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

Province should axe school boards

Dear editor:

B.C. school boards are becoming irrelevant.  Hundreds of trustees from across the BC School Trustees Association gathered this past weekend at the Hyatt Regency in Vancouver for their annual three-day Christmas shopping spree, ignoring the sparsely attended events taxpayers shelled out for them to attend.

Patti Bacchus, formerly chair of the Vancouver School Board, contacted the media person for three days in a row to find out the number of attendees and registration costs. She was given short shrift. The media person was too busy having so much fun she forgot to hang up the phone; the next 15 minutes were spent giggling with co-workers; discussion about the joys of flying on Helijets to Victoria, and complaining about having to get around to writing a news release.

In Kelowna, parents are up in arms over funding cuts affecting kids that are seriously in need of special help yet these annual sprees are expensive and come out of funding grants provided by taxpayers.

What happens to the people we elect? Does all that “free money” just go to their head and they lose all common sense?

It is time to start pressuring the province to getting rid of school boards. Several provinces have abolished elected school boards, including Quebec (2019), Nova Scotia (2018), Prince Edward Island (2015), and New Brunswick (1996). Newfoundland and Labrador have just one school board. Manitoba may be next, as it awaits the results of a review.

I am disappointed in James Palanio, the newly-elected chair of School Board 67. First notable act as chair was shutting down the press when they had the temerity to question the outrageous wage increases of superintendent Wendy Hyer. That doesn’t bode well for the future.

The BCSTA advises school boards to limit speaking to the news media to the chair and limit their engagement with the public via social media.

This has resulted in some school boards adopting codes of conduct prohibiting trustees from speaking publicly against board decisions they disagree with or saying much at all to the public.

If you want voters to doubt your relevance, refusing to speak to reporters or engage the public on social media is an excellent way to do that.

Getting rid of school boards needs to be an election issue in the next provincial election. And it will only happen if we insist our local MLA address this issue.

Elvena Slump


Big 6 polluters need to buy in

Dear editor:

Global warming activists have diligently pursued their cause for a number of years now, but to what end? Emissions have reportedly increased significantly during that period suggesting that the results have been negligible.

Does it really help the cause, worthy as it may be, to shut down a bridge for 12 hours or conduct a surprise snake parade through downtown Vancouver disrupting the lives of untold numbers? How many people were late for work; missed airline flights or medical appointments? How many were imperilled by delayed response to emergencies by first responders?

Surely no one believes that demonstrators have endeared themselves to the people whose lives were seriously disrupted and possibly harmed in some way. Does this promote the cause of global warming reduction?

While the rights of free speech and demonstration are enshrined in our democratic system, clearly such rights cease when they negate the equally enshrined rights of others to freedom of movement and safety. Deliberately denying these rights seems an inappropriate way to promote a cause.

Since close to 70% of world pollutants emanate from six governments – China, the U.S., EU, India, Russia, and Japan – they are essential entities in addressing this impending threat to our very existence. Unfortunately they and many others only pay lip service to impotent climate accords.

It’s past time to get serious with these self-serving, audacious power houses. (At the time of this writing the United Nations issued an alarming report that emissions are increasing at an alarming rate and that our time line for action is in severe jeopardy. More cause for urgent, decisive action.)

If we are really serious in dealing with this ubiquitous mindlessness, there must be a multinational, world-wide, enforceable decree to regulate out-of-control contamination of our climate. Non-compliance must have serious consequences. Anything less will fail.

Global warming activists could effectively contribute to such a program by demonstrating at embassies, legations, and consulates of the six leading polluting governments. Such tactics, which challenge their worldly image, are quickly noted by home countries. That and similar pressure at local Canadian government establishments would also likely be more warmly received by the general public than blocking roads and bridges in Vancouver.

Tom Linning


Population growth ignored at peril

Dear editor:

Another round of climate strikes recently took place in 2,300 cities of 153 countries, coinciding with another recent global phenomenon known as Black Friday.

Some climate strikers linked their cause with Christmas holiday spending, their banners boldly declaring “Climate Change = Consumerism.”

The high school dropout who started it all was supposedly on a sailboat in the mid-Atlantic Ocean. Foul weather at sea had fouled her plan to join her followers in Portugal as their patron saint, but she somehow managed to tweet a wind-blown picture of support.

Of course, the consumers’ patron saint is the almighty dollar, which always trumps everything else, so climate strikers were relegated way lower down the pecking order on Friday's television newscasts.

Whether these young protesters are viewed as honest, conscientious, sincere, hypocritical, ill-advised, or whatever, I look back several decades to my own teenage years, when my own survival was the No. 1 priority, and there was not too much of anything around to consume.

Yet, despite our planet having gone through ravages of the Great Depression, the Second World War, the nuclear bomb and the onset of the Cold War, there had been huge advances in medical science and other factors to encourage an increase in global population of a billion in just 33 years, topping three billion by 1960.

In contrast, by 1927 the population had taken 123 years to double from the one billion in 1804, but growth has become so rapid since 1960 that a billion people have been added to the planet every 13 years on average, passing seven billion in 2012 and headed to eight billion by 2025.

Yet, environmental activists hardly ever cite the massive population growth as a contributor to the daily woes they complain about so vociferously; instead, Saint Greta and her many disciples draw attention to problems caused by ships, planes, trains and automobiles, and the scourge of fossil fuels on our planet.

Fingers are angrily pointed and accusations flung far and wide as to who is to blame. Few, if any, real solutions are offered.

Maybe they should blame medical science or whatever for prolonging human lives, as we have multiplied from two billion to eight billion in just 98 years.

That time period is really but a mere speck in history, when we assume that the first humans were either created in the Garden of Eden, or evolved in the Rift Valley of East Africa about three million years ago

Bernie Smith


Time to reopen mental institutions

Dear editor:

Many of our homeless suffer from mental illness. I often think about this scenario.

When mentally ill, you were institutionalized. Medical attention, three meals a day and a warm bed.

The doors were kept locked for your protection. Then out of the blue one day the doors were no longer locked. You were now told to get out and find your own way from now on.

How to get food, how to stay warm and find a warm bed? What an amazing shock this must have been for those not used to taking care of themselves. 

Cruel I would call this, very cruel indeed.

For several of the homeless people, we need to go back to housing people in an institution, a care home and give them the care they really need.

These homeless ones, with mental problems, do not belong on the street.

Cornelis Donders

West Kelowna