Letters to Editor

FYI at 10 AM May 26th, 2020

World Population

7,787,081,542  Current World Population

56,182,530       Births this year

164,095            Births today

23,586,772       Deaths this year

68,891              Deaths today

32,595,758       Net population growth this year

95,204              Net population growth today


Food, Water and Health

5,205,440    Communicable disease deaths this year

195,263       Seasonal flu deaths this year

3,047,889    Deaths of children under 5 this year

17,049,743  Abortions this year

123,939       Deaths of mothers during birth this year

41,818,639  HIV/AIDS infected people

674,077       Deaths caused by HIV/AIDS this year

3,293,238    Deaths caused by cancer this year

393,317       Deaths caused by malaria this year

6,326,013,366  Cigarettes smoked today

2,004,525    Deaths caused by smoking this year

1,002,895    Deaths caused by alcohol this year

429,993       Suicides this year

5,618,250    Coronavirus cases this year

2,876,032    Currently Infected Patients

2,393,539    Cases recovered / Discharged

348,679       Coronavirus deaths this year.

337,692                 Deaths caused by water related diseases this year

800,837,922 People with no access to a safe drinking water source


Plus more interesting facts from the Worldometer

$ 160,412,553,885  $$ spent on illegal drugs this year

541,285            Road traffic accident fatalities this year

843,282,203     Undernourished people in the world

1,693,763,712  Overweight people in the world

757,474,211     Obese people in the world

12,824              People who died of hunger today

$ 241,899,571  Money spent for obesity related

diseases in the USA today

$ 79,271,869    Money spent on weight loss

programs in the USA today


Some Canadians Are More Equal Than Others

Letter to the editor

On March 18 the prime minister announced that he was giving $305,000,000 to help regional, urban, and reserve Indigenous organizations explaining that the pandemic crisis is different for everyone. That is a truism and does not explain why the Indigenous community suffers more through the crisis than the Greek community in Toronto, or recent Somali immigrants in Montreal.  Rather than dole out money to one ethnic minority  our aid packages should target specific industries and services that are going under.  I’m sure the restaurants in Barrie and Ottawa could have used the $305 million. 

Pam Palmerston an Indigenous rights activist said the amount is a “drop in the bucket.”   Seems the Indigenous tribes have a large bucket, but why do they have a bucket and the Chinese community don’t  have a tea cup?

And last week Prime Minister Trudeau indicated that a further $75,000,000  to assist ‘off reserve’ Indians through the crisis.  Unbelievable!  These people are living down the street from me, have jobs, take their kids to hockey practice and live very much like the rest of us, except they have a status card and don’t pay the same HST that the rest of us do.  I’m sure $75 million would go a long way to helping the homeless in Toronto and Winnipeg, or transit workers in Edmonton.  

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller remarked,  “This wasn’t enough.”

Not enough?  How much would be enough?  There is no answer for as long as our prime minister keeps giving, they will ask for more. And forever.

If the Indigenous people are 4% of Canada’s population then 4% of the GDP should be allocated to them, no more, no less.   

Our aid packages should be used to assist specific services and industries hardest hit by the pandemic, not doled out to one favoured ethnic minority. 

Joffre McCleary, Barrie Ontario


Increased Phone Bills

Dear Editor,

These are certainly some interesting times we are living in.

A time when our elected officials, senior public health care professional, prominent citizens etc. are urging us all to stay home but stay connected to family and friends presumably by phone &/or the internet. Given these new conditions of living, I was surprised when I opened the phone bill last week to see my service provider (who I have been with for 41 years) has increased their charges by over 6%. There is no reason given, no explanation and certainly no advanced notice. Perhaps this increase is needed to pay for those ads on television thanking their 50,000 employees who are keeping us all connected?

I would be interested to know if other customers of Ma Bell have noticed similar rate hikes recently. To that end I have included my contact information (for the next month at least).

Sincerely, Bill Huff, Minesing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Herd Immunity

I read with interest the reply from Peter Kizoff and your response in the May 14th edition #573. Allow me to fill in some blanks.

"Herd immunity" is best achieved through a comprehensive vaccination program. With Covid-19 an effective vaccine may take well over a year to develop. The alternative approach, once advocated for in Great Britain and being followed in Sweden has dire consequences for the populace, the health care system, and the economy.

