Letters

Write: letters@ok.bc.ca

400 words or less.

Have empathy for poor people

Dear Editor:

I wish all of you a Happy New Year and I hope this year is going to be great for all of you.

My late Dad, who died back in 1982, saw that hard times were coming.

It was so nice back then. Sure, the pay was low, but rents were also low. It seems as though everything didn’t cost nearly as much as it does today.

There’s a simple fix to today’s problems. Get disability and welfare rates up, as well as pensions, and put a freeze on rents or else we’ll return to the Dirty Thirties and the Great Depression.

I was not born yet, but my father told me stories about those days and having to travel from town to town just to pick up the odd job.

Being on a low income is no fun. Trying to find an affordable place to rent is a big challenge and then finding a job that will pay for that rent. Some people just give up.

When you get up there in age, you balance your books more carefully and it can be done. There’s not a lot of going out, unless I need food, but as my father always said, “A penny saved, is a penny earned.”

I hope and pray they fix things before too many of us go under.

Please give the poor people a chance.

James Readman

Penticton

Things we want, things we need

Dear Editor:

Christmas is over, the new year begins; more challenges to face. From many we hear the lament, “the cost of living”; Yes it is high and rising. Perhaps the real problem is the cost of the way of living.

The practice of priority, is surely one major key. Then comes self discipline, and common sense.

Those of us “oldies” who survived a variety of unwanted, unplanned privations, will understand and remember. We had no “credit.”

Today, many of these people rely on small pensions, with no “benefits” support.

Bluntly, could a collective cause of today’s saddening situation be tied to “too much, too easily, for too long, compounded by the malignant effects of too easily available consumer credit”?

Stephen Lamb (one of the “Oldies”)

Victoria

Where does toilet paper come from?

Dear Editor:

Re: Shutting pulp mills in eastern Canada.

Can you believe it, pulp mills have effluent? How did you think pulp/paper was made? Did you think pulp/paper just came from Costco by magic?

First, trees are cut down, hauled by diesel trucks to the mill, cooked in a caustic chemical to free the fibres from the meat of the wood. Now it is a brown mix that looks like porridge. It is now bleached to a pure white with more chemicals, then washed several times with clean water to remove any excess bleach.

All this takes a lot of energy which is produced by burning the meat cooked out of the fibres. Further handling includes re-mixing the pulp with other chemicals to produce the paper you write on.

More energy is consumed.

Now, your toilet paper is produced from some recycled paper and new paper. More energy goes into this process. Of course, you want only nice white toilet paper and tissue — so no bleaching is out of the question — we don’t want brown paper for your bottom end or your nose.

So, what is the end product of closing this one pulp mill? It just gives the other pulp mills the business that was lost by the closed mill. Now, don’t panic, we still have some pulp mills in B.C. as well — three in Prince George, two in Quesnel and one in Kamloops. All these mills are on clean water rivers — Nechako, Quesnel, and the North Thompson rivers.

Now, you ask where do they send their effluent? All of it goes into the Fraser River — salmon river — but we don’t care. We want our white papers. Not knowing where your paper products come from is some sort of comfort to your conscience.

You can sleep better not knowing.

Jorgen Hansen

Kelowna

Ranked ballot does not work

Dear Editor:

My apologies for an error in my last letter (Herald/Courier, Jan. 2).

The Conservative Party does not vote for the leadership by delegation. The membership has a vote and they vote by ranked ballot. Andrew Scheer was elected by the ranked-ballot method.

The ranked-ballot method: All candidates are listed on the ballot and you vote for the candidates in the order that you wish them to be elected. If there are 10 candidates running, then you would mark your ballot with the figures one to 10 in order of preference. You may vote for all the candidates or only one or three as you wish.

The winner must receive majority support. If no candidate has a majority, the candidate in last place is eliminated and that candidate’s vote count goes to the candidate that is ranked second on that ballot.

Again, unless a majority is reached the candidate in the last place is again eliminated and so on until a majority is reached.

The weakness in this system is when the membership begins voting not for whom they know and want to be elected, but then starts choosing by “gosh and by golly.”

I saw this happen years ago in the Reform Party and do not favour the ranked ballot system simply because too many people think they have to vote for several and so vote for people they do not want simply because of that ranking system.

People that vote in ranked-ballot systems should only vote for one to three candidates and they should personally have researched those candidates before they vote for more than one.

That, in my opinion, is why they ended up with such a poor leader as Andrew Scheer. Too many members put him in as second choice. They should have stuck with their first choice and we would all have been better off for it.

When you don’t know who to vote for voting for other candidates in the ranking can really backfire on you.

Elvena Slump

Penticton

“Perhaps” is the word for 2020

Dear Editor:

Perhaps.

In 2020 people will believe less in social media information, question the sources a little more and remember that the truth is often a lot different.

Perhaps.

In 2020 the news media will do more investigative reporting instead of presenting just sensationalized news or biased news. The rise of Nazism was done through intimidation, the silencing of free press, and dismissal of intellectuals. The Climate Action agenda is no different.

Perhaps.

In 2020 people will recognize they alone are responsible for their choices and become more proactive in helping themselves instead of blaming everyone else for their predicament.

