As we speak’s letters: Vanier deserves a plan, not only a Porsche dealership

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Today's letters: Vanier deserves a plan, not just a Porsche dealership

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Saturday, May 22: On tax breaks for local businesses; conflict in the Middle East; and COVid vaccines. You can write to us at letters@ottawacitizen.com

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Citizen letters Mark Kaluski, chair of the Vanier BIA, is among many who support plans for a new Porsche dealership in the area. Letter-writers, below, disagree.Mark Kaluski, chair of the Vanier BIA, is among many who support plans for a new Porsche dealership in the area. Letter-writers, below, disagree. Photo by Tony Caldwell /Postmedia

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Tax incentives for luxury car dealership make no sense

Re: Why shouldn’t Vanier have nice things, like a Porsche dealer? May 20.

Where did our common sense go?

How can we affirm that a subsidy to a luxury car dealership will improve the community of Vanier in any way, shape or form? Dealerships are not an appropriate use of land on an artery in Ottawa’s urban core, let alone subsidizing this type of business.

Montréal Road was designated as a “traditional main street” and any city investments should be targeted towards achieving that goal, not taking us further us from it (the Salvation Army project comes to mind). A Porsche dealership will bring nothing to the community of Vanier and certainly doesn’t bring us any closer to an attractive, active and vibrant main street that all Ottawans would be proud of.

There are better things that could be achieved with these funds such as housing, green space, reliable and affordable transit, etc. Come on, Vanier BIA and city councillors, let’s think this through.

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Charles Nellis, Vanier

No business should get tax breaks 

I believe that no level of government has the right to give tax breaks to any business at this point in time, considering the economic turmoil that Canada is facing If this deal with the Porsche dealership comes to fruition and allows $2.9 million in property-tax incentives to a well-heeled business owner, how many other businesses will feel that they too should get the same opportunity?

Let’s face it, how often do the taxpayers of Canada get a return on this type of “investment?“ You only have to look at Bombardier. Air Canada is another corporate welfare case. Canadians can no longer afford to prop up businesses with taxpayers’ dollars. We never come out on top.

Look at the costly mess our light-rail system has become. The city can’t even draw up a tight contract that that doesn’t involve a costly lawsuit — not to mention that SNC-Lavalin is still able to do business with the city of Ottawa.

Dave Currier, Barrhaven

We want a vibrant main street in Vanier

Did the Citizen print a photo of a huge parking lot to accompany Kelly Egan’s article with tongue in cheek? Hundreds of parked cars side-by- side are an ugly sight — unless one owns a dealership, we suppose. Toronto’s downtown Bay Street used to contain a bevy of dealerships, cheek to cheek, until the city persuaded them to move elsewhere. Bay Street is now quite attractive.

In recent years, Montreal Road has become quite unsightly with the proliferation of pay-day loan outfits and other establishments of dubious character. It is gratuitously insulting to imply that we citizens of Vanier and Overbrook are never satisfied. It is true that we don’t appreciate the notion of a huge shelter being erected on our main street any more than an enormous parking lot. What we want is for our restaurants and bicycle shops, for example, to open up again.

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One final note: the Porsche development is supposed to encourage other business enterprises on Montreal Road. It certainly has not worked for Scotiabank, which closes its branch on June 17 and is moving to Gloucester. Perhaps the bank was unsuccessful in its bid to obtain a city grant?

Andrew Lumsden, Vanier

Many Jews are angry at Israel

Re: ‘A very different tone this time,’ May 18.

The suggestion that opposition to the events in Gaza is anti-Semitism is wrong. There are many Jews who are angry about Israel’s disproportionate, wanton destruction and extra-judicial killings. We are not anti-Semitic. I ask that Palestinians (and reporters) remember that.

David Lorge Parnas, Ottawa

Palestinians can’t match Israeli might

When it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it is unfortunate that after decades of attempts to get some form of agreement on a way forward to meet the needs of both sides, not much has changed. The Palestinians have yet to learn that they are no match for Israel’s defence capabilities. The former tosses a nail and the response comes with a hammer.

Israel’s response to aggression is often like the line from the 1987 Untouchables movie where Jim Malone says “He pulls a knife, you pull a gun, he sends one of yours to the hospital, you send one of his to the morgue. That’s the Chicago way.” That appears to be the Israeli way right now.

Dale Boire, Ottawa

Why put quote marks around reality?

Re: Reflexive devotion to Israel by the political right does it no favours, May 19.

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Andrew Cohen has raised a red flag in his downplaying of threats against Israel. “Existential” threat from Iran? Does this mean he doesn’t take Iran’s vows seriously? What is it about “destroy Israel” and “kill the Jews,” threats that are coming from Iran, does he not understand?

Mr. Cohen, save your quotation marks for when they mean something.

Evelyn Greenberg, Ottawa

Diab deserves a vigorous defence

Re: Ottawa professor Hassan Diab must stand trial in Paris bombing: French court, May 19.

I am glad to learn that lawyer Donald Bayne still has the courage to defend Prof. Hassan Diab. Some might ask, “Why does it take courage to defend Diab when we know the claim that his fingerprints and hand-writing matched those on the bomber’s note was false?” And we also know that he was not in France on the day of the bombing he is accused of.

Where  are our brave politicians and journalists? Why are they letting “a hidden hand” destroy an innocent Canadian? What are they afraid of?

B.J. Mullen, Ottawa

Contradictions over the Constitution

Re: Quebec can alter Canadian Constitution to say it’s a nation and French is its official language: Trudeau, May 18.

The prime minister thinks Quebec “has the right” to unilaterally change the Constitution. If memory serves me correctly, Quebec was not a signatory to the Constitution when it was patriated in 1982. How can Quebec change a Constitution it has not officially agreed to abide by?

