Canada lags in aid department

Dear editor:

The Global Fund is the largest global effort to eliminate the world’s greatest killers — AIDS, TB and malaria, and they have been incredibly successful, saving tens of millions of lives, and the fund is due for renewal for another three years.

Japan has recently committed to this renewal and so has the UK, both significantly increasing their amount as requested by the fund. South Korea is poised to do the same. But Canada has been silent.

Canada’s contribution rate of development assistance like the Global Fund is among the least of major developed nations. The Trudeau government’s refusal to commit to the requested increase of 16% in critical funding sends a terrible signal to the world, with an impact far greater than the minor amount we are expected to contribute.

Smaller economies around the world watch to see which way the wind is blowing in deciding how much to pledge; Canada’s silence screams volumes to these countries.

The Trudeau government must step forward and show the world we can be a trusted partner, and commit its share of funding.

Frani Beckow

Victoria

Council needs to move city forward

Dear editor:

Is BC Housing running Kelowna?

There is no argument from mayor and council and little attention paid to public discussion regarding the number, location, and type of housing facilities being built in Kelowna.  

A whole new level of municipal bureaucracy was built around the legalization of cannabis with the requisite amount of debate about how close retail cannabis establishments could be to schools and other locations where children frequent.  Yet, wet facilities and homeless shelters continue to be planned and built as BC Housing dictates with no concern to location and with nary a whimper from mayor and council. 

We, the taxpaying public, are told to “stop complaining.” The illegal drugs being bought, sold and consumed in and around these facilities and the lack of control of same far exceeds the ‘danger’ of any legal cannabis operation yet there is not a murmur from our elected officials.

Mayor Colin Basran and council have taken the easy way out, putting the onus on BC Housing and Interior Health, yet they have done nothing in the lead up to the crisis point the Kelowna has reached. There have already been 10 evictions from Heath House, which opened in January 2019. Apparently, “individuals who don’t succeed in one home may be moved into another CMHA-operated facility or .... find more suitable living options elsewhere” (Kelowna Capital News, July 12). 

My question is — where is this elsewhere? What plans are in place for individuals who are moved from facility to facility because they aren’t able to “meet the detailed tenant’s agreement that outlines expected behaviour, the rules of the house, and the good neighbour policy.”

My guess is that they will eventually end up back on Kelowna’s streets and mayor and council have nothing in place to deal with this scenario, insisting that the responsibility lies with other levels of government. What are the plans for the individuals who are resistant to housing and treatment and continue to reside on Leon Avenue?  Businesses are leaving and many who continue to work in this area have voiced their concerns and are afraid navigating through streets here yet nothing is being done. 

Mayor Basran, it’s not good enough to be “just as pissed off as everyone else” (AM 1150 News July 4). 

You were elected to take this city forward. Please begin.

Graeme James

Kelowna

14,000 signatures on the petition

Dear editor:

I am writing in response to the article “City in talks with province over Rutland housing complex” by Ron Seymour (Courier, July 16).

There is one important clarification that should be made, insofar as we have received well over 14,000 signatures on the petition thus far, and that number keeps growing (despite not actively seeking further signatures since July 9). The article states that the petition has gathered “hundreds of signatures.”

Thousands, however, would be a far more accurate of a statement. It may seem like splitting hairs, but people are using the petition to speak clearly to our elected officials, in saying that wet facilities have no place near schools, seniors and family neighbourhoods. These people are speaking out in the hopes of having their voices heard by elected officials.

Stating hundreds, rather than thousands, may then be perceived as minimizing those voices and the collective magnitude of them.

A published clarification, to recognize their collective voice and to communicate more accurate information, would be prudent.

Audra Boudreau

Kelowna

Gauging world’s military might

Dear editor:

Here are some interesting figures that might have some relevance to the wars or future wars that could be fought around the world.

Comparing the ratio of armed forces personal related to the population of that country is indicative – perhaps – of who is beating up on who, or who is thinking of taking on the world:

North Korea: 279 persons in its armed forces to every 1,000 in its population.

