Letters to the Editor

Email your letters to the editor to: letters@ok.bc.ca. Include a phone number for verification. Letters may not exceed 400 words.

KELOWNA

America’s prisons are run for profit

Dear Editor:

The documentary “Seattle is Dying” presents prison-based forced abstinence as a solution for people who use drugs/ This video (propaganda from a Donald Trump affiliate) fails to mention the social and financial impacts of treating prison like “rehab”.

Wealthy U.S. investors promote this idea because private prisons are a billion-dollar industry. The U.S. has the largest known incarcerated population in the world. Has this ended homelessness and the war on drugs in America?

Crime statistics and my own visits to the U.S. reveal despite a harsher approach, their opioid crisis, public safety, and poverty levels are actually worse. When locking people up is profitable, there’s no incentive to reduce recidivism rates or the root causes of crime (such as systemic economic disparity).

Rhode Island also spends more per inmate than other states. Are fans of that model willing to pay for it?

B.C. already spends about $230 per inmate each day. B.C. prisons are so overcrowded that correctional officers are protesting in multiple cities including Oliver and Kamloops.

Singapore has a cheaper option: swift execution. But, eliminating due process and giving the state that kind of power over human life is a slippery slope towards tyranny. If your loved one is falsely accused of a crime, or a rival plants drugs in your desk, you’ll be grateful Canada has a slower, more compassionate justice system between you and the gallows.

We can agree certain activities occur best behind closed doors rather than public spaces (sleeping, partying, bathing, etc). But, just as they cannot hold water, doors with bars do not stop the indefinite flow of drug-related crimes or users.

Prisons are “wet facilities” too; inmates — sometimes aided by officers — perpetuate the drug trade even in super max.

Decriminalization, and investing in a multi-faceted health-based approach is proven to produce better long-term patient outcomes and is more cost effective than punishment or abstinence centered models.

You may disagree for moral reasons, but the financial and clinical data is clear: strategies like Harm Reduction, OATS, and Housing First save money because they reduce stress on other social services (policing, corrections, judicial, emergency rooms, etc), and they help people break free from cyclical crime and poverty.

We mustn’t allow Youtube’s comment section to drown out the peer-reviewed, non-partisan recommendations of accredited professionals who have nothing to gain by promoting policies that aren’t based on evidence supported best practice.

Amanda Poon

Kelowna

Kelowna needs to clean house

Dear Editor:

Bye bye Stephen Fuhr and hello Tracy Gray.

Let’s hope, dear Kelowna voters, that the next time the moving finger stops, it will point at Mayor Colin Basran and his sycophantic followers like Coun. Gail Givens.

The mayor and council are doing their best to turn Kelowna from a pleasant place to live into a squalid copy of one of the less-desirable Vancouver suburbs.

We need a mayor like John Hindle, who used to ride to work on a bicycle, or Dale  Hamill, who actually visited the taxpayers, who thought that they were being ill-treated. Or someone like Sharon Shepherd, who never did anything that she wasn’t personally convinced was best for Kelowna or in fact anyone without a real estate/developer  background.

Alan M. Cobden

Kelowna

Next time just say thank you

Dear Editor:

Re: “Riding returns to its roots,” column by Ron Seymour (Courier, Oct. 24).

Ron Seymour reminds me of Donald Trump when he interprets words spoken by former MP Stephen Fuhr for us. His method of “here are his words, but here’s what they really mean”, reminds me a lot of the Republican/ Conservative method of disinformation.

I understand it’s very sad for Seymour that we won. Two-out-of-three Canadians voted for parties on the left and so instead of being gracious he lashes out at Stephen Fuhr. 

Why? His preferred candidate won, and so he should really think about embracing sunnier ways in his columns. Though it’s fun to take simple words and turn them around to suit one’s nefarious and evil purposes, what if Seymour could find joy in being kind, in saying thank you, Stephen, you did a great job?

Seymour is shocked and insulted that people expressed gratitude at the door. Why is this so upsetting to him? And it’s news to Seymour that the Conservatives ran a negative campaign?

Doesn’t he have social media?

Fuhr said sometimes people expressed sentiment about the government that wasn’t true. I’ve spoken to people fooled by stories on social media and have been able to provide them with actual facts. Why does Seymour have to twist that to imply Fuhr said these people are liars?

And where in God’s name in his speech did he imply the government wouldn’t provide funding to the area? 

I’ve never been so offended by a column, and thankfully don’t buy the Courier because this is an example of yellow journalism.   

