MPs should pay for their spouse
Re: Mel Arnold among top spenders on travel for MPs’ spouses (Courier, Sept. 18).
First, their income is much more than many of us who pay their salaries. Second, until recently, they received a portion of their salaries tax free which makes their take-home pay even more difficult for the majority of us to digest.
Third, they only need to be away when Parliament is in session and with summer and many holidays, when Parliament is closed, they are not committed to be away from home and family.
Fourth, they only need to work a fraction of their so-called career to receive a lucrative pension, again which many of us can only dream about (and remember, it is on our dime.)
If, with all these benefits they can’t afford to take their spouses to their “workplace,” then I suggest they should consider a different occupation and spare the rest of us their sob stories of how they are entitled to these perks.
There are thousands of hard-working Canadians who need to spend time away from home to earn a living and most of them work in much more difficult and harsher conditions than politicians. To my knowledge, their companies do not pay for travel, meals and accommodation for their employees’ spouses or family members.
Crazy zoning experiment gone wrong
Kelowna homeowners are being conned by politicians and their ‘experts’ to submit to the current hysteria over affordable housing, an issue fraught with fraud that is apparent to anyone over the age of 50 who lived with double-digit mortgage rates.
I refer specifically to the article claiming “Infill housing lacking in Kelowna” (Courier, Sept. 26), the back story being a two-year-old zoning change allowing single-family homes to be replaced with four-plexes, allegedly ushering in a utopia of “affordable housing” in the Lower Mission and around the downtown area.
This is a crock, as any housing economist will tell you. Far from bringing down housing costs, this new rule, known as ‘urban containment’ in the academic literature, will make land more costly, pricing out single-family home ownership across large swathes of the city and for many middle-class families, while stuffing people like sausages into warren-like homes, all to facilitate never-ending population growth without the feared urban sprawl.
When you replace a single-family home with housing for four families on the same lot, as the zoning change permits, you instantly and dramatically raise the value of the property. Critically, this happens whether or not any of the old houses are replaced with tri- or four-plexes, because the potential value is now higher.
Not only that, due to the substitution effect, housing prices in areas adjacent to that involved in the zoning change also go up, because people who cannot afford to buy a now-higher priced single-family home in the zoning area will look outside it. And so on.
The end result is the price of single-family homes across the city is higher, and remember, this happens even if not a single fourplex is actually built under the new zoning rule.
This crazy zoning experiment is not limited to Kelowna. Leftist politicians and their ‘experts’ are introducing them in many jurisdictions, including the entire state of Oregon and, soon, California. And the consequences can be devastating, as Edward Ring writes in the Oct. 2 edition of American Greatness: “In cities densified by urban containment, land values and rents soar to stratospheric levels, driving out independent businesses and turning every commercial district into a generic multinational corporate slurb.”
I won’t speculate here on the motivations of politicians who like the idea of cramming Kelowna’s population into four-plexes while limiting the luxury of single-family ownership to well-heeled persons like themselves in the high-priced developments we see going up around the city’s periphery. But, it most definitely has nothing to do with affordable housing.
They need us, we don’t need them
I agree with those who say, “let the developers pay.” They need us — we do not need them. If they want to cash in on the Kelowna experience, they should be paying dearly.
Our inept council keeps giving away the farm. Reduced development cost charges and variances are the new norm. Any increased development should be at full price to the city — not sale prices. The cost of servicing this rapid development far exceeds the revenues generated from it. There is no catching up. I, for one, would be thrilled if there were no more highrises on the waterfront.
Vision for our downtown
The Kelowna Legacy Group should be congratulated for their optimistic and visionary proposal to revitalize the old RCMP site and the surrounding properties, including a newly-configured community theatre and cultural centre.
The existing community theatre was built in 1963 because a group of enthusiastic citizens knew that Kelowna needed a performing arts theatre. About 14,000 people lived here at the time. We are still using that theatre, with few alterations, and we now have a population of about 120,000.
Surely, city hall can see beyond condos and parkades and appreciate that a vibrant arts community translates into an energized, creative community which attracts people to our city who reflect those values. We need to support and encourage the creation of the amenities which enhance our quality of life and attract the businesses, health professionals, and leading-edge educators that realize this is a superb place to live.
City hall says they “consulted the community.” Who did they talk to and when? Was it five years ago?
How representative was that ask?
Our population has changed significantly in that time and we — all of us — need to be asked for our input again.
The Legacy Group proposal is novel, creative, and visionary. It’s a place to start discussing what we want to see in the heart of our downtown.
