Helen Reddy

Helen Reddy is pictured in a 2013 file photo by The Associated Press

Save our news before it’s too late

Dear Editor:

We have a very serious situation in this country, and we are delighted to hear that Minister of Heritage Stephen Guilbeault said on Monday that the government is preparing legislation to force tech giants to fairly compensate content creators.

Google and Facebook, two of the richest companies in history, control the onramp to the internet highway in Canada. They decide what we as a sovereign nation see and don’t see in the news. To make matters worse, they take the news produced by Canadians and don’t pay for it.

Meanwhile, all Canadian news media companies, big and small, are suffering for two reasons:

First, they don’t get paid for their content by Facebook and Google; and

Second, Facebook and Google take over 80 per cent of all Canadian digital advertising industry revenue. These massive American companies get virtually all of the revenue and don’t pay for content. Movie content doesn’t work that way in Canada. Music content doesn’t work that way. TV show content doesn’t work that way.

So why is news content treated differently?

We only have to look south of the border to see what happens when real news companies disappear, and social media platforms distribute divisive, fake news. We need to support healthy, independent, diverse news companies as the backbone of our democracy.

This is urgent. It’s a fact that news companies across Canada are going out of business.

COVID-19 is accelerating the decline. Journalism jobs are disappearing. That means real news keeps disappearing and hate and fake news will be all that’s left to distribute. Let’s not let this happen in Canada.

But there is good news. Australia has figured out the solution. They created a law that forces the trillion-dollar monopolies to pay fairly for news content.

This costs the taxpayer absolutely nothing.

We encourage all Members of Parliament to move quickly. Canada needs your leadership.

John Hinds, Persident/CEO

News Media Canada

Ironic statements from CBC retiree

Dear Editor:

Re: “What the right-wing bubble truly believes,” by Bob Nicholson (Herald letters, Jan. 19).

A former CBC employee explains that the Crown Corporation is free of bias as he denounces a “bile-dump” from a member of “the right-wing bubble” who feels “deprived because the CBC does not air daily updates on the Trumpist doings of Erin O’Toole”.

See the irony?

Scott Robinson

Penticton

This ‘geezer’ will donate his spot in line

Dear Editor:

I am a geezer who supports the idea of donating my COVID-19 vaccine appointment time to a teacher or other healthy adult doing essential work.

These B.C. government decisions are not “hard science” by any reckoning; they are policy decisions that are likely affected by the stress of COVID to be less than ideal.

Looking at what is prohibited and what is not is proof of low-quality decisions.

I can wait for the end of the line whenever it appears.

Ronald Schlosberg

Victoria

Free prescription contraception needed

Dear Editor:

In the recent provincial election, the BC NDP included free prescription contraception in their platform. With the provincial budget around the corner, it’s important that Premier Horgan fulfills this pledge.

Cost is a significant barrier to contraception. An intrauterine device can cost between $75 to $380 and some oral contraceptives can be $20 per month. These costs fall disproportionately on women and people who can get pregnant.

Cost should never be an impediment to people exercising their right to make choices about their bodies. Not only will free prescription contraception help increase access to this necessary medicine, but it will improve health outcomes, increase equality, and save the government millions.

A 2010 study by Options for Sexual Health estimated that such a policy would save BC $95 million annually.

It is little wonder that countries around the world provide prescription contraception free of charge. It’s time for B.C. to do the same.

It is critical that this policy covers as many forms of prescription contraception as possible and that it is adopted now. When it comes to contraception, choice is important — it’s not one size fits all. The pandemic has hit many people hard, and this has dramatically increased the barriers people face when trying to access contraception.

I am proud to serve as the chair of the AccessBC Campaign for free prescription contraception in B.C., a group of people from across the province calling for the implementation of this policy.

We are urging people to write to the government to ask them to honour their pledge and include free prescription contraception in the 2021 provincial budget.

Teale Phelps Bondaroff

Victoria

Dr. Bonnie Henry: B.C.’s rock star

Dear Editor:

I am writing in response to letters complaining about Dr. Bonnie Henry.

From the beginning, she has provided us with updates, urged us to stay calm, reminded us to be kind, admonished us to be safe, and told us how to stay safe. I believe she has done her job well.

She cannot make people behave the way, deep down, they know they should.

Choice has existed from the beginning of humankind. As for clout to make people stop wrong behaviours, we must look to elected officials and the law — not to Henry. She needs our thanks and support.

