Justice system too opaque

Dear editor:

Re: “Justice muzzled,” Herald, Editorial, June 25

I could sense the frustration in Herald city editor Joe Fries’ recent editorial, and it’s not the first time he has used his privileged editorial position to criticize the system and the establishment.

I am of course referring to our injustice system.

It is a fact that in life terrible tragedies can and do occur, some of them from natural causes. And then there are the other tragedies with the human causes.

A type where violence and ill will take precedence resulting in you being a victim of a terrible crime.

But hey, one would think or assume that if the perpetrator is caught and sentenced, one might have thought that some sense of closure and a modicum of relief might be possible.

But no.

This is Canada, and this is where Fries along with thousands of other people like myself who have shared his ongoing frustration only to realize that no amount of letter writing or public complaints are going to change anything, because just like a looter who capitalizes on your misfortune by adding to your misery after a town tragedy such as a flood or a wildfire, the judges are no different.

They add to the hurt and pain with their continuous appeasement of the criminals’ needs, they go to astonishing lengths to find clemency, there are no limits to the research they will do to find an excuse for a lighter-than-light sentence.

Do they not feel the pain and damage done to the victims?

Like Fries said in his recent editorial, the lack of transparency in the judiciary is not serving the people well.

We have judges, both male and female, who are not culpable. They have no need to explain their actions, they can’t be fired or reprimanded for the incredibly poor decisions they wish upon us.

In my world, when a jury finds a defendant guilty, the judge should then rightly pass sentence, and that sentence should then be passed back to the jury for its accountability.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Don Smithyman


Crime stats confusing

Dear editor:

The front page of the Herald on Thursday, July 4, included a report on crime statistics.

The article noted that the spike in crime reporting is due to new requirements, reportedly originating with Statistics Canada, that count reported calls to police, whether police judge that the crime happened or not.

This make no sense to me whatsoever.

Surely any competent statistician attempting to understand and report on a complex system would want both numbers: the total number of calls and the number of those calls that were considered legitimate (or frivolous).

Even from a police management and staffing perspective, there must be a vast difference in the number of staff hours needed to handle these different types of call.

How can we now depend on any crime reporting statistics?

The higher reporting numbers certainly don’t provide the public with any reliable assessment of criminal activity in our towns and cities.

I am concerned that this reporting decision reflects political interference in the gathering of statistics, which I believe would set a dangerous precedent.

John Bubb

Summerland Numbers tell partial truth

Dear editor:

l have been following the comments about Penticton RCMP Supt. Ted De Jager, on the Editorial page. So here is my opinion on crime statistics in our fair city.

First of all, statistics are just numbers that can be manipulated to show negative or positive results depending on how they are presented. Any bank manager, salesperson or accountant/ bookkeeper can juggle numbers, if they so choose.

Don't get me wrong, l am not accusing our police superintendent of this, just shedding light on why he is so adamant to try and prove there is not a problem with crime here in Penticton when there blatantly is.

You can try using the excuse that any city of our size is worse off with crime – we don’t care about similar-sized cities in Canada. We live here and we want to feel safe in our homes, places of work and on our streets, at parks and beaches. So throw away your useless statistics and show your numbers in force and in public, either in uniform or plain clothes. That is all we are asking.

l believe this approach could solve a lot of problems in our city. Let's face it, De Jager is a numbers guy! Also, what is all this new-fangled way of categorizing crimes reported to founded and unfounded cases? What does this mean in English? Just one more way to confuse the taxpayers into thinking it is worth their while to “if you see it, report it.”

RCMP probably will not do anything with your information except file it in the round basket.

And police wasting time on social media gleaning info from private citizens? Come on, get real. Leave the confines of the station and your devices and make yourselves visible in the community. Talk to people, all people, both good and not so good, and get to know them either on foot, on bikes or in your vehicles.

We need and want more hands-on and visibility from our cops. What is the purpose of collecting statistics? Is this what the future of policing will look like? No wonder people want to take the law into their own hands.

And the justice system is failing us as well.

Marilyn LaFortune


Writer wrong on addictions

Dear editor:

Curt Eaton’s letter (Herald, July 5) is pure malarkey. Let me paraphrase it for readers: It’s no secret that economists and politicians are addicted to the most recent preachings on climate science. They’ll stand on their pulpits and create images surrounding tobacco and other addictions.

As much as we’ve made huge progress in the last 40 years on environmental regulation, I don’t know and have never met a person that says an economist or politician knows how to spend our money as well as we do.

They trot out tools like supply and demand theory, tell us that an apocalypse is imminent and say they’re being careful to analyze data. Will people smoke less if they have to pay double for cigarettes? Perhaps. They’ll also buy less apples, visit farmers markets less frequently and so on if they have less money because of a tax. It’s common sense.

Collectively, people like Eaton fail to identify the root cause of the problem and hope to win the war on climate change and reduce our carbon footprints. The truth is, the politicians, climate change and taxation advocates and a lot of scientists are more addicted to our cash than we are on fossil fuels.

They want to make it more expensive for us to consume everything and narrowly focus on simple things like fossil fuel.

A carbon tax does this very nicely.

Andrew Scheer has a far more responsible approach based on common sense. As Eaton pointed out on a quote from Scheer: “The carbon tax isn’t simply another Liberal tax grab. It is ... a classic Liberal bait and switch, promising Canadians a plan to lower emissions and protect the environment and instead delivering nothing but a tax to punish tax payers and pad government revenues.”

Saying federal carbon taxes are returned to the taxpayers in the four affected provinces as a rebate on their tax returns is as stupid as saying let’s create a new tax and the balance is returned to the provinces themselves.