Where are the politicians? They should be driving this, and whether we in the community represent an arts group, a user group, or just ourselves, please contact the mayor and every councillor and let them know your thoughts — before it’s too late.
I think those impassioned volunteers from the 1963 would have expected more of us who have followed in their footsteps. It’s time we honour their vision and take it to the next step … and maybe even beyond.
Sharron J. Simpson
The debates are a waste of time
Candidates — especially those who want to remain at the trough — keep pounding away at the emotional issues of so-called climate change and abortion.
They are all so busy flying back and forth all over the country. Canada is a very large area to govern and Ontario and Quebec dictate to the rest of us.
The real business issues to be discussed are immigration, the economy, pipelines, promotion of our natural resources, trade, affordable housing, the homeless, health and mental health, education, our apparent corrupt justice system, corporate interference in government, preserving our Canadian culture and the list goes on and on.
These topics concern the whole population and all citizens and should be hammered out publicly.
Debates are a total waste of time and money when emotional issues are brought forth.
Killing babies is an evil act
I am not surprised that The Daily Courier would publish a headline that
suggests that being “pro-life” is evil (Oct. 4). Is killing babies not evil? Justin Trudeau demands that his candidates be “pro-choice.” So much for diversity. If we have a true democracy, our leaders should not be telling us what we should think or feel. The Liberal party’s leader is a world-class hypocrite. The Courier obviously embraces his line of governing.
Barry D Cochrane
City needs to keep imagining
Re: Kelowna urged to think big.
It’s so nice to see a community group giving a “vision” for an area of Kelowna.Yes, the old RCMP downtown is a great place to have a bigger multi-use facility.
With all due respect to the hard-working staff at city hall, the public consultations, like the one done for downtown in 2015 and 2016, are often just the starting point for ideas.
Many times, the city-led public consultations simply give the same conclusions as the city has already envisioned.
The Kelowna Legacy Group appears to have had some imagination when they thought outside the box and came up with this.
Rather than allowing development to occur as one-offs and not part of a larger vision can give unwanted results for the future. Our official community plan gives less guidance than an urban centre plan like the recently completed Capri/ Landmark.
Imagine Kelowna gave some great ideas for Kelowna. but it’s hard to think of what’s good for the entire city. Now we need Imagine Downtown, Imagine Rutland and Imagine Pandosy.
Scheer should head back to the U.S.
Given Andrew Scheer’s propensity to insulting Justin Trudeau and other political opponents in Monday’s leadership debate, perhaps the Conservative leader should have given up his Canadian citizenship and kept his American one. He could cross the border where he would be at home and welcomed in the current climate of the incumbent administration.
Inappropriate hand placement
Why is no one talking about where our Right Honourable, feminist prime minister’s hand is resting in that brownface photo, he posed for at a private school event? He was 29 years old, and a teacher in a position of trust, while posing for that photo.
His hand position, on the bare chest of the young woman standing next to him, whims a pose that even most gropers would hesitate to take in public and certainly wouldn’t want to publicize.
Our Right Honourable P.M., obviously felt very comfortable being photographed in such a pose.
I would hope that at least some of his”bought off” press, would question him on this topic before the election campaign is over.
Andrew Scheer, not as advertised
Andrew Scheer’s bio says he obtained a BA from the University of Regina — but he didn’t. Scheer says he was an insurance broker — but he wasn’t. He broke Saskatchewan law when he claimed he was accredited — when he wasn’t (he was a clerk in an insurance office).
Scheer did not disclose his dual citizenship — because “nobody asked me.” Yet, he is on record complaining about other politicians, including a Governor-General, having dual citizenship.
Scheer would not disclose during the French-language debate that he was pro-life, nor would he deny that he would not allow his MPs to put a motion to re-open debate on the subject.
Scheer made misleading statements about many issues, especially Liberal foreign aid. He is the least forthcoming of all party leaders and continuously attempts to form the most politically-correct answers. He skirts the issues. No straight answers.
Scheer complains about the Liberals using two aircraft during the campaign, notwithstanding that the Liberals paid offsetting carbon charges. His answer on the Conservatives one-plane use is that it uses less fuel — but no carbon offset was paid. Laughable observations in the overall scheme of things.
Scheer’s plan is to “put more money” in our pockets, but the only people who benefit from tax credits are the people who can afford to make the initial expenditure. Too poor to enrol your children? Then you get nothing. Make no mistake — tax credits only benefit those who can afford to make the expenditure up front, and it is a Conservative standard.
He has also stated that he will consider reducing the employers’ share of CPP — a direct benefit to wealthy shareholders — and a direct reduction of future CPP payments to seniors.
