ED ALLARD: A shout out to Mark MacDonald

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Open letters seem to be in season, so here is mine, to Mark MacDonald.  

Mark, I realize you have the interests of Cornwall’s residents at heart and you really want to do something positive for the community, and if it just happens to spin off into a few extra votes come October, well – bonus!  Though I’m sure that never crossed your mind.  

I think you’ve got this protest thing down pat by now, but permit me to offer a few thoughts.   

If my neighbour did anything on his property without first consulting me, then dumping a shack on his lawn and publicly calling him a bully is certainly the first thing I’d think of.  If he was bigger than me, I might think about it a bit longer, but that’s just me.  A lot of fiery, fearless rhetoric usually works, especially with a megaphone.  It’s just too bad our local police have no sense of history being made, or a sense of humour for that matter.  

But this neighbour doesn’t even live here, so it might make more sense to take your protest out of the unfrequented regions of our port and into his front yard.  Maybe you and your volunteers could chain yourselves and your pretty pink shack next to the eternal flame on Parliament Hill.  That might make a difference!  

It’s right downtown, so a lot more people would notice you. You could probably end up on national TV and rally expat Cornwallites from every corner of the country.  I’m sure they’d all want to rush over and offer support, just like all our local residents have done here.  The police surely wouldn’t bother you on hallowed ground … and the poobahs at Transport Canada are just a stone’s throw away, so they’d have to notice.   What could go wrong?  

Now, about that pink shack.  I heard you were employing child labour and bypassing the painters’ guild.  Tsk, tsk.  It’s not a good political move to risk upsetting the Children’s Aid Society and Mothers Without Borders.  And you might have trouble getting help the next time you want your ceiling painted.

This talk about a referendum might not be the best strategy either.  Just mentioning the R word causes uneasy shivers up and down the spine of every true blue (or is it red and white?) Canadian.  Support for the concept has tanked, if you’ll forgive the expression.  The word is about to be erased from the official Canadian dictionary, both English and French versions.  So, it might be better to talk about something else.

Spreading fear about chemicals leaking into the river from brand new, state of the art, corrosion resistant tanks is kind of iffy, too.  After all, it’s salt and 90% of the world’s water is full of it.  So are storm sewers every spring and you know where that goes.  More harmful things are passing by Cornwall on top of the water every day (and night).  Some of them are just wrapped in plastic bags!  Of course, an earthquake could happen, but then people will worry more about all the local gas stations than a couple of salt tanks.  Protesting underground gas tanks might have possibilities though…

Here’s a final thought.  When complete, the tanks will protrude less than two feet above the ground.  The steel mill and warehouse are a bigger blight on the landscape, but they were there first.  Since you’ll be in Ottawa anyway, maybe you could ask about planting some trees and grass around the tanks, put in park benches, and so on; maybe add your pink shack off to one side.  It could be marketed as an historical park – the site of the great tank protest of 2014.  

And that’s the way I see it. 

Organizations: Transport Canada, Aid Society

Geographic location: Cornwall, Ottawa

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Recent comments

  • mike welsh
    mike welsh
    April 24, 2014 - 14:59

    Ed ... i'm sorry if I've come off harsh here ..i didnt come here to bash ... at least thats not what i wanted to do. I apoligize . I was out of line ... but what are you trying to say to the people ? You are not helping anyone by telling them that calcium chloride is as safe as table salt ( which is untrue ).Since when is it fear mongering when people are told the truth .The truth of the matter is that Cornwall has been a chemical dumping ground since 1881 .Domtar has been poisoning the citizens of this city for over 100 years .. even today .. they still dump chemical wastes at big ben ski hill and runoff and sludge from the Domtar grounds are still being drained off into the river and old canal.Now its important that people know this ..or is it fear mongering to tell the people that big corps have been playing Russian roulette with thier lives for years ... but so much has been kept secret .Then there have been other corps over the years that have left a negative environmental impact on this city.I am sick of my city being used as a national chemical dump .. and the tank farm is no exception .. tell me .. why do they have to store this chemical in buried tanks?because its not storage .. its a dump.covering it up with ground and planting trees isn't going to change the fact that its a dump .. it's like putting lipstick on a pig .Hmmm , big ben is a dump .. they covered it with ground and planted trees on it .. its still a dump... and they let people play there ? For years Domtar left piles of chemicals just laying out in the open . sulfer , lime , bleaches and god know what ever else they've dumped. It's no secret that Cornwall has a higher rate of cancer related illnesses than other cities .By playing down the real issues Ed , you are misinforming the public.. and the reason why the no tanks committee never got proper support is because of opinions like this . the media hasn't been fair, and have treated this like its a joke.it's no joke .. this is serious ...It's almost like the media purposly have tried to derail and discredit the project since day one. You don't have any right to criticize because your either concerned and want to stop all the nastiness or you play the other side of the fence which isn't helping the situation and therefore not doing anything to stop it... why don't you just be honest and say You don't care .. at least I can respect that .. but don't , please don't make this out to be joke , because some good people have put lots of work into trying to stop this .. if you cant stand up for your city .. then you don't have the right to critisize . ***note only 72 % of the earths surface water is saline. -