Whether it’s added to a refund from the Canada Revenue Agency or subtracted from the taxes owed, it is money taken from taxpayer pockets that never should’ve been so taxpayers can spend it on whatever taxpayers choose.

Wayne Llewellyn


Just try to tax a volcano

Dear editor:

The opinion from economist Curt Eaton of Kelowna that the use of tobacco and the emission of fossil fuels are one in the same, an “addiction,” is, in a word, nonsense.

Driving one's car to get groceries, drop off the kids, get to the hospital, travel to Vancouver with the grandkids to see granny, to name just a slight few, are not addictions, they are necessities. Smoking is not. Not to mention all the trucks on the road delivering Mr. Eaton's staples to his favourite stores.

So the remedy to solve fossil fuel emissions is more and more taxes, according to the letter writer? And these taxes will go back to the taxpayer, creating more bureaucracy and more taxes? Give me and the collective us a break. We say no! It has been abundantly clear through our modern history that taxes solve little if any social problems.

And by the way... the climate scientific community has never to this date been able to come up with a decisive answer or even guesstimate as to how much of climate change is caused by industrial man, and how much is simply climate occurrences or natural phenomena. No one denies there is climate change, including me. The question is, how much is man-made?

The recent volcano off the coast of Chile spewed mega billions of carbon emissions into the atmosphere. It was apparently equivalent to five years of vehicle emissions worldwide.

How does Mr. Eaton propose we tax this insensitive, planet-hating volcano?

Mark Roberts


PM’s China plan failed

Dear editor:

Justin Trudeau seemed enraptured with the Chinese three years ago. They were going to become our big market to displace the Americans. And they were supposed to inject gobs of money into Canadian infrastructure too.

It was all Panda hugging, toasts to Norman Bethune, fat donations to the Trudeau Foundation and even a bumbling, besotted Sinophile for Canadian ambassador.

Forty-eight years ago, Pierre Trudeau tried to move away from trade reliance on the U.S. He switched us to metric at huge expense with high hopes for trade diversification.

But 75% of our exports still go to the non-metric U.S., and we continue to use 2X4’s in construction. If the Liberals ever run another Trudeau let’s hope he’s experienced in business instead of law or drama.

Geography would be useful too; Justin kept confusing Japan and China when talking with the Japanese PM.

Kicking sand in the face of the Americans, while playing up to the Chinese, hasn’t worked too well for Justin, or us. He tried his social agenda in trade talks with the Chinese last year and was rebuffed by them; same thing with the Americans. Surprisingly, he didn’t try to diddle them with carbon taxes; that’s reserved for Canadians.

One thing Chinese and American leaders seem to agree on is that he can be ignored with impunity.

The Liberals were considering sending Jean Chretien on a “Hail Mary” play to salvage things with the Chinese, at least until he talked about releasing Huawei’s “Princess Meng” as part of the deal. So much for geriatric guile succeeding where beauty and glitter failed. Those fickle Chinese once affectionately called Justin “Little Potato.” Now he looks like a whipped potato.

We don’t want to be pawns in China’s “belt and road” plans for global economic, political and military hegemony. They’ve already pirated our intellectual property and technology, infiltrated our telecommunications and universities and bought up a lot of our resources.

Chinese leadership takes the long view instead of buffing up for the next media event. The reality is that we aren’t going to manage a relationship with China. Our own fecklessness and their economic power will enable them to manage us.

Trudeau said he wasn’t going to be pushed around by the Americans. But now he’s being pushed around by the Chinese and has to supplicate to the Americans for help. That’s just pathetic.

John Thompson


Concern with self-drive cars

Dear editor:

With all the recent talk about self-driving cars likely to appear on our roads in the not too far distant future, including the possibility that services such as Uber and its competitors might use them, there are several aspects that worry me.

Primarily, I wonder how such vehicles might respond to flag persons or police dealing with emergency situations. Consider this hypothetical case:

A car approaches a four-way junction controlled by traffic lights. Signage indicates that left turns are not permitted but vehicles can proceed straight ahead or turn right. The lights turn green indicating that vehicles may proceed straight ahead or may turn right. However, a flag person is indicating that all traffic must turn left, contrary to the sign prohibiting left turns. How would a driverless vehicle react?

The consequences if the vehicle reacted only to the lights and ignored the flag person would be a very serious pileup and likely serious injuries to the people dealing with the problem which prompted the diversion in the first place.

Brian Butler


New person every day

Dear editor:

Combinations of water, chemicals, minerals and gasses mysteriously evolve into physical intelligent life forms.

Humans and features of life are composed of the earth’s chemicals. Constantly agitated chemicals rearrange the chemical alignments, which enables in-depth superior human thinking and memory. Because the mixtures of existing chemicals keep changing, a person of this instant, of right now, is not then same static physical intelligent person later.

As yet we are unaware of how mixtures of chemicals gives us instinct, sight, touch, smell, taste and intelligence, gives us an ability to create and amass ever more knowledge. Oddly, the vast accumulated knowledge doesn’t appear to be modifying civilization forces.

We are often subjected to adverse incompatibility between agitated physical and intellectual forces. We have a false harmful assumption that somehow every human is at all times fully rational regardless of being part of civilization pressures.

The judge said to the defendant: “You had a choice, you have a free will not to kill.” This is a simplistic contradictory saying, because killing and crime exists.

It’s an eons-old admission, a false belief, a civilization salve, that humans can deliberately turn off pleasant free will, that we have the option of choice readily unaffected by our many imbued characteristics.

A person who killed a week ago or killed today is not likely the same person a week later.

Bruce Alton McGillis