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I was saddened this week when I heard of the passing of Joyce Carter, a great Nova Scotian and tireless advocate for veterans and their families. For many years, she fought the federal government on the issue of the Veterans’ Independence Program for widows and widowers.

She even had the gusto to go to Ottawa and confront then prime minister Stephen Harper, succeeding in getting some small changes to this program, although nowhere near what they had promised. So Joyce continued her advocacy.

She was a tremendous help to myself and others in assisting veterans and their families. As she knew the power of a letter to the editor, I dedicate this letter to her memory. May God bless her.

Peter Stoffer, former MP, Fall River

Congratulations to the Crown for appealing the conditional discharge of Pedro Espinosa Ribadeneira, a university student from Ecuador who broke into two apartments and assaulted the occupants.

The first victim fled to the lobby in his underwear after grabbing the blade of a knife. The second victim was a young woman who was attacked in her bedroom. She was pinned down, choked and punched several times. The young college student sustained three orbital fractures of her eye, a broken nose and a concussion.

The defence stated that doctors concluded Espinosa was not in a “conscious state of mind” due to excessive alcohol consumption. He was found in a closet. He made a decision to hide in the closet.

A person who comes from another country who is found guilty of a violent attack should be deported. To anyone who sees this as a racist viewpoint, I’m all for bringing people into the country to help them and the province, as per the Ivany report.

But this criminal gets a conditional discharge and is allowed to resume classes at the same university as his victims. His victims are forced to move to another apartment to get away from him.

The defence had a forensic psychiatrist state that, in her opinion, Espinosa is a low risk to re offend.

Tell that to the young lady who was violently attacked and now has PTSD, flashbacks and nightmares. She is reconsidering her dream of entering the masters’ program because her grades have suffered.

I realize that judges are in a very demanding position. There are times when compassion is a huge factor in making a decision. This was evident when Judge Bill Digby once sentenced a man to time served for violating his parole by having beer in his knapsack. The man’s spouse was dying. Good decision but this is not that.

Prosecutor Glenn Hubbard, who argued for a five year sentence, stated in your Jan. 16 story that “People in our society need to feel safe in their homes.”

So, the resignation of Jamie Baillie was demanded by his party and he complied.

This demand was based upon an allegation made by a woman whose identity we don’t know. The allegation was of inappropriate behaviour, the nature of which we don’t know. The allegation was investigated by someone whose name we don’t know and whose professional qualifications we don’t know.

Baillie’s career is now in shreds based upon nothing but innuendo and trial by journalism. The MeToo movement is working to hold accountable unacceptable behaviour by men in power, but it must itself be held accountable to the principles of due process. If it isn’t, it will be in danger of descending into mob rule.

Re: Bob Found’s Jan. corporation. The franchises are “locally” managed and routinely employ 16 80 year olds at provincial minimum wage levels. These working folk include foreign temporary workers often trying to send a little money home to their countries of citizenship, usually to provide their families food and shelter.

Furthermore, $15 an hour is barely a living wage in 2018. Bulletin to head office: I myself worked for $15 an hour under the table in Toronto in 1982 36 years ago and many others did so at the time, or for even more, like $20 doing “renovations” for private householders (carpentry, dry walling, electrical work, plumbing).

The pay raise to $14 and then $15 next year in Ontario will be spent locally, very directly by the workers: single mothers, students trying to pay their way through college,
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the elderly topping up their OAS and pension cheques. The $1.35 cup of coffee costs Tim’s about 15 cents at most to produce. Who actually is suffering here?

And for the record, founding partner Ron Joyce skated away with the company for $1 million after Tim Horton’s tragic death in the early 1970s, when pro defencemen in the NHL made peanuts and the owners milked everyone else. I remember seeing his last game on TV in Kitchener, Ont. I was 25 then.

Rather than raise the minimum wage, I think it makes more sense to ensure the availability of affordable housing. Even those of us who have taken out student loans to further our education, and get $19 an hour jobs, have difficulty paying the rent, especially as a single household earner.

If I could earn $15 an hour with no education at all, the $20,000 I borrowed, and the two years I was without earnings getting a college degree would seem like a very poor investment.

Instead of raising minimum wage, and starting a landslide of wage adjustment through the ranks, which will take a decade to find an equilibrium, I think it would be a more elegant and efficient solution to link the minimum wage firmly to inflation, and institute rent control, again, linked with inflation.

I live on Pictou Harbour in my retirement, directly across from Boat Harbour. I spent most of my summers at the same location at Braeshore where, as kids, we’d take our small outboard powered rowboats and have a look around Boat Harbour several summers before “the mill” arrived.

As a retired engineer, I think I understand the lack of feasibility of a closed loop process for waste water from the pulping process used at the mill.

There is, in my opinion, a lack of data in the current debate and far too much emotion, if not “fake facts,” on both sides.

Waste water with minimal treatment has been going into the Pictou Harbour/Northumberland Strait from the Boat Harbour treatment facility basically since the mill started operations. I’ve sailed through the dark brown water from Boat Harbour as far up as Lighthouse Beach at the entrance to Pictou Harbour when the tide was right. When the wind and tide were right, a light brown foam covered our beach at Braeshore.

Where are the data that indicate this partially treated effluent over the past decades has had a negative impact on lobster, scallop, crab and other fisheries? I’d also like to see a comparison between the treated waste water quality, as it is currently discharged from Boat Harbour, and what’s being proposed. With real data, I could make a more informed decision on whether there is in fact a difference.

I have an open mind on this debate and firmly believe others might benefit from a fact based discussion if they are prepared to listen.
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