Letters to the Editor

Write: letters@ok.bc.ca, 400 words or less

Superintendents ignoring research

Dear Editor:

Re: “Later school start time can benefit teens,” by Patti Bacchus (Okanagan Weekend, Page B8, Jan. 25).

Patti Bacchus’ column is like water to parched lips. Absolutely essential, but not necessarily enough.

When I was in graduate studies at the University of Minnesota in the early 1970s, education colleagues were already doing preliminary research into the programs with high school start times.

It was initiated by concerns that secondary schools were starting too early to alleviate over-crowding, but the results were always the same.

Teenagers needed to sleep in (as if parents didn’t already know that.)

But, school administrators and teachers’ unions were adamant that they needed to fit the normal working hours of parents.

And, there were arguments about busing and extra-curricular activities. And they said the research was too limited.

Well, here we are in the new millennium and there is significantly up-graded research as early as 2002.

And we have professionals as diverse as the American Academy of Pediatricians, the Centre for Disease Control in Atlanta, the American Psychological Association all coming out before the idea catches hold in Washington state.

And why is it still being resisted?

Because we don’t have superintendents who are willing to accept solid research and lead their districts into a new model of timetabling.

Educational research has been discovering all kinds of ways to make learning better, but the status quo is always easier. Let’s now change that by getting that new superintendent in the Okanagan Skaha district to be one who will fight for reasonable start times for the secondary students at least.

Teachers claim they are doing the best they can. So let’s help them by experimenting with the three high schools starting in autumn of 2020. If there is uncertainty, I’m sure there are a number of retired educational administrators who will be willing to step forward and assist in planning the re-organization that may be necessary to accommodate extra-curricular, busing and other aspects of a complete education.

We don’t need more research, we need educators willing to apply the knowledge we have been accumulating over the past several decades.

I’m willing to bet, after three or four years, our high school kids will be thriving and other districts will be jealous, trying to recruit our administrators and our teachers.

The knowledge is there — let’s give the application a chance to prove it!

Glenn W. Sinclair, Ph.D.

(Educational Administration)


Bond’s column right on the money

Dear Editor:

“Dealing with inequality of income,” by David Bond (Courier, Jan. 29).

David, you are right once again.

However your suggestions for a change in our taxation system is something both provincial and federal governments should have done years ago before the situation got so out of hand that nothing will ever be done to change the status quo.

Frank Martens


Bye, bye Miss American Pie

Dear Editor:

Re: “Why we mourn famous people,” by James Miller (Courier, Jan. 29).

Enjoyed your editorial.

Just to clarify details about the Buddy Holly crash. J.P. Richardson was the Big Bopper, not the pilot.

Roger Peterson was the pilot.

Brian Shillington


How to classify the class system

Dear Editor:

I sincerely hope that all the Liberals can take comfort in knowing their prime minister has made a new cabinet position to specifically look after the “middle class” in Canada.

The only problem is the new cabinet member has admitted that the Liberal government has no idea who qualifies to be called “middle class.” But, that is OK ... they will eventually figure it out.

How about a Royal Commission to determine which slot should every citizen fit into: the homeless, the poor, the almost poor, the middle class who will become poor because of high taxes, the lower upper class who can afford to go out to dinner once a month, the upper class and Liberal politicians who bow to eastern Canada to there glorious brown-faced leader every morning?

Barry D. Cochrane


Trying to subsidize a failing industry

Dear Editor:

Our forests are plenty fertile, ask Mother Nature, they have been growing fine for thousands of years doing what they do best — enriching vegetation, building soils, housing animals, controlling weather, regenerating with fire and delivering fresh drinking water, just the right amount at the right times. 

What they were not meant to do is give unlimited supplies of raw logs to a glut of mills and foreign buyers.

This is not sustainable, as illustrated by the 51,000 jobs lost and 125 mills closed since 1997. Other fallout from the cost of doing business in our forests includes boil water advisories, flooded homes, extirpated caribou and a loss of tourism.

What isn’t highlighted in a Jan. 14 story by Joel Barde, published in Pique magazine, is that the crude aerial application of fertilizer pellets land in watersheds that are recently robbed of a big store of carbon, so a lot of the nitrogen landing in the dirt will either evaporate in the sun or run off to Howe Sound in a short time.

Why does government continue to subsidize a floundering industry throwing money out of helicopters?

Ultimately, it is the native forest ecosystem, rich with biodiversity and structural complexity that will do a far better job at making the land fertile, at growing big trees and banking carbon, than any high-emission techno-human expenditures.

Best of all, Mother Nature will do it all again for free. Just quit raping her, or trying to speed her up. The planet isn’t growing any bigger, it is finite so are its resources, why are we continuing to develop her like she is infinite?

The best use for a forest is not to supply a continuous stockpile of “fiber” to a mill at a profit; that forest is unsustainable, somehow we see their only value as cut timber and many areas in B.C. are suffering, we have removed too much of the forest structure replacing it with a monoculture GMO tree farm, but never a forest and these forests are gone forever. 

“Last stand” heroics like aerial spraying of chemicals isn’t the answer. 

The fact that the public, apart from First Nations, was not informed and does not know what the fertilizer pellets contain is distressing, a past fertilization program was halted in Nanaimo watershed due to the presence of cadmium, chromium, strontium, nickel, lead and zinc — all known as “K-1 Carcinogens.”

Residents in Pemberton stay vigilant, and for the rest of B.C., this spray program is on the loose and could be coming soon to a forest near you.

Robert Taylor


Free contraception is a human right

Dear Editor:

The Access B.C. campaign for no-cost contraception in British Columbia has been gaining momentum, and it was wonderful to hear formal support from Victoria city council last week.

The decision if and when to have children is a human right, and being able to access to effective contraception is a key part of exercising that right.

However, in British Columbia, cost is a significant barrier to accessing contraception for many people, particularly those with low incomes, young people, and people from marginalized communities.

Although programs such as Fair PharmaCare offer some support for access to contraception, these programs often involve a complex and time-consuming application process, presenting additional barriers.

The benefits of providing universal, no-cost contraception outweigh the costs, and programs that offer free contraception are revenue-positive.

Residents of many other jurisdictions already have universal access to contraception; it is time for British Columbia to provide the same to its residents.

Karyn Fulcher


Environmental hypocrisy

Dear Editor:

In a recent Victoria CHEK News story, an e-bike mom was upset she was not served at a Tim Hortons drive-thru.

How terrible!

But, why do we have drive-thrus at all? We spout indignation about building oil pipelines, we advocate for the end of fossil fuels, we provide government subsidies for electric cars, but every day we support hundreds of thousands of idling cars across Canada waiting for a cup of coffee or a fast-food order.

If we are really so socially conscious about the damage caused by fossil fuels, why are we accepting thousands of idling cars in drive-thrus? Would not banning all drive-thrus help with diminishing our carbon footprint? Wouldn’t it be easy for the government to ban this practice?

For some reason, all supposedly serious environmental groups never question drive-thrus. No blockades of Timmy’s, no marches, and no demonstrations at the B.C. Legislature.

Well, I guess they need their easily accessible coffee while driving to the next protest.

Doug Puritch

Campbell River

Alternative to war, let’s have coffee

Dear Editor:

Regarding the situation in Iran.We should have learned from the past wars.

No one wins a war. My thoughts are just sit down and talk things out over a coffee. A war will cost billions money-wise, and lots of people will lose their lives. Let’s not repeat previous mistakes.

Think love, not war. Sure it is an old saying, but it is true. Just all play nice.

James Readman