Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

Lake Koocanusa weir; Cranbrook RCMP report; Cranbrook Community Theatre; Can Greens and NDP get along?

Support for a Koocanusa Weir

Our self-funded committee is lobbying to build a weir on Lake Koocanusa. The Columbia River Treaty is being renegotiated right now.

A stable lake on the Canadian side of the international border would have a huge economic benefit to our region. Benefits could include jobs, agriculture, recreation, and millions in regional income for centuries. Water would also be available for water bombers when fighting wildfires.

With coal mines possibly closing within the next 30 years or sooner, this area needs jobs.

Libby Dam is managed and controlled by the U.S. The Canadian side, where the biggest portion of the reservoir lies, is a wasteland most of the year. In 2017, Libby produced 138 million US dollars of power, according to the Kalispell newspaper. For over 45 years, the U.S. received all the benefits. Canada cleared the reservoir, paid to purchase the land, and has not received one penny compensation.

Our committee urges all elected politicians and citizens to become project supportive. Please endorse our petition.

Mario Scodellaro, Ken Bettin, Andy Schmatz, Faye Street/Build A Weir Committee

Cranbrook RCMP report

I was quite alarmed when I read the latest RCMP report to city council last week.

In it, they advised in one form or another, nine police officers were for various reasons not able to function at full capacity. According to what I figure, this amounts to 46% of the city detachment not able to provide the service that we are paying for. You often hear that across the country, the RCMP are so short of meeting the requirements of their policing duties, they resort to robbing Peter to pay Paul which leaves some of their areas horribly short staffed. The worst case recently I heard this is with the horrible mass shooting that took place in rural Nova Scotia.

Perhaps, this is the reason that we see little or no traffic enforcement in our city.

I don’t know if Council are concerned about this, but maybe they should be.

Neil Matheson, Cranbrook

Cranbrook Community Theatre

It would have been hard to imagine six or eight months ago (pre-Covid 19) that I would be ecstatic to take in a live theatre performance while wearing a mask for the two-hour duration. But that’s just what happened when I attended the Cranbrook Community Theatre production of Almost, Maine at the Studio Stage Door. Even better, I felt completely safe doing so thanks to the safety precautions in place. Contact info was taken at the door, hand sanitizer was available just inside the door, social distancing was in place as patrons climbed the stairs to the theatre space, ushers escorted theatre-goers to their seats, keeping people spaced apart in their bubbles. And, yes, we all kept our masks on.

The play itself was the perfect choice to lift our spirits during these difficult times; a very funny, often touching series of romantic/comedy vignettes, Almost, Maine was just the pick-me-up I needed. I really couldn’t pick a favourite skit or a favourite actor; all were uniformly excellent, as were the direction, sets and costumes.

The production, which plays for three more nights on October 1, 2 and 3, is also available for enjoying from the comfort of your own home via the magic of live-streaming. But, for myself, the opportunity to go out, safely, to a live show was just the ticket. Even while wearing a mask.

To stage a play, safely, during a global pandemic is an amazing accomplishment. Thank you Cranbrook Community Theatre!

Sandra (Albers) Warner, Cranbrook

Can the Greens and NDP get along?

One Time Alliance BC contacted Green and NDP candidates in eight ridings (one is yours) from September 23 to October 9 and asked them to work together in this election.

Fewer doors were slammed in our faces than we anticipated.

One Time Alliance (www.oneimealliance.ca) is a cross-Canada group of citizens that believe the old-fashion First Past the Post system of electing our politicians needs to change to something fairer.

The very newly formed (darn that snap election!) BC chapter of One Time Alliance looked at eight ridings that an NDP or Green lost because of vote splitting. One of them could win if they worked together. What each candidate we spoke with had in common was a commitment to supporting the formation of a Citizens’ Assembly for Electoral Reform. The Assembly takes the decision on how our vote counts out of the hands of politicians.

We tried pairing up ridings where a Green could win if uncontested paired with a nearby riding that an NDP could win uncontested. We paired the urban area of West Van-Sea to Sky for the Greens with either North Vancouver-Seymour or Vancouver—False Creek or Vancouver-Langara for an NDP. Rurally, we paired Kamloops—South Thompson for the Greens with either Columbia River–Revelstoke, or Fraser-Nicola or Kootenay East for an NDP.

What a response! Not everyone agreed to talk with us but everyone that did had a very strong opinion. Go figure.

There were some candidates who were angry. There were some candidates who listened and tried to find a way to make it work. Many candidates were concerned about their hardworking volunteers. There was some agreement that if the other side went first, they would certainly think very hard about it. That’s where we got hung up. No one was willing to go first.

However, what all Green and NDP candidates we spoke with did agree on is that the current voting system is unfair and needs to change. (What’s fair about one party reigning for four years that over 60% of the people didn’t vote for?)

All the people we talked to were amazing, talented, and dedicated. Two weeks into the campaign we realized it was too late to ask for this kind of sacrifice from them and their teams.

But what an experience! We learned a lot. Like, never ever try doing this during an election.

We are not giving up. All the western democracies, except the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. have dumped this ancient voting system and moved on. Google Fair Vote Canada for all sorts of facts and figures on Proportional Representation and on how a Citizen’s Assembly works.

The door is still open. Who won in your riding? Was it fair? Let’s keep talking … but after the election.

Kathy Hartman and Joyce Green/ BC chapter leaders of www.onetimealliance.ca

Check out www.fairvote.ca/first-past-post-must-go/ and www.fairvote.ca/nationalcitizensassembly/