At time of writing, just over 1.9 million have recovered from Covid-19, with another 2.66 million active cases. Assuming the latest mortality rate estimate of 1.3% among symptomatic cases (13 times that of seasonal flu), that will leave 4.52 million people with assumed immunity to the virus since December, 2019. This leaves almost 7.6 billion people without immunity after nearly 6 months. Without an effective treatment or vaccine, a 70% infection rate and a 1.5% mortality rate will leave the world with 114 million fewer people. The human cost of this is staggering, let alone the cost to health care systems. Only those morally bankrupt would suggest this is a wise approach to achieving the herd immunity goal. Sweden's prediction of herd immunity by early May is quite frankly laughable, were it not so seriously wrong. As of today less than 3% of the Swedish population may have immunity. In most cases 80-95% of a population must be immune to achieve herd immunity. Compounding this problem is the fact that, at present, scientists do not know if infection with and recovery from SARS-CoV-2 affords immunity, nor, if so, for how long.

As for hydroxychloroquine, the largest study to date (conducted by the Veteran's Administration) has shown that those treated with the drug are more likely to die than those who are not. Prolonged Q-T interval is a known side effect of hydroxychloroquine. The drug most commonly used in conjunction with HCQ is Azithromycin. It too is known to have this side effect. Prolonged Q-T interval can lead to sudden death due to lethal arrhythmia. The push for the use of this drug is political in nature, (quite frankly from Donald Trump), not scientific. Initial reports touting HCQ success were anecdotal, or from poorly designed and executed studies with relatively small sample sizes.

Finally, Covid-19 deaths are mostly from atypical adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a condition where the lungs are inflamed and fill up with cellular debris and secretions to the point they can no longer function well enough to sustain life, even with the aid of mechanical ventilation and supplemental oxygen. The majority of deaths occur in those with underlying co-morbidities, however young, healthy people are also dying. Those who recover may sustain permanent pulmonary and renal impairment, and we are learning that the virus has effects on other systems too.

Rob Graham, RRT/NRCP

Advanced Practice Neonatal Respiratory Therapist

Columnist, Neonatology Today

Rob Graham   251 Wellesley St. East Toronto, Ontario, M4X 1G8


Are we, as Canadians, prepared to support these paramilitary groups funded by the WWF or any conservation/environmental group?  

Dear Editor

Over the past few days, I have been reading information obtained from a number of articles, UN reports, etc., on human rights violations committed by purported “park rangers/ecoguards” funded by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), known internationally as the World Wide Fund for Nature. 

Having gone through various reports mentioned and having read through the UN report on this issue I feel the words of Wikipedia concisely explains this far better than I.

“In 2019, an investigation by BuzzFeed News [in conjunction with other entities] alleged that paramilitary groups funded by the organisation [WWF] are engaged in serious human rights abuses against villagers, and the organisation has covered up the incidents and acted to protect the perpetrators from law enforcement. These armed groups were claimed to torture, sexually assault, and execute …. In one instance…, an 11-year-old boy was allegedly tortured by WWF-funded rangers in front of his parents; the WWF ignored all complaints against the rangers. In another incident, a ranger attempted to rape a Tharu woman and, when she resisted, attacked her with bamboo stick until she lost consciousness. While the ranger was arrested, the woman was pressured not to press charges, resulting in the ranger going free. In 2010, WWF-sponsored rangers reportedly killed a 12-year-old girl who was collecting tree bark in Bardiya National Park. Park and WWF officials allegedly obstructed investigations in these cases, by "falsifying and destroying evidence, falsely claiming the victims were poachers, and pressuring the families of the victims to withdraw criminal complaints". In July 2019 Buzzfeed reported that a leaked report by the WWF accused guards of beating and raping women including pregnant women while torturing men by tying their penises with fishing lines. The investigations were cut short after paramilitary groups threatened investigators with death. The investigators accused WWF of covering up the crimes. Releasing an official statement, the WWF claimed that the report was not made public to ensure the safety of the victims and that the guards were suspended and are awaiting prosecution. However Buzzfeed accused the WWF of attempting to withhold the report to the US congressional committee investigating the human rights violations by providing high redacted versions instead.”

We, Canadians, were innocent but with this information, now, how can we continue to support these purported Charitable organizations?

OTTAWA, Feb. 27, 2018 – The Canadian government took a significant step toward protecting species at risk today with a $1.3 billion budget commitment over five years. World Wildlife Fund Canada welcomes this important and historic investment in nature.”[1][1]

Are we, as Canadians, prepared to support these paramilitary groups funded by the WWF or any conservation/environmental group?    That is for you to decide…

Elizabeth F. Marshall,

Non-Partisan Advocate

Director of Research Ontario Landowners Association

Author – "Property Rights 101:  An Introduction”

Board Member/Secretary – Canadian Justice Review Board

Legal Research – Queen’s Counsel, Lawyers, Law Offices, etc.,

Legislative Researcher – MPs, MPPs, Municipal Councillors,

President All Rights Research Ltd.,

I am not a lawyer and do not give legal advice.  Any information relayed is for informational purposes only.  Please contact a lawyer.


