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Week of Jan. 26

Nightmare on Sussex Drive Sir: Kevin O’Leary is being far too modest when he describes himself as being “Trudeau’s worst nightmare.” In reality he is “all of Canada’s worst nightmare.” Sincerely, Peter R.

Nightmare on Sussex Drive

Sir: Kevin O’Leary is being far too modest when he describes himself as being “Trudeau’s worst nightmare.” In reality he is “all of Canada’s worst nightmare.”


Peter R. Smith

Bright’s Grove


Not everyone can retire in Ecuador

Sir: In response to Mr. Ballantyne's letter: Senior citizens treated with respect in Ecuador (Jan. 5, 2017). We're sorry that Canadians will have to miss out on whatever resources, energy and services you have to offer, as it seems you've decided to spend your retirement years in Ecuador.

And here we seniors thought it was the Millennials that were the self-centered generation.

You don't mention the health care available in Ecuador, so might we presume you will be using some of your Canada pension to fly back to Canada should you need those services?

True, there are low-income seniors having to make difficult choices due to high electricity rates but they don't have the option of retiring to Ecuador.

Perhaps that's where our focus should be.

Your fellow senior citizen,

Thea deGroot



Artist shouldn’t assume he deserves gallery show

Sir: We are concerned about Cathy Dobson's article concerning Tom Ackermann's complaints of the Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery.

There have been at least 13 local artists that have had art shows there since it was opened in 2012. Most of those artists we see at the gallery for events, shows, etc. In other words, these artists are personally involved with the gallery.

The JNAAG provides shows, lectures, and workshops that challenge and inform us about past and contemporary art. Frequently, there are events that we attend and find fascinating. However, not once have we witnessed Mr. Ackermann's presence at any of these events.

This gallery adds so much richness to the cultural and artistic lifestyle in this area that we wonder why it is that Mr. Ackermann has never come?

We are two of the minimum 13 artists that have shown at the JNAAG. In order to get these shows, we requested a studio visit, which led to several years of communication with the curator and staff.

The article by Cathy Dobson gives the impression that Mr. Ackermann is disgruntled because he is sitting around waiting for the gallery to approach him for a show.

Perhaps Mr. Ackermann should approach the gallery in a professional manner and not simply assume that he deserves one.

It is a working process to get a show at a major gallery such as this. Personally, we have each been turned down to have shows in the past, but we didn't publicly complain about it to the media. We continued our work and our positive communication and attendance with the gallery.

Perhaps Mr. Ackermann needs to change his tactics.


Norman Barney and Jane Austin



The difference between public and commercial art galleries

Sir: Re: Cordell Kendel’s letter (Jan. 12) in which he wonders why the Judith & Norman Alix Art Gallery hasn’t recently shown local artist Thomas Ackermann.

While Mr. Kendel’s letter expresses spirit and passion for art in Sarnia, more is needed to better understand the nature of art galleries.

Public galleries are funded mainly through local governments. Our regional public Gallery also works hard to achieve grants from the Ontario Arts Council and Canada Council for the Arts, and raises money in many different ways. It is being managed effectively and successfully as a small regional, not-for-profit gallery.

Public galleries devise mandates for their successful operation. Mandates tend to be broad, with the intent of achieving an attractive venue for tourists, visiting art lovers and their own citizens.

The gallery’s mission is also to use good judgment in deciding what art to show, sometimes planning for shows several years in advance.

There are hundreds of young, new and exciting artists, graduates from universities and the Ontario Art College, who also wish to have work displayed in regional art galleries.  They provide a window into what is currently happening in the art world.

Travelling art shows, like the Beaverbrook exhibition, are another attractive incentive.

Within this mix there is a provision for local artists’ work to be shown. For any publically funded gallery it is a delicate dance to satisfy sponsors, the public and local artists.

Commercial art galleries, on the other hand, live and die by selling art. Sarnia has one of the best small commercial art galleries around, with an astute owner who avidly supports local art and artists. Mr. Ackermann’s work is currently being shown at that gallery.

I am sure Mr. Ackermann would agree that it is good to be shown at a public gallery, where your work is a bit like a one-hit-wonder rock band. Hits are good. Good for your CV and ego, a joy for your collectors and public viewers.

However, I think that in the end it is better when someone buys your work from a gallery – that’s what really makes you feel good.

Allison Robichaud



Crossing guards should be mandatory at school crossings

Sir: I was astounded to hear at the Jan. 16 meeting that Sarnia council no longer cares about the safety of our children.

Coun. Anne Marie Gillis stated that there has to be at least five children crossing at any particular school crossing before they will employ a crossing guard.

So do we have to lose four children before anyone will look out for the safety of the fifth?

Children aren’t numbers, they are living human beings, who are our future generations, and they deserve every care and protection possible.

This is absolutely ridiculous and totally non-acceptable. Crossing guards should be mandatory at every single school crossing. I’m sure that the crossing guards’ pay is so minimal in comparison to all the outlandish and wrongful spending of council, especially this past year.

And automated school crossings are a whole other subject and need to be looked at extremely carefully for safety and cost. There is no substitute for the ‘human’ crossing guard.

Council obviously needs to be taught how to prioritize its issues. Spending on themselves and unnecessary projects should never be allowed before the safety of our children has been taken care of first.

City engineer Andre Morin stated, when asked by the mayor, that he had notified both Boards of Education and PTA groups about the decision to remove crossing guards from seven school crossings.

A radio news report said the boards of education had NOT been informed of this decision. However, the city did, apparently, contact the Administrative School Services (CLASS), a consortium operating at arm’s-length from the school boards, to manage and provide all school bus transportation.

Surely a copy of this communication could have gone to both school boards and the PTA’s at the same time, especially on such an important issue?

A further report from Mr. Morin was dated January 19th – one day ahead of the actual date. Guess he’s working on a different calendar from the rest of us!

Margaret Bird

Bright’s Grove


Appalled by new security measures at City Hall

Sir: I watched the CTV news and was appalled to see that a wall is being erected at City Hall to “protect” staff from the mayor. Good Grief!

Obviously, wannabe deputy mayor Anne Marie Gillis feels a danger lurks, judging by her comments regarding harassment.

How can anybody harass staff when they have been muzzled from even expressing an opinion by a ridiculous code of conduct?

Has the council gone berserk?

How can they feel justified in spending $75,000 plus taxes of taxpayers’ money to build a wall and security system?

City hall has already become more of a fortress than a place where the public is welcome and, to the best of my knowledge, nobody was ever physically attacked or hurt.

Does council feel they are doing the taxpayers a service and saving by taking crossing guards off intersections that could pose a potential danger?

It looks like the “safety” of staff is more important than the safety of little children.

Bernice Rade


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