Letters to the editor

Write to us at: letters@pentictonherald.ca

Owner-absent STR rentals are a problem

Dear Editor:

In the upcoming review of policy to regulate short-term rental vacation properties in Summerland, the mayor and council has the opportunity to address two very important issues — namely the impact of operator-absent STR vacation properties on neighbourhoods and affordable housing.

Currently, 174 STR properties are operating under the radar and without authorization in Summerland neighbourhoods.

Ninety percent of these businesses operate without an operator on site, some operators are not in the community, others are not even in the province.

Operator-present STRs like B&Bs have a place in Summerland. They are a great way to supplement household income, meet people and provide a service to tourists. When the operator resides on site, those guests who generate excessive noise, cause parking disturbances or create safety issues can be immediately managed.

However, 156 operator-absent STR vacation properties are now profitably off-loading the costs (economic, emotional etc.) created by misbehaving guests on to the neighbours in Summerland.

Summerland’s council claims to want to see more affordable housing in the community. Yet it has allowed STR vacation properties to operate in contravention of the community’s bylaws at the expense of those who can’t find housing and can’t afford it if they can find it.

The current policies could simply be formalized and enforced. But my fear is that their policy review process is not intended to address affordable housing but to accommodate those who have been profiting and will continue to profit the most while creating dire circumstances for others.

Drive around Summerland in the early morning and see how many people are living in their cars.

Those with vested interests in the STR vacation businesses will surely make their positions known to council. Ensure council knows that you’re concerned about the preservation of safe, quiet neighbourhoods and affordable housing for those who want to live and work in Summerland.

Janet Schumacher

Summerland

Health authorities aren’t making it easy

Dear Editor:

It seems to me that having to go online or phone to provide information you have already provided in order to get a vaccine passport makes zero sense.

The reason I say this is that the health authorities already have all that information they require at their fingertips from when you attended and got your vaccines.

Why should people have to spend endless hours waiting for an operator, or for the website to not be crashed, when the health authorities could simply look at the information they have gathered, and simply issue a passport without all the needless jumping through hoops that they have decided was the best way to do this?

Two weeks for millions of people to get this done. Bravo. We should have been given twice that long. The lack of common sense in today's world just astounds me.

Mark Billesberger

Penticton

No political party seems to be ethical

Dear Editor:

With the future of First Nations peoples on the line — along with the rest of us — during this upcoming pandemic election, which party is the least ethical?

Is it the Liberals, who have defined “entitlement” for a generation, who have mismanaged pandemic relief for individuals and businesses as well as setting back international relations for decades to come?

They broke promises, failed to provide clean drinking water, Trudeau himself proved to be a fake feminist.

Is it the NDP? They fail to respect an individual’s right of privacy by making unwelcome phone calls.

Is it the Conservative Party, with their fascist-sounding “Secure the future” slogan on the same discredited path since Harper and Mulroney attempted to ruin the nation with their misguided policies of economics, fake economics and right- wing indoctrination?

The Peoples Party of Canada is arguably a right-wing offshoot of the right-wing, if not fascist, Conservative Party.

The Green party has issues within their own ranks.

The Bloq Quebecois is a traitorous organization infesting Canadian politics as they uphold Quebec’s undue sense of entitlement.

None of the parties are deserving of power in this country.

Which is the least abominable party? The Green Party, I guess, but honestly, none of the parties are worthy of our trust.

Patrick Longworth

Penticton

Konanz committed to reducing crime

Dear Editor:

It’s federal election time. Who are you voting for? I’m voting for Helenz Konanz.

Why? Helena was a Penticton city councillor for seven years which gave her political experience and the opportunity to work with many politicians from all levels of government.

Helena is committed to addressing problems like the rising crime rate, the increase in opioid deaths and the continuing mental health issues.

I know that Helena Konanz will actually work, and work very hard, for our community.

Beverly Webb

Penticton

MP’s doors should always be open

Dear Editor:

This letter is in response to criticism of our local Member of Parliament Richard Cannings (Herald letters, Sept. 8).

My husband had a similar experience with Cannings. He approached Cannings looking for help for a disabled veteran who was being stonewalled by Veterans Affairs.

Cannings replied that he couldn’t do anything and suggested he contact a government department.

Cannings does not know why he was elected. It is important that elected MPs understand their duties and obligations to the electorate.

For example: Ron Cannan while MP in Kelowna brought forward a private members bill on interprovincial trade and its deleterious effect on the wine industry. Cannan was not reelected and the bill; the issue should have died.

