Justin Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau poses for a photograph in Ottawa, on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Trudeau borrowing our country into debt

Dear Editor:

One of Justin Trudeau’s year-end ruminations was that it’s OK to keep borrowing and spending because international financial institutions hadn’t lowered our credit rating. That’s like expecting the bartender to tell you when you’ve had enough to drink.

Unfortunately, debt always has to be repaid, and long-term debt means repayment at unknown interest rates in the future. With inflation on the rise, it’s a sure bet that interest rates must also rise. Some of us experienced 18% interest rates 40 years ago. It was sorrowful to see neighbours turn their house keys over to the bank because they couldn’t afford mortgage renewals.

Pierre Trudeau vowed to stop inflation, but it never happened; even with government-imposed wage and price controls. Borrowing and spending continued through the Mulroney era until we hit a wall of accumulated deficit spending and debt that caused international lenders to lower our credit rating.

It was panic stations and big spending cuts for Jean Chretien. When the federal well ran dry, provinces reacted by slashing services. This was painfully evident in the health care sector when hospitals were closed or amalgamated and many health professionals migrated to the U.S. for work. Did healthcare ever recover?

There’s no indication that government borrowing and spending are slowing. It’s like a giant ponzi scheme where voters are rewarded with borrowed money which they must repay in the future. The federal debt has almost doubled over the last six years. This is rationalized as a necessary COVID response, but a lot was outright political pork barrelling and vote buying. Ten-dollar-a-day childcare may be the last gasp of socialist self-delusion.

A reckoning will come in the form of spending cuts, tax increases or both. More taxes? We already give everything we earn before June 10th to the government. Watch your home equity. It’s the last reservoir of personal wealth that hasn’t been tapped by government.

Where will the spending cuts come next time? Healthcare seems untouchable, but it was before. Social programs? We’re too far in the hole to implement big promises of pharmacare, housing and universal incomes; although they’ll keep tantalizing voters with these. Then there’s an unlimited appetite for spending on the climate and indigenous matters.

Socialism only works until you run out of other people’s money. Governments don’t create wealth; they can only consume and re-distribute it.

John Thompson

Penticton

Penticton dictatorship, not a democracy

Dear Editor:

When I read Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki’s holiday message “Looking back at 2021,” I wanted to throw up. It was the most hypocritical message I have ever read.

“Our council also made strides this past year to make our community a better place for all citizens.”

Be specific. How did they do this? Did they listen to our concerns or did they totally ignore them and continue with their agenda and expect the taxpayers to pay for their decisions?

How can everyone get out of their cars and opt for a more active mode of transportation by continuing to invest in our bike lanes, walking paths and parks. Try this with a cane or a walker. Try grocery shopping this way. How can “waving to a stranger” fix anything?

Here are some things that disturb me about my hometown, Penticton.

Bike lanes — the cost of making them for a small percentage of our population. I count how many bikes are on these lanes every time I go out. Record lows.

The impossible positioning of parking meters on Main Street.

The lack of shovelling on Main Street.

One of the highest crime rate in a city of this size in Canada.

The lack of RCMP and policing.

Council’s lack of concern for its population.

Funding pulled from Pathways

Building an “outdoor skating rink” when we have four indoor rinks.

Building, building, building.

The citizens have little or “no say” on so many issues except to pay, pay, pay.

Allowing a person who does not live in Penticton the right to be on the city council.

Lack of snow removal.

This is a dictatorship, not a democracy.

Judith Preen

Penticton

Photo radar is effective tool at saving lives

Dear Editor:

Local drivers continue to speed on snowy and icy roads. Studies show 60% of vehicles today would fail a spot safety and mechanical fitness check.

With the advent of four-wheel drive, SUVs and trucks drivers believe themselves invincible, but fail to realize the higher centre of gravity of SUVs, require a different driving technique.

Four-wheel drive improves forward traction on snowy roads, but it can not stop any better — nor does it prevent your wheels spinning when you press the accelerator too hard and hydroplaning into the next lane, neither does four-wheel drive stop you from slipping sideways while turning an icy corner.

To believe four-wheel drive vehicles allow you to speed on winter roads is negligent and a lack of safe driving skills. You are an accident waiting to happen and a danger to the rest of us, 27% of all Canadian traffic fatalities are because of speeding. Distracted drivers cut their reaction time by 35%. Common sense dictates winter speed limits are lower than posted speeds.

The argument against automatic photo radar is that you can not prove who is driving the car, penalizing the license-holder by fining the registration number is unfair. But photo radar does slow down traffic and save lives. B.C. ended photo radar in 2001. Critics claimed it was “a cash-grab that caught drivers in a momentary mistake,” but B.C. saw a spike in traffic fatalities after 2001. Critics fail to mention the enormous public cost of cleaning up after senseless speeding accidents.

Traffic studies show many people are habitual speeders and that goes beyond the occasional mistake. Metropolitan Toronto issued 227,322 speeding tickets between July 2020 and July 2021 — that’s 620 tickets every day. One particular driver was fined 27 times that year.

Automatic photo radar is a sophisticated traffic management tool that reduces traffic fatalities and turns out to be a cash cow for municipalities, keeping property taxes down, by generating a great deal of revenue from traffic-fines to offset increasing policing costs and makes for better efficiency by allowing the RCMP to focus on serious crimes.

Photo radar also helps reduce ICBC premiums.

This efficient and lucrative traffic management tool should be welcomed by every municipal council in B.C.. Yes, elected officials will hear loud, even abhorrent complaints from the ever present vocal minority of malcontents, but would be rewarded handsomely by the silent majority who want safer streets.

Jon Peter Christoff

West Kelowna

Parks champ Peter Osborne was a gift to the city

Dear Editor:

Peter Osborne died this past Monday, Jan. 2. Peter was a special gift to the people of Penticton, and yet, sadly, in his quiet unassuming manner he was known to only a few who had the privilege of working with him, or being his friend, which those who worked with him inevitably became.

Skaha Lake Park brought Peter and me together in what became a tight bond. I am lucky for it. I have never before met such a person. Totally committed to the environment, to the people who live here, settlers and natives alike, and most important, dedicated to workable, real-life solutions to our problems. Solutions that will work not just for today, but for future generations.

Peter didn’t speak rhetoric or beat around the bush. He wrote and spoke in plain English. He was a contractor. He used constructive language, and he communicated liberally with drawings and 3D models.

He actually created, in discussion with Penticton Indian Band members, a 3D model of what a lake-to-lake linear park could look like along the existing channel walkway. Peter wanted nothing more than to build friendships and to bring people with different viewpoints together around what they shared in common to protect and build respect for our natural world and to improve the health and wellbeing of all our people through connection with nature.

Peter was a decent, kind, self-effacing man. We could all learn a lot from his values, his humility and his awareness of the fragility of our environment and our species.

It is my fervent hope that the city will find some appropriate way to permanently recognize Peter’s contributions.

Gerry Karr

Penticton