Walk January 25 to raise money

January 21, 2015   ·   0 Comments

My mum was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease five years ago.  Since then, my family has benefited from our association with Alzheimer Society Dufferin.  Knowledgeable, dedicated, compassionate staff and volunteers offer education, connections to community programmes and social functions to residents of Dufferin County.

All of this is provided on a very tight budget.  On January 25, 2015, the 15th annual “Walk for Memories” will take place at the Orangeville Mall.  The walk is the major fund raiser.  We hope to raise $20,000.  This upbeat, positive family morning also aims to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s.

Alzheimer’s and other dementias impact more than the individual – about 9,000 people in Dufferin.

As a member of the Board of Directors, I invite you and your family to join us at the mall on January 25 from 9:30-11:30.  Find our walk at


Jean Hayward


Column ‘certainly needs correcting’

I hope you will allow a lengthy rebuttal to Mr Skeates’ 15 January column, because it certainly needs correcting and it can’t be done briefly.

Mr Skeates’ “Where there’s a will…” column of 15 January was so misleading throughout that it would take a page of rebuttal to do it justice, but I’ll try to keep this short.

With regard to the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the author said “…society still struggles to institute adequately effective preventive measures.”  He’s right:  current Ontario government measures are haywire.  Some examples – those that start with “B.”  The Badger now commands a one-mile-diameter circle around a den, denying any agricultural use of that area, thanks to the ESA.  The Barn Owl – an occasional visitor from south of the Great Lakes – can roost in old barns protected by provincial regulation from renovation or destruction.  The Bobolink nests in grassy fields (which were uncommon until farmers cleared land to plant crops); so an ESA regulation forbids hay cutting until after mid-July, thereby denying farmers the best (first) hay harvest.  Many of these rules are promulgated by the Minister alone, and are not well announced; so no one knows they exist without regularly perusing the government’s web sites.

Mr Skeates criticized our fish depletions off the east and west coasts.  Foreign fishers, who have the right to continue because of ancient and continuous harvesting, caused the depletion.  The federal government negotiated a deal on the east coast to limit the overfishing, but the salmon run on the west coast is depleted by U.S. fishermen who attack the annual run as it passes Alaska, before Canadians can start their harvest.  Canada is not at fault.

Mr Skeates criticized “excessive cutting of white pine in the Ottawa Valley and yellow birch throughout the country’s hardwood forests.”

Those harvests, on Crown land, are controlled by provincial governments like the Ontario Liberals, who should be more diligent in their supervision.  Privately owned woodlands comprise 87% of the total forest cover in south Ontario.  Within those woods, the Ontario farming community has increased, not reduced, the forest cover, commencing in the late 1800s.  The real culprits in this region have been cities, towns, Hydro companies, gravel pits and many home builders.  Developers tend to clear-cut an area before planting roads, houses and a few trees.

It was kind of Mr Skeates to warn us that “180 countries voted [last year] to expand protection to 76 animals and plants.”  There are already over 200 listed ESA species, few of which one can identify by sight (e.g., Nodding Pegonia, Frosted Elfin).  The Loggerhead Shrike, which impales other birds on thorn bushes and eats them at leisure, is “threatened.”  The Cougar and Wolverine, which are dangerous to wildlife, livestock and humans, are “endangered.”  Anyone who “possesses” one, or a part of one, listed species can be fined $250,000 and spend one year in jail.  Land, vehicles and outbuildings can be searched without a warrant by an appointed “agent” on his or her “suspicion” that a crime has been committed.

The ESA endangers the species it lists, because no one wants them resident on his or her property; in fact, loggerhead shrike habitat was destroyed and American Chestnut and Butternut trees were cut down before the Ontario ESA came into effect, to protect the landowners.

With regard to reforestation of marginal land, Mr Skeates should be made aware that Dufferin County owns about 3,000 hectares of forest that was planted on sandy former farmland.  Privately owned forest in the county constitutes about 95% of the forest cover, and is adequately sustained by the farmers who own it.

Mr Skeates criticized the owners of Alberta “tar” (actually oil) sands.  I have camped in that area and found the land was soaked in oil.  The sandy soil is greasy with it, and the creeks run with colour from natural oily content.  Man can’t worsen the pollution in that vast area,  but he can remove the oil profitably and some day restore the land.  The trees north of the town fall over when they reach a height of perhaps 20 feet, because the permafrost prevents them from rooting deeply.  There are no majestic forests in northern Alberta, only scrawny black spruce and occasional birch.

Mr Skeates described man’s use of Canada as representing “a threat to the future of mankind.”  I prefer to admire the many improvements man has introduced.  Pristine wilderness areas and clean, natural habitat surrounding human occupancies will expand as our awareness of the threat from developments and provincial government mistakes leads us to change the status quo.

Charles Hooker

East Garafraxa

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