Perhaps.

In 2020 people will be more tolerant of those whose views oppose theirs, but allow them to have their say too instead of being outraged because their opinions differ. This does not mean repression of those who oppose either.

Freedom of speech provides dialogue, the exchange of ideas, and differing viewpoints. Considering there are many countries in this world where people have no voice are we willing to revoke this right?

Perhaps.

In 2020 parents will become parents and take some parental responsibility by teaching their children some moral values instead of allowing their children to not value any other person but themselves.

Perhaps.

In 2020 instead of the “eco-warrior” groups staging demonstrations and blaming governments and/or a generation for “having stolen their childhood and their dreams,” they will become more proactive in cleaning up this planet of the litter. Humans create the litter — not animals.

And perhaps.

In 2020 the pendulum will begin to swing in the other direction beginning with people changing themselves.

In the words of Greek philosopher Socrates: “I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.”

Perhaps...

Mary Ann MacDonald

Summerland

Speeders provide form of revenue

Dear Editor:

Many people are not aware that all traffic fine revenue in B.C. is returned by the province to municipalities.

Those of you who object to using point-to-point speed cameras on highways are really saying that you are prepared to pay more in property taxes each year so that speeders don’t have to, and shouldn’t have to, subsidize your property taxes.

Use of speed cameras should transcend politics. It is a matter of road safety and especially important where a simple crash can close the only road into town for hours.

Speed camera use has a 30-year proven track record around the globe and was proposed to reduce crashes and road closures, not to generate revenue.

It is high time the province acted on the proposal now in front of them to give point-to-point speed cameras a serious trial on the Malahat Highway on Vancouver Island.

Chris Foord

Oak Bay

A letter from Australia

Dear Editor:

Sometimes it’s the small events that brings home an issue to you, as the saying you can’t see the trees for the forest can be so true.

At the usual Friday coffee catch up, one of our group mentioned in passing that they had lost their holiday house in the fires that are attacking so much of Australia at the moment.

When you are safe and the fires are nowhere near you, the losses of life and property shown on TV and discussed on the radio seem distant and unconnected to your comfortable life. There is of course a feeling of regret and sadness over the tragedies, but the realities are not so clear.

Like most young people who grew up in a farming community, I contributed to fire risk reduction exercises, clearing breaks and reducing the fuel loads around houses by burning them off before they accumulated too much material. It was hot, uncomfortable and actually boring ,but it had to be done each year and it was just a part of the farm routine.

It was also effective.

Their beachside holiday house was empty as they wouldn’t allow any of the family to go there while there was danger. The house and all of its contents including the new table and fridge were gone although insurance will help cover loses.

It has been a part of their annual holidays from before their children and grandchildren were born although it’s not likely to be replaced as the fires are likely to become more common due to climate changes.

It might now become a camping ground for the younger family members. All that really has been lost are some memories.

The country needs to look at why these fires are becoming bigger and more frequent and find a solution before more lives and property are lost although at present the Politicians are mostly offering words and handshakes, many of which are refused.

One house out of hundreds lost and fortunately no lives is a small item in a massive issue, but we all need to address it.

Dennis Fitzgerald

Melbourne, Australia

from email

Andrew Weaver’s big shoes to fill

Dear Editor:

Re: Interim Green Party leader named.

Whoever becomes the Green party’s permanent leader, I doubt he/she will match Andrew Weaver’s contribution to British Columbia.

When the 2017 B.C. election saw the centre-left electorate (about two-thirds of votes cast) split among the provincial Green Party and NDP, I initially saw it as a great misfortune, as it allowed the governing conservative BC Liberal Party to slither up the middle.

Soon after, however, when the elected NDP and Green MLAs joined forces to form an NDP/Green one-seat-majority coalition, I suddenly found it a best-case-scenario election outcome.

The merger not only refreshingly replaced 16 long years of increasingly compromised BC Liberal rule with traditionally progressive NDP policies, it also forced the NDP minority government to implement some environmental protection measures I’m not sure it would’ve applied had it won the election on its own.

Also, claims that the NDP had to cater to every Green demand were proven wrong when, for example, the controversial Site C Dam project went ahead over the Greens’ protestations.

And of course the corruption known as the B.C. legislature spending scandal came to shameful light only after the NDP/Green coalition unseated the BC Liberals, the party that still resists deeper investigation while long claiming fiscal responsibility.

Sadly, though, such infrequent coalitions are likely the closest we’ll get to a genuinely democratic proportional representative governance.

Frank Sterle Jr.

White Rock

Change starting time for schools

Dear Editor:

Re: Recent letters and commentary on “The many dark sides of permanent daylight time.”

What utter nonsense!

Time zones, like provincial and national borders, are arbitrary imaginary lines. To suggest they cause the impacts described is ludicrous.

Perhaps the fact that residents in eastern B.C. live in clean, sparsely populated mountains and most western B.C. residents live in a dirty, crowded city has more to do with claimed problems.

The supposed impact on school children is easily remedied. Change the starting and finishing times.

After all, they too are completely arbitrary.

Bill Gibson

Victoria