Brown’s Bridge or the Southern Elmvale Bridge

Does anyone know how it became known as the Brown’s Bridge?

We enquired of the County but the person we talked to knew nothing and only offered information that we alerady knew. We got Don Allen to look into it.

The reply -

Engineering Staff have looked into the issue of the formal bridge name on County Road 27 South of Elmvale.

The short answer is the Bridge should be called the Brown’s Bridge, not the Brown’s Creek Bridge.  It is located on County Road 27 and spans the Wye River.  Staff will double check any signage that is out in the field relating to the construction notification and amend it to reflect the proper name (which is done in house).

By way of background on the confusion, we researched and found the following.  The earliest record of the bridge we can find is a 1932 drawing from MTO which references it as the Brown’s Bridge (over the Wye River) on former Provincial Hwy 27.  This original bridge was replaced in 1977 by the MTO.  In 1998 Highway 27 was transferred to the County of Simcoe and became County Road 27, but the name of the bridge does not appear on any of the transfer documents.  Staff generally reference bridges, intersections and road segments numerically in our asset management systems.

In 2003, the County began to consider asset management rehabilitation needs of this bridge and various other County structures and culverts, and at that point it appears that it was referenced to incorrectly as the Brown’s Creek Bridge instead of Brown’s Bridge.  There was never any confusion as to the County Road it was on, or the name of the river in which it spanned.  We can find no explanation to this other than a typographical addition to the name - Staff at the time must have incorrectly typed the bridge name in the new system which subsequently generated the information for the construction notification signs for this season’s work plan.   We should note that one of our Project Engineers did have a cordial and positive email exchange with Springwater Councillor Richie who also pointed out the name discrepancy, that it should be changed in the system, and that we will amend the signs to be reflective of the correct structure name.

We apologize for any inconvenience that this minor 2003 system input error may have caused.  I can assure you that the corrections to the name on the construction notification sign are not material in cost to the taxpayer, and that the actual bridge rehabilitation project will in no way be  delayed or impacted by this historical typographical oversight, and that the project will be completed as designed and tendered.

Take care, Mark Aitken


On February 24th, the County of Simcoe issued a 101 page tender for the Brown’s Creek Bridge Rehabilitation. It stated all that needed to be done and the rules and regulations that the person winning the tender would have to adhere to. It is the intent of the contract to have the work substantially complete by November 20, 2020.

This tender closed on April 3rd.

Forty-nine companies asked for the 114 page tender form.

Eleven companies bid on the job with the highest bid of $2,228,151.52 from a company in Oakville.

Alexman Contracting Inc. from Thornton was awarded the contract at the lowest tendered price of $1,4432,513.97.


Something to Think About


 A physics teacher in high school once told the students: that while one grasshopper on the railroad tracks wouldn't slow a train very much, a billion of them would. With that thought in mind, read the following, obviously written by a patriotic Canadian.

 Shopping in Home Depot the other day for some reason and just for the fun of it I was looking at the garden hose attachments. They were all made in China ... The next day I was in Home Hardware and just for the fun of it I checked the hose attachments there. They were made in Canada ! Start looking...In our current economic situation, every little thing we buy or do affects someone else - even their job.

 A quote from a consumer: "My grandson likes Hershey's candy. I noticed, though, that it is marked made in Mexico now, instead of Smiths Falls , Ontario. I do not buy it any more".

 My favorite toothpaste, Colgate, is made in Mexico now. I have switched to Crest. You have to read the labels on everything. 

This past weekend I was at Wal-Mart. I needed 60W light Bulbs. I was in the light bulb aisle, and right next to the GE brand I normally buy was an off-brand labelled, "Everyday Value". I picked up both types of bulbs and compared the stats - they were the same except for the price. The GE bulbs were more money than the Everyday Value brand but the thing that surprised me the most was the fact that GE was made in MEXICO and the Everyday Value brand was made in - (get ready for this) - Canada at a company in Ontario.

 Their Equate Products are also made in Canada, and are very good.

 Just to add my own experience on buying Made in Canada , I was looking for canned mushrooms that were made in Canada and could never find any, so I would buy fresh. But recently I found Ravine Mushrooms - made in Canada with a little red maple leaf on the can. A little more money but when I opened the can I looked at Mushrooms that look like real mushrooms, not a mushroom that looks like it was cleaned in bleach.

