Ice Storm Aftermath

To: [email protected]
Sir:
“Montreal Readers Burning As Writer Fiddles With The Facts” would be more appropriate. I have long admired Jan Wong as a writer, but this time she got it all Wrong!
A letter to the Editor in today’s paper has already stated the facts regarding Westmount’s power company, so I need not reiterate them.
As a Westmount resident who twice had lengthy black outs in the past week (and we live on the same street as the Mayor Peter F. Trent), I can attest to the relatively even-handed treatment meted out by the storm and its aftermath. Westmount responded magnificently, City Councillors were towers of strength at the shelters, public safety crews have been – and continue to be – tireless and gifted with tact and good humour, local businesses have been generous to a point only matched by private citizens who have opened their houses, staffed the shelters, donated time, food, clothing, blankets….But, Westmount is not alone. All of the affected municipalities and their citizens are working together in general good humour and creativity.
We do not need an expat journalist to convey to your national audience a snide and totally false impression of unequal services and efforts available to individuals because of differences in their incomes, or to imply that somehow this is attributable to a difference in ethnic background.
And, by the way, what would Ms Wrong have said had the wealthier, but powerless families sought assistance in the shelters rather than paying for the lodging that they could afford?
Finally, it was an interesting note that the “welfare mother” was concerned about the computer and four televisions at home. Was that a necessary piece of information? We are all concerned about our homes and possessions when we have to leave them. Let us hope that more and more people will be able to return to their homes – and the guarding pets who have remained behind. The readers of the “national” newspaper deserve better from you.

CBC Radio has been a magnificent source of information, encouragement and fair-mindedness for their listeners.

Diana Thébaud Nicholson
Westmount, Québec
Wednesday January 14th, 1998

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