But Dan Albas, another MP, stepped in and carried the issue forward.

In December, Albas tabled a private member’s bill to amend the Canada Post Corporation Act so Canadian-made wine, beer and spirits could be accessible in a direct-to-consumer program, with shipping through Canada Post, between provinces.

This was a stroke of genius. If Albas gets his way, the bill will prohibit Canada Post, a federal Crown corporation, from refusing direct delivery to consumers of beer, wine or spirits originating in another province. Trade barriers upheld by the Supreme Court between provinces would be secondary.

Albas is a good example of working for your community even though you are not a member of the ruling party. We expect MPs to bring networking; contacts and abilities forward to resolve issues.

Anyone running for office today should be able to network with all parties. Whether it is wine or Cystic Fibrosis the constituent needs and wants help. MP office doors should always be open to problems dealing with unresponsive government departments.

Cannings likes bicycle riding and bikes through his large constituency on a regular basis. Nice summer vacation for bikers; nice PR; but time wise how does that resolve longstanding problems of local citizens?

We need to elect problem solvers to Parliament. Sticking your hand up when ordered to do so by your leader is not enough.

Regardless of the party you vote for all potential MPs should be working hard for the people in their community. It is about more than a free ride and a healthy pension.

Elvena Slump

Penticton

Vax inconsistencies in private, public sectors

Dear Editor:

An open letter to my MLA Roly Russell.

The Province has not, to date, mandated vaccinations for all provincial employees.

U.S. President Joe Biden has mandated all federal employees be vaccinated with no option for testing.

Your government — with advice from the provincial health authority — has not been able to get ahead of the Delta variant of COVID-19.

Our small business, Linden Gardens, lost $93,000 in 2020. We are, as of Sept. 13, required to have all patrons provide proof of at least one dose of vaccine. The hypocrisy of the province once again bearing down on small-service business and not addressing its own employees’ vaccine status is extraordinarily irritating.

The Vancouver Sun reported some care homes expect to lose staff to nearby hospitals as the hospitals do not require vaccination.

B.C. must immediately mandate vaccination for all employees, including all health care, education and contractors. The credibility of the NDP government is at stake.

Ken Hayter

Kaleden

The many faces of Erin O’Toole

Dear Editor:

On Aug. 29, MP Dan Albus tweeted “Nearly half of Canadians, 44%, told Ipsos that Trudeau would say anything to get elected”.

One wonders if Albas, a supporter of libertarian Max Bernier in the 2017 Conservative leadership race, would say the same about Erin O’Toole?

Is he “true blue”, or, now, “red”? He changes colours like a chameleon.

O’Toole campaigned for the CPC leadership last year as “true blue”, gaining support of the gun lobby, and the climate change denying, social and fiscal conservative

factions. In spite of the recent “blue” CPC convention slap down on climate change, he proposes a switch to red, pricing carbon.

Sort of. Returning to climate change targets abandoned by other parties, O’Toole steps in with carbon pricing regime for individuals that would incentivize fossil fuel consumption. To further appease petroleum producers and Prairie Conservatives, “blue” O’Toole wants to build a bitumen pipeline, complete with tankers, to our long-protected Inside Passage.

Blue Conservative MP’s have railed against federal deficits for years. Now red O’Toole campaigns for big governments, modestly promising to hold the country to 10 years of deficits.

Furthermore, with words that echo Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, he now claims that if you focus on growing the economy, the budget will balance itself. (Both PMJT and EO’T are right). Albas and the fiscal conservatives must be spinning.

The Liberals aren’t the only party O’Toole wants to outflank. The NDP promise 500,000 new homes in 10 years. Red O’Toole ups that to one million in three years. And will ban Americans (and other “foreigners”) from buying Canadian property.

Blue O’Toole wants a return to 1977 gun laws and allow legal ownership of the weapons of the Ecole Polytechnic and other massacres.

Sort of. Red O’Toole will keep the Liberal ban of 1,500 additional weapons in place until his handpicked “blue” panel can reverse it after the election.

Red O’Toole will increase public health transfers to the provinces, without requiring strings like reducing wait times.

Blue O’Toole wants us to consider further health-care privatization.

Extreme red/blue policy switches occur in so many CPC platform areas, including access to abortion, and gay conversion therapy, that it’s hard to say which faction will win in Erin O’Toole’s mind little alone in a fractious Conservative caucus.

Mr. Albas, I can only conclude that Erin O’Toole and Conservative candidates would say anything to get elected too.

David Flater

Okanagan Falls