Appropriate photo for Christmas Eve
Re: “Merry Christmas,” photo by Mark Brett (Herald, Page 1, Dec. 24).
Thank you for the front page church photo that represents the true meaning of Christmas — unconditional love and the hope of the world.
British jurisprudence stains the globe
The prosecution of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at London’s Westminster Magistrates Court is a travesty of justice that will forever stain the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Sweden and Ecuador, as well as all the individuals involved.
Any celebration of a British court in declining Assange’s extradition is pitifully naïve. Bail is denied.
The Assange case is a prime example of how the British Jurisprudence stains the globe.
Britain bows to its miscreant American offspring by holding Julian Assange, in a dismal cell in London. Everything is wrong about Julian Assange’s imprisonment and torture. Assange and his team found the truth, secured the proof and shared it.
Wikileaks and Assange deserve praise.
Thus, in our “Free World,” free inquiry, free thought and free speech shrivel in awe of raw U.S. power.
A sadly unsurprising disgrace!
No simple answer, solution to racism
Re: “Summerland is not more or less racist,” (Herald column, Jan. 5).
In John Dorn’s opinion piece he states that he has had little experience with racism and that he believes racist attitudes are unlikely to change with time.
Mr. Dorn also appears to be more than a tad scornful of a Summerland initiative to address racism. He supported his opinion that although racism is bad, it needs no examination, with a cherry-picked anecdote from comedian Trevor Noah’s biography and with a quote from the television series “South Park.”
If Mr. Dorn was truly interested in this pressing social issue, he could find volumes written by credible authors who have researched the social underpinnings of racism — a.k.a. white supremacy.
He could learn that racism isn’t so much about individual racists, as it is about deeply-entrenched systemic social structures. A suggestion that the status quo is just fine is one of the many ways that systemic racism self-perpetuates, but not everyone is satisfied to hold a world view that fails to acknowledge the pervasive and almost invisible workings of racism.
That drag of entrenched conditioning needs an airing by all who choose to think, read and discuss their way to a clearer understanding of racism. Summerland’s forward-thinking initiative will provide a means to move toward change.
With thanks for your time and attention.
20/20 has new meaning this year
Medically speaking, 20/20 means that you see at 20 feet exactly what you should be seeing at a 20-foot distance. Also, 2020 is used loosely to say that everything is perfect.
The year 2020 sure didn't live up to this! Maybe 20/40 or 20/50.
Returning to a Golden Age
Much that bound earlier generations together has been lost; family, meaningful romantic attachments, children, craftsmanship at work ... all are being undone. They are replaced by nothing of real value, by passing thrills, grandiose gestures of speech by celebrities, by radio and TV presenters that we all know are only a passing flash.
There are so many words that I‘d rather not hear but you cannot escape them. The computer is now means working from home — in chronic isolation.
Each Christmas we lament for the joys of the pastoral, closely-knit family. Why can we no longer find joy in the ordinary things of life? Humility is the best point of departure for 2021. Are we lost in the cosmos? Is COVID-19 not preparing the way for a return to faith, to a simpler life, to a rediscovery of what is happening to our human soul?
Ingmar Bergman, the famous Swedish film director, in “Cries and Whispers” (a shocking movie) treats of his own self-disgust and his envy of those who have faith.
Anna, a housemaid, in a dysfunctional family of three women, lights a candle at night, then kneels before a picture of her dead daughter and asks God to love her. Then she blows out the candle and enjoys an apple in utter peace of soul.
Bergman is trying to lance the wound of his personal suffering. Anna moves silently in the background as the family eats at its own soul. Some deep wound has scarred the sisters. The emotions it portrays and evokes stand for the inexplicable way that life can bless or punish us.
I learn much about humanity from these film directors of the Sixties. That was my time of youth. I am also indebted to the Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni. Towards the end of his career, he was taken back to childhood for the enrichment of his soul.
“I’d like to be illiterate again and escape from modern culture. My ideal in theory is to have the heart of a child — to return to childhood. Now I am moving away from bookishness — from TV and radio. Now there is too much talk, too many opinions. I feel a bit suffocated. I have nostalgia for a golden age. Three hundreds drums on our streets during Holy Week will follow me wherever I go.”
Some of us can not afford to surrender Christmas and Easter joy to the modern world.
Fr. Harry Clarke
We don’t want to be Americanized
Why is the Conservative Party fixated on Americanizing Canada? We are, after all, Canadian, and some of us are proud of it.
They use the Republican code words: “dumb leftists,” “cancel culture” and “woke crowd.”
Our Northern Republicans, even while soaking up the manna of Canada, long to be elevated to the language of their perception of the big boys. It hasn’t quite been eased into the ordinary Conservative MP’s script, yet,
The puppeteers have an inkling that we Canadians might not be willing to overlook this blatant imitation of Republican propagandists south of the border.
Non-conservatives are derided as lacking “clarity, certainty, and competence,” (said repetitiously and scornfully), of those who have become sensitive to the issues, reflecting the pain of their fellow man.
The Liberal creed has been, if not solidly, “I am my brother’s keeper,” then at least the logical recognition that to ignore the needs of the general populace is to bring about the economic ruin of the country.
In contrast , Conservative policy is unwaveringly, “I’m alright Jack, pull up the ladder.”
Tests are good way to track progress
Re: “Trustees want to shield test scores,” (Herald, Dec. 12).
