STMHA says policy not self righteous, it’s about playing hockey


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Last week’s letter from Jennifer Swales read here charging rule changes adopted by St. Thomas Minor Hockey Association smack of discrimination prompted a flurry of emotional letters to the editor, phone calls and emails.

In summary, under the new rules, if a child has received a subsidy for house league hockey, they cannot try out or play on a travel team.

“Individuals who made this rule based on ‘financial concerns’ for the parents smack of righteousness and assumptions and we all know what that does,” Swales charged.

In response to her email of Aug. 16, STMHA president Chris Smith offered the following rebuttal.

“Our Board of Directors are not ignorant to the economic landscape of our city, nor are we trying to ostracize any families, however you must understand our economic pressures,” stressed Smith.
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New minor hockey rule ‘smacks of discrimination’


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Jennifer Swales is hot enough under the collar to melt the ice at the Timken Centre.

In an email to this corner, Swales expressed concerns about rule changes adopted this season by St. Thomas Minor Hockey Association.

Apparently under the new rules, if a child has received a subsidy for hockey they cannot tryout or play on a travel team, advises Swales.

“This rule at the very least smacks of discrimination,” she continues.

“How these families raise the money should have zero bearing on this league. These children work delivering papers, cutting grass, saving birthday money. These families have to qualify for subsidy.”
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City Scope readers have their say on transit and hospital


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I’ve always maintained the success of City Scope is due to the loyalty of faithful readers who take time out of their busy schedules each week to digest the column, and their willingness to freely pass along comments and criticism.
Here are just two examples from this week’s mailbag.
Joe Caverly of St. Thomas attended Thursday’s transit open house at city hall and wanted to share his observations.
“I got a positive feeling after talking with the representative about my issues, and the direction in which St. Thomas Transit is going,” Joe offered.
“While I do not agree with the change to one-hour schedules for some of the routes, I was told that this was just the consultant’s recommendation and that public feedback may override these changes.
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Public-private partnerships (P3) need to be an Ontario election issue


Taken from the OPSEU Diablogue website. Full story also available here.

As the coming Ontario election unfolds, it is unlikely the opposition parties will go after the dozens of public-private partnership (P3) deals signed by the McGuinty government.

The darling of governments of all stripes who want to move debt off-book, P3s have been a costly boondoggle across Canada. At a time when the public is bracing for cuts to public services, the lack of debate over the squandering of billions on such enterprises is sadly missing.

The Maritime Provinces were early adopters of so-called “public-private partnerships” to build and operate public infrastructure.

The Confederation Bridge betweenPrince Edward Island and New Brunswick was one of the first mega projects developed under the model, while Nova Scotia embarked on an ambitious program to privately build and operate public schools.
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Redefining hospital’s future languishes on wait list


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We’ve badgered the administration at St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital for some time now, so it’s interesting to note CEO Paul Collins will make a guest appearance Monday at city council with a presentation on redefining the hospital’s future.

In summary, the vision encompasses new adult mental health programs, a new emergency department that is double the size of the existing area, new surgical suites and centralized ambulatory care housed in Complex Continuing Care.

The redevelopment represents a $106 million investment in St. Thomas and Elgin.

It’s a business case that was presented to the ministry of health in July, 2009, where it has languished ever since. However, it is a project the hospital has advocated for many years and should there be a change in government come October, it could add a whole new dimension to wait times.
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End of the line for Navistar’s Chatham plant


The end has finally come.

Nearly a decade after it was first announced Chatham’s Navistar plant would close, it has become a reality.

The final death knell came Tuesday — more than two years after the Richmond Street truck assembly facility has sat idled — when Navistar International Corporation issued a news release announcing its plans to close the plant.

The company blamed the inability to reach a collective bargaining agreement with the Canadian Auto Workers union as the reason operations were halted since June of 2009.

However, the union has continually stated it couldn’t get the company to the bargaining table.

CAW Local 127 president Aaron Neaves said, “it’s hard to negotiate, quite frankly, with yourself.”

Read the full story here

It’s another body shot to southwestern Ontario, the province’s manufacturing engine that has been decimated over the past couple of years with the loss of several thousand jobs alone in St. Thomas/ Elgin – which is bracing for the closure of Ford Canada’s St. Thomas Assembly Plant this fall.

The announced closure of Navistar International Truck’s Chatham facility today is a devastating blow to the workers, their families and the entire community, said CAW President Ken Lewenza.

“Despite our relentless efforts since 2009 to reopen the idled facility and get our members back to work, Navistar has remained rigid and is now moving ahead with plans to shutter the plant,” Lewenza said, following the company’s formal announcement.
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