From the Publisher November/December 2018


(To view our November/December 2018 issue of ClubWEST online, click here.)

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
– Benjamin Franklin

Like many Canadians, I have looked at the cancellation of the Avro Arrow program as one of the great mysteries in our nation’s still-young history.

I have read a lot about the company, the jet – the first and only supersonic interceptor built in Canada, developed to offset the threat of Soviet bombers which could attack North America by flying over the Arctic – and Diefenbaker’s decision.

The purely economic side makes sense. The government had no suitors. The U.S. would never buy Canadian, and why would they if the got all the theory and research for free (see the story) AND got all the benefits of the brain drain when the project and Avro died?

There is one outstanding query which overshadows any possible theory as to the Dief ’s motivation: Why the voracity?

Why would anyone who has spent millions upon millions – when $1 million was a mythological amount – not only kill a program but dissolve every bit of research, knowledge and understanding of that project?

Sure, cancel it to save money if you choose, but why would the actual five competed jets not simply be mothballed, plans and drawings archived, test results filed for future use if needed?

So you don’t want to spend good money after what was deemed bad….but how do you justify wasting every dime spent on the project by wiping the results of Canadian ingenuity from the face of the earth?

Simply, one can’t.

In a more philosophical look, take a look at the news around the world today. It seems pretty bleak and the horizon is not great. However, one thing Canadians have always had to prop us up has been our standing on the world stage. Canada, for many decades, has been kind of like a Switzerland with some clout.

The clout comes from being part of the G7. The standing comes from the ability of Canadian officials to be looked upon as though they are referees for the world, an arbitor at times.

So think about this: Dief steps on the gas, antes up a ton of money and puts the Arrow into full production for the Canadian Air Force. That would have made Canada a military power.

There would have been demand to send planes and soldiers into the world’s skirmishes.

Gone would be our “peacekeeper to the world” standing and we would have been much more aligned with the U.S.’s military might rep. That possibility is the only reason, even though I have never heard it mentioned, that could make sense for killing the Avro Arrow other than financial.

Publisher, ClubWest Magazine
Mike Williscraft

From the Publisher September/October 2018


(To view our September/October 2018 issue of ClubWEST online, click here.)

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
– Benjamin Franklin

Sometimes, when stars align, things can come together and it all just feels right.

As I was touring the still-under-construction location for the new Niagara Christian Gleaners facility in Smithville that certainly was the feeling I got – warm and fuzzy to be sure.

What a fantastic program!

Congratulations to all involved on the whole endeavour and to the Twp. of West Lincoln for fostering the idea of locating in the community. With the tasks they have at hand, as they do their best to feed the world’s hungry, it certainly makes sense for them to be located in the heart of Ontario’s agriculture centre.

The grand opening for the Springcreek Road plant is set for Saturday, Sept. 29. They still have a great deal of work to do to be ready for that, but all is running on schedule. Best of luck to all involved.

From one organization which is trying to do something good, we turn to an individual (and her husband) who has been working away for decades caring for area (and beyond) wildlife – Carol Ricciuto.

Many will recognize her name. I have done stories with Carol going back into the 90s.

A tireless crusader for all things breathing, she has developed a come-and-go-as-you-please type of operation for the birds she repairs. They stay in a flight cage until they can get off the ground and after that they go into a pen allowing them to venture out and return if they choose. That encourages longer flight allowing them to build stamina before they take off for good.

There are many people doing truly unique things and Carol certainly is one who fits that bill. Our community needs these folks who end up making Niagara West greater than the sum of its parts.

Those who live here in our little “club” in West Niagara know it is a great place. We have it all right here and if it is not right under our collective noses, we certainly have access to it close by.

Lake Ontario is yet another example of that. In this week’s edition, good reader, you can check out some of the ins and outs if you want to get out on that lake and try a fishing charter.

A unique service right in town and you may never have thought about it. And that is why we are here – to find these gems, polish them up and deliver them to your door.

Publisher, ClubWest Magazine
Mike Williscraft

From the Publisher July/August 2018


(To view our July/August 2018 issue of ClubWEST online, click here.)

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”
– Benjamin Franklin

Fergie Jenkins has been an acquaintance of mine for nearly 50 years.

No, we’re not best buddies. He likely doesn’t remember the first time I met him, rather, I am sure he wouldn’t.

I was about eight years old and Fergie was on a book signing tour. He was making a stop at a book store in London and stopping by was on my mom’s to-do list.

Two things my mom loves: books and anything Canadian.

So to have Canada’s all-star pitcher then of the Chicago Cubs in town and signing his new book, it was a match made in heaven. It didn’t hurt that I loved playing ball, too.

It was at that fateful meeting when Fergie related a story to my mom which I would regret for several summers. My mom asked him what he did in his hometown Chatham to build strength and condition.

Fergie told a story about his dad unloading cord after cord of firewood in front of him – well, the raw material for it anyways – and Fergie job was to chop it up with axe. Back, shoulders, legs, they’ll all get in great shape fast.

So summer after summer six, eight cords of wood got dumped in our laneway. My job, chop it up, organize it and fill our two-car garage with it….did I say my mom also loved sitting by the fire in our den. Oh ya, that and a cup of tea…forget about it.

In more recent years, I have interviewed Fergie many times.

Often over breakfast at Grimsby Sub Shop or over a burger at Teddy’s. Whenever he is in town he would often show up at community events just to participate in the goings on of his home away from home.

For this edition of ClubWest I had the occasion to chat with Fergie again as he took a break at his 25th charity golf tournament.

He is now 75 years old…a lot more miles on his odometer than when I met him as a child.

Yet, his passion and drive is the same, just his focus has changed.

Before he was worried about shutting down Major League offences, now is worried about generating funds to help community groups of all shapes and sizes.

He estimated the Foundation has generated more than $5 million since it was formally launched in 1999 and Fergie himself show no signs of slowing down…and more power to him.

Thanks for your years of dedication to our community, Fergie!

Publisher, ClubWest Magazine
Mike Williscraft