Letters to the Editor: September 28

Letters to the Editor: September 28

Let’s try the third string QB

I love British Columbia. We live in the greatest province in the greatest country in the world. We all want to ensure that our children and children’s children inherit a province abundant in beauty, bounty, and opportunity.

This vision, however, is being challenged by a common enemy of ours — voter apathy. It has been systemically growing, at least, since the 1960s that I’m aware of. It’s obvious why.

Since 1952 we have been governed by the same three parties under eleven premiers. In every case the party’s “snake-oil salesman” leader promises that his/her elixir is the solution we need to make things wonderful for us and our province. Indeed, in many cases they start out in earnest and sincerity. Sadly though, they morph into an entity more concerned with themselves, their friends, and campaign contributors than the people who elected them. They turn from “governing” to “ruling”. Then when these political vultures have picked the taxpayer carcass clean they leave a provincial debt larger than the one they inherited. Always.

I don’t have statistics but I have eyes. I have never in my 62 years seen so much scandal, homelessness, gang violence, and drug problems. Yet, we keep putting in power the same people over and over again expecting a different result. According to an old adage, this is the very definition of insanity.

To use a sport analogy, if our first and second string quarterbacks aren’t doing their job we put in our third stringer.

In 2021 lets put in our third stringer, Andrew Weaver. He’s never screwed us, he just may do better, and he definitely can’t do any worse.

Robert Brown


Kimberley Bench Lands

I am in support of the citizens that wish to preserve the bench lands for recreation.

For the past 40 years Kimberley has been reshaping its economy as a four-season destination resort.

It has successfully replaced the former $2,000,000 Cominco (Teck) tax base, millions has been spent on tourism infrastructure of one kind or another and the city has experienced population growth. Several new subdivisions have resulted.

It actively sought and was granted resort municipality status.

Because of this the idea of industrialization seems incongruous to many and somewhat out of sync with the city’s brand as a “Good Place To Be.” Council shouldn’t be surprised if the new breed of lifestyle and retiree immigrant to the city shows resistance .

Certainly there is a place for business — a thriving downtown would be a good start.And there are other options.

We shouldn’t forget that expanding the residential tax base as has been successfully done already to replace the lost taxes from Cominco is still a viable alternative to business and industrial taxes. Council needs to work on that.

The original concept of Kimberley as a four-season destination resort is still viable.

David Bellm


Foundational Skills Assessment

Dear parents of students in Grades 4 and 7;

You would have already received a brochure from the School District advocating the virtues of the Foundational Skills Assessment (FSA) your children will be subjected to in the next few weeks. The BCTF will be sending information home with the children in the next couple of days. A few things to consider:

The Foundation Skills Assessment is a data collection instrument, not a true measure of a child’s potential – it is a snapshot in time not taking into account the many factors in a child’s life which may influence the results. The dilemma for teachers is whether or not to spend quality classroom hours teaching the children how to take the FSA or to teach the required curriculum. If they don’t spend hours teaching to the test, they are under pressure because no one wants their class pointed out on the Fraser Institute’s Ranking of Schools list as being the worst! Teachers assess your children throughout the year using a variety of assessment strategies to provide your child with the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge in many different ways.

Last year, according to the infamous Fraser Institute’s rankings, a few of our local schools ended up near the bottom of that list. If we could find our former Premier, Ms. Clark, and ask her whether those schools received any additional funding or support to help the students who appear to be struggling, I guarantee the answer is no! I recently heard a statement that these tests will be used as indicators on how a child will progress if not given extra support – again, where is the support coming from? Teachers can tell you that information without the use of this time-consuming assessment.

It is a pity that some people judge a school by its ranking on a list rather than by visiting the school, meeting the staff and witnessing first hand the great things happening in each of our schools – top or bottom of the list!

Shelley Balfour

Cranbrook District Teachers’ Association

Risks of Salvage Logging

With the colder weather and rain in the East Kootenay, wildfires are coming under control and plans for salvage logging are being put together quickly.

The science over the past two decades has been clear: salvage logging is risky for our natural systems and delays or even prevents ecosystem recovery. Fire salvage logging increases soil compaction, increases erosion and losses of organic matter (with effects on both plants and streams) and decreases the landscape water-holding capacity, potentially leading to larger floods and increased surface run off. The less logging after a fire, the better for our natural ecosystems.

