Email your letters to: letters@pentictonherald.ca

Everyone should try seeing stars

Dear editor:

Re: “We owe it all to starlight,” Herald, Opinion, June 7

Ken Tapping’s explanation does cover all that we owe to starlight. From element No. 1, hydrogen, fusing with more hydrogen, stars small and massive are created.

With the stars’ life processes and even with their deaths, new starts and planets and even you and I are possible.

The parameters referred to as the basis of all matter indicate there may be only one parameter slightly high or low in value and then there would be no stars and no life.

Marvel at our daytime star (the Sun) and the nighttime light from many more stars.

Frank Krause


Letters spoke for many in OK Falls

Dear editor:

Re: “OK Falls seems to be afterthought,” Herald, Letters, June 19

Barbara Few is the voice of many for our small Okanagan Falls community. We need better care for this place that we chose as home.

As it stands, things are decided from afar and it seems without any personal interest as to what and when something needs to get done, and of course it’s very little and very sparse. (Our RDOS office was uprooted and moved to Penticton).

Our beach and parks are used by the people of Penticton on daily basis. Seniors’ homes bring their residents regularly to enjoy a peaceful walk or a picnic. However, with a heavy heart, I see from my window the Lions Park, which could be a perfect destination of beauty and peace, somewhat neglected or bedraggled, often with tall unkempt grass. The low hanging and dense tree branches and debris are deterrents that discourage navigation in the park.

This week a large group of visiting seniors stopped their tour after venturing a few meters off the path and turned around, it was too difficult for them to walk through.

Trimming branches to allow a walk under the trees or take a rest in  their shade, cut the grass, pick up debris, add a couple of benches, provide a smooth path the width of an average walker will make it more age friendly.

We also have zero enforcement for bylaws, such as removal of old or unauthorized vehicles that are a fire hazard or illegal living quarters around our town.

So what are our choices? What is the answer? A different and more accountable form of local government that is closer to us and closer to the resources being governed?  Incorporation? And maybe for starters, give us back the tools and care of our parks.

Angi Lobos-Taylor

Okanagan Falls

Indigenous Day a true group effort

Dear editor:

On behalf of the planning committee, I would like to give a big thank you to everyone who participated in making Penticton’s National Indigenous Day celebration a success on June 21.

This was the fourth year that the event, which began as a small gathering organized by Jane Shaak, then executive director of the Okanagan School of the Arts, and Lauren Terbasket, then executive director of the En’owkin Centre, has been held on the grounds of the Shatford Centre.

It could only happen through a lot of hard work and the support of a lot of great people.

Our fantastic planning committee had team members from numerous organizations: PIB, Cricket Testawich and Karen Gabriel; restorative justice, Anna Tonasket; SD67 Indigenous education, Anona Kampe and Pamela Spooner; Ooknakane Friendship Centre, Holly Legg, Donna Falck and Carla Waniandy; IndigenEYEZ, Anni Phillips and Kim Russell; Okanagan College, Marcy Trotter; Penticton & District Community Arts Council, Bethany Handfield; and OSA Shatford Centre, Manda Maggs and Karen Collins.

We would not have been as successful without the generous support of our sponsors: First Nations Health Authority, PIB Education, PIB Health, PIB Social Development, K’ul Group, Okanagan Nation Transition and Emergency House, Restorative Justice, Ooknakane Friendship Centre, Theytus Books, IndigenEYEZ, SD67, Okanagan College, Okanagan Historical Society Penticton Branch, Valley First Credit Union, Boston Pizza, Save-On Foods and the City of Penticton.

Powwow MC Levi Bent, Host drum Highwater, second drum Eagle Valley, students from Outma Sqilx'W Cultural School and SenPokChin school, Leon Louis and Dave Tattrie, dancers dressed in regalia and drummers of all ages made for a wonderful celebration of the culture and traditions of the Syilx (Okanagan) people.

Gus Timoyakin shared traditional cultural stories and Wynona Paul our photographer captured special moments and memories. Numerous local vendors and information booths also filled the lawns.

We are very grateful to Dolly Kruger, our patient groundskeeper, Laverne Jack and security, Michelle Goodman, OC, and her nursing students who manned our first aid Station and to the fellows from Discovery House for all the help they provided during our setup and take down.

And, of course, the hundreds of attendees who took the opportunity to attend, celebrate with us and learn more about the cultural diversity of the First Nations. Thank you so much for your support!

