Many reasons for Ontario’s decline
Sir: Re: Mr. Thiessen's comments in the letter "But Ontario is an economic train wreck."
He states the provincial government has driven industry out of the province with taxes, fees, and high electricity rates. In a 2014 study conducted by KMPG, Canada was ranked #1 for the lowest overall corporate taxes among 10 large GDP countries.
Those taxes were 46% lower than in the U.S. and Canada was ranked #2 for low manufacturing tax costs.
Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal were ranked the most tax competitive among 51 international cities of comparable size. So it doesn't look like taxes drove manufacturing away. Fees … whatever does that mean? High electricity rates may have had some bearing on the decline of manufacturing but overall was minor in its impact.
The main reasons for Ontario’s decline in manufacturing employment are ongoing automation, lower labour rates in Asia and Latin America pushing manufacturing overseas with the help of lower tariffs and transportation costs, a drop in productivity (output per capita) due to lower investments in job training, research and development, and machinery, and a strengthening in the Canadian/U.S. dollar exchange rate from 2002 to 2011 driven by strong resource commodity prices but hampering the international competitiveness of Ontario’s manufactured goods.
Ontario wasn't the only jurisdiction that suffered these consequences as the world’s economies globalized.
Mr. Thiessen stated the government’s closing of power plants drove up hydro rates, but neglected to note the positive impact on our environment. He stated that the government forced wind turbines on us, and that their only impact was environmental eyesores and higher electricity rates. But he neglects to comment on the reduced pollution from this alternative energy source, or that the increase in rates is minor given that wind is only 3% of the overall generation mix.
There are many other reasons that electric rates are high but I don't think they fit with Mr. Thiessen's political agenda. I think we should all try our best to get the facts right, whether we like what they tell us or not, and not try to bend them or twist them to fit our convictions.
Donald Trump more military than union
Sir: City council has approved a tax increase of nearly 5%.
Prior to that I read that there is no money for road repairs next year, which means most of the budget will go to pay wage increases to city employees such as police and firefighters.
With our economy in the tank I would like to think that unions and associations would be holding back a bit on their demands. I belonged to unions all of my adult life, except for the three years I spent in the military.
The military does not know the meaning of the words "grievances, arbitration, or contract negotiations." They are more familiar with phrases like "court martial and firing squad."
One day, during my service, I tried to exert my freedom of speech. I was given an order I thought was inappropriate by one of those rare bad-tempered corporals, so I refused and told him where to go.
He knew where to go. He took me with him to the slammer and had me locked in a cell. Cooler heads prevailed and my C.O. had the charges dropped and released me after a few hours. Then I was put on the first bus out of there and transferred to another camp.
Donald Trump is a bigoted, know-it-all billionaire who wants to become the next President of the U.S.A. I suspect Donald has more of a military mind than a union one. If he should make it into the White House I would advise Americans not to challenge his authority.
He might just decide your court martial is not necessary and go to the next step, or throw you over some big wall he plans on building, or, if he's having a good day, and if you beg his forgiveness, he might let you come to Canada.
One thing he will never do is introduce new and meaningful gun laws. Whatever his future holds I still wish him and his family a very merry Xmas.
Trump's rhetoric truly alarming
Sir: Re the Dec. 3 editorial, “Donald Trump a dangerous man.”
Donald Trump may prove to be history's end, if elected. It’s terrifying to see a nation edging toward the abyss.
Thank you for mustering the courage to write this difficult editorial.
Girl’s kindness was much appreciated
Sir: Last week I was out in my yard, for the first time since undergoing back surgery, trying to clean up the remaining leaves.
I was using my walker to steady myself while standing, and to sit on when needing to rest or put leaves in the bags.
After two hours of raking, a young blonde girl went jogging by (we often have Northern high school students running by our house). About a half hour later she came back.
She said she was on her lunch break and wanted to help me. I told her she didn’t need to, but she said, “You hold the bags open and I will fill them up with the leaves.” She stayed and helped me finish up.
Thanks to this young lady, my day was easier and also unforgettable. I never got her name, but a wonderful feeling came over me – to think that there are youngsters out there who could be so thoughtful and kind.
I wanted her to know how much I appreciated her kindness, and I hope she sees this letter.
Refugee bazaar an overwhelming success
Sir: On Nov. 22 the Sarnia Muslim Association and the Unitarian Fellowship of Sarnia & Port Huron held a fundraising bazaar in support of their efforts to sponsor Syrian refugee families.
The event was a great success. Due to our hard-working volunteers and the wonderful residents of Sarnia-Lambton, we were able to raise over $9,000!
We would like to sincerely thank everyone who helped make this happen- from the local newspapers and radio stations to the many businesses that donated items for our gift table, to the organizations that helped us advertise. Thanks also to local artist Dave Moore, who generously donated prints to be sold with all proceeds supporting our efforts.
Finally, as thrilled as we are about the overwhelming turnout for the bazaar, we also want to apologize to those who were unable to purchase food as we unexpectedly sold out of nearly all items.
We are planning another bazaar in the spring and will be sure to anticipate as many, if not more guests.
We are truly grateful to the many generous residents of Sarnia-Lambton who have donated and who continue to offer their time and resources to support Syrian refugees once they arrive.
The generosity and kindness of this community is truly an inspiration, and we hope we can all continue to work together to help those in need, locally and abroad.
Aruba Mahmud- Sarnia Muslim Association
Ann Steadman- Unitarian Fellowship of Sarnia and Port Huron
Hurray for mall redevelopment
Sir: I am soooo pleased that the former Eaton Centre will finally have a long overdue makeover.
I go there every other year because I need to renew my driver’s licence and come away sad and depressed. I remember when it was the hub of the city and a destination for a shopping browse-around.
Mr. Laschinger's vision is spot on! Can't wait.
Kudos to SMAA volunteers
Sir: I recently spent some time at our beautiful Norm Perry Park, which has superior turf thanks to the Judith & Alix Foundation.
I wanted to bring attention to some of the very hardworking coaches and organizers I have had the pleasure of meeting over the past few years. There are many more who give of themselves and I only wish I had met them as well.
The young athletes, girls and boys aged 12 to 13, learn so very much. They learn the rules of football and various plays, but also team spirit, concern for others, respect, discipline and accuracy. These young people evolve in many ways, and it’s wonderful to witness the transition.
I’d like to thank the executive, which meets many times during the year to discuss strategy and itinerary, including co-ordinator Ron Bloxam, vice-chair Steve Perry, and Lisa Bloxam, who orders the concession stand food, works the booth and balances the funds.
This past season I followed the “Toros,” which won the championship. It was a hard-fought battle, but unfortunately not every team can win.
The Toros’ coaches – Jamie DeKelver, James Bennet, Brian Gilbert and Mark Morettin – were assisted by many high school boys and former players, including Brent and Colton, who worked the time clock.
Students who want to complete their 40 hours of community service are encouraged to apply.
So many people give their time and knowledge in many children’s sports through practices, games and the distribution of equipment and uniforms. A big thank you to the wives, partners of executive and coaches for sharing them and helping as well.
And I encourage others to come out to the games and arenas to support them all. They would certainly appreciate it.