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Getting taxed to visit the States?!


If the International Border Caucus is unsuccessful, Canadians will have to pay a fee to visit the United States via “air or sea” beginning November 5th.

Ontario Senator Bob Runciman’s office shared a release from U.S. State Senator Patty Ritchie’s office entitled: “Border Senators oppose ‘visitor tax’ on Canadians.”

According to the release, “New York State Senators who represent districts along the 450-mile US-Canadian border joined together to urge Congress to repeal  a new $5.50 visitor fee that they say will hurt small businesses who rely on Canadian tourists, cost New Yorkers their jobs, and further damage relations between the two nations.”

“The 11 members of the State Senate’s bipartisan International Border Caucus signed a letter to both US Senators from New York, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, urging them to fight for a repeal of the new fee.”

Included in the letter, “We urge you to join us in working together to remove this tax on our Canadian friends that will hurt our economy and cost jobs across New York State.”

Runciman, the Border Caucus’ Canadian co-chair, agreed with the U.S. senators saying, “This fee, depending on how it is implemented, could be extremely damaging. I’m particularly worried about the impact on the boat cruise business if they are not granted an exemption.”

He went on to say that he’s “grateful for the support of the International Border Caucus on this issue. It’s exactly the sort of cross-border cooperation we hoped for when Senators Patty Ritchie, Joseph Griffo and I decided to put together a binational group of legislators who serve border communities.”

The “visitor fee” is actually a clause in the U.S.-Colombia free trade deal which removes exemption from the tariff for travelers from Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.

Under the North American Free Trade Agreement, Canada and Mexico have been exempt from the tariff since 1997.

The Leader spoke with Senator Runciman’s Executive Assistant, Barry Raison, asking whether Canada has a similar tax for Americans visiting Canada. “I’m not aware that we do,” he said.

Raison confirmed that “the (Canadian) government is working to convince them (U.S.) it’s not the right thing to do.”

As for who is affected by the tax, Raison reported “we’re trying to clarify” that, but it appears that the tax does “not apply to recreational boaters.”

How will this tax situation affect Canada and Canadians? As Raison said, “we’ll have to wait and see.”


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Remembrance Day


 It is hard to believe that it has been 1 year since we last celebrated Remembrance Day. 

I wonder how many Veterans we have lost in the past 12 months. Sadly it seems year after year the number of these brave men and woman attending the November 11 ceremonies is falling dramatically. 

It never fails to move me emotionally when I observe the determination of these true Canadian heroes and heroines as they come to attention and salute as the National Anthem is played. 

On a positive note, I have also noticed that the number of citizens attending Remembrance Day ceremonies throughout Stormont, Dundas & South Glengarry has increased in recent years. This is a very encouraging development. I believe this is an indication that the general public is realizing the tremendous sacrifices veterans and their families have made to protect our country and its citizens.

This year marks the end of Canada’s combat mission in Afghanistan. We should pay special tribute to the current members of the Canadian Forces for the enormous contributions they have made during the past decade. We should also recognize and thank their families for their many sacrifices during the same period. And of course we owe a great debt of gratitude to all who continue to support Canada’s non-combat missions throughout the world.

I encourage every constituent of SD&SG to make this Remembrance Day special. 

There are many ways to actively honour and remember our Canadian Veterans. Wear a poppy above your heart. Attend the local Remembrance Day ceremony and vow to never let their memories die. 

Probably the best way we can show the respect and gratitude our Veterans deserve is by spending time getting to know them and listening to their stories.

Lest We Forget!  

Guy Lauzon

Member of Parliament

Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry


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Squashing rumours


If you heard about the several police cars pulled over alongside the ramp to Highway 401 with officers and dogs heading into the forest (some with machine guns), then you might be wondering what exactly was happening October 27th.

OPP Constable Pete Robertson explained the situation to the Leader on October 31st.

First off, the machine guns were, in fact, not machine guns at all. They were C8’s with clips, or semi-automatic rifles, which can easily be mistaken for machine guns.

Secondly, the entire event came about due to a tip. Robertson confirmed that “three suspected males were in an area trying to commit a theft.”

“They ran off into the bush,” where OPP officers went in pursuit, but the suspects were “not located.”


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Kraft food challenge


For most of us, the holiday season is a time of celebration with lots of great food. But for some families it can be a challenging time for the simple reason that there is not enough food to go around.

That’s why Kraft Food for Families is supporting local food banks across Canada this holiday season.

