Council gets raise, drivers lose 16%

Dear Editor:

Somewhat belatedly, I would like to commend city editor Pat Bulmer for his excellent editorial published on May 8.

He explained that the refuse collection drivers had a 16% pay cut forced upon them. This was a result of “contract flipping,” where the City of Kelowna took the low bid. The low bid was achieved essentially by screwing the drivers. Drivers had no successor rights as do represented workers in other areas. Local leaders just passed the buck, Bulmer said.

It is no secret that Kelowna is a very expensive city in which to live. All the drivers I have seen appear to be of the age where they would have families to support.

They were apparently told: “Take it or leave it.” How would you like to have this happen to you, even if you are a well off Kelowna retiree?

Look back at the action of the city councillors when the tax code was changed last year. They were subjected to a pay cut of around 14%. Did they suck it up? No! They voted themselves a raise to cover it. Wouldn’t it be nice if the refuse drivers could have done voted to maintain their wages?

Just recently, seven of nine city councillors went off on a junket to Quebec City costing the taxpayers a lot of money. City council continues to sell out to developers. These elected officials should be ashamed of throwing dedicated workers under the bus, and lavishing themselves with pay raises and superfluous trips.

It is a pity that the drivers don’t have a strong Teamsters Union. A garbage strike would soon get the attention of city council and restore a proper wage to the drivers.

I generally avoid writing about Canadian politics, but this issue is just too obvious for even an American citizen to ignore.

Voters, is your memory short? If not, make note of these transgressions and throw these self-serving “officials” out at the next opportunity.

You get what you deserve!

Bob Sherman

Kelowna

Trudeau wrong to bend on wording

Dear editor:

Justin Trudeau has accepted the assertion by the MMIWG Inquiry that Canada is guilty of genocide. In so doing this simpering fool has put us in the same category as Nazi Germany, Cambodia and Rwanda; the only other countries to have admitted to genocide.

Calling genocide has powerful legal and moral consequences and must be done judiciously. The Organization of American States wants to examine this accusation. No doubt the UN will too.

The definition of genocide means the deliberate and systematic destruction of any ethnic, racial or religious group. It’s incorrect to classify crimes committed by people acting as individuals against other individuals as state sponsored genocide against a selected group.

RCMP data shows that most homicides against indigenous females were solved, and that the majority of homicides were committed by people known to their victims, which mostly means Indigenous males. Data also indicates that many Indigenous victims were involved in high risk behaviours involving substance abuse and prostitution.

RCMP statistics show 164 indigenous females missing and 1,017 murdered over a 22-year period. There were also 5,439 non-indigenous females murdered in the same period. That’s sorrowful, but it’s not genocide.

We don’t know what additional evidence has been discovered by this inquiry; a lot of their testimony is anecdotal and emotion based. It’s cathartic to ventilate, but this isn’t necessarily a sound basis for remedial action. Most of the inquiry’s recommendations blame others and demand outside solutions.

There’s scant discussion of Indigenous people acknowledging their share of responsibility.

Many believe that the plight of MMIWG is a reflection of social breakdown and crime within Indigenous communities. This also prompts decisions by individuals to abandon dysfunctional communities for urban centers where high risk lifestyles and an absence of purpose and support invite exploitation.

The status quo, where many people lead a dependent existence under the 143-year-old Indian Act and associated reservation system, doesn’t work. It promotes indolence, apathy and lack of opportunity. It does, however, seem to deliver for those in the “Indian business,” including lawyers, activists, bureaucrats and Indigenous and non-Indigenous politicians. That’s a lot of institutionalized inertia to overcome before getting to meaningful change.

Wallowing in white, liberal guilt will be widespread, and shrilling by activists and media will be loud, but responsible people must repudiate this labelling of genocide. Such sensationalism doesn’t serve anyone well and detracts from the value of this inquiry.

John Thompson

Kaleden

Always grabbing a catch-phrase

Dear editor:

Whether or not it was our prime minister’s idea to tell the world we are a genocidal country, I don’t know for sure. I do know that with every apology and reparation, Canada looks more and more like an evil entity.

Tragic and as wrong as our history towards First Nations is, when you call the missing women’s issue a genocide you disrespect anyone that has suffered in a truly genocidal country.

People are too quick to grab a catchphrase or buzz word to stick in a political statement to try and garner votes. Shame on whoever decided this was a good way to go. Start throwing some money at our social programs to help get people out of high-risk life styles instead of paying hogs at the trough such as Mike Duffy and countless other senators obscene wages and retirement packages like you promised.

Oh yeah, remember Senate reform? Just another line of BS to get voted in. So sad.

Gord McLaren

Penticton

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