Cuba: 239/1,000; Taiwan: 211/1,000; Finland: 210/1,000; South Korea: 90/1000; Armenia: 85/1,000; Israel: 78/1,000; Russia: 41.5/1,000; U.S.: 15/1,000; Canada: 2.7/1,00

Expenditures on their armed forces is another thing.

The U.S. spent $649 billion last year (or about $1,972 per capita); China: $250 billion; Saudi Arabia: $68 billion; India: $67 billion; France: $64 billion; Russia: $61 billion; and far down the list, Canada: $22 billion, or, to put it more fairly -- $595 for every child, woman and man in our country.

Canada’s lower number in nearly every case is relative to our philosophy as a whole – we like to think of ourselves as “lovers not fighters,” with an exception of a couple of our readers who always like to bring up their service as something especially remarkable.

Frank Martens

Summerland

Much value in letters to the editor

Dear Editor:

To be effective in our information society, every political/social critic, either right or left or independent needs to have strong reading and comprehension skills.

Writing a letter to the editor is many things, but one thing for sure, it is a window into the thinking mind of the author. We (the reader) get to see how well they (the writer) comprehend the unfolding current events and the meaning they infer. We also get to see how well we understand the meaning of the words we use, because words are important.

Every critic is tasked with the personal responsibility to uphold the honour of his or her own criticism, with a clear eyed understanding of the facts and the meaning of the words used to help inform the reader of what they may not have known.

A kind of useful criticism. But, it seems to me, much to the chagrin of the speed-reading types, who skip over words and thus they don’t fully comprehend and understand what was said, or the rigid perspective of the radical fringe that pervert facts, or the ultra-conservatives who slander the messenger because they can not challenge the message; good reading comprehension is important to written debate, so is using a dictionary and homework, searching out different sources of information to reveal a common thread for a clearer view.

All this behind-the-scenes commotion and activity required by every writer — or the lack of it — is visible to every reader through the window of words provided in every letter to the editor.

Jon Peter Christoff

West Kelowna

Canada created Avro Arrow

Dear editor:

On the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing, it is worth reflecting on the fact that the Apollo program was designed, engineered and built by the engineers of the Canadian Avro Arrow program who had created the most advanced jet fighter in the world.

John Diefenbaker’s Conservatives, for purely political reasons, destroyed the Avro Arrow program resulting in the highly-qualified, but unemployed engineers and technicians leaving for NASA where they built the Gemini and Apollo space programs.

I give you, as an example, Jim Chamberlain, chief of technical design of the Avro Arrow, who at NASA helped run the Mercury Project, then designed the Gemini spacecraft.

Owen Maynard went from Avro Arrow to NASA, where he helped design the lunar module, then became chief engineer for Apollo.

In all 32 Avro engineers from the defunct Avro Arrow project went to NASA to put the first American into space and onto the moon.

Canada’s government of the day contributed — but only by default and blinkered ignorance .

Zoltan Lawrence

Kelowna

Scrap councils, just elect a mayor

Dear Editor:

Why do we need anything other than a mayor? The councillors are dead weight and serve no purpose. They just keep raising issues that only they care about.

Now one of the Victoria’s councillors has tabled a motion to support a challenge of Quebec’s religious symbols law.

Unless we have party politics in local government, who are you going to blame for too many bike lanes, for example, or for too many administrators with too high wages. If you are going to lobby for a issue, why do you need to convince five people?

With nine votes you need five votes to pass anything. And next election who are you going to vote out if you are not happy with the council and mayor?

With only a mayor you know who to blame or praise.

Clear lines of accountability would exist. The buck stops at the mayor’s office and no one else.

Maybe the voter turnout would be higher then 44 per cent if the direction the city was going to take would change if you replaced the mayor.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford was partly right when he cut Toronto city council from 47 to 25. He just didn’t go far enough and get rid of them all, leaving just a mayor.

Gordon Neuls

Victoria