More than protesters left out in the cold

Letter to the Editor by Jean Langlois
Cape Breton Post
Thurs., Feb. 1, 2007

Embarrassed. Outraged. Ashamed. I can't quite find the words to describe how I feel as a Canadian after the way our government treated residents of Sydney Nova Scotia on Sunday).

If you ask me, people like Debbie Ouellette are Canadian heroes. Debbie's home adjacent to the toxic Sydney Tar Ponds and Coke Ovens site has now been demolished, but her resolve certainly has not. Many of us in her situation would have just gotten as far away as possible from Sydney Nova Scotia, but she stayed and fought for a cleanup alongside an admirable band of local residents.

On Sunday these heroes were literally left out in the cold as government officials barred them from entering the building where a cleanup plan for the sites was finally being announced by Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay and the Public Works Minister, Senator Michael Fortier.

But this appalling gaff is just a hint of a deeper callousness. Sunday's announcement also confirmed that the cleanup will be limited to the industrial site and will not address the contamination of nearby homes.

It seems our government is content to leave affected residents out in the cold. I am offended that our government thinks this is how Canadians want to treat their fellow citizens. That's the word: offended.

Jean Langlois, Ottawa
National Campaigns Director
Sierra Club of Canada