Show your support between November 3, 2011 and January 31, 2012, just add your name. It is as easy as going to and entering your name to support us.  If we get 1000 names the House of Lazarus will receive $1000, and Kraft Food Canada will donate $1 to your choice of 1 of 30 local food banks.  

With choosing The House of Lazarus you will be helping us to stock our shelves with much needed food.

Together, we can help make the holidays easier for everyone.

Any questions contact Kim or Elaine at the House of Lazarus, 613-989-3830.


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Ladies Night Out Update


Scotiabank South Mountain generously agreed to match all proceeds raised from Community Living Dundas County’s annual Ladies Night Out on October 13th. CLDC’s Debbie Boardman, Marlene Lewis, and Amber Rothwell accepted a cheque for $4,924 on October 28th from Karen Thompson, Branch Manager along with the Scotiabank ladies who volunteered at the event.  


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Crafts before Christmas


Matilda Hall in Dixon’s Corners was the place to be on Saturday morning.

The Brinston United Church held their 20th Annual Fall Craft Show at Matilda Hall on October 29th.

Organizer, Leslie Disheau, confirmed that “the proceeds from the admission and vendor registration go to the general fund for the church to pay our monthly bills. The luncheon proceeds go directly to the Sunday school for their operational cost.”

The show boasted “lots of new vendors, great gift items and door prize draws” as well as a luncheon. 

Also, for those interested  in shopping whether for themselves or for “early” Christmas gifts, there were lots of handmade  items including clothing, blankets, decorations, and baking.  

As of October 31st, Disheau said, “I don’t have a total yet of how much we made, but I do know we were down by 100 people coming through the doors this year. Last year we were over 300 people (and) this year it was just over 200.” 

She acknowledged that there is “so much going on (and) people can only be in so many places in one day.”

“I do a satisfaction survey with the vendors and all of them were super satisfied with the luncheon and love the fact the kids are servers. They also were satisfied with how the day went,” she added.

“This year I had nine new vendors, so people would have seen some new products.”

As for success, the Craft Show boasted a full parking lot, a full hall, and lots of satisfied visitors.


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Snowmobiling and winter tourism


With a new snowmobiling season about to commence, the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs (OFSC), thanks the Government of Ontario for its support of winter tourism and snowmobile trails.

Thanks to the McGuinty Government and Michael Chan, Minister of Tourism and Culture, Ontario snowmobilers, along with snowbelt communities, local residents and businesses, will experience the benefits of the many upgrades and improvements to the OFSC trail infrastructure that will help boost winter tourism during the coming season.

With 229 community based clubs and 168,000 family members, the Ontario Federation of Snowmobile Clubs is a volunteer led not-for-profit association, which through strong leadership, provides a wide range of quality programs and services to, and on behalf of, its member organizations. Our 34,262 kilometre provincial network of organized snowmobile trails connects Ontario communities, providing responsible riding experiences that are safe, enjoyable, and environmentally sustainable.


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Howald launches exciting new novel set in World War II


 “Writing is something you either want to do, or you don’t want to. I have to write. It’s a passion, one that isn’t going away,” said Brian Howald, home in Morrisburg to discuss the launch of his new novel, Inside Looking Out.

Howald, a graduate of Morrisburg Public School, and, in 1982, Seaway District High School in Iroquois, talked about his writing career on October 31. 

He originally studied broadcasting at Loyalist College, then lived for a time in Toronto, working for a casting/modeling agency and taking part in the Toronto music scene. 

A move to Kingston in the late 80s led to work with Theatre 5, and some writing of music and film reviews for a small independent newspaper. He also took a full time writing course at St. Lawrence College, an option he found very valuable. 

Eventually, however, Howald was drawn to writing full time.  In 1993 he formed a company called Bookworm Literary Productions. For him, it was the best of both worlds; publishing books, with  ample time to work on his own writing.

His first book, The Chopper of Lucy Electra, appeared in 1996. 

It was “ a murder mystery which was set in both the Seaway of the 1950s, and partially in modern times.”  

Other articles and books followed since Howald does not restrict his writing to one particular genre. What ever strikes him as interesting, with potential as story material, that is what he will write about.

His 2011 novel, Inside Looking Out, is being launched at Bookworm in Kingston on November 11. Inside Looking Out, is set in the very early years of  World War II.

