Monday, June 17, 2019


I have recently been exposed to an inside look at what pushes politicians buttons. It is not necessarily the big ticket items such as jobs, abortion, proportional representation, global warming, etc. It is often much more mundane, albeit immediate. It is, if you will, the short term concerns or complaints of several citizens who have actually sent a letter, an e-mail or even phoned their local representative on a matter that is upsetting them personally today or yesterday.

This helps explain to me why locally for example Elmira citizens are not en masse protesting ongoing Uniroyal/Lanxess issues including the grossly delayed cleanup of the Elmira Aquifers and also of the Canagagigue Creek. The groundwater aquifers obviously are out of sight and hence out of mind. As long as our taps still produce reasonably clean water then it is not an item of immediate concern or crisis. However watch the clamor for our own local water to be restored the day after there is a problem with either the pipeline down to Waterloo or the water coming from it.

Similarly watch the clamor via letters, e-mails, and phone calls to our municipal and regional councillors and even to our M.P.P.s if our drinking water takings from the Grand River were halted due to pollution from the Canagagigue Creek.

Back in 1998-2000 our local councillors were on the bandwagon and putting pressure on Uniroyal Chemical because of the ongoing complaints they were receiving about gross odours and air pollution in Elmira. Most of these same councillors were perfectly happy to bend over backwards for Uniroyal otherwise despite a decade's worth of scandal and public exposure as to how Uniroyal had abused the air, groundwater/drinking water and the surface water of the Creek. In other words the immediate issues rated political attention but the longer term issues of contaminated drinking water had been at least superficially resolved via the pipeline to Waterloo.

Currently it doesn't seem to have hit our local media but Woolwich councillors are watching carefully the Elmira Pet Products plant because of their odours and multiple citizen complaints to council. Local political response to immediate, in your face, problems is a good thing. Part of the problem though is that the perpetrators know that citizens and politicians aren't looking for the best, most appropriate, long term solution. They both simply want the appearance (or smell) to go away today. Hence often cosmetic solutions and bandaid style first aid solutions are embraced versus sustainable solutions that benefit everybody.

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