Letters: Create second plaque book for First Nations; Ford ignoring business owners' pleas for direct financial support

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Create second plaque book for First Nations

I was somewhat amazed and startled in reading the report in the July 10 Whig-Standard summarizing the discussions on Sir John A. Macdonald’s legacy.  As reported, much of the discussion centered around the steam engine in front of City Hall, the name it has been given, and the plaque book which lists all those who worked on the restoration project.

One of the major suggestions was that the existing plaque book also should be used to outline the history of the local First Nations.  The plaque book was specifically created to explain the reconstruction of 1095 and to pay tribute to those who spent many long hours on this project.  Any one or any group was welcome to have their name added to the list of those who were involved in the project.  In my personal view the idea of using this plaque does an injustice to all those who worked and supported the reconstruction of the steam engine.  The plaque book which relates specifically to the project should remain as it is with no changes.


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Council suggested that the local First Nations should write their own history and that history be attached to the existing plaque.  I have no objection to the local First Nations write their own history in the local area as long as that history is honest and describes both the positive and negative aspects of their society.  The idea that this history should be attached to the existing plaque book of 1095 is demeaning and disrespectful of the First Nations.  Adding the First Nation’s history to the plaque book gives the impression that these people do not have the ability to develop their own physical monument. I think it is incorrect to use both the locomotive and its descriptive plaque to prop up the First Nation’s history.  Much better for council to suggest the First Nations have their own plaque book.

George Dillon


Ford ignoring business owners’ pleas for direct financial support

In May, the Ford Conservatives announced it would hear from Ontario business owners about what they need from the government to recover from the COVID-19 economic crisis. In principle, this sounded good; MPPs from different parties were asked to reach out to organizations, businesses, and individuals, who could advise the government on the best path to get businesses through this tough time.

In practice, this consultation, done through the government’s committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, of which both of us are members, has been part farce and part tragedy.


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It’s a farce because the Ford government isn’t actually listening to what the business owners, managers of local organizations, and community leaders are telling them regarding their needs. All are asking for financial support in order to survive. Yet Ford is only willing to offer tax deferrals and mixed messages about reopening.

It is tragic because these businesses are doing everything they can to make ends meet. We’re hearing testimonies of revenue needed to put food on the table. We’re hearing about the hopelessness people will face if they don’t get direct support. Yet, Tory MPPs continue to gloss over these business owners’ calls for financial support. Instead, they ask what they might offer in the way of “non-financial solutions.” This simply isn’t good enough.

The Ford government purports to be the most business-friendly government in decades, yet they keep asking the federal government to do their job when it comes to supporting businesses. We need more than tax deferrals, which simply delay heavy debts.

In March, the Ontario NDP introduced our party’s Save Main Street plan, which proposes targeted supports for small businesses. The plan would offer tenant-driven rent subsidies, a remote work set-up fund, and a utility payment freeze – supports that businesses need to survive and, hopefully one day soon, to thrive.

What will the legacy of COVID-19 be in Ontario? Without immediate action from the government, we’ll see shuttered storefronts and hollowed-out main streets. Businesses have done everything the government has asked of them, foregoing revenue to protect the health and well-being of Ontarians. We must invest in them and in their future. If not, business owners and their families will have nowhere to turn to help them stay afloat.

As a province, we have a responsibility to protect the health and well-being of businesses. Every day in committee meetings, we hear business leaders’ pleas for help. Unfortunately, the Ford government has very selective hearing.

Businesses cannot bear 100 per cent of the burden. Doug Ford must stop forcing them to go it alone.

Ian Arthur, MPP for Kingston and the Islands

Catherine Fife, MPP for Waterloo