Joan Watson

Port Alberni

I am woman hear me roar

Dear Editor:

Helen’s Reddy’s parents were on the Australian vaudeville circuit and she began joining them onstage at the age of four. Rebelling at the age of 12 she went to live with an aunt. A disastrous early marriage followed; resulting in parenthood and divorce. Needing funds she returned to show business.

She won a talent contest whose prize was a trip to New York City and a record-company audition. In 1966 with her three-year-old daughter and very little money they landed in New York to find the record company was not interested in her talents.

She was at the end of her resources when she met Jeff Wald. Her friend threw a party and charged $5 for admission in an effort to raise funds for Helen and her young daughter. Jeff Wald crashed the party and they married a few months later.

Remaining in New York, they lived in roach-infested flats and lived on spaghetti. Wald was an aspiring show business promoter who quickly became successful after they moved to Los Angeles. One of his early clients was Tiny Tim who was famous for the novelty hit: “Tiptoe Through the Tulips.” Their fractious marriage lasted from 1966 until 1983 when it ended in a bitter divorce.

Helen Reddy became a feminist icon when her trailblazing song “I Am Woman” tied in with the 70’s feminist movement. It went on to sell millions of copies worldwide, making Reddy the biggest-selling female artist globally for two years running. In collecting her 1973 Grammy Award for best female vocalist, Reddy famously thanked “God because she makes everything possible”. Other hits were Delta Dawn, Angie Baby and No Way to Treat a Lady.

After her divorce Reddy turned to the theatre appearing in a series of musicals between 1985 and 1997. She made history as the first Western female singer to perform in China.

She retired in 2002 lived in Australia before finally returning to the U.S. after a 10-year hiatus. She published her memoir The Woman I am and made a brief comeback in 2012. In 2017 she sang I am a Woman at an LA anti-Trump rally.

A feature film biography of Helen Reddy “I Am Woman, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2019.

Suffering from dementia Helen Reddy died in September 2020 at the age of 78.

Elvena Slump

Penticton

Nothing wrong with President Biden’s age

Dear Editor:

Little Tommy Isherwood, off in Ola-la-Land, why are you suing ageism against ol’ Joe Biden?

After all, you yourself are a sprung chicken, as am I!

Joy Lang

Penticton

Carbon tax cheapest and quickest method

Dear Editor:

Re: “Carbon tax another cash grab” by Victoria Times Colonist (Herald, Feb. 9).

Whether governments give back the whole or part of the fees they collect from the carbon tax is not important, as long as rebates are given to the people who need them. The current B.C. and federal carbon tax plans give most people more money back than they pay in.

Fees help pay for government rebate programs, retrofit funding and other initiatives. Anti-tax penny-pinchers are ignoring the hidden costs of greenhouse gas pollution — asthma and poor health from fossil fuel emissions and rising insurance rates due to the floods, fires, and extreme weather events caused by climate change.

Economists agree that carbon taxes are the cheapest and quickest way to lower emissions. The fees motivate industries and individuals to make energy efficient choices and to switch to cleaner energy.

Some of the countries with the highest carbon fees have the best-performing economies. That’s why industry and business groups like the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Mining Association and ExxonMobil back the carbon tax; they prefer that market forces drive change and innovation rather than governments regulating emissions targets.

The old saying, “Penny wise pound foolish” applies to anti-carbon tax folks. Whether we like it or not, watching global temperatures rise while doing nothing is much more costly.

Margaret Holm

Penticton

PETA’s latest idea is the runt of the litter

Dear Editor:

Not to put a monkey wrench in PETA saying we should stop using animals to describe a person, but people are having a whale of a time, and are not being sheepish in their ridicule. As to not parrot the negativity from my friends, I also refuse to rat them out.

When I first read what PETA wanted I thought they were just horsing around, and it was just a hare-brained publicity stunt. Without turning possum, I am willing to go hog wild in kangaroo court for a debate on not using animal names in our English language.

After all these years of animal degradation, perhaps PETA is dog tired, and in need a catnap, or maybe a big bear hug. My hope is that they do not go ape on us, and will show some puppy love in ­educating us in the merits of knowing what all the animal names mean.

Considering PETA loves animals, it is the most lionhearted thing to do.

Mur Meadows

Victoria

Editor’s note: The above letter, in our opinion, was the cat’s pajamas.