Letter to the Editor,
This month, when I received my electricity bill there was a "propaganda sheet" with it explaining the Hydro "rebates" I would be receiving because I live in a rural area. So I decided to look into this amazing effort by government and Hydro.
On this insert it states everyone is to receive an 8% H.S.T. rebate. And then below that was the "Regulatory Charges … increasing."
Now wait a minute, in actuality, a rural residential customer won't be saving the 8% because its been added to the Regulatory line. Tricky isn't it? They give you the 8% H.S.T. and then in the next breath add 8% onto the Reg Charges. And what are these Regulatory Charges?
That's another trick. On the Hydro website it says it "includes the cost of services required to operate the electricity system and run the wholesale market," not what the propaganda says. It states that the "Regulatory Charge" is "to fund the rural…rate protection program." But what is the "wholesale market" got to do with rural rates? This is for the Global Adjustment charges.
And what are the "Global Adjustment Charges"? It's to cover the "costs for providing generating capacity and Conservation & Demand Management programs across the province. This includes: non-utility generator contracts, regulated nuclear generation, Renewable Energy Standard Offer Programs, Feed-In Tariff programs (Samsung/Korea), Independent Electricity System Operators contract adjustments and other programs." What they didn't tell you is we ALSO have the "Ontario Electricity Financial Corporation" (OEFC).
The OEFC is one of five entities established by the Electricity Act, as part of the restructuring of the former Ontario Hydro which was restructured into OPG, Hydro One, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), the Electrical Safety Authority and OEFC. What happened to just Hydro One and OPG?
So now let's look at what this means. We will be paying, once the gas peaker plant goes into Napanee, $13.7 million per month, or approx. $165 million a year just for 1 plant, to sit there and do nothing. And don't forget about the carbon tax that's going to be on everything?
Elizabeth F. Marshall
In my previous two editorials I attempted to identify some of the 'disconnect' between urban and rural attitudes toward culture. While in cities there are cultural centres, attempting to inform population of culture, in rural areas, ones own village, hamlet or town is the cultural centre in which one lives. This in itself illustrates the difference at it's core.
Instead of a building, or even a complex or two, reserved to relegate culture as a thing of curiosity, identifying it mostly as the past, which can be dismissed, or observed at best; the rural experience is one of full immersion and cohesive, the complexity of living it, and therefore much more likely to be truly experienced and understood, at a genuine level, by the citizen.
This kind of cultural immersion is not experienced by most urban sprawl type planners, who aren't invested in the culture of the communities they effect. The dismantling of our Canadian identity happens through this disconnect.
A bird in the hand will always be worth two in a bush. Heritage type buildings are better if re-purposed than relegated to neglect. They can be re-purposed for uses like Art studios, Churches, Scouting meeting halls and the like. Community service groups are the types interested in preserving the heritage of community buildings, naturally recognizing heritage as integral to the culture of a community. Need for the new is not always need.
Akin to the “rush of the reach”, mega companies make territorial encroachments into small communities. Policies molded by money for special planning considerations, for city oriented commuters, attempting to export into the rural regions, urban style commerce and practices, are only helping IF the communities truly want it. Information presented about 'benefits to be had' is often skewed, eventually leaving a town hollow of its original proprietors and it's true life-support, gutting the entrepreneurial spirit.
In like manner, our government policies in agriculture, fail to encourage farming practices around local need, leaving us to import it, and local farmers with a small profit. All too often government goals are oriented around other countries expectations, and we are left holding a more expensive grocery bag. Farmers feed cities but they should be our own first. Policy makers need to walk a mile in the same stuff farmers do, in order to see clear.
Our movie and television industry attempts to regulate Canadian content for these same reasons.
The paving over of the ear marks, or should I say “Life marks” of our history is reducing Canada everywhere. The only truly embarrassing element of our cultural past, on mass, is the manner in which we took this land from its first peoples. Their methods and goals were unlike our own. Presuming that our way of life was better, because it was better for us, we “rushed to reach”. What arrogance!
This is not unlike the dominance of our rural communities by urban sprawl. It, too, is supported by provincial and federal governments, without preserving a people. There is nothing wrong with growth, if it's done in a culturally consultative way, but never at the expense of its heart. Is that going to be our cultural legacy, or are we going to be better than our past, by learning from it?
Let's remain in connection with the smaller slow grown elements of our culture. They are stronger, like slow growth forest trees, or free range livestock. Knowing your own culture well, is like knowing ones self well, a person will be more considerate, supporting others contributions. We are responsible for sharing; graciously, our cultural perspectives, with those from other communities; and we are responsible to explore the values of others, finding the best of each, to enter into genuine appreciation.
Let's not remove heritage markers, with a bigger is better approach, markers help us find our way. We are a country of, what's been touted as, “Multiculturalism”. In its truest sense, that means unique communities, in all their various forms, finding a way to contribute the specific benefits of how they live, to the country's fabric as a whole. These many special strands offer a great strength to our nation, this is most distinctly generated at a local level. These citizens grow up with immediate cohesiveness, and it gives them strength, optimism and stamina to work hard, and contribute to the fibre of our country, socially and entrepreneurially. Providing uniquely original approaches, because they see their culture recognized in the fabric of the whole. If unique communities are homogenized, where will we be when solutions are needed from unique thinkers.
To the Editor,
At this lovely season of gift giving and kindness I want to express my great gratitude for the two units of blood that I received in late November. Merry Christmas to all blood donors and May God Bless Every One of You.
To the Editor,
The C.D. Howe Institute, a Toronto based "Think Tank" graded the different cities in Canada for their disclosure of financial data to the public.
Durham region barely passed with a D+ and this grade is a disgrace.
As a taxpayer in Durham region I would like to know:
What is being done to address the issue of Durham region becoming more accountable with the financial data for the taxpayer?