Further, why does Quebec even want to change the Constitution, given its lack of interest in becoming a signatory along with all the other provinces? The prime minister should send the proposed changes back to Quebec, pending that province’s official signing of the Constitution.

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Robert John Pattenm Orléans

This ‘nation’ shouldn’t need our help

So, when Quebec declares itself a “nation,” I trust it will no longer seek, nor accept, financial support from its neighbour, Canada.

Ken Imerson, Greely

Trudeau will do anything to win election

Re: Even on constitutional matters, Trudeau’s focus remains on Project Majority, May 19.

I certainly appreciated John Ivison’s column. The Canadian public deserves to know that this prime minister will do virtually anything to get re-elected with a majority, and he obviously does not care how much it costs Canadians.

Stan Painter, Kanata

Local leaders need to act on ByWard Market

Re: Tourist potential and grim reality on a walk to the ByWard Market, May 15.

What a jolt of reality this article was. Thank you, Kerry-Lynne Wilson.

Some parts are shocking, like a horror story, but we know that this way of life does actually exist. Shame on us all. In this day and age, how is it possible to allow so many people to live this way? Are our politicians so gutless that nothing is being done? It certainly seems so.

Many  people now need help to get their lives back on track, and in the right direction. Helping them would in turn allow visitors to Ottawa to explore the city without fear and hesitation.

We need a Rudy Giuliani to clean up Ottawa, like he did New York City. Any political volunteers ?

Eve Spraggs, Manotick

Market is half-jewel, half-dump

Reading Kerry-Lynne Wilson’s article, I felt like I was with her every step of the way. I have lived in the ByWard Market for 15 years. The Market is half-jewel, half-public dump.

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I recall a few years ago standing behind a high school gymnastics team from the United States in downtown Ottawa while waiting at a stoplight. I could only listen to them as they registered their disgust with what they saw and experienced in the heart of Ottawa. I could not disagree with their observations, and felt ashamed.

This was all just steps from Parliament Hill. Despite all the good in the ByWard Market, it won’t be enough to take half-measures. I have known people, after one aggressive panhandling experience, say they won’t come downtown again. The Salvation Army move out of the downtown is at least a start to building something good and more attractive but again, it’s not enough.

With the municipal election coming next year. what kind of city do we want to build? What kind of Ottawa do we want people to see and experience? If you are going to re-imagine Ottawa, perhaps start at the heart of it.

Peter Sharp, Ottawa

Let us have the AstraZeneca, please

I am beyond angry and frustrated. I am one of the 800,000+ people who has received my first shot of AstraZeneca (at the end of March). We were not given a date for our second shot. My question to the Ontario Premier is: Why can we not be offered it as a second shot? According to the research, chances are one in a million of serious side effects.

I am fed up with this government treating me like a child. I want to get the AstraZeneca before the government wastes all the shots they now have. We are adults perfectly capable of deciding what’s in our best interest.

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It’s time we email Doug Ford, Christine Elliott and our local MPP and ask what their plans are for the AstraZeneca shots they have now. Our voices should matter.

Kathleen Hall, Ottawa

Don’t forget the 90+ group

I hope that the city will not forget the second shot for the people 90 and older. When they reserved their first shot through the system that the city had set up, they were never given a date for the second shot.

Mounir Massoud, Nepean

Too many people are flouting lockdown rules

My wife and I have recently returned from the United States after spending four months in Florida. Now we are doing the 14-day quarantine even though we have both had two doses of the COVID vaccine for four weeks now. We’re not going out; we’re staying on our property, minding our own business.

But I watch in dismay as several of our neighbours flout the lockdown rules and have all kinds of people over, including play dates with kids and socializing with no masks to be seen and no social distancing.

That is why we are in this situation where lockdowns are necessary: because people don’t obey the law. The lockdown is for everyone.

Marc Dufault, Orléans

Ontario needs to boost home-care support

Re: A scathing summary of how Ontario mismanaged long-term care, May 3.

It has only been a couple weeks since the release of one of the most important commission reports of our time, and sadly, there are already signs that some of its key recommendations will be ignored by those in charge. For the sake of seniors and their families, that cannot happen.

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Ontario’s Long-Term Care Commission rightly recognized that seniors want to age at home. In fact, it called home care cost-effective, desirable, feasible and safe.

In the Ottawa area and throughout Ontario, however, access to home care services is under threat. Chronic underfunding has led to an exodus of home care workers as higher wages draw its nurses and personal support workers into long-term care facilities, leading to less care for people at home.

We are sounding the alarm. Without an immediate investment of $600 million, Ontario’s home care system will fail.

Queen’s Park seems more focused on institutional care, having announced billions for hospitals in its spring budget. This is missing the mark: Seniors want the government to help them age with independence, in their own homes.

The Ford government must fix this mistake and heed the commission’s recommendation to invest in our home-care system. Our seniors deserve nothing less.

Sue VanderBent, CEO, Home Care Ontario, Hamilton

Restaurant apps leave some customers behind

I find it distressing that many take-out and drive-through restaurants are switching to cellphone apps in order to let us access and use coupons.  The necessity to download an app is creating two groups of people: those with access to a phone and network and those without.

Don’t these restaurants realize that they are ostracizing a segment of their potential customer base with these technological requirements?

Erica Edel, Ottawa

Thanks for helping these students do good

Re: Star of Life finds partner to ship masks to remote communities, May 19.

Bravo Zulu to Richard Rutkowski and all who stepped forward to cover the expense of transporting 10,000 masks to remote Indigenous communities to fight COVID-19.

The masks were collected by the Sir Robert Borden High School Grade 12 students, but they lacked the means to get them to their destination. Through the generosity of local city realtors, this problem has been overcome and the much-needed PPE will be successfully delivered.

Al Jones, Almonte

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