Moni Schiller

Kelowna

Vitriol-filled diatribe column

Dear Editor:

Reading Ron Seymour’s vitriol-filled diatribe against Stephen Fuhr was disheartening, disrespectful, and shows a lot of disregard for the truth.

I don’t know what perceived slight Fuhr ever committed against Seymour, but that rant goes well beyond the boundaries of an editorial comment. That was a targeted hit piece, and it is embarrassing to read in our daily paper of record here in Kelowna.

Fuhr served his constituents with dignity and tenacity during his four years. Having knocked on many doors with him during the campaign, I can attest first-hand to the number of outright false and distorted reasons people had for not supporting the Liberals.

People would dredge up baseless things that they saw in a Canada-proud meme or one of Andrew Scheer’s truth-vacant tweets, and Fuhr would often correct the record and relay the facts.

And he’d often wrap up his statement saying, “If you don’t believe me, you can check with the PBO (Parliamentary Budget Officer),” when it came to numbers delivered to the riding or the fiscal records of the Trudeau government and its predecessor. I heard many people saying the longed for the days of balanced budgets “like when Harper was PM.:

News flash: Stephen Harper ran eight consecutive deficits and added $160 billion to Canada’s national debt. So when he says that a lot of the reasons people had for being unhappy, he was correct.

Maybe Seymour needs to step down from that mighty high horse of his and actually pay attention to the copious amount of right-wing claptrap that are out there used to diminish this government and its accomplishments; he’d likely be shocked to see just how much distortion of reality exists in our discourse.

Granted, given this particularly torqued piece meant to denigrate and diminish a good man right after losing an election, maybe we shouldn’t expect Seymour to realize that he’s just as guilty of that propagation of “alternative facts” as those who don’t feel compelled to rely on reality when making a political statement.

Richard McAdam

Kelowna

PEACHLAND

Governments must control debt

Dear Editor:

Yes, debt again.

At the Paris Accord on climate change, 200 countries stood up and high-fived agreeing to invest in climate change and help the countries who can’t.

So after hundreds of millions of dollars for hotel accommodation,breakfasts, lunches, dinners and socials afterwards, with best wine or cognac money can buy, they have an agreement.

So almost three years later what has been done?

Nothing.

These countries are all broke . They can’t do much without effecting healthcare, social programs and God knows they are screwing these programs up. Hey, I’m sure they all had a good time. The G-7 or G20 meeting in Toronto cost $1 billion to prepare, not counting the accommodations, breakfasts, lunches, dinners and socials afterwards.

We need an alternative to the present way of government.

I don’t think people understand how debt compromises the service and efficiency of our healthcare, social services, Canada pension, security and education.

Look under the radar and talk to the people who do not get on the nightly news. They will say that the systems are showing signs of cracking. Governments can no longer manage these services. We need to take them out of their hands. When our prime minister runs a yearly $20 billion deficit, no one seems to care.

I really don’t understand. Most families from the depression-era period through the end of the Second World War had to respect the money earned and save what they could.

Canada was debt free until big-spending PM Pierre Elliot Trudeau came along with his hat and cape and started Canada’s borrowing deficit financing.

Tommy Douglas gave us self-funded healthcare. Our prime minister, I expected, will break it apart.

Canada would be in tougher shape if it wasn’t for Liberal PM Paul Martin and other Conservative governments that fought temptation to waste taxpayers money. Don’t understand why one party likes to spend recklessly and another party spends responsibly.

I find it hard to believe that Canadian immigrants don’t care about debt. I suggest to balance budget every year. 5% to debt reduction 5% for contingencies and 90% to run the country .

If government overspends by $20 billion, there will be special assessment to all taxpayers to balance the budget. Oh yes, there needs to be recall legislation to dump our PM if party has mismanaged economy.

Mike Polvere

Peachland

SUMMERLAND

Hayseeds share concern for future

Dear Editor:

I couldn’t help but respond to Jim Hannah’s condescending, arrogant and elitist rant against us rubes in the Interior who voted to destroy the earth and take away the future of our young by having the nerve to vote Conservative (Courier letters, Oct. 23, Herald, letters Oct. 24).

Apparently, we uneducated hayseeds may see things a little different than Jim Hannah. You see, we too are concerned about our children and grandchildren’s future.We would like them to have the opportunity to work in well-paying fields like mining, lumbering and yes, even oil and gas.

We would like them to have the opportunity to participate in necessary trades like electricians, pipefitters, welders, heavy-duty equipment operators rather than serving lattes for the so-called intellectual elites like Jim Hannah.