Will the Regional Police budget be addressed this year, to address the high costs of policing, and will this budget be presented to the taxpayers locally by our regional councilor?
I also understood that the issue of the number of councilors sitting for Durham Region would be addressed, to assist in cutting the costs to the taxpayers, what is the status of this issue?
I believe the taxpayer deserves answers to the questions above, as it is OUR tax dollars that are being spent, and transparency and accountability of the budget are essential.
Will we see a presentation worth an “A” or are we going to have to live with the disgraceful grade “D+”?
C. Simpson, Uxbridge
In my previous editorial I wrote about the supplanting of Canadiana by the “rush of the reach” of large bureaucratic urban design efforts, ignoring existing facilities and communities social structures. I commented on the practical loss of cooperative will at a local level, when it's forced in a direction which is not it's goal, and in contrast, how larger government methods of financial favours, political pressure and implementing redesign projects in communities, is seen as intimidation instead of investment. I extended an olive branch, considering the possible naivete with which these efforts are driven, however, I tried to show how destructive they can be in communities when existing resources are looked over or bulldozed under by programs without vito control given to the communities that are affected. This is in large part due to the fact that government has no real concept of the heart of these communities, some of this is not their fault and some clearly is.
Consultation doesn't work, as it often brings out the squeaky wheel and neglects the already greased one, the one that represents the way things are rolling, the local cooperative flow. It fails to comprehend what individuals and local groups are already invested in, and seeks to presume for them what is best. This is an insult to cultural integrity, and we can't afford a loss of integrity in our Canada, it's getting harder to come by the genuine article.
I remember when I was young, we moved into a small community in Durham region. Even though officially we were welcome, I experienced little acceptance from local people my age and it took many years before I was looked at as one of their own. My parents had less trouble but still needed to work hard to break through the local establishment, in a real way. We came to be embraced, eventually, in a very deep warm level. We had moved all over Ontario until landing in this small community, but never were we appreciated in the manner that we came to be by this small town.
The point I'm trying to make is, it takes a long time and much real effort to contextualize your interests so they are properly understood in a culturally considerate way.
Culture is made up of many sub-cultures and those sub-cultures are communities. Much has been made of respecting culture as identity in Canada, especially by our French Canadian citizens. They have battled very successfully to teach the rest of us that language expresses the nature of a culture and the mindset that makes it up. They have argued that to rob a people of that mindset is akin to a kind of extermination. What size of community is too small for this to apply to. Are we willing to just walkover the small community and commit cultural genocide? Let's learn to talk in the voice and walk in the shoes of the people we are affecting, it's the only way that culture will survive and respect will thrive amidst the need to grow. These are God's ways, to come along side and see through another's eyes. Governments could do well, adhering to this approach to growth.
To implement this, agendas could be set in local contexts and local timing. Or even the sale of unused government buildings could go to local pre-established service groups, because local resources and will are more available to them. By backing them initially, with tax credits and incentives, refitting or reconstruction could bring these valuable community pivot points to new life, not to mention the integrity this would extend to the local communities. I'm thinking of the people that use the facilities, being given the chance to offer solutions, sometimes even to the point of saying the word ‘no’ as final.
If governments would just learn to yield and not dictate, then even if they needed to partially financially support re-purposing or revitalization efforts, things would still be cheaper for them, because the ongoing responsibility would fall to the service groups, unloading the tax burden and putting the government in a warmer support role instead of a cold one.
An example of this is the decision by “City of Kawartha Lakes” in 2016 to continue the operation of local ice rinks in Woodville, Oakwood, Ops, Emily-Omemee, Little Britain and Manvers indefinitely. This culturally sensitive move ensured children and families the intimate experience of another small part of our Canadian culture. Maybe there is a future Wayne Gretzky that will be nurtured in a safe corner of a real Canadian place.
Letter to the Editor,
What a great response we had for our annual Animated Bakersville Gingerbread Display at the library during the Holiday Season! Thank you to everyone who participated by making a creation, it was a huge success. There were over 65 wonderful entries of varying styles and skills, and once assembled into a town, the moving parts of the train, and animation including the skating rink, hockey players, and snow boarders, brought it to life. It was great to see so many individual entries, as well as those from a local Beaver group, and from various schools and businesses; it was our largest village ever!
This village wouldn’t be possible without the wonderful support of our library’s administration and its staff. We greatly appreciate the financial support we have received from the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation and Vos Independent this year, as well as all of our past sponsors.
Thanks again: to Master Engineer Alan Locke and conductor Neil Bradley, who kept the village train on its track; to Alana Andrews, for printing; and to Mag Brown, for distributing our flyers. Brianne Mercer is our fabulous social media queen and publicist, again, great work! Our local Press, were wonderful with all of the support, printing our releases in a timely matter in our community newspapers.
We were desperate for ongoing storage for all of our accessories associated with the village. Thank you to the Hvidsten family, who have offered space for us within the Scugog Focus building. Thanks also to our patient families, who never mentioned how many dinners were late because of our pre-occupation with everything gingerbread.
We are looking to expand our gingerbread committee. If anyone with a creative flair would like to join us, we would love to hear from you! Please call Tracy if you are interested (905) 985-7030.
Next year will be Canada’s 150th Birthday, and what better way to celebrate than to celebrate Canada in Gingerbread. Start thinking of what Canada means to you, what landmarks, celebrations, and culture are important. Keep in mind that we do have limited space, so please don’t make the bases too large. We are eager to see what this community can come up with! This is a community event made by and for the community – so it’s never too late to start baking!
Sincerely, “The Village People”
Sue Bradley, Tracy Pastic, Kathy Payne-Mercer, Terry Glenn, Carolyn Humphrey and Cathryn Hall.