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THE VIEW FROM HERE: Time for you to have a say


Readers give Vernon Oickle their own views from here.
Readers give Vernon Oickle their own views from here. - 123RF Stock Photo

As I have previously stated, one of the most rewarding things about writing a column of this nature is reader feedback. And every so often, I like to feature some of the feedback I receive about columns I’ve written.

This week, I’ve decided it’s time for you to have your say. So, with the permission of the writers, many of whom wish to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals, here is some of the feedback I’ve recently received.

Plastic problems

Chris Mansfield from Milton, Queens County, recently wrote in response to my column on banning plastic bags. Here’s his perspective:

Hi Vernon. I enjoyed your most recent View From Here, the one about banning plastic bags. Certainly a timely topic, as a few evangelists in Lunenburg County are pushing for a ban on, not just bags, but all single use plastics.

The first reaction for most people is probably ... it’s about dang time! But, banning single use bags, while worthwhile for saving our denizens of the deep, is mainly a feel good drop in the bucket. I’ve checked out the site you cited, an Australian site, and while most of their points are salient, the “real science,” (what IS real anymore??) points out that most alternatives are not better for the environment, but often worse.

Paper bags have a massive carbon footprint, as do reusable bags made from synthetics. If Jane or Joe Consumer can stop just letting plastic bags go … “away,” they add very little mass to the landfill. Like oil itself, we, as a society, are a very long way from getting “off” all plastics. Common sense, less littering, a reduction on all waste would be more helpful, and hopefully more palatable to Joe Consumer, than a neo-fascist reversal of the lifestyle most of us are now more or less locked into.

Vernon, I’m not shooting the messenger, just trying to see all sides. Social media tries to make everything black and white; we are so easily polarized today ... there is no middle road. Whatever happened to common sense? Just my rant ... sorry.

No need to be sorry, Chris. To further any argument and understand all of the facts, it’s important that we hear from as many sides as possible so thank you for taking the time to write.

Highway pet peeves

My recent column on highway pet peeves also generated some feedback. Following is a response from a resident of Bridgewater:

Hello Vernon, I agree with all points in your article (17 pet peeves from the highway).

Here are a few more …

  • People not driving the speed limit (except in severe weather conditions). The speed limit on 100 series highways is 100 kph unless the highway is divided. Those who insist on driving 80 kph (or slower) should use alternate routes or risk being fined for impeding the regular flow of traffic.
  • Passing on the right side. There have been incidents where I have been overtaking a slower vehicle in a passing lane, or divided highway, only to be passed by another vehicle, on the right side lane, cutting me off and potentially causing a serious accident. I’ve only been able to get the plate number of one vehicle and reported it.
  • Cars that have plastic covers over the license plate that conceal the numbers (and letters) and those plates that have the numbers peeling.
  • With regards to your remarks about potholes, I believe the Department of Transportation and Infrastructural Renewal should be held accountable for vehicle damages resulting from potholes. It’s a safety issue!

Well enough of my beefs…

Thanks reader. You raise some important issues that I had overlooked. Of course, the important thing in all of this is, ultimately, driver safety so please be careful on the roads and obey the rules.

Obey the law

Another reader, this one from up Shelburne way, wrote me a quick, somewhat terse one-liner about the same highway column: I hope you practice what you preach, the reader wrote.

Well, to this reader I would just like to say thank you for the gentle prod. I would also like to point out that while I never pretend to be the best or most perfect driver on the roads, I do always drive defensively, follow the rules and obey the laws. I just want everyone else to exercise the same caution and remember, your bad driving habits could have seriously implications for other people.

Snow day woes

My column on whether or not schools should be open or closed for snow days, generated some feedback as well. One parent wrote:

I really don’t know what all the fuss is about. For me, it’s comes down to the safety of the children. I think whenever there are dangerous road conditions, the schools should be closed … end of story.

Another parent agreed:

I don’t why we are making an issue out of this these days? When I was a kid, schools were cancelled whenever the roads were unsafe and I think that’s how it should be. I will never send my kids to school if I think they could be in danger. Actually, I’ve kept my kids at home on days when schools were open because I didn’t think the roads were safe enough to send them and that’s my prerogative. I’d rather keep them home for the day where I know they were safe.

Thanks to these parents for sharing their views on this often-contentious topic. We know this can’t be an easy decision for whoever is left to make the call on keeping schools opening or closing them. All I can say is that I’m glad I’m not that person.

The beautiful thing about living in a democratic society is that you and I have the freedom to say and write these things and that’s the view from here.

Vernon Oickle was born and raised in Liverpool where he continues to reside with his family. He has worked for more than 30 years in community newspapers on the South Shore and is the author of 28 books.

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