A Commentary by Doug Draper, with some Final Words from Niagara, Ontario resident and writer Leslie Daniels
Posted July 11th, 2016 on Niagara At Large
Things must be going pretty well in St. Catharines with respect to local taxes, urban planning, water, road, transit and other services if one of the biggest issues in that Niagara, Ontario community these days is whether or not someone’s pet cat should be licensed and kept from wandering into neighbours’ yards.
The much ballyhooed St. Kitts cat license movement made front-page headlines again this Monday, July 11th in that fearless watchdog of a newspaper, The St. Catharines Standard, and was expected to go before the city’s council that evening with people.
Why is an issue like this gaining so much attention and traction?
One reason is that, for a long time now, mainstream media outlets have had their corporate masters rob them of the resources they need to investigate and get to the bottom of many real issues. Identifying which or our politicians are most in the pockets of developers takes a lot of time and effort. Getting people fired up about a tree in their yard getting sprayed by the cat next door is easy.
I also see the attention this issue is getting as another another sign of the death of neighbourhoods as close-knit communities where people at least tried to get along and have some regard for the people down the street.
Unless you are fortunate enough to live in one of those classic old neighbourhoods in Allentown or the Elmswood Village area of Buffalo, New York, where people have big front porches and connect with each other organically while sitting at an outdoor café, or walking to a store or down to the farmers’ market on the commons, what too often passes as a “neighbourhood” these days consists of houses that all look the same, with driveways full of cars and people hiding inside and spending most of their waking hours with their digital devices, firing off nasty little tweets about one another.
Even if you cross paths with someone on what passes for walkways in these neighbourhoods, most of them are more in to listening to whatever computerized noise is coming through the electronic bugs planted in their ears than in saying ‘Hi’ to you because the simple act of talking to someone face to face is “so-so yesterday.”
How much easier it is to launch a war against the neighbour’s cat.
Too bad we can’t channel some of that anger for the neighbhourhood cat into fighting municipal politicians and their friends in the building industry making costly planning decisions that continue to destroy what is left of Niagara’s natural heritage and food-growing lands.
Open Letter from Leslie Daniels to the grandstanders, sycophants, demagogues, errr… ummmm, ‘politicans:
By all means license cats.
That’ll make the little beggars stay in their own yards. Policing it might be a bit onerous but my bet is whomever came up with this idea has more up their sleeves than just arms.
But what are you going to do about squirrels and raccoons and oh yeah, the wandering, marauding opossums? Not sure who you’d go to for their licensing fees, but hey … Great idea guys.
Maybe you could find a way to charge for the rain too?
I know – you could put rain gauges in everyone’s yard and charge them by the inch. Wouldn’t get much this year but in the future, way in the future, you might even make up the costs associated with this sort of cretinous idea. (And btw, that doesn’t mean creative…LOL)
Leslie Daniels is a Niagara, Ontario resident and a well-known environmental and social activist, having worked for he government and citizens alike on the complex issue of hazazrdous and household waste management facing society today.
Her recently published first book, Boundaries, offers her private experiences with historic child sexual abuse and the institutions that propose to deal with this issue for those survivors needing support through the minefield of this journey.
To visit Leslie Daniels website click on – http://leslie-daniels-online.net/
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