confrontation. Rallies of this nature attract people of all stripes and it is impossible to control individuals who come with their own beliefs and agendas.

The group that hosted the original rally is against Islam. Their language is strong and racist, their actions and appearance militant. It is easy to see how emotions can run high very quickly. However, I find it shameful of The Free Press to focus on this incident, which makes the larger group of peace-loving, law-abiding people look foolish and potentially violent. I was present and I know this is not a fair representation.

Margo Does


Freedom denied

Does it not seem that Pegida is being denied its right of free speech, by a counter-group bordering on mob intimidation and physical threat?

Pegida claim it is trying to preserve Canadian values. Should they not be permitted to state their case and then have their viewpoints refuted, if possible, in a calm civil manner?

We have had honour killings in Canada. Maybe the so-called anti-hate group should be looked at suspiciously for not treasuring Canadian values, and for being labelled as anti-patriotic. I also thought that the “news analysis” A victory in light of past ugly incidents (Aug. 28) by Megan Stacey was biased in mentioning past bad racial incidents in London. That are not linked to Pegida in the slightest.

E R Dow


Fear is the enemy

About the protests in front of city hall on Aug. 26: I have lived and worked in three Muslim countries as missionary and pastor. The fearful don’t see what I see.

Widespread Islamization isn’t going to happen. Political and legislative forces would prevent it as would demographic realities — only four per cent of Canadians follow Islam.

Each religion has its nutbars. Let’s set that aside. Islam is not out to get us. It teaches the same Golden Rule, accepts the diversity of the human race, and consistently expresses compassion to the needy. Our Muslims neighbours are not our enemies. Our fears are.

Let’s invite whoever “the other” is to listen to our fears as we listen to theirs. Humanity is diverse, yet so much alike. Let’s enjoy that diversity and work towards common goals.

Richard White

North Bay, Ont.

Nation of wimps

There are many things in our society that I do not agree with but does that make me a hateful person? According to the liberal-left, it must be so.

So the Pegida people have their own opinion. Does that make them evil? Has anybody seen what happened recently in Barcelona or in Finland or closer to home the Islamization of the public schools by the Peel District school board?

I mourn for the Canada I used to know, where everybody was free to speak their mind without being called hateful or racist or bigot. We’ve become a nation of wimps.

Jack Vandelinde


Close call

On a recent Sunday I was driving home, east on Riverside Drive approaching Hyde Park Road. There was a motorcyclist following us who apparently felt we weren’t going fast enough even though we were doing the speed limit. He was too close behind us, revving his engine. We were slowing down to make a left turn at Everglade Crescent.

Just as I went to signal left, this motorcyclist used the left-turn lane to pass us. We didn’t get into the lane, which was very lucky for the bike driver because he would have been taken out. We were very shaken as it was such a close call. With all the press coverage about these motorcycle accidents, it drove home that it’s everyone’s responsibility to drive safely.

C. Dickson


Modernize bridge

Regarding the article Blackfriars bill balloons (Aug. 30).

This week we heard that the grandiose plan to remove, rebuild and then put back into place that ancient Blackfriars bridge will cost $4 million more than the millions of tax dollars already budgeted.

That plan is to make only one lane for motor vehicles and have bike and pedestrian crossings. It’s been very many years since that bridge and roadway had usual traffic. It’s high time the city directed its roads and bridges department to build a modern, full-service crossing there to serve everyone with full traffic movement into and out of the core. There are many new highrises being built in the central business district, and Fanshawe College is moving in.

Therefore every link to our downtown should serve to move all possible traffic with greater ease and convenience.

Council and the mayor should stop the city hall dithering and complete a project. Bite the bullet and plan for the future growth of London.

R.J. Webb


Stick to budget

Does London have $8 million to waste on rebuilding an old bridge? Why not run I-beams under it with supports for less than a million dollars and leave it as a walkway. We have hundreds more beneficial ways to spend our dollars.

It’s time we instituted internet voting on expensive undertakings of questionable value. We need to stick to the budget for these projects. Next election examine the backgrounds of people running for office and elect those who had a position that included maintaining a budget so that they can bring that training to city hall.

Gary Manley


Out of this world

While the Wynne Liberals waste billions of our tax dollars, seemingly on a daily basis, the Grim Reaper continues to exact its inevitable toll on the absurdly long surgical wait-lists in our London hospitals.

Recently, waiting patients once again desperately banded together in a bid for help by sending a more powerful signal to the far reaches of the universe: “Earth to London MPP Deb Mathews, Earth to London MPP Deb Mathews, Earth to London MPP Deb Mathews. . . .”

