Letters to the Editor

Write: letters@pentictonherald.ca, 400 words or less.

Mayor out of touch with COVID-19

Dear Editor:

Penticton mayor John Vassilaki has pretty much been awarded a free pass since the 2018 election. After all, he’s a likeable gent with many friends here.

However, I’ve lately wondered if our mayor is actually following COVID-19 pandemic news, or if he is receiving any assistance and advice via briefings from the city’s CAO, before providing direct comments to media outlets.

In his March 19 remarks in the Penticton Herald, Mayor Vassilaki’s comments appeared out of touch with reality. He berated Air Canada for their coronavirus-related, temporary cancellation of flights to and from Penticton. With nary a peep about current public health risks for Air Canada’s staff and customers, the mayor fretted about our business community, and how tourists will get to Penticton.

Tourists? What tourists?

Penticton’s streets are virtually empty. Citizens are following directives by government health experts, who are instructing us all to avoid travel and stay home, venturing out only for essentials. Many local stores have shuttered or are partially closed in the interest of helping curtail the spread of the virus.

If Mr. Vassilaki wants to help Penticton’s business sector, he could instruct the city’s CAO and economic development staff to promote the innovative efforts by various Penticton businesses as they work to stay afloat during this pandemic.

For example, some are working to retain staff and customers by scheduling private and/or video appointments; offering online shopping services; video fitness classes; and many new food take-out and delivery options.

To bolster these and other efforts, I suggest that City Hall seek and collate such information, which could be posted and regularly updated on a dedicated City website page. Via some effort by Penticton’s CAO, economic development staff, (and even our mayor), we would know how residents and the City’s few current visitors might help support local businesses during this difficult time.

Loraine Stephanson


Retired psychologist offers coping tips

Dear Editor:

Let’s assume you don’t have COVID-19, but you’re self-isolating at home for an indeterminate period. People in self-isolation have a problem: They don’t know what to think. Without conscious direction, thoughts go sideways. Your aim is to fill the blank spaces between your thoughts. The best way is to occupy your hands and eyes.

The virus is strange, incomprehensible. You’re edgy, the world feels weird.

Accept your feelings: The weirdness is a wordless message from your body, warning you of the threat.

Connect with your eyes and hands: Try doing whatever you’re doing with full attention — the opposite of being lost in thought. Notice if your muscles loosen up.

Set daily can’t-fail goals: In late afternoon, set a few easy goals for tomorrow. For example, do a load of laundry, clean the bathroom, pray twice daily, phone a friend. Make out a schedule. If a task seems emotionally too difficult, do a small slice of it — or save it for another day. If you live alone, try to contact one friend every day.

Set a few bigger goals: Find a few larger goals, either social or practical, that fit who you are. Work at them one day at a time. For example, keep helping a disabled neighbour, do carpentry at home, read all of War and Peace, walk a mile every day without fail, catch up on knitting, study ways to improve your sleep. Keep a daily journal that notes your progress and records your feelings.

Celebrate your mission: You are joining many millions of others to protect each other and the planet. Feel the pride.

Dr. Gary Willis

Retired psychologist


Strikes at heart of our democracy

Dear Editor:

Who is safeguarding our democracy during the COVID-19 crisis? Normal Parliamentary operations were suspended on March 13 to protect parliamentarians from COVID-19 and because non-essential business had been set aside. This emergency measure, which is to end on April 20, seemed sensible and was agreed to by all parties.

Since then we’ve heard daily talks from Justin Trudeau’s front steps followed by a press conference with federal ministers and officials. Questions from the media have been very forgiving and uncritical. They’re a hollow substitute for rigorous scrutiny by the opposition in the House of Commons.

When the Liberals presented a massive spending bill to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. all parties were highly supportive of this and were eager to get the bill passed by an abbreviated Parliament. Unfortunately, the Liberals saw fit to include a provision to allow them to tax and spend at their discretion for the next 21 months with no approval or scrutiny by Parliament.

Spending and taxation without Parliamentary approval strikes at the heart of our democracy and is intolerable in any circumstances. This shows overweening arrogance and contempt for our citizens and our parliamentary processes.

The Liberals appear to have forgotten that they are a minority government and have decided to operate as though they enjoy a majority.

Chirpy CBC commentators implied that the opposition was being obstructive on this emergency legislation.  And thank God they were; they stopped an unwarranted and dangerous overreach by the Liberals.

We should welcome the return of Parliament, even on a limited basis, on April 20 so that government operations are conducted with transparency and with the collaboration and consent of the opposition, as is required of a minority government. The Liberal power grab showed that they can’t be trusted to act without continuous scrutiny.

Parliamentarians need to get re-engaged instead of self-isolating. They can work in personal protective equipment every third day to get essential business done. Perhaps they can even figure out a way of voting by remote.

