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Letters: week of Dec. 19

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread Sir: I would like to respond to the Dec. 12 letter from Peter Degraaf, “Majority of Christians die at piece but atheists – not so much.
Letters to the editor

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread

Sir: I would like to respond to the Dec. 12 letter from Peter Degraaf, “Majority of Christians die at piece but atheists – not so much.”

Yes, I do read the Bible, which in Matthew 5:22 states: “Whosoever shall say, ‘Thou fool,’ shall be in danger of hellfire.”

I would be careful who one calls a fool.

Bob Barnes, organizer

Bluewater Atheists, Humanists and Agnostics


Once fervent Catholic now an atheist

Sir: Regarding the Dec. 12 letter from Mr. Peter Degraaf, “Majority of Christians die at piece but atheists – not so much.”

Let me preface this by saying I do not rail at Roman Catholics, protest against Protestants nor castigate Calvinists. Christians pursue their religious ideologies with whatever zeal they possess and, more power to them.

I was a fervent Catholic for 31 years. Now, at 74, closer to the grave than most, I am an atheist. Why, you ask?

In the course of history, mankind has had thousands of gods. Today, we have maybe three or four left. This is progress. We are getting closer to the truth every day.

I have been an altar boy, choir director, head of a liturgical committee, wrote for the Catholic Digest newspaper and worked with youth groups. It was a wonderful experience. But today, I am an atheist. Why?

Mr. Degraaf referred to Josef Stalin as an atheist. Not so. Actually, Stalin was raised in a seminary. Shaking one‘s fist at the ceiling prior to one’s demise, without saying why, could very well have been a complaint about people on the second floor. As to Malcolm Muggeridge, he was so devout a Christian he said sex should only be employed for pro-creation.

Hitler was also a Christian. His army’s motto was “God with us.” Pope Pius XII celebrated his birthday from the pulpit every year. Like Stalin, he killed millions.

As an atheist, and to the best of my ability, I practice humanities daily without the expectation of a “Special Life Gate Pass” after death. It’s kindness for kindness sake, not because I am directed to do so by a deity for heavenly rewards.

Why atheism? Consider: Why do nine million children under the age of five die every year for lack of clean water and food, without intervention from a loving deity?

Why do young children suffer and die from cancer? What have they done to deserve that scourge?

Like Mr. Degraaf, I am curious about the hereafter. I can’t know what comes after death, but then neither can he. I am not afraid, only curious.

Peace on Earth, good will toward all mankind. Without exception.

Paul Pinel



Ex-pat shares some fond memories of his time living in Sarnia

Sir: I came across an old column of yours online entitled ‘Six Things I Love About Sarnia’ and would like to share my thoughts.

I now live in the U.S.A. near the border and close to Cornwall Ont. What I love first about Sarnia is that “It’s Home.”

I grew up off Highway 80 in Courtright and attended SCITS, the Class of 1980. I was on the wrestling team, a Blue Bomber, and placed well in track and field, and took all technical classes the school offered.

I love the smell of Lake Huron, the freshness of the water and its beautiful colour. As the large ships ease down the St. Clair River toward Lake St Clair, it makes for some fantastic viewing.

The Blue Water Bridge is such a great place to hang under with an order of “chips,” and the nice walk developed along the river there. Those are some of my favourite times.

And if you know someone on Stag Island, the ferry ride across and the feeling of being on an island with little to no amenities is another great visit.

I’ve also enjoyed sitting on a dock watching boaters, and diving into the “refreshing” water. But you better know how to swim, though, because that current can whisk you away pretty quick.

Sarnia is a great little city. I hope not TOO many people find it or as it will become horribly overpopulated too.


Tony Quinn

Tupper Lake, NY


Spending tax dollars on free menstrual products not sensible

Sir: I am responding to city council’s pilot project of providing free female hygiene products in public facilities at a cost of $29,000, plus ongoing costs after initial installation.

I don't have a problem with providing to the poor (for example, through The Inn of the Good Shepherd, etc.), but I do have a problem with tax dollars providing them in hockey arenas, municipal buildings, and places usually attended by people with money.

The least likely place they should go is City Hall, where I believe the products will be used mostly by paid city staff. Where does it end? There are better places to spend tax dollars, like leaf collection, roads, lead pipes, etc.

Are we going to start doling out money for every specific need of every human? Everybody would like free stuff, but be sensible.

Ted Bissonnette


A big thank you to Noelle’s Gift, for all you do

Sir: The gym at St. Matthew’s school was full and very busy during the Winter Fun Day organized by Noelle’s Gift on Nov. 23, when the memory of schoolteacher Noelle Pacquette was once again celebrated.

Food and drink, many crafts, a movie, a shirt and bag to carry everything, a ride on a horse-drawn wagon, and a picture with Santa were all on the agenda.

What an amazing tribute, one that continues to remind us to be kind to one another!

Thank you, to all the many volunteers and sponsors whose efforts and support made this annual event happen once again.

To Noelle’s family I say the biggest thank you for continuing to do this for the community.

This grand (and great) grandmother loves you. Bless you all.

Mary Ettinger


Recruiting new doctors to community is a multi-faceted effort

Sir: In reference to the Dec. 12 article, “More young doctors returning home to Sarnia-Lambton to practice medicine,” the number of physicians choosing to practice in Sarnia-Lambton is indeed encouraging, and is the result of extensive coordinated and multi-faceted efforts by Bluewater Health (for specialist recruitments), the Physician Recruitment Taskforce (for family doctors) and Central Lambton Family Health Team (for Petrolia doctors) to ensure we have the healthcare expertise to serve our local residents.

As stated in the article, physician recruitment involves many factors including local healthcare needs and available support resources, fit for the family, employment for partners/spouses and various lifestyle considerations.

The hospital uses a multi-faceted approach to recruit potential physicians to our great community and we are proud to be a community champion for our healthcare needs. Bluewater Health also works with various partners such as the Ontario Ministry of Health, Cancer Care Ontario, provincial Renal Network and academic institutions such as Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine to ensure the needs of this community are met.

We have been fortunate to have recruited more than 30 specialists from various parts of the country over the last four years. More than 50 of our over 200 medical staff are on Faculty at Western University and involved in training locally. We train multiple medical students and residents annually, many of whom decide to return to practice locally. Recruitments take a long time, with many moving parts involved, but our efforts continue to bear fruit. It is not uncommon for certain specialties to take two or three years to be filled.

We’re proud of our achievements as we are committed to ensuring we have the highest levels of healthcare closer to home. I’d like to acknowledge the support of our local physicians, various healthcare partners, and our welcoming local Sarnia-Lambton residents for their invaluable assistance in helping the hospital with our ongoing recruitment efforts. Sincerely,

Michel Haddad, MD

Chief of Staff, Bluewater Health

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