Family of Snowbirds crash victim says she died in mission "designed for her"

Capt. Jenn Casey is seen in this undated handout photo from the Royal Canadian Air Force Twitter page. The family of Capt. Jenn Casey says the member of the Snowbirds aerobatic team died while supporting an important mission "that seemed to be designed for her." THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Twitter-@RCAF_ARC *MANDATORY CREDIT*

Grief for the Snowbirds

Dear Editor:

I have often watched the Snowbirds fly in exquisite formation as they perilously perform with perfect precision an exhibition of flawless flying that is second to none in the aviation world. They do it with old airplanes yet make them look like geese locked in manicured military mastery.

They make me proud to be a Canadian when I witness each pilot’s phenomenal individual skills as the team passes overhead proudly displaying our Canadian red and white colours, representing the very best of Canada.

It is with humility that I pay tribute to them in this time of tragedy, with perhaps a small right to do so as a former RCAF pilot instructor on the CT-114 airplane (the Snowbird airplane) in 1967-1969, over a half century ago. We have a few former Snowbird pilots retired in the Okanagan (I am not one of them). Thanks to all of you, and our present Snowbird team, for your great service to Canada. We are proud of you and your dedication to what makes our country a beacon of the hope of freedom in this troubled world.

Sometimes, words cannot express the sad, sorrowful feelings of the heart. Especially when one of our own goes down while trying to lift all of us up, such as in this time of pandemic for our nation. It is a crisis from which we all need to be lifted up. That is what the Snowbirds were trying to do for us in this modern jet age. I am confident that we all hope they will continue their 2020 tour. Canadians need a team that represents the great resiliency of our nation, a culture of determination to win against all odds.

Capt. Jenn Casey died this weekend on the Snowbird team. Albeit she was not a pilot, she was a vital member of the PR team, and she was a brave Canadian. She will be missed; our sincere appreciation for her service and a kind prayer of comfort for her family and loved ones.

Keep up the good work, Snowbirds. You restore pride in us and our country when you fly to the skill level that we all love and appreciate.

R. Garry Rayner, West Kelowna

Thanks a lot to the mayor

Dear Editor:

On behalf of myself and all North End residents, we would like to send a ‘thank you’ out to Mayor Colin Basran for moving the homeless camp into our backyards.

Thank you for helping us realize that we all need to make our home, vehicles and personal belongings more secure against vandalism and theft.

Never, in 25 years of living in the North End, have we seen or heard of the number of vehicle break-ins and property thefts that have been occurring on a regular basis.

I personally invite you to come and see our beloved Knox Mountain Markets’ new plywood facade. Oh! And when you do, please consider bringing the city’s cheque book.

Patti Suarez, Kelowna

Boating ban goes too far

Dear Editor:

I have had some personal difficulty in addressing the social loneliness that comes with social distancing and isolation. I have had even greater difficulty in understanding how some would fail to unify in our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and refuse to understand  the greater good of community guidelines by crying selfishly about a “nanny state.” Yet, I now see some substance for rebellion.

Note the article headlined, “B.C. wants boat-free long weekend” (Courier, May 15). Because why? Apparently, “Each call search- and- rescue specialist puts them at risk to exposure…” How ridiculous! All boaters are diseased? Our care-givers have no protective equipment?

Now I understand that not all rebellion is being led by ‘nutbars’ and contrarians. Getting out on the water is an essential recreational pleasure and stress reliever, particularly in the Okanagan. Assuming that one in a 1,000 may be a COVID-19 carrier and calculating the actuarial rate of risk of that person having a mishap needing rescue, amounts to an infinitesimal risk of almost zero. Yet, a total closure on boating recreation amounts to thousands being forced into harmful social isolation to protect against the vaguest of uncertainties.

By and large, I do commend our community leadership in the setting of reasonable and necessary guidelines. Unfortunately, this guideline is not one of them.