After fire passes over the landscape, some areas are severely burned, while other areas burned quickly, leaving fire resistant species alive, and some areas aren’t burned at all. This fire patchwork creates a diversity of habitats as our forests regrow. In fire-dependent ecosystems like much of the Kootenays, fires rejuvenate important wildlife habitat for elk, deer and bighorn sheep. Fires at mid and high elevations create ideal conditions for huckleberries, an important food for bears and many other species.

Our native plant communities have evolved to regenerate after fires. Standing dead trees continue to provide cover and habitat for wildlife, shade for regrowth of plant communities and help keep streams cool for our native fish. Green tree patches left after fires skip across the landscape, are not just important as wildlife habitat, but also as seed sources and for the complexity of the rejuvenating landscape.

While forestry provides jobs and important economic benefits to our communities, over-zealous salvage logging has long term negative impacts on our ecosystems, including wildlife, fish, birds and water quality. Poorly planned salvage logging can easily negate the benefits that fire provides.

If we are going to salvage log, careful management is crucial. Green tree patches must be retained. Enlarged riparian buffers and green tree retention is needed to minimize impacts on rivers and streams. Keeping snags individually and in patches is important wherever possible within the bounds of safety. Delaying logging, while possibly compromising wood quality, gives vegetation a better chance to regrow.

Avoiding soil compaction is always a prime concern for long-term forest health. Logging on frozen and snow covered soils is best. Additionally, the bare soils left after fires are ideal seedbeds for many invasive plants. To stop the spread of invasives, equipment and vehicles must be inspected and cleaned before entering burned areas.

The science is also clear on motorized use: it is one of the biggest threats to our wildlife. Fireguards and roads, both from firefighting and salvage logging, need to be rehabilitated so that new areas aren’t opened up to motorized recreation.

The fires that threaten our communities every year are a natural part of our ecosystems, regenerating plant communities and wildlife habitat. Our challenge is to better fire proof forests around our communities to keep our homes safe. As long as healthy ecosystems are a priority, fire proofing our forests can provide forestry jobs and make us safer, while making our forests more resilient and better habitat for many wildlife species.

In the rush to salvage timber, let’s not put short-term economics ahead of our the long-term health of our forests and our ecosystems.

John Bergenske

Conservation Director, Wildsight

The facts of science

Bill Nye the science guy said this in his speech at the Washington, D.C., March for Science on World Earth Day: “Our lawmakers must know that science serves everyone of us. Every citizen of every nation in society. Science must shape policy.” Of course, he was referring to policy regarding climate change. But what about policy regarding abortion? What has shaped our policy on that?

When the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the abortion law as unconstitutional in 1988, the then Chief Justice Brian Dickson stated, “Forcing a woman, by threat of criminal sanction to carry a foetus to term unless she meets certain criteria unrelated to her own priorities and aspirations, is a profound interference with a woman’s body and thus a violation of her security of the person.” This statement suggests that self autonomy shapes our policy on abortion (My body. My choice), however, science has established:

• An organism exists at fertilization that did not exist before and has its own DNA distinct from the mother and father.

• At 18 days, a baby’s heart begins to beat.

• At 43 days, the brain coordinates movement.

• At 7 weeks, a baby can hiccup.

• By the time the unborn baby reaches the 7th week, it develops all organs and features that an adult will have even though the baby at this stage is only 1 inch long.

• At 9 weeks, the baby has permanent individual finger prints.

• At 12 weeks a baby can smile, suck their thumb and make a fist.

Dianne Irving said this in her paper, “When do Human beings Begin” : “The product of fertilization is not simply a blob, a bunch of cells, a piece of the mother’s tissues. Scientifically there is absolutely no question whatsoever that the immediate product of fertilization is a newly existing human being. It is not a potential or a possible human being. It is an actual human being with the potential to grow bigger and develop its capacities.”

In Canada abortions are available on request no matter what stage of development the baby is at and no matter the reason. World wide, according to the World Health Organization, there are an estimated 40 to 50 million abortions every year. This works out to approximately 125,000 abortions per day. According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information annual statistics, 100,104 abortions were performed across Canada in 2015.

If the lawmakers heeded the facts of science concerning the development of the baby in the womb perhaps we could have a policy where a right balance would be struck in protecting the most vulnerable of all human beings, the unborn.

Lorna Kent