 Another product I no longer buy is Del Monte or Dole canned fruit. Del Monte is packaged in Taiwan and Dole is now a product of China . Why should we pay for their fruit when our growers are left with fruit rotting on the Trees. E.D. Smith is still made in Canada. Buy theirs, at least you will know what is in it and have some quality control.

 By the way, all pickles with the President’s Choice label and the No Name yellow label [Superstore] are made in India .. Think about it, Water from the Ganges is used... Yes THAT Ganges , the one that the People use as a toilet

 So throw out the myth that you cannot find Products you use every day that are made right here. My challenge to you is to start reading the labels when you shop for everyday things and see what you can find that is made In Canada.

 The job you save may be your own or your neighbour's'! (Your children & Grandchildren, also.)

 If you accept this challenge, pass it on to others in your address book So we can all start buying Canadian, one light bulb at a time! Stop buying from overseas companies!

 (We should have awakened two decades ago.) Let's get with the program. Help our fellow Canadians keep their jobs and create more jobs here in Canada!

 BUY CANADIAN! Read the labels .Support Canadian Jobs . Brighten your day.



Ottawa’s carbon tax hike out of step with global reality

By Aaron Wudrick and Franco Terrazzano Canadian Taxpayers Federation

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has chosen to make life more expensive for Canadians by increasing the federal carbon tax by 50 per cent amidst the COVID-19 economic and health crisis.

Meanwhile, governments around the world are moving in the opposite direction because hiking taxes during a global pandemic is a bad idea.

Provinces have already tapped the brakes on their own carbon tax hikes.

British Columbia Premier John Horgan cancelled the planned April 1 carbon tax hike.

Instead of mirroring the federal carbon tax hike, Newfoundland and Labrador is maintaining its tax at $20 per tonne.

The price of carbon allowances in the Quebec-California cap-and-trade system has also fallen due to COVID-19 and the current economic realities.

The European Union’s cap-and-trade scheme, which applies to 30 countries, has also seen its rate drop significantly. For most of 2019 and early 2020, EU carbon prices traded around €25 per tonne before nosediving to around €15 per tonne in March. The EU’s cap-and-trade tax rate has fallen 32 per cent below its 2020 peak, according to the most recent data available.

While the tax rate has increased since bottoming out, S&P Global Platts Analytics forecasts the COVID-19 shock will keep downward pressure on the cap-and-trade market.

Other countries are providing further carbon tax relief.

The Norwegian government reduced its carbon tax rate on natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas to zero and will keep the rates below the pre-COVID-19 level until 2024. Norway also deferred payments on various fuel taxes until June 18.

Estonia Finance Minister Martin Helme formally called for his country to consider leaving the EU’s cap-and-trade carbon tax system to provide relief. The prime minister later announced that Estonia would remain in the EU’s carbon tax system but the government lowered the excise tax on electricity to the minimum allowed by the EU, and lowered its excise tax on diesel, light and heavy fuel oil, shale oil and natural gas.

“Due to the economic downturn, both people’s incomes and the revenue of companies are declining, but daily household expenses such as electricity or gas bills still need to be paid. To better cope with them, we are reducing excise duty rates on gas and electricity for two years,” Helme explained.

Franco Terrazzano

Outside of the EU, the United Kingdom is saving its taxpayers between £15 and £20 million a year by walking back its plan to increase its carbon tax top-up.

New Zealand’s cap-and-trade tax rate has fallen by more than 20 per cent this year.

And South Africa pushed back carbon tax payments by three months.

It’s worth noting that it’s unlikely Canada’s carbon tax will have any meaningful impact on global emissions. Only 45 countries (out of 195 countries worldwide) are covered by a carbon tax and only 15.6 per cent of total emissions are covered by these taxes, according to the World Bank. And about half of the emissions covered by carbon taxes are significantly lower than Canada’s federal rate and too low to make a difference.

With Canada only accounting for 1.5 per cent of global emissions, it’s easy to understand Trudeau’s acknowledgement that, “even if Canada stopped everything tomorrow, and the other countries didn’t have any solutions, it wouldn’t make a big difference.”

Now more than ever, Canadian taxpayers need relief. With carbon tax burdens declining around the globe during the COVID-19 crisis, walking back the recent carbon tax hike should be a no-brainer for our federal government.

Aaron Wudrick is federal director and Franco Terrazzano is Alberta director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.