The day following the French debate, Scheer said he will not allow his MPs to reopen the abortion debate. Do you believe him, with his veracity record?
Do you really believe that Scheer and the Conservatives are the party to implement policies that are in the best interest of our citizens? A country is judged by the way it treats its most vulnerable. Past history speaks for the Conservative party and it is found lacking (for other than wealthy shareholders).
One of the biggest cons of the 21st century is Reaganomics and the “trickle-down theory,” a theory implemented by the rich for the rich.
And, it is embedded in Conservative policy at both federal and provincial levels — it is the wealthy who contribute to political campaigns.
Andrew Scheer, not as advertised.
Scheer is a closet Trumpeteer
Ho hum, another year, another election and a few surprises.
I’m 86 and have voted a few times. Turns out Andrew Scheer is half-American and a closet Trumpeteer. He has been evasive in his lie of omission regarding his citizenship status, claiming has just begun the process of renouncing his U.S. citizenship.
It’s highly unlikely he would say (as Trudeau did) to Trump that his nation was insulted when the U.S. unilaterally imposed stiff tariffs on Canada on the grounds of national security.
As Trudeau said of Canadians — “we’re polite, we’re reasonable, but we will also not be pushed around.”
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland has been an asset in dealing with the clowns down south. That said, I’m going to stick with the devils that I know for this round.
If anyone wants a really funny read during the election, try “The Best Laid Plans” by Terry Fallis. This is for those who complain about the CBC. Do they ever listen to CBC radio or watch TV? Try it, you might learn something.
Early morning radio from Kelowna 88.9. covers our city and the rest of the region, over to the Kootenays. Lots of laughs with The Debaters and Because News.
An open letter to all candidates
You are all spending a lot of time trying to figure out how to win my vote in the federal election so I figured I would write you a letter and tell you exactly what it will take.
It’s simple really. Start acting on climate change. Not talking, not having meetings, not making empty promises. I want you to start acting like this as a crisis. Because it is. And just so you know, I am prepared to get uncomfortable.
I am prepared to pay more taxes if I know that money is going towards my children’s future ability to survive on this planet. I am prepared to go without the luxuries that I have become accustomed to if it means that my fellow human beings around the world won’t be forced into statelessness and climate refugee status when the ocean levels rise. I am ready to change my lifestyle drastically.
Trust me, I am ready to sacrifice a lot. I’m ready to get uncomfortable.
Because, nothing is more uncomfortable than this feeling of helplessness. Nothing is more unsettling than watching my children climb trees and being moved to tears as I think about how difficult their adulthood is going to be. Nothing is more difficult than going to work every day and standing up in front of my classroom of students and trying to explain the realities of climate change and in the same breath, trying to explain to them why the adults in their world are asleep at the wheel.
Nothing is more heartbreaking than seeing the looks of concern and confusion staring back at me. Nothing is worse than these sleepless nights wondering what the future holds for all of us.
I can’t do it anymore. I need some hope. I’m not talking about hope in the form of rebate programs for replacing the old windows on my house. That’s not going to do it.
I want real change. Real action.
If that means paying more for the security of knowing the human race is going to be OK, that’s fine with me.
So, if you want my vote on Oct. 21, climate change action must be at the top of your agenda.
Not jobs. Not the economy.
Because none of those things matter if we don’t have a healthy planet to live on.
You must have a solid plan that involves listening to science, consulting with the indigenous people of this land, putting economic priorities aside, and being willing to make tough decisions to change the system we presently have and give us a real chance of survival.
The alternative is not an option. I’m ready.
What’s happened to our freedom?
Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: freedom of conscience and religion; freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication; freedom of peaceful assembly.
These are the freedoms that we as Canadians are granted under our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Looking at all the things that are happening in our country right now preceding the upcoming election, it makes me wonder how many of these freedoms we actually have.
First of all, freedom of conscience and religion. Over the past few years, our government has worked hard to try and diminish that right. Prayer is no longer allowed in public places. Children in school are no longer allowed to talk about God or their understanding about him.
I am a Christian and I have seen how Christians have been mocked and told that we are stupid and naive to believe what we do. To me, human life is very precious and I do not believe in abortion. Yet, a year or so back, Christian and other groups who previously had received grants for summer camps for children were denied this privilege unless they acknowledged the rights of women to have abortions.
How is this freedom of religion?
Now politicians are looking into the background of their opponents to see if they are pro choice or pro life. If they say that they are pro life, we are told that they should not be running for office. How does this tie in with freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression?
It appears if we do not believe what our government tells us to believe, we are labelled as law breakers or hate mongers. Why cannot people running for office be honest and talk about what they believe and how they plan to help the people who will be voting for them, instead of trying to find ways to sling mud at one another?