Karen Collins,

Planning committee,

Penticton National Indigenous Day

Disappointed with Cruise closure

Dear editor:

It would seem like the Peach City Beach Cruise is being organized by people who don't really appreciate hot rods.

It's one thing to walk through the park and look at them but one of the best parts of the beach cruise was always watching them drive up and down Lakeshore Drive on Saturday night. You get to see the owners proudly showing off their machines and you get to hear the rumble of each car as it goes past.

This year’s organizing committee took all that away by choosing to close down Lakeshore Drive to all traffic all weekend. If this continues then I think Penticton will lose this valuable event as the hot rodders will stop coming and so will the crowds

Stuart Town


IH must accept responsibility

Dear editor:

Discarded needles are not a new issue to Penticton!

For years now, the public has voiced its concern and immense frustration regarding the severity of the drug issue in Penticton to City Hall – most concerning being the scores of discarded needles all over.

Each attempt by City Hall to work with Interior Health to try and come up with solutions is met with what appears to be a denial mentality. The harm reduction program has been little more than a Band Aid for a much larger problem, and it has turned our streets, parks, pathways, public restrooms and schoolyards into a literal biohazard.

Time and time again, Interior Health diminishes the problem, passes the buck on to the provincial government and rejects ideas to try and improve the situation.

Just this past Wednesday, a medical health officer from Interior Health, Dr. Silvina Mema, spoke against the idea of handing out vanishing point needles. Interior Health has rejected what would be an immediate increase in public safety, stating that if they begin giving out needles that users don’t like, "they may stop using the program and instead turn to reusing dirty needles."

Contradicting this statement earlier in that same interview, Mema claimed that Interior Health "does not put the interest of people who use substances above the general community."

Mema then went on to downplay the needle problem by saying if a needle has “been laying out in the sun, and if there’s any blood on it, it dries out. There has never been a case of HIV from an improperly discarded needle."

Of course, this particularly flippant comment conveniently skirted around a multitude of other possible needle injury-related diseases and infections that are listed by the Canadian Center for Occupational Health and Safety. So then are we to understand that because the risk of disease is low, that the public should not be concerned about all the needles littering our city? Preposterous.

Would it not be a more logical response from Interior Health to, at very least, provide cleanup services for all these needles they have handed out? Or better yet, enact some sort of incentive for addicts to properly dispose of them in the first place?

We're looking at you, Interior Health. The buck stops here. Installing sharps containers isn't good enough. You helped create this mess, and it's your job and obligation to be accountable for it.

Robyn Smuin


Precautions taken for good reason

Dear editor:

If discarded needles don't spread disease, why do health-care employees who have accidental sticks have to go through blood testing and prophylactic medication administration?

Jane Curtin


Local politicians are underpaid

Dear editor:

The fact that Penticton city council voted to accept an independent recommendation for a pay increase was, in my estimation, perfectly justifiable and a non-issue.

The unfortunate thing is that the system in municipal governance related to council pay increases is structured in a way that appears certain to create controversy (having to approve their own pay level).

The pay level is certainly not commensurate with the time and effort required to do a good job for the citizens of Penticton or with the pay level of senior staff. The mayor and council must spend the time to become knowledgeable enough of the issues to provide oversight to senior municipal staff.

The additional compensation cost involved is minimal in relation to the total budget, and one bad decision by city administration (such as suing a homeless person with no assets or means to pay) can be many times more costly to the taxpayer.

The important thing is that council produce positive results that are in line with the priorities of the residents. This did not occur over the previous council's term when residents’ input was completely ignored. The end result was: disharmony, general chaos, miss-allocation and waste of available funds and staff time, a lack of transparency, and little or no accountability for anyone involved.

The part played by staff and by the incumbent mayor and council to produce this unsatisfactory result is not known, but there was, at a minimum, a lack of direction and oversight by council.

If the current council can prevent the above, they will have earned their compensation.

Claude Bergman


Local politicians are overpaid

Dear editor:

With the news of council and the mayor voting themselves a pay raise, I say the next municipal election cannot come soon enough.

I will vote against every single person on council and the mayor. They all have to go.

Patrick Longworth


Jakubeit not first mayor to miss job

Dear editor:

Penticton’s former mayor lamented publicly his sadness at losing the mayor’s job.

Well here’s big news! Every mayor (unless he resigns or retires) loses to a new one and probably feels the same way but keeps that feeling to himself.

He says, “There are times where I kind of wake up and scratch my head like I can’t believe this happened. What went wrong?”

