Missing the boat on oil exports?

Dear Editor:

I have always supported the Trans Mountain Pipeline Extension (TMX), and humbly believe that my life experience as a deep-sea professional mariner — over a quarter-century criss-crossing the oceans on a variety of vessels before retiring as master of a chemical tanker — qualifies me to have an opinion on tanker safety.

In fact, I have probably forgotten more about tanker safety than many politicians and environmentalists who denigrate pipelines and tankers could ever hope to learn. That being said, everyone has a right to hold an opinion, but there’s reason to comment when Canada’s public broadcaster seems to go completely overboard in one direction.

On Wednesday, other media outlets carried several announcements about huge pipeline construction developments in the U.S. Many new arteries opening up from U.S. oilfields and heading down to Gulf Coast terminals. Economists announced that current U.S. oil exports of three million barrels per day (BPD) will increase by another million BPD at the end of this year, and stretch to over five million BPD by the end of 2020.

One of Canada’s greatest natural assets is land-locked in Alberta, and every attempt to pipe it to the B.C. coast or to New Brunswick refineries have been stymied. Although purchased by the federal government, it’s possible that TMX’s feasibility is in jeopardy, with this huge uptick in U.S. oil exports. To put it bluntly, we may have missed the boat.

I found no mention of this situation reported on CBC television that day, but the public broadcaster carried lengthy live coverage of a Swedish teenage environmental activist and the sailboat that had brought her with great fanfare from Plymouth, UK, to New York harbour. As she leaned against a tree dockside addressing adoring media fans with words that really didn’t carry much of a message, similarities to the final movie of the legendary Peter Sellers sprang to mind.

Decades before this teenager was born, Peter Sellers performed an Oscar-nominated role in ‘Being There,’ and his depiction of Chance the gardener was a fore-runner of the Forrest Gump character. He played a simple-minded middle-aged guy who had lived his entire life in seclusion, obtaining his only knowledge of the real world from watching TV. When accidentally exposed to the outside world, Chance was mistaken for a genius, and manipulated into the limelight by gullible glitterati from the political and publishing worlds. Something similar seems to have happened to the pig-tailed teenager who made huge headlines even before sailing across the Atlantic to limit her carbon footprint. However, the sailboat has to return to Europe, necessitating a crew to fly to New York for that assignment. The girl is scheduled to fly to other venues, including a climate conference in Chile, before jetting home to Stockholm.

To quote the aforementioned Forrest Gump: “Stupid is as stupid does.”

Bernie Smith

Parksville

It takes a city hall to raise a high-rise

Dear Editor:

As a resident of Kelowna’s Pandosy Village area, I feel compelled to express dismay at the apparent direction of new development in the area.

Most recently a development proposal sign went up on the gravel parking lot and campground adjacent to Gyro Beach. The current OCP developed in conjunction with Kelowna stakeholders in 2011, and valid until 2030, permits a development consisting of low-rise structures of 2 1/2 to six storeys.

The information meeting suggests the developer is seeking a variance on this zoning and will then seek another variance to allow a 16-storey tower, a 12-storey tower, an 11-storey tower, a nine-storey tower, a six-storey tower, all mounted on a three-storey parking platform.

All this in an area already suffering from traffic congestion and massive parking shortages!

How can a development like this possibly fit into a village environment? Do residents, tourists and other Kelowna visitors to this scenic part of town deserve such a concrete monstrosity?

Our current city hall seems determined to increase density in this part of town at any cost. Recent approvals of other projects exceeding the height restriction outlined by OCP guidelines suggest city hall is willing to ignore the direction agreed upon by all of Kelowna when the OCP was adopted.

Please try to imagine Pandosy filled with towering concrete condo buildings — can this be in anybody’s best interests? Well, maybe the developers!

I beg city hall to listen and stick to the original OCP guidelines. If you love the Gyro Beach area and the quaint Pandosy business area like I do, then please consider making your voice heard!

Anita Haney

Kelowna

This little piggy went to market

Dear Editor:

If in olden days, you took your pig to market, you just sold it to the highest bidder. There was no “agreement to trade.”

So, why today, do countries want trade agreements?

This seems so complicated.

Is it because some companies in our country do not want foreign business competition, i.e. a level playground? Is this fuelled by lobbyists? Is it not right for the buyer to obtain the best price and the seller to obtain the price he is comfortable with?

This is trade and it should not be hindered by some trade deals ironed out by expensive lawyers and expensive politicians. 

Trade is not politics — it is business between two parties.

The trouble adds up to lawyer plus lobbyists plus politicians, and this is not free trade. Where do the pigs stand?

