Email your letters to: letters@pentictonherald.ca

Hong Kong handover was a delicate matter

Dear editor:

Referring to Rene Goldman’s letter (Herald, Aug. 22), I thought at the time that former UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher made a serious mistake in not offering Hong Kong residents a referendum on what their preference was following the expiry of the UK’s lease on Hong Kong in 1997.

I suspect that she wanted to keep in Beijing’s good books with one eye on then-emerging future trade with China.

I think that she had a very good case for taking the line that the lease required that Hong Kong be returned to the emperor of China (with whom the lease was originally negotiated) or his legitimate heirs.

The Beijing government could not claim to be the emperor’s legitimate heirs because they had taken power by revolution.

Therefore she could have taken the stand that there were no surviving legitimate heirs of the emperor to whom the territory could be returned.

A referendum could have had the options of becoming an independent nation, remaining as a British colony or becoming part of China.

The independent nation option would likely have necessitated the British government guaranteeing protection by maintaining a military base there for as long as the Hong Kong government wished them to do so.

Brian Butler


I’ll see your $10, and then I’ll lower it by $3

Dear editor:

Re: “Telco’s apology misses the mark,” Herald, Letters, Aug. 23

Glad to see there are some big-hearted people out there. My Telus email service was off from Aug. 9-22 and has still got problems.

The $7 bill credit I was offered will buy a hamburger or perhaps two?

Tom Isherwood


Should have checked cheaper options first

Dear editor:

Re: “Cheaper fixes found for Oliver irrigation,” Herald, A1, Aug. 27

This article raises two important questions.

First, why didn't Oliver town officials explore less expensive options for the canal repairs before asking the federal government for financial support? The application for funding may have had a better chance of being supported if the amount of money requested was smaller.

Second, will town officials reapply to the federal government for funding now that the new estimates for the canal repairs are a significantly smaller amount?

Rob Swan


No substance behind Green boss’s big ideas

Dear editor:

Recent opinion polls show the upcoming federal election too close to call between Canada's Liberal and Conservative parties, and a minority government looks possible in October.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May seized an opportunity for the headlines she always craves, by immediately announcing her party’s support for the Liberals should the hypothetical minority situation arise. She’s never shied away from stating that there’s no love lost between her and the Conservative Party.

That works both ways, as documented in a 2016 book, “Not My Party: The Rise and Fall of Canadian Tories from Robert Stanfield to Stephen Harper,” authored by Tom McMillan, the environment minister in Brian Mulroney’s government in the 1980s.

Loquacious Liz was hired to join his ministerial staff in 1986, in what Mr. McMillan hoped would result in a better relationship with environmentalists she represented. Her hiring was against the advice of the then-PM, who referred to her as “bad news;” her actions soon proved Mr. Mulroney was right, and the minister learned his lesson the hard way.

He writes that she was fired for violating his trust and government security by divulging confidential deliberations of the minister and of cabinet to her environmental activist network. His characterization of her as a quisling with conniving and underhanded ways, unbridled ego, and a desperate longing to become a superstar fits neatly with his summation that she’s a master of misinformation warfare.

Tom McMillan's words rang loudly in my ears last week, when watching a televised report of the Ethics Committee hearing in Ottawa, where Ms. May very forcefully opined that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s part in the SNC-Lavalin scandal was a "resignation offence."

This is the very same PM to whom she has already pledged her party’s support in the event of a minority government in October, and with whom she has been cozying up cheek-by-jowl at recent Pride parades in Vancouver and Montreal, while denigrating the Conservative leader for not participating in the frivolity.

Loquacious Liz has spent a lifetime endearing herself to many national media mavens with her ever-present goofy grin. They invariably interview her with soft-ball questions and seldom ask for detailed explanations or follow-ups, but if Mr. McMillan is to be believed then something sinister lurks behind that goofy grin.

Bernie Smith


Summerland needs vacation-rental rules

Dear editor:

The Affordable Housing Framework presentation to Summerland council in October 2017 recommended that the District of Summerland adopt a short-term housing policy and review the existing policies in other municipalities such as Nelson and Whistler.

Communities such as Nelson have identified short-term rentals as a problem and have created bylaws that restrict the number of licences and require registration of short-term rental units.

Looking on the Summerland district website, it does not appear that the policy recommendations have been implemented.

The Affordable Housing Framework document states why long-term rentals are being forced out by the lure of easy money from short term rentals:

‘It is much easier to list a suite on vacation rental sites than deal with the issues that arise from having long-term renters. Owners of unregistered suites will rent to monthly renters from September to May and then kick them out in order to accommodate short-term vacation renters during the summer.”

The pros and cons section of the document includes a statement about the effect of short term rentals on the local economy including:

“Short-term rentals undermines long-term sustainability and year-round activity of local businesses especially in seasonal destination communities and that they may displace year-round renters from the community.”

The document also includes articles on the consequences of leaving services like Airbnb unchecked that have been widely outlined in the City of Vancouver.

I'm hoping that Summerland district staff will in the near future develop short-term rental bylaw recommendations and guidelines by reviewing these articles and other communities’ existing bylaws.

Having bylaws in place will help residents in established single family neighbourhoods continue to enjoy living in the peace and quiet they bought into all year round.

Diana Smith


Money is great, but can’t take it with you

Dear editor:

Just a brief reminder of where we stand in relation to the richest people of the world. 

The old adage that the rich are getting richer and the poor are becoming poorer is now truer than ever.

As an example, Microsoft founder Bill Gates is presently worth about $102 billion, which is the equivalent wealth of 3.6 billion people. The present population of the world is somewhere around 7.7 billion. So, Mr. Gates has about as much money as half the people of the world.

However, Jeff Bezos, head of Amazon is even richer by a few billion. The eight richest in order of wealth are:

Jeff Bezos (Amazon); Bill Gates (Microsoft)’ Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway Investments); Bernard Arnault (French fashions); Carlos Slim (Mexican Industrialist); Amancio Ortega (Spanish clothier); Larry Ellison (computers); Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook).

Most of the above named probably worked hard to get to where they are today, so perhaps we shouldn’t begrudge them their wealth. Some, like Bill Gates, are now turning philanthropic, giving significant amounts of their money to social causes because they have found that they simply won’t be able to spend it all before they die.

Oxfam (a global organization working to end the injustice of poverty and inequality, with a focus on women's rights), blames this inequality on tax dodges, wage restraints, squeezing producers, and a focus on delivering higher returns to wealthy owners and top executives.

What brought this to mind was the recent death of David Koch, one of the two (there are actually four) wealthy Koch Brothers (net worth, $50 billion) who made most of their money in oil and coal production, and who were partially responsible for Trump’s war on the environment. According to sources, the Koch’s made just a mere $12 billion last year alone.

David, unfortunately, was not able to take it with him, and it is highly unlikely that any of the eight men above will either. So, what’s the point?

Frank Martens


Hydro makes more sense than wind, solar

Dear editor:

The concept of using solar and power generation came into being as way to reduce carbon dioxide and other emissions from fossil fuels. Fortunately, B.C. has a long established hydro power grid system delivering the most environmentally clean electricity. 

But sadly, somehow hydro power generation, a non-fossil fuel way of generation, became lumped in with coal and oil burning. 

Thus the mistaken, purely psychological drive to manufacture and install solar and wind generation, which again defeats the environmental cause.

Additionally, in the interest of civic harmony, all those connected to the hydro power grid are require to pay their share of operating, capital and taxes.

Bruce Alton McGillis