Trash-bag limit would be open to abuseRe: All options being considered to keep trash out of the municipal dump as council digs into garbage policy, June 26.I’m a board member of a large townhouse condominium complex. Our garbage goes on large communal pads for pickup by the city. There is no way to police who puts what where, and we already have problems with household waste put out on the wrong week, as well as improper recycling. The private citizens of the condo bear the cost to keep on top of these matters.If a bag limit is imposed on everyone, piles of garbage would be left on-site once the limit had been loaded in the trucks, leaving the condo with no route of disposal. Waiving residential setups such as ours from a bag limit would result in non-resident dumping on our property.We already see this with renovation materials, and the dumpsters beside our local strip mall are used illegally as well. Rural residents will see garbage dumped on their property (if they don’t already). Should Ottawa proceed with a universal bag limit, I strongly urge all the townhouse condominiums in Ottawa to band together to protest this at City Hall.Leslie Brown, GloucesterPay-per-bag is a bad idea tooTo institute a pay-per-bag system is a horrible idea. Some people will avoid the fee by doing the “midnight garbage bag toss.”We live on a well-travelled rural road and we already have a steady stream of Tim Hortons, McDonald’s and beverage container trash. Sometimes we have a pile of tires from someone who didn’t want to pay the recycle fee, or garbage bags from someone who missed garbage day.We have recycled from the beginning, kitchen waste being the largest contribution. There are still neighbours who have never used the green bin.Bryan Kallio, Cumberland VillageHow about a wider strategy?I am glad to see the city moving forward to update its solid waste master plan but disappointed that there doesn’t seem to be any attention paid to discussion of strategies:• to get better compliance from owners and residents in multi-dwelling and commercial high-rise buildings, which appear largely resistant to recycling and other waste management practices;• that might be effective with hospital and other health care facilities, the food industry and other sectors likely to be hard hit by decisions about single-use plastics; and• that feature rewarding (deposits) versus punitive approaches (extra charges for exceeding household waste limits) and don’t create another layer of bureaucratic work.Finally, much of this pales against the challenge of shifting packaging practices at all points along the production-and-use chain of food, health care and other products.As an example, a person needing weekly infusions that are self-administered at home saves resources in the health system but generates considerable waste, including an amazing amount of packaging (much of it single-use plastic) and biohazard waste, which can be managed by pharmacies but still adds a basketful of non-recyclable waste each week.Finding the best practices in the field of waste management, promoting awareness of them and encouraging supportive strategies could help reduce waste further. So would strategies to support residents in the process of moving from residence to residence which often generates waste far in excess of usual household limits.Linda Murphy, OttawaDon’t smoke pot in publicRe: Walter the puppy accidentally ate a toxic dose of pot discarded in an Ottawa park. Dog owners beware, June 26. The Citizen reports that a dog got quite sick by eating a cannabis stub in a park. On Tuesday evening, we saw police nab a man smoking pot on the sidewalk on Rideau Street at Nelson. It seems that a lot of people are completely unaware, or ignorant, of the fact that although pot is now legal, you are not allowed to smoke it in public.Unfortunately, the people who need to know this probably don’t read newspapers. I do not belong to any social media system so I can only hope that someone who does can please spread the word.Roger Webber-Taylor, OttawaTaxpayers’ money ends the Mark Norman boondoggleRe: Vice Adm. Mark Norman to retire from Canadian Forces, June 26.Sometimes I just can’t figure whether we, the people of Canada, are generous or just plain stupid.The latest episode of our generosity came Wednesday with the government’s announcement that we taxpayers had paid Vice-Admiral Mark Norman to go away and keep his mouth shut so as not to expose more dirt before the federal election.The Crown abandoned a court case against Norman, whom the government had tried to blame for some problem of its own making. This was particularly galling for the prime minister, who had predicted a trial long before Norman was even charged.The vice-admiral had hoped to tell his story but money talks – our money – and the government walks away from another boondoggle.Joe Spence, Ottawa
Vice-Admiral Mark Norman attends the Royal Canadian Navy Change of Command ceremony in Halifax on June 12.
Andrew Vaughan /
THE CANADIAN PRESS
What did the Mark Norman affair cost us?Somewhere, government, you seem to have lost your way. You seem to think that you are some kind of special entity that can do anything you want. In reality, you are us, the Canadian taxpayers. Nothing more than a collection of the people.When you throw our money around by frivolously making accusations about people in our government, such as Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, you don’t have the right to then spend more money to make it go away and hide the amount. That’s our money, not yours. Now is the time for our government to tell the whole truth.D.J. Phillips, GloucesterNobody benefits from Ontario’s changes to student assistanceRe: Reality of OSAP cuts hits home, June 24.Your anecdotes of students facing massive cuts to their OSAP grants left me sad, and mad. The street-level stories paint a vivid picture of students who may now be denied a university education.I take issue with the high-level spin in the article, in which one consultant suggests that students from wealthy backgrounds will be better off, owing to the government’s tuition cuts. This is faulty logic. Nobody is better off when access to a university education is denied to those seeking to develop themselves and contribute to their community.Diminishing the cultural and socio-economic diversity of the student population will make the college or university less effective as a centre for exchanging diverse perspectives and ideas, so important to developing critical thinking skills. In the longer term, it will deny Ontario and Canada the graduates we need who are reflective of our growing diversity.Some might say that the lack of a university education did not stop Buck-a-Beer guy from becoming premier. Maybe not, but it stopped him from becoming a capable premier, able to understand the impact of his decisions.Harvey Brodkin, OttawaALSO IN OPINION:Khan: Canada’s trying far too hard to make the world notice usShaver: Pharmacare report highlights some flaws in Canada Health Act Daviau: There’s a business —and personal—case for replacing Phoenix