Letters to the Editor:Feb. 5

Monsters of ISIS; Wolf Slaughter; Egregious Driving;Voluntary National Household Survey

Monsters of ISIS

Jim Campbell, in his recent letter to the Cranbrook Daily Townsman, stated that the situation with ISIS is not our problem. In other words, he has no problem with the brutal torturing and killing of innocent citizens and their children, beheading foreign journalists and most recently, the burning of a downed airplane pilot alive while he was locked in a cage.

I am grateful that we have a Prime Minister in Ottawa who, along with the coalition members, has taken a stand to stop these monsters.

It is also gratifying to see that a recent poll showed that over 80 per cent of Canadians agree with the government’s position and that the leaders of the opposition parties are also now showing support.

Art Yonkman/Cranbrook

Wolf Slaughter

The slaughter ofwolves that is currently happening in British Columbia is supported by many organizations — including Wildsight. This slaughter of wolves will accomplish only one thing — the slaughter of wolves.

Wildsight is proof of a living contradiction by supporting this slaughter. Recently, John Bergenske of Wildsight even predicted the eventual failure of this experiment when he said: “It is unfortunate and sad to be targeting wolves when we know it isn’t wolves that have created this situation. Wolves are far too often scapegoated for human caused problems.”

That same conclusion can be found right next door in Alberta. Biologist Dave Hervieux recently reported in the Canadian Journal of Zoology (vol 92 issue 12) that after nearly a decade and a half of slaughtering wolves (980 wolves shot and/or poisoned) to try and “save” the little smokey caribou herd (100 animals) very little progress had been made in terms of increasing the caribou herd;

“Although the wolf population reduction program appeared to stabilize the little smoky population (of caribou) it did not lead to a population increase.”

Conservationists in Alberta who originally supported the little smoky wolf slaughter (Alberta Wilderness Association) eventually stopped their support when it became readily apparent that human impact on ecosystems are imminent and unavoidable. They concluded with the following: “It is a completely unethical approach to just declare a war on wolves when they are a symptom and not a root cause.”

University of Montana biologist Mark Hebblewhite hit the nail on the head when he lamented the culture of development that humans engage in, and suggested a radically different approach to helping caribou: “Pick two herds. Fence them. Remove predators non-lethally and just farm caribou.” He added, “That’s how bad it is!”

And so,when the human condition has an impact on the natural world — a web of infinite complexity” — what is the result? We point fingers, of course — and wolves die — and caribou stare into oblivion,and say their goodbyes too.

Darryl Oakley/Kimberley

Egregious Driving

I am writing to say thank-you to all the people who actually stop at stop signs. I also thoroughly thank those who stop three feet from my back bumper instead of three inches.

However, I don’t thank the person who blew through the four-way stop on 6th Street North and Kootenay Street without slowing down, when there were five people waiting their turn to go through the intersection. That kind of thoughtless non-caring causes people pain and injury.

Stop means stop!

Barbara Haigh/Cranbrook

Voluntary National Household Survey

Dear Mr. Harper,

Re: The Voluntary National Household Survey (V-NHA).

The Board of Education, School District 5 (SD5), Southeast Kootenay, British Columbia, writes to you today out of concern for the lack of useful statistical data that is currently available to Canadians due to 2010 changes to the National Household Survey (NHS) –also known as the census — from mandatory to voluntary completion.

Recently our Board inquired into the formula factors used for provincial funding for an important BC school district program, CommunityLINK. This program supports vulnerable students in communities across the province of BC and is based on a set of Vulnerable Student Supplement (VSS) formula factors that measure vulnerability based on economic conditions, social conditions and educational attainment. Much of the data used to measure these VSS formula factors relies on Statistics Canada census data.

Last year the BC Ministry of Education contacted BC Stats to inquire about 2011 census data and was informed that there are some concerns with the 2011 NHS data.

In her October, 2014 correspondence to our District Principal of Student Services, Ministry policy analyst Nancy Needham states, “Stats Can has urged caution when using the data, particularly for longitudinal analysis, which has added new complexities to updating the VSS formula”.

Obviously, as the NHS is now a voluntary survey there is no way of knowing where a count was complete and where it was not. This makes the possibility of receiving accurate longitudinal analysis almost impossible, especially in communities like those in our District whose populations are less than 25,000.

Without current, accurate data our provincial government can only guess where the vulnerable students in small BC communities reside meaning that many Districts may receive too little — or too much — CommunityLINK subsidy funding even though it is based on the VSS.

Given that the Federal Government has the means to ensure accurate data collection as evidenced by years of usable data provided by the previously mandatory NHS results, it is simply unacceptable that our provincial government is put in the position of having to “guess” how to spend tax dollars responsibly, especially given this time of fiscal restraint and accountability.

It is for these reasons that, at the November 12th Public Board meeting the Board carried the following motion:

M/S that the Board write a joint letter with stakeholders to Prime Minister Harper urging his government to reconsider the changes of the National Household Survey from voluntary back to mandatory and that this letter be copied to Head of Statistics Canada, opposition party leaders, our local MP, the Premier and education ministers of BC and their opposition, our local MLA, presidents of the Canadian School Boards’ Association (CSBA), the BC School Trustees’ Association (BCSTA), Canadian School Boards’ Association (CFF), BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF), National and BC Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils (BCCPAC)(for distribution to their members), local association chairs/presidents and to media.

We sincerely hope your government will reconsider replacing the V-NHS with the original mandatory census in order to ensure that all tax dollars are being allocated in a fiscally responsible manner. We cannot imagine that BC CommunityLINK funding is the only casualty of “best guess” economics due to the unreliability of the V-NHS.

Frank Lento (Chair), Trina Ayling, Bev Bellina, Jacqueline Blumhagen, Gail Brown,  Chris Johns, Curtis Helgesen, Doug McPhee  Patricia Whalen

School District 5 Board of Trustees

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