Letters to the Editor: May 2

Letters to the Editor: May 2

Spectacular Spectacular

Congratulations and many thanks to all who took part in the planning and presentation of “Spectacular! Spectacular!” at the Key City Theatre on Saturday, April 22.

It was a great evening from the beginning — with a foyer filled with cheerful chatter, a musical trio and fine finger food — to the very end, with a grand vocal finale.

We all enjoyed so much live, local talent — some of it just outstanding — plus some delightful video presentations and moving tributes to “PK” (Paul Kershaw) and to the late Mr. O (Rod Osiowy).

It was an evening to remember.

Bud Abbott

Cranbrook

Start A Movement

After listening to the news, first about our dairy farmers and now about softwood lumber, I can’t stay quiet any more.

What would be next? Our oil or water? Why is President Trump attacking Canada, always the U.S.’s biggest ally?

Because we are a soft target. Only once I remember us showing some strength when we didn’t join the Gulf War.

It’s all about money and muscles.

Well, let’s show to the U.S. that we have some muscles too.

You, all the cross-border shoppers, is it really worth it to cross the border just to get some eggs and milk? Aren’t you a proud Canadian? Support our dairy farmers and fruit growers and meat farmers. That would put some pressure on our neighbours.

And you, all the travellers to the U.S., do you really want to go there? With our Canadian dollar slipping, thanks President Trump and I am not even talking about safety, why don’t you spend time to get to know Canada? It’s so beautiful here.

Have you ever been in Nova Scotia or Yukon? Canada proudly celebrates 150 years this year. We survive and will survive, but how, it depends on all of us.

Let’s start a movement.

Be a proud Canadian.

Hana MacDonald

Kimberley

Whose Bias Is This Anyway?

I’ve been reading and listening to coverage of the election campaign with interest, and a growing sense of astonishment. Columnists like Tom Fletcher from Black Press are raising the issues that underline this election, but are framing them in a manner that is disingenuous at best, and deliberately misleading in some circumstances. There have been personal innuendos, if not outright attacks against some candidates, and a sense of “backing the right horse” for others, by reporters at both local and provincial levels. Some candidates are simply ignored altogether if they aren’t going to provide the desired split in votes.

Fletcher states in his column “Political parties square off on schools”, that “regardless of who wins the May 9 provincial election, there will be millions more dollars and thousands more teachers entering the public school system”. He glosses over the court case instituted by the BCTF after Christy Clark, then Minister of Education, introduced legislation that stripped class size and composition language from all B.C. contracts. Instead he focused on how the “ruling B.C. Liberals moved quickly to end 15 years of bitter conflicts in the courts and on the picket line…”

They had no choice! They committed an illegal act and would be held in contempt of Canada’s Supreme Court if they did not apply the appropriate remedy. It took the SCC 20 minutes to hand down a bench decision that normally takes months to decide. And what did this cost you, the taxpayer? Millions of dollars, as the Liberals stubbornly pushed their appeals forward through the court system, after losing the first two decisions. Millions of dollars that needed to be spent providing fully-funded public education programs to our children and grandchildren.

Mr. Fletcher slaps at BC Teachers for their political activism and ads that refer to 15 years of cuts, responding with “In fact the B.C. education budget has risen each year, despite declining enrolment in most districts over the past decade”. The budget has indeed risen each year, but not even by the 2% required by our district to meet the costs of inflation. Our district worked very hard to comply with the slow starvation to its funding, without cutting its fine arts programs for students, or closing more schools than it absolutely had to. And when they stayed within their budget, and managed to produce a surplus they could use the next school year, the Liberals clawed it back into provincial coffers and changed much of their funding into temporary grants that could only be relied upon for that school year.

Fletcher touts the Green Party’s wish to bring in an expansion of the full-day Kindergarten program to include three and four year olds, but neglects to mention that the large number of school closures across the province during the Liberal reign has now come up against consistently increasing enrolment caused by a growing baby boom, and the reinstatement of the stripped class size and composition numbers. We will have difficulty finding room within our present structures, without finding room for younger children. SD5 is still in a much better position to do so than some at the Coast that found savings through short-sighted school closures, however, our district’s request for funding to replace Mount Baker Senior High school in Cranbrook may well be pushed further down the list as the province struggles to meet the logistics of additional classroom space.

Tom Fletcher does not report the issues under guidelines of journalistic ethics and principles that were in place in times past. He is a paid employee of Black Press, and a representative of their political views and agendas. It’s time to question the Conservative organizations, agendas and viewpoints that seek to drive us. Time to get out and vote this May 19th.

Wendy Turner

Cranbrook

Today’s Liberals

As a long-time teacher in our Public schools, I am very confused by the blue signs around town urging us to vote for “Today’s B.C. Liberals”. What makes today’s B.C. Liberals different from yesterday’s B.C. Liberals? Yesterday’s Liberals managed to reduce Public Education spending from 20.4 percent of the total provincial budget in 2000 to 11.8 percent (Statistics Canada, 2015). To what did that 8.6 percent removed from education get reallocated? Currently, your child in a B.C. Public School is receiving $1000.00 less in education funding than the national average. The various grants announced for education by this government do not get B.C. schools near this national average, nor carry any assurance of continuing financial support in the future. The gap in the number of students per educator ratio continues to widen between B.C. and the rest of Canada.

Yesterday’s Liberals had fifteen years to become today’s B.C. Liberals, but rather chose to continue their agenda of chronically underfunding our children’s education. Yesterday’s Liberals initiated and continued an adversarial relationship with the teaching community by illegally stripping collective agreements and sustaining a 15-year legal battle that culminated before the Supreme Court of Canada with a ruling handed from the bench in less then 20 minutes. Having to follow the Court’s directive to restore illegally-stripped negotiated collective agreement language has been thinly disguised by this government in the media as being excited about the opportunity to invest in B.C. schools. Again, yesterday’s B.C. Liberals had all those years to get excited about opportunities for our children, but turned their attention to appealing court decisions, provoking strikes, and constantly demanding educators to do more with less.

Our schools will not benefit from another four years of Christy Clark and her Liberal government, even if they call themselves “Today’s B.C. Liberals”.

Please vote.

Larry Dureski

Cranbrook