Letters to the editor – Oct. 11/18

LNG a “very momentous day”

October 1st 2018 will go down in BC history as a very momentous day. After six and a half years of hard work and heavy lifting, LNG Canada has made its Final Investment Decision (FID) and will proceed with building and operating an export terminal in Kitimat.

All of British Columbia will benefit from the largest investment project in BC history, 40 billion dollars, and the largest private investment project in Canadian history. The 40 billion in investment will result in hundreds of millions in revenue to the province, supporting services from healthcare to education. I’m personally hoping some for our wildlife issues as well.

We owe a profound thank you to those pioneers that spearheaded this project, like Christy Clark, Rich Coleman and our very own Bill Bennett. These people and many more dared to dream big and disregarded ridicule and opposition. Personally, I can tell you that the same people that opposed me on this issue during my election campaign are giving me high fives today. I am hoping this project will bring all British Columbian’s closer together, as today is not about Left or Right but it is about all of us winning together. The NDP government had many ways to squash this project but supported it, so I take my hat off to them today.

Finally, congratulations to First Nation communities, Unions, Workers, Families, Industry and Businesses that will directly benefit. There are many happy Northern Communities today I can assure you.

As being part of the official opposition my work is not done yet. I will be looking forward to seeing the NDP’s LNG legislation, as it needs to guarantee British Columbians get a fair return for their resources, and British Columbians be first in line when LNG jobs are created.

We are not giving the government a rubber stamp yet on LNG legislation, but let it be known that we will not allow taxpayers, industry, organized labour, First Nations, and Non First Nation communities to be held hostage by a small fringe party from Southern Vancouver Island.

Tom Shypitka, MLA

Kootenay East

Critic – Energy and Mines

On proportional representation

Let me first state that I love Canada, yes, my accent is wrong, according to some people but I am very happy to be here except: WHEN I HAVE TO VOTE.

When I grew up in the Netherlands we were taught that voting is a right worth fighting for. We had just come out of W.W.II and voting mattered. Everyone’s voice matters, left, right or in the middle. We have a right to express our opinion and share this with others. And, my vote mattered. There was a system where my vote counted, no matter where I lived in that country.

Then we became Canadians as soon as we could. It was important that we could have a voice in our new country. However, after 32 years I have learned that most of the time I was living in a riding where I did not belong to the majority and my vote in the FPTP system went into to the waste paper bin. (because I did not share in the prevailing belief of my riding).

Yes, there were several small parties in the Netherlands and at times it was difficult to form a government but, in the end, we enjoyed good governance and the “threatening” parties never interfered with good governance. Fear is a word created and exploited by those who don’t

believe that we should listen to the voice of the minority, those who have an advantage by keeping the status quo.

These days our society has become more diverse and this leads to smaller parties standing up against larger groups. The large groups want to throttle the smaller groups by not giving them a voice.

Mr. Bennet, you have done a lot for this riding, I do not dispute that but your article on Proportional Representation versus First Past the Post can be seen as fearmongering and is based on unfounded stories.

Our society has become more diverse and this leads to smaller parties standing up against larger groups. The large groups want to throttle the smaller groups by not giving them a voice.

Countries like Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark have enjoyed governments that lasted longer than our so-called majority governments. The CDU/CSU in Germany has been part of the government for most of the years since

1948.

Those countries are just as successful as North America.

Before voting please consider what you are doing.

Anne Beurskens, Cranbrook

Proportional Representation

Dear Editor. In his letter to the Editor October 3rd (Proportional Representation), Bill Bennett stated that, under FPTP, the winner needs to earn the most votes. That means, of course, more votes than any other single party.

It does not mean MOST OF THE VOTES. Far from it!

In fact, in a four party race, under FPTP it is possible for one party with less than 30 per cent of the total votes to capture 100 per cent of the seats in the House.

A situation that cries out for correction!

Bud Abbott, Cranbrook

Overnight in parking lots

Passing through Cranbrook with my truck and 5th wheel and seeing no overnight parking signs stopped at a local mall for the night. Had dinner at Boston pizza, did some shopping at Canadian Tire, caught the 9.30 show at the Landmark theater. Midnight a guy pounding on my door telling me I would have to move. Telling me to move the Home Hardware lot for the night. I think the city should have a short talk with the owners asking them if they were afraid I might scuff their asphalt. Kudos to Home Hardware for letting me stop for the night and I will definitely shop there.

Vince Skywork, Kelowna

The current system

The October 3rd edition of the Townsman had a Tom Felcher BC Views column making one of his usual disingenuous false equivalencies between Canada and old Soviet Block states. The same edition included a letter from former MLA Bill Bennett making a case for why the majority of voters should continue having their election ballots tossed in the proverbial trash bin.

Setting aside the absurdity of Tom’s frequent comparisons of Canada to the Soviet Union, North Korea, etc., let us look at his main assertion. Allowing rich folks to pay privately for medical treatments pushes those with money to the front of the line. What he fails to mention, is that this same process pushes everyone else further back in the line. Private payment for medical care does not bring us more doctors, etc. Just look at the two-tier system in the UK. You can pay 50-thousand Pound to get your coronary bypass surgery sooner if you like, but you get the very same doctors as publicly funded patients. The latter just have to wait longer because some rich person has a fat wallet.

Similar issues are present with private medical insurers. Of course their main interest is not your health. Their interest is to deny your claim, while collecting your premiums. Private health insurance is the ultimate conflict-of-interest.

For these reasons, most industrialized countries (all saving the USA) have publicly funded health care. Some have different funding models, such as insurance cooperatives tied to social and political groups (I’d rather we don’t go there), but only the USA chooses to pay twice as much per capita for less widely available service. Shall we cut in the blood-sucking private interests? By the same reasoning, shall we privatize the rest of our public resources? Private police forces? Private military? Seriously?

With respect to Bill Bennett’s letter, how can we take his assertions seriously? He asserts that the party getting most votes should win. Well, I agree with that part. If a party wins the majority of provincial votes (i.e. greater than 50%), then they win a majority. However, if a grouping of parties is required to represent 50% of the voters, then so be it. However, our current electoral system awards majority governments to parties that most people did not vote for. Only proportional representation can fix this.

The Sweden case Mr. Bennett refers to is a shining example of why we do need PR. Sweden has a history of stable governments under a system of Proportional Representation, much like we will see on our ballots. The same can be said for the majority of western democracies. Fringe ideas are relegated to fringe parties with a small fraction of the vote.

Under our current First Past the Post system, the lunatic fringe can take over a political party, and gain a majority. It happened in Ontario. It happened in the USA with Donald Trump. Did it just happen in Quebec? Bring on PR, and keep the loonatic fringe on the fringe.

Harold Boomkarahke; Cranbrook

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