To The Editor,

Within the past rather quiet few months, I learned a few things: how to deal with covid restrictions, how to find creative occupations to fill some time slots and other related subjects . One little thing which I always enjoy (covid or not ) is reading the local news in The Review. In the latest paper version (April 28, 2021), the reader’s letters to the editor section held my attention for longer than usual and gave me food for thought … The key word here is: ENVIRONMENT . There is no surprise there, following the LPAT decision to give the green light to the Colacem project.

Things, being as they are, for this unacceptable (in my humble opinion) project, have revealed some fundamental flaws in the way Prescott Russell is presently administered, such as the demographic imbalance between the eastern and western parts – politicians, for whom I cannot vote, getting to decide how the territory where I live will be exploited is not democracy , a more appropriate word might be dictatorship. The mayors of Rockland or La Nation do not have any more right to impose a decision on Champlain or East Hawkesbury than the mayors of Guelph or Ottawa – the old principle of no taxation without representation … Of course, the counties of Prescott Russell have been united and at the time it might have seemed like a good idea, not so much today and it might be time to make a few changes to the ole unity agreement (municipal/provincial jurisdiction? ) Another little thing not helping is the attitude from some mayors in favour of the Colacem plant…

This being said, another element being highlighted by the present situation is the lack of coordination and simply inept handling by all levels of government on environmental issues whether it is a cement plant, forest clear-cutting, waterway protection, agricultural exploitation, wildlife, etc. The scientific consensus is that we are at a turning point in human history and need to act – now – not at the next election. The only measure put in place by the federal government is the carbon taxation which in its present form is not really convincing … but might look like a (late) start. By the way, when can we expect a total ban on neonicotinoids (neonics) insecticides? Meanwhile, Ontario’s administration is cutting back on environmental measures while Prescott-Russell counties non-elected mayors do the taxation dance, our elected mayors are powerless to oppose them.

We are losing plant species, insect species, bird, reptile, mammal species, bio diversity is down, resources overexploited, human global population has more than doubled in the last sixty years, but we have a revolutionary tax on carbon – come on guys, time to get serious, work together, leave the old-school politics of job creation and infrastructure building as they are known, get innovative! The country needs a new way of life, a new perspective for the economy and society, a new model that will include the components needed for coming generations to have a future on this world.

I fully realize how utopian the last part of the previous paragraph seems but I do have hope … It will not be easy, setting a common goal and seeing beyond the short term possible economical factor while developing expertise as we go along. I believe it’ s worth a try …

Alain Lefebvre
Vankleek Hill