Electric cars are the way to go
In response to, “Should the federal government increase subsides as a way of encouraging people to buy an electric vehicle” (Daily Courier, Oct. 1), on this matter I favour of the Liberal candidates who seem to have a common-sense approach to providing incentives in the ability to purchase and increase the use of EVs.
We should however, not make promises that are not within the scope.
The increased use of copper in the EVs may be doubling, but not increasing to the amounts indicated by the Conservative candidate for Central Okanagan Similkameen- Nicola.
But, we should expect an increase in charging stations and the use of copper will increase to a higher degree than usage in the cars themselves. So, don’t expect a rapid overnight increase in copper usage.
My knowledge and experience in the zero- emission vehicle industry goes back many years, including work on the Ballard PE5 hydrogen-fuel cell bus and the locally manufactured Dynasty electric car.
Please support Stephen Fuhr and Mary Ann Murphy, your Liberal candidates with a common sense approach.
Relying too much on government
I have been watching the debates and the CBC face-to-face with the candidates and there appears to be a general trend of “what will your party do for me?”
I believe that everyone has a right to having a roof over their head, but not necessarily owning that roof.
I am from a generation where the mortgage rates went from eight to 18 per cent and we did not expect the government to give us financial assistance.
I have just completed another car trip across Canada and saw “help wanted” signs in most provinces. Two contractors in one province stated they could not find enough workers for some projects and would look at bringing in temporary foreign workers next year.
At the same time, Albertans want the government to solve their high unemployment problem.
When I did not have a job in Alberta, we travelled the country and I was offered jobs in three other provinces. I have lived in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.
It is time to stop our myopic views and think of the big picture. John F. Kennedy once said “ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country. “
Canada needs Tommy Douglas to rise again
In two days, advance polls for the federal election will open this Friday. You can vote early on Oct. 11, 12, 13 and 14. I urge you to exercise your privilege, and remember Edmund Burke’s words, “For evil to flourish, all that is needed is for good people to do nothing.”
At this point in time, statesmen are a rare breed, but politicians can be found everywhere. If a democracy is divided against itself, how can it have any credibility?
Tommy Douglas, you should be living at this hour. Canada has need of you. As a Baptist preacher, you would have defended the helpless, unborn innocents. Even those who profess to be your followers have violated your principles.
I have a hunch that the silent majority will express support for a politician, maligned or not, who declares his moral principles and walks his talk.
If “the righteous God probes minds and hearts,” how will we answer for the blood on our hands of defenceless, helpless innocents whose lives we have taken?
W. Norman Morris
Family fears deportation back to Nigeria
Morufat Ogunkoya was born to a strict Muslim family in Nigeria. Her father was a supporter of a terrorist group affiliated with ISIS.
In 1994, she converted to Christianity, was threatened daily and had to leave her village. Subsequently, she married and has three children. Even though in a safer area, her father found them, burned her with a hot iron and also slashed her son. They moved again and her father issued a Fatwa, essentially requiring any Muslim to kill the family. Morufat’s husband then fled to California, but fearful of the anti-immigration policies of the United States administration, she didn’t follow him and doesn’t know where he is now living.
Two years ago, encouraged by our prime minister’s welcome to refugees, they came to Ontario, established a home in the Welland area and Morufat works as a maid and her son, Victor also works.
Victor also attends Notre Dame College, and won the Julia Turner Irish award for being an exemplary student in Grade 10. They worship at Holy Trinity Church and all are involved in faith-based activities with Rose City Kids in Welland, where Victor is a junior leader. He volunteers with the faith youth group and St. Kevin’s food bank, while Morufat volunteers with the soup kitchen and St.Vincent de Paul Society.
Recently, the Ministry of Immigration ordered the family return to Nigeria to a mixed Muslim-Christian district. Morufat and her children are terrified of being sent back to Nigeria, where her father’s Fatwa is in effect, and fear they will be found by local Muslims and killed. They have appealed the ministry decision, but their appeal has been rejected and have been told to be ready to leave very soon.
I, and many thousands of Canadians, have signed petitions asking that the minister or prime minister overturn the ministry’s decision. I personally emailed Justin Trudeau and Ahmed Hussen, the recent minister and have contacted numerous candidates in the federal election, hoping they would add their voice to our appeal that the deportation order be rescinded. but to date nothing has changed.
Deportation of this family will likely lead to their likely execution. It must be overturned so our government proves its long-held position of welcoming refugees continues, maintaining our nation’s position as leader in the fight for individual human rights and freedom for all people.