School board chair Moyra Baxter, in alliance with the Central Okanagan board of education and teachers’ union, claims parents and public should not have access to Grade 4 and 7 student test results that measure how well students can read, write, and do math. Using their stated rationale, they would also hide reports on school safety standards and the financial audit.
Feedback using standards is essential for improvement. Our B.C. government asks teachers to use the same test, administered with a common approach, to identify standards and guide improvement efforts. All teachers are interested and conscientious teachers will use the feedback.
The teachers’ union voices opposition to teaching to the test, but these tests are based on the mandated curriculum.
The union claims better tests are needed, but these tests are developed by teams of respected teachers. The union complains about student stress, but the reports are used to improve instruction, not for student grades.
Do teachers really believe closing the classroom door secures private and independent practice? This sort of behaviour in health care is called malpractice.
Schools must teach core basic skills.
Our school district website reports a good deal about activities and expenditures, but not much about how well students are learning.
A child who cannot read at grade level by Grade 4, will struggle in school. Baxter says schooling is about so much more — “we teach the whole child.”
You may tell every child they are above average, but the problem becomes apparent when no part of this child can read.
Parents expect schools will focus on ensuring children master the basics skills in reading, writing, and math. While children may enjoy the classroom field trip to the corner store for a bag of candy and a slushy drink, this is not the mission of schools.
Government regulations require all students in Grades 4 and 7 to write the exams, however, our Board of Education allows some students to be removed from the process. The intended focus on improving effort and effectiveness is lost.
Baxter claims schools should not be compared. Perhaps this is based on the belief some kids and some schools cannot achieve at a high level.
Yet we know that our kids are as capable as kids anywhere, all they need is opportunity and good instruction.
Effective schools believe that all kids can learn at high levels and effective instruction can make a huge difference.
However, we recognize that some teachers and some schools are more effective than others. Public accountability demands we test for a credible answer to the question ‘How is our school doing?’
It takes a whole village to educate a child. We must develop a village and schools worthy of our children. Our board of education and teachers’ union want more money but no public accountability. They say don’t look too close or ask questions.
B.C. must speed up the vaccinations
I am really very disappointed with very slow rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations.
British Columbia has received more than 50,000 doses of both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines; however, only 17,510 people have been vaccinated. Why can’t this process be accelerated? We had more than three months to train in handling these vaccines.
I admire and thank all the front-line health workers who are working round the clock to take care of British Colombians. I wish our senior public health care executives do the same.
In my opinion, the lag between receiving the vaccines and administering should not be more than three or four days.
Not everyone can afford to stay home
Many thanks to Dr. Bonnie Henry for her safety and morale-boosting advice and efforts towards COVID-19 problems.
However, while she has told people to stay at home if feeling sick, many “working stiffs” cannot afford this.
Some have already lost a great deal. Some, I have heard, have lost it all. Public employees have some benefits others do not. Please, Dr. Henry, think also of them.
Lousy service from Canada Post
I am writing regarding the delivery policy of Canada Post.
I am 71 years old and I have been self-isolating since February 2020. I am a caregiver 24-7 and was unable to take anytime off for respite due to COVID-19. I never received or asked for any discount as a senior from Canada Post for parcel delivery even though they no longer deliver the parcel.
In one instance, I even paid the duty online two days before I received the delivery notice. I am fed up with less service for more money and blaming it on COVID-19.
The Public Health Officer suggests we have no one over for Christmas, but Canada Post can expect me to stand in line for 45 minutes to pick up a parcel.
Christmas card delivery: too slow
OK, I send way too many Christmas cards. So, perhaps I’m just seasonally grumpy to be complaining about the postal service at this time of year.
However, to wit: Some of the cards sent to Edmonton (before the pickup deadline) from the Parksville post office on Dec. 7 (not exactly the Christmas rush!) had NOT arrived as of Jan. 1.
It will have taken four full weeks if and when they arrive after the holiday break.
I also sent two cards to Victoria and Langley on Dec. 8. The Victoria card was received eight days later; the Langley card had not arrived as of Christmas.
Getting hustled by Dr. Bonnie
Who out there knows Dr. Bonnie Henry’s phone number? I have a few things to say.
Overall, I feel Dr. Henry is doing a good job, but she has made some rules that simply do not make any sense. She has declared that you cannot play pool at the Legion. Somebody please explain to me how one person walking around a table making shots can contribute to the spread of the virus.
Members can go to the Legion, sit around a table and visit, drink their beverages and eat with no mask on, but if they go to the bar or washroom, they must put on a mask.
The pool table is usually off in a corner and normally there are four to six guys playing. One guy shoots while the others sit at their table. Again, I ask you what is the logic behind stopping pool playing?
If we want to play, we have to go to Cues downtown. They have the same mask rules while shooting and no mask if sitting.
I am asking folks to contact the Health Ministry and have them change this silly rule.
Kenney doesn’t understand rules
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney probably also needs to tell his MLAs and staff to pull over and stop when they see an ambulance with flashing lights behind them.
CLARIFICATION: “Proposed bike route too dangerous,” by Ted Wiltse (Herald, Dec. 29) was a letter written to city staff, CCed to The Herald and was never intended by Mr. Wiltse to be a letter to the editor. The Herald regrets this misunderstanding and thanks Mr. Wiltse for his passion and keen interest in our community.