“I began exploring a lot of historical accounts of World War II, researching military engagements and doing a great deal of reading,” Howald said. “My story and characters grew out of this.”

Inside Looking Out follows two young men, one a civilian pilot contracted to the R.A.F.,  the other a soldier who did not make it out during the hurried evacuation  of stranded British troops from the beaches of Dunkirk in early June of 1940. 

The two men ultimately meet in a German prisoner-of-war camp, eventually taking part in a daring and desperate escape across occupied Europe to Denmark, and then Sweden.

“The characters of Pete and Terry came out of my research. They are as real as I could make them. For young men in their 20s war is a kind of ultimate adventure,”  the author said.

Howald stresses that his German characters are not “stick figures. This is a time when the Germans are at their most triumphant. They expect to win the war. I would call this story a dramatic thriller in the old style meaning of the term.” 

He did not deliberately set out to release the novel on Remembrance Day, but it is perhaps fitting that it will be available starting November 11.

Brian Howald is an old fashioned writer in one way. 

“When I write, I use traditional, spiral notebooks and I write long hand,” he laughed. “I do not like the “box”, my word for the word processor. I have people who are much better at processing my work than I am.”

His preferred writing venue is also a little unusual.

“I am far more comfortable writing in restaurants and coffee shops,” he said. “I actually prefer the noise and music that forms  the background in these places. I think I got used to that kind of ambiance when I was writing in Toronto.”

Howald is currently at work  polishing a new novel called The Spot Marked X, also tied into events of World War II, which should be coming out in 2012.

In the meantime, he continues to devote himself to a challenging but ultimately rewarding career. 

“Writing is not an easy choice in life. There are years spent writing a book, not to mention the endless editing and rewrites. But if this is what you love, you have to write,” he said.

Howald’s original novel Inside Looking Out should soon be available at the Seaway Pharmacy and the Basket Case, Morrisburg. Contact Brian Howald at


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Pilon to participate in Rick Hansen 25th anniversary Man in Motion Relay


Tayler Pilon was just two years old when her grandfather, Les Bilmer, was left a quadriplegic after an accident in the fall of 2000 injured his spinal cord.

After the injury from a fall, and a year in hospital, her ‘poppy’ was brought home, where he was cared for, round the clock by Grandma Inez and the entire Bilmer family including young Tayler, the only tiny tot in the family at the time.

“I helped Grandma crush up his pills, and there were pockets in his wheelchair where there were always treats for me.”

“It was hard. It was 24-7 care,” says Tayler’s mother, Laury. “I am sure Dad lived as long as he did because of her. She would crawl up in bed with him and have her naps. There were always little treats under his pillow.”

Les passed away in May of 2004, and Tayler, now 13, has fond memories of the days she spent with him.

That’s why, when her Aunt Debbie learned of the Rick Hansen 25th anniversary Man in Motion Relay, Tayler was eager to apply to be part of it. 

She was one of 8,000 Ontarians who applied and one of 2,000 who were successful.

This Saturday, October 29, Tayler with Grandma Inez and a large number of the Bilmer family will be in Smiths Falls where Tayler will run her 250m of the relay that started in Cape Spear, Newfoundland, on August 24, and will end May 22, 2012, in Vancouver, British Columbia.


Twenty-five years ago, Rick Hansen wheeled through 34 countries in 26 months to complete his now-famous Man in Motion World Tour.

His mission was to inspire the world and realize the dream of raising millions of dollars for spinal cord injury research, making communities more accessible and inclusive and changing the way people looked at the potential of people with disabilities.

In March of 2010, the 25th anniversary campaign began with the official launch of the Rick Hansen Institute, founded in 2009. This independent institute is a Canada-wide collaboration dedicated to accelerating progress toward a cure and improving the quality of life for people who live with spinal cord injuries and related disabilities.

One of the key events of the 25th Anniversary of the Man in Motion World Tour is the current nine month Rick Hansen Relay which Tayler Pilon of Morrisburg is participating in, in memory of her grandfather, Les Bilmer, this Saturday, October 29 in Smiths Falls.

Tayler has set a goal of raising $1,000 for the Relay.

“We are trying to raise $1,000, and we are at $700 now,” she said last Wednesday. “We have donations from my aunts and uncles and the Legion, the  Legion Ladies Auxiliary and friends.”

“We didn’t have to make a donation, but I wanted to.”

Although Tayler was not yet born when the original Man in Motion Tour took place, she has since studied and learned about the effort.