Jorgen Hansen

Kelowna

Move forward, not backwards

Dear Editor:

It’s incredibly telling that the only thing Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and his supporters want to talk about is this supposed “scandal” that wouldn’t even make the evening news in any other country.

The only positions of Scheer’s that I’m aware of at this point is he is against action on climate change and against the food guide (huh?). 

Have the Liberals been perfect? No, not by any means — not following through on electoral reform is the most glaring for me, personally. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his party have made mistakes. That said, I’ll take a party that makes mistakes while trying to make this country better for all than a party that seems out to harm certain people based on their ideology. Here is a far from exhaustive list of things that Scheer and the CPC have voted against since they lost the last election: 

1. The Child Tax Benefit, which according to Statistics Canada has played a role in lifting as many as 826,000 Canadians (children and families) out of poverty between 2015 and 2017. 

2. The Middle Class Tax cut 

3. Strengthening CPP & QPP

4. Restoring OAS/GIS to age 65

5. Putting a price on pollution

6. Investments in affordable housing, transit and child care

7. The Pay Equity Act (yes, they actually voted against this)

I haven’t even delved into Scheer’s voting record and stances when it comes to women’s reproductive rights, LGBTQ+ issues and climate change. Scheer has a perfect voting record and an A+ rating when it comes to pro-life advocacy groups. He has publicly stated that gay marriage isn’t legitimate and questioned whether gay couples should be raising children. The man can’t bring himself to show up to a pride parade to show that he cares about all Canadians. Of course, he wouldn’t want to upset the social conservative wing of the party that effectively made him leader.

On the flip side, the Liberal party since the last election has not only voted in all of the things listed above. They’ve also created more full-time jobs and faster than the previous regime. Real wages are rising at the fastest pace in nearly a decade. The biggest monetary gains have gone to low and middle income earners (as opposed to those who don’t need it under the CPC). Unemployment is at a 40-year low and more people are finding work than ever. Also, according to the World Index, in 2019 Canada ranks as the No. 1 country on the planet for “Quality of Life.” 

I get that there are still people out there who agree with Scheer’s stances, but the decision seems rather easy. I hope to keep moving in a forward direction and not go backwards.

John West

West Kelowna

Writer has beef with vegan protest

Dear Editor:

I would like to thank the vegans who participated in #JaneUnchained this past Saturday at Kelowna’s Rib-fest and let them know that I can rest much easier with all the facts and handwork that they have provided.

I feel better knowing on a global scale that anthropogenic carbon dioxide levels released by forestry and other land uses is 11% while emissions caused by fossil fuels and industrial uses are 65%. Agriculture in Canada accounts for 8% of total emissions, and cattle contribute less than half of that at 2.5% while transportation accounts for nearly 30%.

I feel better knowing that we are blaming the meat and dairy industries while transportation releases more Co2 into our atmosphere.

I feel better knowing that it is unacceptable to remove acres of forests for cattle, but it is acceptable to remove acres of forests to put in fields of lentils to produce our BeyondMeat products.

I feel safer switching to a non-meat-based diet when BeyondMeat offers none of the health benefits that come from consuming actual meat. Amino acids fill various essential roles within the human body such as removing toxins from the body, supporting healthy metabolism, encouraging digestion, promoting healthy body tissue, encouraging protein building blocks, synthesis of hormones and neurotransmitters thereby increasing both mood and athletic performance.

Most of all, I applaud the way the protests were staged. Stalling traffic, further emitting unnecessary Co2 onto our planet and into our communities is the surest way to save our planet.

I could argue that vegans would make a greater impact lobbying foreign (and domestic) governments, raising funds for parks, buying electric cars, or planting trees but that would just be cheesy.  

Raymond Theriault

Kelowna

New bridge could use a crosswalk

Dear Editor:

I note with pleasure the opening of the new Canyon Falls Middle School at Gordon Drive and Steele Road in September.

A beautiful new bridge was installed over Bellevue Creek across from Woodhaven Park along Raymer Road. This new bridge nicely aligns with a pedestrian walkway at Paret Crescent and a bus stop on the north side of Gordon Drive.

In the near future, pedestrians will be invited (just because it is convenient) to cross Gordon Drive, either for the purpose of catching the bus on Gordon Drive going north, accessing the sidewalk on the south side of Gordon to go to the new middle school, or just to cross from the Raymer Road vicinity across from Woodhaven Park.

Is there a plan to install a marked crosswalk at this location? Traffic along Gordon Drive at this point is normally excessively over the speed limit of 50 km/h. (There is a reader board at this point telling drivers their speed.)

There are some kids from this area who will be going to Canyon Falls Middle School this fall, and I am concerned about traffic and pedestrian conflicts.

Robert Ayotte

Kelowna