Letters to the Editor: October 15

Getting personal; What's a stake in election; Good ship ABC; Good ship CBC

Ugly stain

So the good ol’ “impartial” Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce has finally spoken on the federal election campaign in Kootenay-Columbia or maybe it was just a coincidence.

I’d like to think it was a “coincidence,” because that was one nasty letter written by Igor Gallyamov, who attacked NDP candidate Wayne Stetski in a very personal and vicious manner not usually seen in local campaigns.

In fact it was so malignant, I tried to find out more about the author and lo and behold thanks to Uncle Google I found out that Gallyamov is a director of the Cranbrook Chamber Commerce, a cosmic coincidence I’m sure.

Being a director of such a politically  “impartial” organization, Gallyamov must have ran his letter by the Chamber board and they must have approved it.

Golly gee, that doesn’t seem very impartial does it? Does this mean the Chamber Board isn’t so impartial after all to approve such a vicious and partisan missive? Or did someone else write it and Gallyamov simply sign it at their behest?

Whatever the case, this incident has put an ugly stain on the local campaign that it didn’t deserve.

Gerry Warner, Cranbrook

What’s at stake

Dear David Wilks, thank you for your service. Let it be known that this is not an attack on you, but rather an attack on the ideals that you publicly support.

First, I’d like to highlight your Conservative government’s lack of science based policy. During the school year I live near and volunteer in Vancouver’s troubled Downtown Eastside.  An area that’s plagued by addiction, poverty, and desperation. Insite opened in 2003 and has reduced drug overdoses, HIV, and hepatitis.

Bill C-2 is the Conservatives’ latest attempt to close Insite. It’s a Bill that you have championed. You’ve stated that Bill C-2 is for “the common good of our neighbours across Canada.” Various published medical journal studies have concluded that “the common good” of residents in the Downtown Eastside is safety and public health. Insite helps provide both of those basic human necessities and saves lives while reducing harm to residents of the Downtown Eastside. By attempting to shut Insite down you are not only refusing to listen to the highest court in Canada but you are also risking the lives of society’s most vulnerable.

Second, while governments around the world are drastically attempting to reduce their footprints and Greenhouse Gas emissions, Canada remains an embarrassing anomaly in the international community. According to the World Resources Institute Canada is the worst per-capita greenhouse gas emitter among wealthy nations.

Mr. Wilks, your government has cut or drastically amended over 70 pieces of critical environmental legislation with the passage of one omnibus 2012 Bill – Bill C-38. Before this “valiant” assault on the environment there were 2.5 million protected lakes, rivers, and streams in Canada. After the Bill was made law, only 159 lakes, rivers, and streams are under protection  in Canada. Few would argue with the fact that our waterways need protection in order to provide clean drinking and habitat for aquatic animals. Your government has destroyed those protections.

What’s at stake in this election is our country, our way of life, and our children’s and grandchildren’s future. This election is about restoring democracy, transparency, and accountability. This election is about making your voice heard! On October 19th, vote for the values that have made Canada a leader and an innovator on the international stage. Vote for a candidate that cares about Kootenay-Columbia and believes that he can make a difference in Ottawa. Vote for Wayne Stetski!

Eddie Petryshen, Cranbrook

The Good Ship ABC

The well intentioned, but not good, ship ABC is listing hopelessly in the stormy election waters of Kootenay Columbia. It’s difficult journey has been thwarted by strong gusts of opposition and rotting boards in the keel.

In a few days this election will be behind us and that will be a big relief. I can’t imagine how hard it has been on the candidates, but as a humble campaign worker, I am exhausted.

If I learned anything, it’s how much I dislike, no loathe, strategic voting. Because time and time again, it fails to deliver, anything.

Our antiquated, broken voting system is the problem. First-Past-The-Post works when there are two parties, one wins, one loses. Easy peasy. More than two parties and we get skewed results. And that’s when strategic elbows in.

Strategic sounds reasonable enough at first, why, I even signed up for it. But as they say, the devil is in the details. Which party to choose, based on what stats, from which year? Elections are about moving minds and changing numbers, about trust and values, not about taking a calculator to the booth. Strategic voting unravels because we don’t like other people telling us what to do. As tensions and words flare ‘tween mates, we retreat, bruised and battered but with even more resolve to vote our values.

Vote our values, isn’t that what it’s about? Look at the choices, pick the one that rings to you and vote for it. If we do anything else, we’re lying, not just to ourselves but to the country. How does a country of liars expect to get to the truth? Hey Strategic: walk the plank!

Ann Remnant, Nelson

Fear-mongering?

Kootenay Columbia voters should be worried there are candidates running for office who don’t understand the giant benefit of the Trans Pacific Partnership.

The Elk Valley yields metallurgical coal. BC production generates over $3.2 billion in economic activity each year and around $715 million in public revenues. Candidates who believe there’s a money tree somewhere won’t acknowledge that fifty percent of government services like health care, social services, education and roads come from Canada’s exports.

We are a trading nation! If we don’t negotiate international trade agreements, American or Australian competitors will have tariff advantage over Canada. It could be game over for Canadian exports.

Bill Bennett correctly observed, “If Canada had not signed the TPP, nations like Australia that also supply Asia with metallurgical coal could have sought penalties with the agreement partners against Canada for our met coal exports,”

In fact, Australia has already completed a free trade agreement with China giving the Aussies a 3% advantage over Elk Valley product in new contracts. 20% of coal produced in the Elk Valley goes to China.

That’s eleven weeks production. It substantially supports over 25,000 jobs in mining, transport, equipment and other related sectors. Our local economy, our communities, our jobs depend on international markets.

Without a Green money tree how would we replace public revenue for healthcare and social services?

Is it fear mongering to note there are candidates who don’t comprehend trade?

Jim Abbott, Wasa

The Good Ship CBC

Informed citizens are essential to democracy. Are we Canadians “informed?” Who is informing us? Certainly not the secretive Harper government. Mainstream media? Canada’s mainstream media has become a near monopoly. Bell, Rogers, Postmedia, and so few others, own just about everything Canadians watch and read. Media guru Conrad Black tells where that leads: “Diversity of opinion and aggressive news gathering tend to disappear with the disappearance of competition, and public opinion could thereby become more of a hostage to private interests then a master of public policy.”

It’s no secret that Harper is out to kill the CBC. That would give Harper even more control over the flow of information.  With the CBC gone, some special interest group with an unlimited advertising budget (like a political party?) could literally buy public opinion. You simply blast them with attack ads, distractions, and mis-information. Stop Harper’s war on information. Vote for true democracy!

Bryan Stawychny, Edgewater

Angle parking

Angle parking is something of a two edged sword. While it provides added parking it forces a driver leaving the curb to back into oncoming traffic. Too, longer than average trucks cause additional traffic problems. If the city has a bylaw regarding vehicle length limits for angle parking areas it may be helpful to post them.

Bob Pearce, Cranbrook

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