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cityhallflag-featureTo the Editor:
I would like to express my disappointment at Owen Sound Council's May 11 decision to avoid discussion regarding the use of a second flag in front of City Hall.
As Maryann Thomas said in her excellent deputation, using the small flag standard affixed to the building by the front doors, to fly the flags of any community group that honours the Charter of Rights and Freedoms,would be a great opportunity for Council to demonstrate a welcoming attitude to residents, visitors, newcomers, and diverse community groups. This would further support the motto: "The Place You Want to Live".
Unfortunately, Council voted against even discussing the pros and cons of this issue, What a missed opportunity....

Terri Hope

Owen Sound

(Photo credit: J. Beecroft)

c-51protest-featureby David McLaren

This letter is not to disagree with Kimberley Love's recent letter advocating a strategy to deal with mental illness, including the kind of alienation that can lead to radicalization. A police response is certainly required after shots are fired, but something more than even Bill C-51 is needed to prevent disaffected young men from picking up a weapon in the first place.

This is something students at Walkerton's Sacred Heart High School taught me when I visited there a little while ago. And it's just one of the many reasons the NDP voted against Bill C-51. Here I must clear the record made murky by Ms Love's letter, that "Both the Liberals and the NDP have grudgingly accepted that the Bill should be amended – not revoked."

The NDP vigorously opposed the seriously flawed Bill C-51 and offered amendments—as one does in a democracy. None were accepted, so the NDP voted against it. The Liberals voted for Bill C-51 saying they will amend it if they are elected.

That position earned Mr Trudeau this rebuke from a UBC student: "Sir, I must say that supporting the Bill that you know is dangerous while promising to reform it when you've been elected to government is tantamount to putting our rights hostage, and our vote is our ransom."

The government's amendments notwithstanding, Bill C-51 will do more to curtail our rights and freedoms than ISIS has done. That is why New Democrat MPs are vowing to revoke, not just amend, the legislation should they be elected to government.

I would invite Ms Love to check the NDP Twitter feeds and Lead Now's facebook page at Leadnow.ca - À l'Action (postings dated May 7).

harbour-featby Bill Moses, Owen Sound

There is no doubt that moving the Tom Thomson Art Gallery to the Courthouse is a bold and exciting idea and is an idea that should be pursued. Another bold and exciting idea would be investing in Owen Sound's waterfront. In my view, making our waterfront a true people place would probably have a broader public appeal than an expanded Art Gallery. A people-friendly waterfront would also, perhaps, have a bigger (and broader) economic impact as well. Can we do both? In reality, 10.5 million dollars spent on one project takes 10.5 million dollars away from something else, any way you want to cut it.

supremecourt-featureTo the Editor:

Now that the Supreme Court of Canada has declared that religious prayers may not be recited at Municipal Council meetings, I would like to suggest the following words as a replacement:

To be read by the Mayor or Member of Council:

"As we approach our work here today, may we be mindful of our role as leaders in Owen Sound, a city of great beauty and opportunity. As we face our decisions, may we be guided by strong ethics, wisdom, fairness, and sound knowledge. May we never forget the trust placed in us by the people of Owen Sound."

If an invited guest offers the words, 'we and our' can easily be changed to 'you and your'.

I wrote these words in hopes that everyone will feel included, people of varying faiths, as well as those who are not religious.

Terri Hope
Owen Sound

Last October, the people of Owen Sound indicated that the status quo was no longer sustainable and elected a new Mayor and a majority of new Councilors. Their vote was a clear endorsement of the view that the growth in property taxes and user fees must be constrained. The public's frustration with lack of a plan and consequent action to hold the line on costs was clear.
The first municipal budget approved by the new Council saw an increase in property taxes similar to prior years. Because of budget timing, this Council had very little ability to limit tax increases. Next year's budget will tell us whether they heard the voters.
The winter just ending has been difficult and costly, and the City has appealed to the Provincial Government for financial assistance. However, there is no assurance that assistance is forthcoming, and this winter's bills will be paid long before any aid money arrives. Hence the taxpayer remains at increased risk.


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