“I looked up information on Rick Hansen, because I really didn’t know much about him. He wheeled for 26 months and has raised $26 million.”

“He became like a national hero, just like Terry Fox did.” 

Tayler says she is excited about running her leg of the relay and is proud to have the opportunity to carry the 25th anniversary commemorative medal with 16 other medal bearers in Smiths Falls.

The event is sponsored by Nike and McDonald’s, and Tayler will run in a uniform provided by Nike and will receive a replica of the commemorative medal.

For those who wish to travel to Smiths Falls, Tayler will be running at about 3:54 p.m. She is scheduled to attend a briefing at the Smith Falls Memorial Community Centre at 2:15 before being taken by bus to her segment of the relay.

Family and friends are advised to look for the relay segment with Tayler’s Medal Bearer # MB067-025.

For those who can’t make the trip, but would like to help Tayler reach her $1,000 donation goal, you can donate online. Information on the link can be obtained by emailing Laury and Tayler at For more information you can call them at 613-543-3961.


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JW MacIntosh Seniors’ support centre holds 20th anniversary


“In 1991, the three United Counties and the province of Ontario united to build this seniors’ support centre. In 20 years, it has grown beyond all expectations. It has played a vital part in senior health and home care. It has made a real difference for seniors in our community,” said Janet Levere, executive director of the Williamsburg Non-Profit Housing Corporation.

She welcomed well over 100 dignitaries, volunteers and friends to a 20th anniversary celebration of the J.W.MacIntosh Seniors’ Support Centre in Williamsburg on Tuesday, October 18. 

Board members, past and present, members of the South Dundas council and J.W.MacIntosh Support Centre staff also joined in the festivities. Guests and visitors were able to see displays and posters highlighting the activities and services available to the community. 

The event ended with the celebratory cutting of a cake. 

On October 23, 1991, The Morrisburg Leader did a feature about the Park Lane Senior Support Centre describing it as “part of a pilot project for the province of Ontario, with sister projects in Stormont and Glengarry counties.” 

The article went on to say that the project was “69 per cent funded by the Ministry of Social and Community Services, covering the cost of the Outreach Centre and 31 per cent funded by the Ministry of Housing. The Williamsburg Non-Profit Housing is the sponsoring agent, who applies for the grants and handles the administrative aspect.”

In 2006, the building was officially named the J.W. MacIntosh Seniors’ Support Centre in honour of John MacIntosh. 

The Centre is a key focus for area seniors and their families. It currently offers Meals-on-Wheels, the Diners Club, respite care, foot clinics, supportive housing and assisted living. “In 2007, we began to offer the Going Home program to assist seniors who were leaving the hospital,” Levere said.

Chair of the board of directors of the Williamsburg Non-Profit Housing Corporation, Jim Kooistra, offered his anniversary congratulations. 

“I am very glad that in 1991, a group of people decided to build this facility. It was the first of its kind, a real pilot project for the province,” said Kooistra. 

“In the past 20 years we have served 70,000 meals (through Meals-on-Wheels and the Diners’ Club) and provided people in our community with a little help or a lot of help depending on the need.” 

Seniors Dwight Gilmer and his wife, Marian, both of Iroquois, began as volunteers for Meals-on-Wheels, and now take advantage of that service and others offered by the Centre. “It is so wonderful to know that a great facility like this is here to help us, and to help us stay in our homes,” Gilmer said.

Senior Helen Gill of Morrisburg said that the staff and volunteers of the Centre are “loving and kind and so supportive.”

The hard work of area volunteers drew praise from speakers at the celebration.

“Our volunteers have done so much for the Centre. They serve from the heart and have dedicated themselves to helping others,” chairman Kooistra said. 

In 2010, volunteers logged over 6,000 hours of recorded volunteer time.

Mary Osborne and Winnie Gorman shared why they devote time to the Support Centre.   

“I believe that if you are able to do something of benefit to others, then you should do it,” Osborne said. 

“I go home from (volunteering) here feeling rejuvenated and happy,” said Gorman. “I recommend taking the time to offer a helping hand.”

Mayor Steven Byvelds joined councillors Jim Locke, Evonne Delegarde and Archie Mellan, in honouring the 20th anniverary of the J.W. MacIntosh Seniors’ Support Centre. 

“It is a great pleasure to see how a service like this is used in our community,” mayor Byvelds said, then added, “In 20 years, I expect that I will be looking to use these great facilities.”