Ian Royce Sisett, Kelowna

Concern is not anti-vaxx

Dear Editor:

I am very concerned about the growing opinion, stoked by the media, that if you are concerned about the safety of vaccines and the way they are tested and produced you are against vaccines and are some sort of medical luddite or deluded whacko.

A recent article referred to a woman’s comment about vaccines as an “outburst.” It didn’t sound like an outburst to me, it sounded like a statement of opinion. Is it fair to call a statement of opinion that you disagree with an outburst?

I don’t think so.

I am not against vaccines, in principle; there are vaccines that have saved countless lives. What I’m concerned about is the discouraging of questions about how a vaccine is produced and questions about its real effectiveness. A good example is the annual flu shot. It has been reported that the best results the flu shot has produced is a less than 50% success rate. Thousands die each year of the flu with or without the flu shot. Add to that the profit motive of pharmaceutical companies to produce and distribute vaccines and there are very good grounds to carefully examine the whole process.

Given the current COVID-19 situation and the public fear surrounding the virus, can a fast-tracked mandatory vaccine program be in our future? That is a cause for real concern.

Alan Rinehart, Kelowna

Proud to be a Canadian

Dear Editor:

I am thrilled with the announcement by the federal government of support to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

If there is something that we have learned from the COVID-19 crisis, it is the need to come up with global solutions to challenges, such as pandemics. Let’s face it, global health and economic impact are clearly connected. Now, more than ever, it is important to strengthen the organizations with existing infrastructure and concrete game-plans to reach the most remote and difficult places on our shrinking planet.

I am proud to hail from a country with a world vision.

Perhaps while we wait with baited breath for the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, we can develop a sense of empathy for people who still await vaccines for tuberculosis and polio.

Anything is possible with political will. Let us leave no one behind!

Connie Lebeau, Victoria

No right to stop pipeline

Dear Editor:

The signing ceremony between the hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en Nation and the federal and B.C. governments to begin a new process to determine the Wet’suwet’en hypothetical rights and stewardship of unceded lands are an incredible insult to investors and taxpayers, as democratically elected chiefs a long time ago endorsed the construction of this pipeline on behalf of those same Indigenous people.

The ridiculous part about this disaster is simple. The hereditary chiefs do not have stewardship of this land today, and they also do not have any legal or moral right to stop anybody from building a pipeline on it.

Scott Fraser, B.C.’s Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, stated negotiations with the hereditary chiefs will include talks with others with an interest in what happens. We are allowed to assume this finally will include everybody.

We are all migrants and or descendants of migrants, Indigenous people included. To continue to exclude the majority of British Columbians from these sensitive one-sided negotiations is nothing less than a violation of our Charter and Constitutional Rights of being recognized as equals under the law.

Failing to establish who had the authority to represent the Indigenous people before venturing into any negotiations demonstrates an incredible lack of competence on behalf of the politicians and the courts.

Sub-dividing Indigenous People into separate identities at this point in time, is beyond comprehension, as it casts a huge cloud of uncertainty over the whole process of the awarding of lands and rights that have been made by politicians and the courts over the years.

We were held hostage in February. Now we are being held hostage again, and our resource-based economy has stalled.

This project has to go, and if somebody has not been greased yet – it’s too bad. The train has left the station.

Andy Thomsen, Kelowna

ICBC bad at investing

Dear Editor:

ICBC claims to have lost about

$1 billion on their investments and is crying poverty.

The TSX is down roughly 16% from the highs back in January. That should equate to ICBC having roughly $6.25 billion invested.

The 2019 financial statement shows $6.15 billion – not exactly the sad story we keep hearing.

I must wonder, are they in the insurance business or investors, and not particularly good ones at that? Any competent portfolio manager would have pulled back at the first signs of trouble. But it appears that did not happen at ICBC. They appear to invest heavily in government bonds that pay almost negative returns. One of my U.S. equity stocks is almost back to record territory and gold is exploding up about 40%. Sure glad I don’t use their investment manager.

Time for an overhaul on both the insurance and investment side.

Gord Marshall, Kelowna