Exploding myths about energy subsidies in Canada

Despite claims by some that ‘oil is dead’ and that the sector is heavily subsidized, the evidence suggests otherwise

By Mark Milke and Lennie Kaplan  -  Canadian Energy Centre

In the ongoing debate over whether Canada’s oil and natural gas industry will or should survive, one argument often advanced is the notion that oil and gas activity in Canada survives only due to massive subsidies from taxpayers.

The debate has been fuelled recently by comments from the Green Party’s Elizabeth May and Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-François Blanchet that “oil is dead”

It will take years for recent announcements – the $1.7 billion federal subsidy directed at orphan and inactive well cleanups, and the federal government’s liquidity package for multiple sectors – to filter down into data that can be tracked.

In the meantime, to get to clarity on claims that the energy sector received multiple billions of dollars annually for years, let’s deep-dive and dissect them.

A 2010 study from a Winnipeg think-tank claimed that $2.8 billion in subsidies flowed to the sector annually.

Even more eye-popping, in 2014, a Vancouver reporter asserted that a 2013 International Monetary Fund (IMF) study found that subsidies to Canadian oil and gas were worth $34 billion, while the worldwide figure was $5.6 trillion.

There are multiple problems with these claims.

The $34-billion estimate of subsidies in Canada was substantially arrived at by arguing that “uncollected taxes” existed due to externalities such as “impacts like traffic accidents, carbon emissions, air pollution and road congestion.”

In other words, your fender-bender can be blamed on the existence of the oil and gas industry and costs attributed to the same.

In response to the 2010 study, economists Jack Mintz and Kenneth McKenzie noted in 2011 that measuring fossil fuel subsidies was a “tricky art.” They took specific issue with the study methodology that informed subsequent work, including at the IMF. They argued that multiple flaws were at the heart of such estimates.

Among others, the 2010 study included methodology that used a subsidy definition designed for a different purpose; inappropriately added tax expenditures (i.e., targeted measures to selected industries to reduce taxes and royalties) without accounting for critical interactions; wasn’t based on an underlying optimizing economic model that emphasizes the impact of taxes, royalties and subsidies on investment at the margin; and wasn’t based on an economically meaningful benchmark.

The McKenzie-Mintz study concluded that tax and royalty policies were not a significant source of subsidization for oil and gas.

In 2014, in response to the 2010 and 2014 estimates, the Montreal Economic Institute found that energy sector subsidies amounted to just $71 million and that those were being phased out. As the Montreal think-tank noted, the larger numbers are arrived at in part by counting up “billions of dollars [that] simply do not exist” – the presumed subsidy value of a car accident – and in other instances, by counting deferred taxes as subsidies.

In 2017, University of Guelph economist Ross McKitrick also analyzed energy subsidies, including the $5.6-trillion IMF estimate. McKitrick noted similar questionable assumptions and also that much of the estimate was composed of “uncollected externalities.”

McKitrick concluded the use of indirect or notional concepts led to such dramatically higher numbers, but become “meaningless and potentially misleading.”

We reviewed Statistics Canada data on subsidies to industries and Canada. We found $1.9 billion in subsidies to oil and gas between 2010 and 2016. But we also found $12.6 billion in subsidies to the motion picture sector during the same years, as well as $12.8 billion to crop production and $27.8 billion to public transit.

(A caveat: The Statistics Canada data includes tax expenditures, which adds to the difficulty of getting to subsidy definitions as cash payments only. In addition, limitations in the data preclude estimates of capital subsidies or pre-2010 payments. Think of the $13.7 billion in taxpayer subsidies to the automotive sector during the 2008-09 financial crisis.)

When considering competing claims of which sectors are the most subsidized – this may soon be an Olympic sport for economists to measure given government activity this year – consider a significant subsidy pointed to by the Ontario Auditor General in 2015: The global adjustment fees on Ontarians’ power bills is a subsidy to utility and energy companies. The Auditor General characterized them as “excess payments to generators over the market price for electricity.”

The Auditor General said those subsidies were worth $37 billion between 2006 and 2014. Those payments were made not for the development of oil and gas assets, but for shutting down coal-fired electricity and for multiple Ontario green energy projects.

By any estimate, that would appear to make Ontario’s experiment in renewable energy the most subsidized energy activity in the country.

Those who claim oil is dead – and do so by claiming Canadian oil and gas companies were massively subsidized with billions of dollars annually – are wrong on the facts and about the sector.

Mark Milke is executive director of research and Lennie Kaplan is chief research analyst at the Canadian Energy Centre, an Alberta government corporation funded in part by taxes paid by industry on carbon emissions. They are authors of Analyzing claims about oil and gas subsidies.

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