Trappings of success LETTER TO EDITOR
Dear Editor, If you didn’t have enough food for each plate at the family’s kitchen table, wouldn’t it be reckless to head out and drop your wallet on a concert or show? Yet this is what proponents of a multi-million dollar arts and culture centre would counsel us to do.
The Cornwall Agape Centre serves one meal each day to 165 people. Some 600 families use their food bank each month and the St. Vincent de Paul at St. Francis Parish assists 400 families each month. (S-F, Community Editorial Board, July 27, 2018). This is but a small sample, suggesting that those numbers and more also struggle to keep a decent roof over their heads.
These are men, women, and children within our community – our families. The dire straits in which many Cornwall families find themselves, and the city’s declining economy, will not be fixed by a rib festival here and a venue for soirées there.
Cornwall city councillors, both current and hopeful, need to recognize that needs are a priority over wants and personal gratification (Abraham Maslow, “A Theory of Human Motivation,” Psychological Review 50 (1943): 370-396). Rather than trying to buy the trappings of a successful community, we can realize our potential by first establishing a foundation that ensures well-being, and invest instead in the social and economic infrastructure of roads, sewer and water, transit, internet/wifi, jobs, daycare, affordable housing, public safety, access to health services, and green public space. Our elected representatives are expected to put and keep our house in order, not undermine it with vain pursuits ahead of real and present needs – the needs of the “family” they’ve been given the duty and honour to serve.
Yours sincerely, Jim Marshall