Our health care workers, public safety personnel, truckers, grocery store staffs and sanitation workers have been putting it on the line for their fellow citizens in a more impressive way than our elected representatives. Good on them for their efforts now and in the future.

MPs should be designated as essential workers in this national crisis. If they aren’t, then what are they there for?

John Thompson             


Another random act of kindness

Dear Editor:

Thank you to the Grey Ford Escape with an ‘N’ learners sticker on the back of the car. On Tuesday at about 11:45 a.m., we were in the line-up at Tim Hortons for coffee. We say thank you so much for treating us to a free coffee. You are very kind and generous. We wish you well.

Art and Marie Clarkson


Blatant disregard for our community

Dear Editor:

Just a heads up to all you panic shoppers. How dare you go into the supermarkets and buy up almost everything on site and leave nothing for other people who need things as well, especially the seniors and others who only have enough to get by on. You are selfish, stingy, hoggish, hog-like, egoistic, egotistic, egocentric and egomaniacal.

Gladwin Douglas


Punish Trudeau for power grab

Dear Editor:

Justin Trudeau and his band of crony Liberals slithered into Parliament Tuesday to pull the wool over beleaguered and stressed out Canadians eyes.

The purpose of the parliamentary session was to pass an $82-billion aid bill to assist, not to deceive, Canadians.

How dare Trudeau hold us hostage with his corrupt and dishonest ways.

He proposed sweeping powers to unilaterally spend, borrow and change taxation levels without Parliament’s approval for the next 21 months, based on his track record of overspending like a drunken pirate in the Bahamas.

It was a power grab that only a self- absorbed thug would attempt. If he doesn’t get his way, he just might get it by invoking the federal Emergencies Act.

I urge everyone to remember this stunt at the ballot box in the next federal election. His father Pierre must be rolling over in his grave.

Doug Rosen


Seniors must be considered first

Dear Editor:

The government of Canada and B.C. addressed many concerns for working people and businesses. But, what about the seniors who live on a fixed income and have no other resources to help their standard of living?

We are the largest portion of the population and nothing for us. Let's look after the population who built this country and give them the attention that is deserved.

Bryon Berry


Vitriolic assault had no substance

Dear Editor:

As a long-time reader of the Penticton Herald, I am offended by Reese MacDermott’s personal, vicious attack against James Miller (Herald, letters, March 26). Looks like Mr. MacDermott has a personal axe to grind: there is no substance to his vitriolic assault.

While I often disagree with Miller’s editorial choices, and do not appreciate the Herald’s increasing reliance on stories from various wire news services, I do

understand the difficulty of producing a daily paper in these difficult economic times. The inclusion of a Princess Auto catalogue in today’s paper should be the least of our worries.

I look forward to the morning paper and the positive AND negative stimulation it provides. James Miller is good at provoking folks to think, and I do appreciate his wit. He often has his tongue firmly and skillfully planted in his cheek.

Print journalism is facing extreme challenges these days, threatening its very survival. The world will be much poorer if the only way folks could access news would be by staring at a computer screen like mesmerized morons.

Welcome home, James. Soldier on!

Allan Markin


All I have to do is dream

Dear Editor:

Last night, I had a beautiful dream.

And in that dream, I saw a rainbow.

And at the end of the rainbow, I saw a pot.

And beside that pot was an everlasting roll of toilet paper.

Paul Lamey


I had never been sick before

Dear Editor:

I am a recently retired, widowed man in my 60s.

Colds and flu have always been to me ailments that other people endured but for me I can’t remember catching anything in my adult life. Good immunities I presume.

Before I travelled to southeast Asia in December of last year and January 2020, I made an appointment with a travel clinic doctor.

I received all the necessary inoculations, including this year’s flu shot. Not wanting to have my travel plans disrupted by illness, I practised all known ways of avoiding bugs but in some situations it was impossible not to be in an extreme exposure to others.

Packed like sardines into sold-out airplanes would be one example. During my travels home, COVID-19 was just starting.

Screening for the virus was already underway at overseas airports I passed through.

Arriving back in Canada, I simply sailed through customs using a passport scanner and was walking to my car within minutes of arrival. I was not feeling well and slept for 14 hours straight. I had all the symptoms of COVID-19, so after strong encouragement by family I phoned 811.

I got right through and spoke to a nurse. Our conversation was frequently interrupted while I was put on hold so that the nurse could consult with her other health care professionals at the call centre.

“There is no way to test you for if you had the virus, only if it is active, and it sounds like you are in recovery,” is what I was told. “But call back if your condition gets worse.”

Today, I noticed my breathing was still a little laboured but I was on the mend.

I did self-isolate.

Did I actually have COVID-19?

I’ll never know.

Kevin Norman

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