To quote Elizabeth Barrett Browning: “Let me count the ways.”

Jack Killough


Trudeau no saint, but effective

Dear editor:

So, what has PM Trudeau and the Liberals accomplished in the last four years?

Over one million new jobs have been created and we have the lowest unemployment rate in over four decades. The Trans Provincial pipeline has been bought, re-approved, and will be built by a Crown corporation. NAFTA has been re-negotiated and tariffs reduced. 

A new child benefit (tax-free) is the most lucrative in history, benefitting the neediest. Some 850,000 people have been lifted out of poverty, including 278,000 children.

The Canada Pension Plan has been enhanced and the Guaranteed Income Supplement has been increased by $78per month tax-free. The retirement age has been returned to 65.

An independent study has been conducted on missing and murdered Indigenous women, and recommendations are being implemented.

The water advisories on reserves are now 75% less than four years ago.

The life-long pensions for Veterans have been reinstated and nine Veterans’ Affairs offices have been re-opened (plus one more). The Kitsilano Coast Guard Station has been reopened, with new boats and equipment.

Recreational use of marijuana has been approved and criminal records for simple possession are being expunged. People now have the right to choose medically assisted death. Whales and dolphins can no longer kept in captivity. Air passengers now have rights. Gender balance in a Liberal cabinet is now a foregone conclusion.

Trudeau is the only PM who raised taxes on the wealthy and lowered taxes for the middle class. There are many other significant new benefits to our society due to our Liberal government.  But no matter how much good is accomplished some people will look at a field of roses and only see the thorns. 

Justin Trudeau is far from perfect but he is a humanitarian and represents, more than any other political leader, the Canadian values that I knew in my youth.

Patrick MacDonald

West Kelowna

President keeps them guessing

Dear editor:

Who was it that said, “Never assume that those in charge know what they are doing?”

You shoot down an American aircraft, a possible slight error on your part, and then you duck for cover, you expect the worst.

Now unlike the two predictable party animals of the recent Obama administration, you have a different animal to deal with. Enter: the Donald.

This one is a tad different from all the rest. He is a little unpredictable. He favours his Twitter account rather than the proper protocols.

He makes it known that at the last minute, as the U.S. ships and the bombers were setting their sights on various targets, he stops the retaliation bombardment. Why?

This is because he was advised a few minutes before he hit the go button that at least 150 casualties would be the result.

Make no mistake. Love him or hate him, the man is brilliant, because can you imagine now turmoil, the indecision, the blank stares of those in power? Now they haven’t the faintest clue as to what is coming down.

Just like Putin and the North Korean chap, they are like the rest of us wondering, “What next?”

Don Smithyman


Trump looking for some trouble?

Dear editor:

Immediately after Premier Doug Ford of Ontario shuffled his cabinet last week, several professional political pundits were opining that the provincial government’s main issue was a lack of communication, blended with the leader's incompetence.

That same consensus of opinion could very well be applied to Ottawa, where watching the vicissitudes of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his most prominent ministers often remind me of a line from the 1960s movie “Cool Hand Luke.” Luke was recaptured after a prison escape, and the chain gang captain thumped him across the neck with his truncheon for being impertinent. As Luke rolled in the dust, the captain uttered the iconic line: “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.”

The PM has no communication problem when speech-writers prepare his script, even if it’s often delivered in that irritating holier-than-thou preacher man tone that he’s developed as leader.

However, once the prepared speech is over, and he’s asked a few questions, is when we see his true mettle. There’s usually repeated childish fumbling, bumbling, stumbling and mumbling, and more than often than not we are left wishing for an adult as the prime minister of Canada. 

Ottawa’s coveted position of finance minister is filled by Bill Morneau, appointed as a rookie in 2015. He’s not impressed anyone with his communication skills, and doubt if any Canadian can remember any line from any speech he’s ever given.

The senior cabinet position of foreign affairs minister has belonged to Chrystia Freeland for the last two years. She has disappointed with the school marm tone and manner she adopts.

Her colleague Catherine McKenna has been minister of environment and climate change since 2015, and one of the most frequently interviewed cabinet members. She’s always far too ready to launch forth with a prepared script, repeated ad nauseam.

With the federal election looming, there are the reasons why the four most prominent cabinet members all fit so neatly into Cool Hand Luke’s final words in the aforementioned movie. Just before getting shot and killed, he mocked the chain gang captain by saying: “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.”

Bernie Smith


Recommended for you