Nicholas Kumchy


Funding fiasco

There was an interesting comment in The London Free Press regarding the government’s lack of funding to hospitals.

I remember receiving an allowance as a child every Friday. If I went to my father on Monday and asked for more allowance my father’s response was “see you on Friday.” Too bad I couldn’t have come back with “there’s a lack of funding.” He taught me how to budget and prioritize.

Dianne Waite


Cut cop’s salary

Justice comes in many ways; however, this one is extremely questionable.

Sgt. Robert Mugridge has been collecting his salary while suspended for three-plus years at the taxpayers’ expense. He admitted to 51 counts of fraud. The salary he’s been allowed to collect while not working far exceeds his fraud of $247,000.

He needs to reimburse all his victims, not just the ones that threatened to expose him.

He should never have been allowed to remain on the Chatham-Kent police payroll. That in itself is a crime against taxpayers. When someone is suspended, they should be off the pay grid.

Patricia Smith


Worth recognizing

Sir John A. Macdonald’s name was placed on schools, statues and other public locations because he helped mould colonial rivalries into the new country of Canada. Yes, he was human and he did make mistakes. But his efforts did establish a country with a strong foundation that has withstood 150 years.

It is true that, during Macdonald’s time, Indigenous Peoples were treated harshly. At the same time, women did not have the right to vote, men were in charge, children were spanked, school discipline included strapping, “human rights” did not exist and public hangings were common. Life in the 19th century was certainly harsh and very different from today.

However, today’s standards cannot change the historical record that, despite human failings, Macdonald’s nation-building efforts did succeed. Those efforts were, and continue to be, worthy of public ­recognition.

David Hicks


Tax rates low

Regarding Gerry Macartney’s column Proposed tax changes will hurt small businesses (Aug. 26).

Canada has one of the most competitive corporate tax systems in the G7. Internationally, Canada’s combined small business corporate income tax rate of 14.4 per cent is the lowest in the G7 and fourth lowest among OECD countries. Our low tax rates on business income leave businesses with more after-tax income, which is intended to be used to support business growth and job creation.

The tax proposals in the government’s consultations are not about singling out any sector of the economy. These proposals address the issue of tax fairness and neutrality.

Small business owners can obtain many of the same benefits and retirement savings options that employees have. Incorporated owners who pay themselves a salary have similar access to vehicles such as the Canada Pension Plan and RRSPs. Small business owners are also able to opt into the Employment Insurance program for benefits such as sickness, maternity, parental and caregiving.

The government recognizes many Canadians have planned for their retirement under the existing rules and will ensure any changes to the taxation of passive investment income in private corporations will apply only on a go-forward basis.

Bill Morneau

Minister of Finance

Tax change pain

Every day, Ontario’s 29,000 practising physicians go to work to provide patient care. While we remain without a contract, we recently achieved binding arbitration, and look forward to reaching a fair agreement with the province. But we worry a recent announcement by the federal government will jeopardize this progress, and chase away some physicians.

On July 18, federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau launched a 75-day public consultation on tax planning using private corporations. Approximately 20,500 doctors in Ontario are incorporated. If implemented, these proposals could make Canada an undesirable place to open a small business or for physicians to practice.

The government of Canada must take the time to listen to the impact these proposals will have on businesses. Through incorporation, entrepreneurs are able to invest in retirement and set up the benefits that many other workers in Canada get to enjoy as salaried professionals.

We cannot run medical businesses and care for patients when we have to continually worry about when the next round of government action is coming.

Dr. Mohamed Mithoowani


Ban the burka

About Quebec’s Bill 62, banning the niqab in public offices, I totally agree. Let’s ban the niqab and the burka completely.

There is no difference among the Muslim hijab, Jewish women’s use of wigs, the bonnets of Mennonite women, the shawls of Indian women, etc. Those are women’s interpretations of modesty. All those coverings leave the face uncovered and allow people to interact with society to the fullest.

The niqab and the burka are something else entirely. The Qur’an does not order women to walk around looking like inverted potato sacks. This demand to cover women completely with clothing is a misogynist one, ordered by men immersed in a medieval ideology. Women who claim it is their “choice” are, in my opinion, suffering from Stockholm syndrome.

Any Canadian who supports the continuation of this form of female oppression, disguised as religious freedom, is guilty of abuse on a minority that cannot even realize that they can, in Canada, end this oppression.

Ana Porzecanski


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