  • mike welsh
    mike welsh
    April 24, 2014 - 06:23

    Ed the doors were pink .. the cabin was redish brown - they are storing calcium chloride there ... not sodium chloride .. calcium chloride is poisoness , just like the chemicals that were left out in the open for years on Domtar Properties .Calcium chloride, CaCl2, is a salt of calcium and chlorine. It behaves as a typical ionic halide, and is solid at room temperature. Common applications include brine for refrigeration plants, ice and dust control on roads, and desiccation. Because of its hygroscopic nature, anhydrous calcium chloride must be kept in tightly sealed, air-tight containers Calcium chloride can act as an irritant by desiccating moist skin. Solid calcium chloride dissolves exothermically, and burns can result in the mouth and esophagus if it is ingested. Ingestion of concentrated solutions or solid products may cause gastrointestinal irritation or ulceration.[18] Other possible side effects of taking calcium chloride include: A chalky taste in the mouth Hot flushes Lowered blood pressure Loss of appetite Feeling sick (nausea) Being sick (vomiting) Constipation Stomach pain Feeling weak Mental disturbances Extreme thirst Passing a large amount of urine Bone pain Calcium deposits in the kidney Kidney stones Irregular heart beat Coma Any of these may be a sign of overly high calcium blood levels (hypercalcemia).[19] Calcium chloride salts also tend to contain a small amount of metals, especially aluminum. Over time these metals can accumulate in the body and have a toxic effect. Ed you cant be from around here .Cornwall is built on an earthquake fault line .. One good shake will destroy those tanks ... that just one thing that could destroy Your "state of the art tanks" .. and if you want to talk about real fear .. Nobody has to spread fear about the danger of these chemicals and Sir if you knew what You were talking about .. You would know that Big Ben ski hill is an active chemical dump site .. and that chemicals are being dumped in the river as well ... Next time you want to talk about a real issue .. make sure You know just what the hell your talking about .. from a 3rd generation Cornwallite - THE LONE PROTESTER !!!

  • Emily Madsen
    April 19, 2014 - 08:52

    The tanks were not noticed by the media or the Council. Yet all local media attacks Mark MacDonald who did. Kill the messenger much? Ed Allard and Seaway News close the circle of "Keep the status quo, Cornwall!" Obey the powers that be? They be not in Cornwall's interest. I plan to vote for new political representation.

    • mike welsh
      mike welsh
      April 24, 2014 - 09:19

      BTW ED - our oceans contain sea salt not calcium chloride .. for a journalist .. your pretty dumb , and its information like what You print that misinforms the public . dude have You even researched what calcium chloride is ? Do you even know anything about this City ? No ! Making statements like " Spreading fear about chemicals leaking into the river from brand new, state of the art, corrosion resistant tanks is kind of iffy, too. After all, it’s salt and 90% of the world’s water is full of it. " just proves that you have no credibility .Calcium Chloride is poison and if it wasn't poison then they wouldn't be storing them in "state of the art tanks "would they ...? I am against the tanks and a lot of things that go on in this towne ... i'm one of Marks Helpers .. Do you have a problem with that .. or maybe I should chain myself to your front door to demonstrate against your stupidity .. you had to have been drunk or stoned when You wrote That piece .. if 90% of our water is salt .. that just leaves 10 % water lol .