Although most of us are concerned about the environment, us rubes are not stupid enough to buy the climate alarmist hype that states that Canada — and Canada alone — has only eight years to prevent climate armageddon, therefore, we must destroy an industry that provides billions of dollars of wealth in the Canadian economy to help pay for healthcare, education, infrastructure and so on.

Going a little further, a majority of us aren’t ready to allow a 16-year-old Swedish kid, who grew up in a socialist country, coddled from birth, tell us how to run our country and our economy.

Oh, and I would be remiss to not mention the SNC-Lavalin scandal, embarrassing India trip and Justin Trudeau’s utter hypocrisy when it comes to racism.

If Jim Hannah doesn’t like being around us dimwits in the Interior, I hear Vancouver Island is nice at this time of year.

Andy Richards

Summerland

WEST KELOWNA

Corporations drive economy

Dear Editor:

How do politicians get into government positions by backing policies that take money from the rich and give it to everyone else?

Just as an example: Amazon, WalMart,the Jim Pattison Group, to name a few.

In the U.S., the Democrats are always whining because Amazon pays very little tax.

They have more than 200,000 employees in the U.S. who obviously do pay taxes.

WalMart has 1.5 million employees in the U.S. and Jim Pattison more than 45,000 employees here in Canada.

These owners worked hard to become successful and they deserve what they have worked for.

Doug McArther

West Kelowna

PENTICTON

Editor’s analysis is hypothetical

Dear Editor:

James Miller writes that the local People’s Party of Canada vote likely cost Helena Konanz election victory (Herald, Oct. 24).

Hypotheticals. Andrew Scheer declared the Conservatives won the popular vote — 35% voted for it, 65% against. Some win!

Fifty-five per cent of voters marked their ballots in favour of a progressive party that champions the battle against climate change, pharmacare, reconciliation with First Nations and strong social programs. About eight per cent supported the separatists.

Had NDP and Greens not existed, all those votes would have gone Liberal, and we would have a majority Justin Trudeau House. Hypotheticals.

More than half of newly elected MPs represent parties with a progressive agenda, not unlike how the so-called popular vote came down. Trudeau would be well advised to propose a progressive program in his next Throne Speech and progressive MPs will support it. CPC, now the apparent party of the West, can be counted on to support pipeline progress and any legislation required to get it built.

Despite the minority government situation, Canadians have declared clearly the kind of legislative program they want and Trudeau would be wise to get on with it. Those inclined to whine should accept the electors’ direction and dedicate themselves to helping, even through loyal opposition.

Push or pull or get out of the way! Hypotheticals indeed!

Dick Hall

Penticton

Taylor generated his own support

Dear Editor:

I understand that Helena Konanz feels badly about losing the election, but the existence of the People’s Party of Canada is not to blame for her not getting the local seat in the House of Common as James Miller suggests.

Those people who voted for PPC candidate Sean Taylor might not have voted or might not have voted for her. They chose their candidate for personal reasons which may have had to do with their personal connection to him. They may not have liked her, her party, or the leader of her party, but whatever the reason they did not vote Conservative deliberately. Konanz was not entitled to those votes and so no one stole them from her.

Columns like the one by Miller on the front page (Herald, Oct. 24) leave people feeling like only the major parties have the right to run for office and that is not the case. We need new ideas and new people willing to run to keep this country democratic and debating not only the important issues but to decide which issues are important enough to debate.

While I do not support the PPC, I do support the reality that people have a right to their opinion and the right to voice their opinion by running for office in Canadian elections.

The reality is Richard Cannings is returning to Ottawa and he is a good MP. He works hard for his constituents, he represents us well, and we should wish him well without making excuses for why his opponents didn’t win. Graciousness is defeat is an admirable trait and one that would be nice to see displayed rather than continuing the nastiness of this election.

Frances Mantler

Penticton

Most-despised person on planet

Dear Editor:

Re: “Trump still threat to establishment” by Brian Gray (Herald, Oct. 22).

This letter states that Trump hasn’t “crossed into impeachable territory,” but has rather “ventured into a profoundly-historical period.”

That’s some pretty wild Kool-Aid consumption.

Donald Trump was elected as president on the promise he would, “Make America Great Again.” He in fact is probably now the most despised person on this planet by right-thinkers as a result of his impudent approach to governing.

While travelling through Europe this summer, I couldn’t help but notice and chuckle at the inscription on a tee-shirt worn by a chap.

It spelled out the words loud and clear, “Make America Great Britain Again!”

Need I say more?

Paul Crossley

Penticton