Letters to the Editor: Jan. 22

Hazard Report; Million Dollar Caribou; Wolf Cull; Not In Session days; A New World

Hazard Report

Regarding “Hazard Report” submitted by a citizen of Cranbrook:

I question the thoroughness of the investigation of a Hazard Report submitted by a citizen of our city. I won’t use the person’s name or position as this shouldn’t be the focus. It appears there’s an environmental hazard and our government representatives are failing to use common sense and have publicly harassed the person who reported the hazard.  How could any hazard investigation be complete without contacting the source of the report?

The private sector is held to the standards of Occupational Health and Safety (OH &S)/Work Safe BC. They are required by law to investigate and access the hazard, implement change to reduce or alleviate the hazard, and then add any remaining hazards to a Job Safety Analysis, commonly known as a JSA (The JSA would make it obvious signage in the area would be the first order of business.). Why isn’t our city or province accountable for the same action? The way this was further handled, by reporting publically the person who submitted the report, is what the private sector would consider to be Work Place Harassment. In a balanced Work/Safety environment the focus is on the reported not the reporter. Ask yourself, how will people feel in the future if they have a hazard to report? To Arne Petryshen, your first article, Jan 8, 2015, wasn’t complete, which makes one question its credibility.

If the presence of a sidewalk is stopping our city or province from alleviating a hazard, then I say we look at our regulations. Sometimes policy is the hazard! Very often, private sector policy changes or flexes to consider safety first. To not consider a policy/environmental conflict in regards to safety is immature.

To the citizen who just felt someone was going to get hurt or killed, thanks for having the courage and taking the time to report the hazard. I hope our city and provincial representatives will learn to handle Hazard Reporting more responsibly in the future.

Barb Mooney/Cranbrook

Million Dollar Caribou

In a race to “save” endangered caribou in the South Selkirk and South Peace regions of British Columbia, the Government of BC and various conservation groups have collectively lost their minds. The ridiculous and senseless helicopter slaughter of Timber wolves – causing localized pack extinction — is beyond comprehension, and certainly beyond belief! I take HUGE exception to this slaughter of wolves — on many different levels especially financial and ethical.

It was bad enough that nearly a million taxpayer dollars was wasted in March of 2012 to translocate Dease Lake caribou to southern BC so that politicians, biologists, and conservation groups  could monitor the animals as they suffered , starved and died off.  The augmentation plan was an expensive taxpayer-funded experiment that failed miserably and was a complete fiasco.

Of course – at the time – there was great fanfare on how to save ecosystems.  John Bergenske of Wildsight sang:

“It is an honor for Wildsight and its partners to play a role with the provincial government to recover an endangered species and a healthy wild ecosystem in the Kootenay region.”

Even MLA Bill Bennett said his two cents worth and indicated where he was going with all this:

” I support the translocation on one condition, predators will have to be managed.”

And now another expensive (million dollar?) fiasco is unfolding….the helicopter slaughter of wolves to try and save eighteen caribou (who – sadly –  already have a death sentence due to habitat destruction). So in the end what will be left? We will have a hugely fragmented ecosystem damaged because of human manipulation, creating  localized extinction of caribou and localized extinction of timber wolves with one single everlasting consequence –  a mortally wounded ecosystem that will recover only when we idiot humans quit sticking our collective noses where we don’t belong.

Should humans be  involved with ecosystem management?  I think not – we are not smart enough to figure this out… and way too greedy.

On the other hand, I do believe there are some old men out there that should receive some serious “EGO” system management!

Darryl Oakley/Kimberley

Wolf Cull

In regard to the Selkirk Caribou Herd, the article by the Ktunaxa and the Northern Lights Wolf Centre rightly expressed everything that is wrong about the proposed aerial wolf kill.

With only an estimated 18 caribou remaining, let’s not add further injury to the ecosystem by killing hundreds of wolves. Put the money that would be wasted on the wolf kill into protecting the herd with temporary large pens during calving season. Focus the remaining money on habitat restoration and protection.

As Farley Mowat wrote about in “Never Cry Wolf” and the couple who filmed “Being Caribou” showed us, wolves single out the very young, the sick, the very old and occasionally the unlucky.

As the Ktunaxa and the Northern Lights advocates explained, the caribou are not in a critical state of decline because of the wolves. Killing wolves is not the remedy.

Grant Smith/Kimberley

Not in Session Days

Parents are gatherings petitions to be presented at the East Kootenay School District on February 10, 2015.   This issue must be voted on during the March School Board meeting.

The current school calendar’s nine Not In Session (NIS) days have created a hardship for parents, and parents are petitioning the board to revert back to the standard calendar, by removing the additional nine NIS Fridays that were added in 2013 and 2014.

In 2013 the Minister of Education allowed schools to create their own calendars, as long as they provided the required number of hours of instruction each grade level required.

They also had an obligation to consult with the parents and staff each year three months prior to the start of the new school calendar.  Many parents have voiced the fact that there was insufficient consultation. As a result, they came to believe that the ministry mandated these extra days, and they had no other choice but to accept them.

Prior to 2013, the standard had been for 6 Professional days and 1 administration day at the end of the school year.  When the change came in effect, the majority of school districts (57 out of 60) kept to the standard number of days when schools were not in session.

Only three districts, including SD5, took advantage of the new rules, and decided to invoke their right to ask for an additional days that the Ministry refers to as Vacation Days when schools are not in session (NIS days).  These are NOT professional days.  These days simply allow teachers, and staff, along with the students to enjoy nine extra vacation days.

These nine days are costing parents a lot of money in lost wages. Some parents are now at risk of losing their jobs because there are no day care facilities that will take children on a one-day basis.

In terms of education, these extra days come at a cost of lost quality teaching time. Adding a few minutes to various periods throughout the day does not equate to a full day of five subject classes.  The shortened lunch period results in young children being unable to finish a healthy lunch, and does not allow them the physical, and social time they need.

Parents want opportunities for a good education for their children.  They do not want more Vacation days.  They want the School Board to listen to their requests, and to remove the extra 9 Vacation Days from next year’s 2015-2016 school calendar.

Parents who want to circulate petitions may download them by contacting: erpalmer505@gmail.com

Leena Wright (grandparent) and Erika RievePalmer (parent of two students enrolled in SD 5)

A New World

In response to the letter sent in by Wayne Stetski:

Mr. Stetski, you would also like to return to a Canada of the past. This is 2015 and we as Canadians live a world of global terrorism, where radicals do not recognize the rule of law, never mind the Geneva Convention. Canada is a country that has always sought peace, but many times our country has had to bear arms to achieve it.

As the MP for Kootenay-Columbia, I must face the world as it is presented and work with our Canadian Armed Forces, along with diplomatic efforts to make Canada safer and more secure for generations to come.

Your comments with regards to Veterans is completely false, in that our government has increased funding by over $5 billion since taking office, providing services never provided by previous governments.

Around the world the Canadian flag is looked as a symbol of pride.  One that reflects a country that is True, North, Strong and Free.

Maybe you could explain to the people what your party, whoever that is, has done for our troops.  If you are a Liberal, funding was cut to a point where our military was non-existent, and then were sent into battle with green fatigues in a brown battle ground.  If you are NDP they have voted against any funding for the military and have never supported military engagement.

David Wilks, MP/Kootenay-Columbia