No consultation on downtown pedestrian plan

Dear Editor:

Many of the downtown businesses I spoke to had an opinion about converting five blocks of Bernard Avenue for pedestrians only. Some were in favour and others were either opposed or in support (like me) but with modifications. In making its decision, the city relied on feedback from the Downtown Kelowna Association, of which all downtown businesses and property owners are mandatory members. The DKA is funded through additional property taxes levied on all downtown commercial property.

Both the city and media reports indicate that the DKA told them their membership was majority in support. The DKA, however, did not reach out to its membership. I spoke to 10 merchants the day I first read about the plan in the newspaper, and none had been approached by the DKA. I then spoke to the executive director who was surprised I had some concerns, but confirmed that the decision had to be made quickly, and so there was no time to email the membership. The DKA website also had no information. When I later asked how many businesses had applied for patio space, he did not know and directed me to inquire with the city.

I am now wondering what purpose the DKA serves if it does not collect and relay information for its members, nor does it request input. At least two of us also wrote to mayor and council before it was voted on, but our input was never acknowledged.

I am willing to try new things and as such I will support the plan, however, I thought it was important for the public to know that, not unlike other recent city projects, consultation from stakeholders is becoming a thing of the past.

Michael Neill, Mosaic Books, Kelowna

Mountie didn’t just drag student by the feet

Dear Editor:

Does John Thomas truly believe the young nursing student was dragged by her feet by a female RCMP officer in Kelowna? (Letter, (Mountie didn’t drag woman by the hair, July 2)

The videos clearly show she was dragged by her arms, first face down, then on her back. I did not know arms could be stretched that way, it must have been extremely painful. Then, this Mountie thought it was necessary — despite the fact the young woman was handcuffed, hands behind her back — to step on her head and lift her head up by her hair.

It also was cold, the young woman in a no- sleeved, top-looked like a sports bra was left lying on the cold tile floor.

Please never ask for a wellness check on me — I fear being treated like this — or shot as stated in other RCMP calls for wellness checks. Sometimes people are apparently better off needing help than receiving it from the police.

Yes, we need police and yes, most are good people, but we do need to “police the police” as the news obviously shows. Perhaps Mr. Thomas should look at the evidence.

S. Hayes, Penticton

Americans are still getting into our country

Dear Editor:

There seems to be some confusion over our border being closed to the United States. It was just recently reported that passengers on board a flight from Los Angeles to Vancouver may have been infected with COVID-19 on the flight as there was a passenger onboard who has since been tested as positive.

From what I’ve seen on the news, I was under the impression that our border with the U.S. has been closed for all non-essential purposes to protect Canadians health or is it just the land crossings that are closed and it’s acceptable for COVID to be imported via the airlines?

Whoever is responsible for setting the guidelines needs to wake up. The United States as one of the highest infection rates in the world, most European countries have banned travellers from the U.S. for this reason so why are we allowing travellers from the America into Canada by air?

Guy Bissonnette, Lake Country

Great president or the greatest president?

Dear Editor:

Some say Donald Trump is the worst president in U.S. history. Here’s a list of his accomplishments.

Wiped out ISIS, in 18 months, terrorists that slaughtered over one million Christians while the UN stood by to “negotiate.”

First American president to convene a meeting in the United Nations on religious freedom.

Moved U.S. consulate from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel for the Jewish people; recognized Israel’s right to control the Golan Heights.

Destroyed Syrian president Assad’s airfield when Assad gassed his own people.

His tax reform plan gave the American people their greatest tax reduction in U.S. history.

Recommended two constitutional Supreme Court judges and over 250 other conservative judges in lower courts to protect the US Constitution from being destroyed. None of these changes have given him more power.

His administration created over nine million new jobs and took eight million people off of food stamps.

Lowest white, Black, Hispanic and Asian unemployment in U.S. history.

Highest number of women employed in over 70 years.

Signed the Promoting Women in Entrepreneurship Act.

Gutted regulations that ruined businesses, removing 20 for every new regulation.

First president ever to address the Right to Life rally and students’ Right to Free Speech.

Introduced five-year lobbying ban for government leaders leaving office, including himself.

Created the strongest military in U.S. history.

Created the Space Force.

Mortgage applications rose to a seven-year high.

Ended the war on coal.

Brought $7-10 trillion of business and hundreds of thousands of jobs back to America.

The 657-mile border wall under construction dramatically reduced illegal immigration, drugs and child trafficking.

Clearly has spoken his opposition to infanticide (aborting a child up until the moment of birth).

Expressed at every rally in front of millions of people that America is a Christian nation and that God is the reason the people are free

Strongly defends Second Amendment so citizens cannot be overpowered by wicked government leaders.

Spoken against the evils of socialism to Western democracies.

The “worst” president ever? You decide.

Garry Rayner, West Kelowna

Trump has a lot to worry about as election nears

Dear Editor:

As the days click off on the calendar ever getting closer to a U.S. election, “The Donald” seems to be somewhat inconspicuous in his vocal rantings, his tweets, his direct involvement with the COVID-19 pandemic, his disregard for scientific expertise, his fear of the mail-in ballot and his personal press conferences (leaves those to his minion press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, et. al).

It begs the question: has Trump lost his machismo?

Machismo defined by the dictionary as “the sense of being manly and self-reliant, the concept associated with a strong sense of masculine pride: an exaggerated masculinity.”

Maybe egocentricity is a better way of viewing things with regard to Trump.

Egocentricity, again by dictionary definition is “the state of being self-centred, having greater concern for the self than for others to an excessive degree.”

There are several possible reasons for this withdrawal on his part. There are approximately 17 pending lawsuits against him.

He is somewhat apprehensive of John Bolton’s book being published and what it could tell the public.

Probably more pressing to Trump is his niece’s book, temporarily on a publication hold, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the Most Dangerous Man.”

Unlike Bolton’s book, where there are supposedly some exposed classified statements, Mary Trump’s book is telling the full story unabridged much to her uncle’s dismay.

What will the book tell about Trump and family that isn’t already known remains to be seen.

When it is finally released, the question might be, “Will Trump become more visible and will he as obtuse in his comments as he has been up to now?”

As time marches on toward the election, it will be interesting to see how Trump reacts to a changing political situation prior to the election.

Ron Barillaro, Penticton

Release Meng, bring the two Michaels home

Dear Editor:

The federal Liberal government has badly mishandled the request by the U.S. government to arrest and extradite China’s Meng Wanzhou to the U.S. on a number of criminal charges. Two Canadians who were subsequently arrested in retaliation by China (on trumped up charges), and Canadians in general are paying the price.

The two Canadians are confined under deplorable conditions and face long prison terms (and possible death) if convicted in a country that has no established rule of law. Trade deals with Canada are being cancelled by China, resulting in financial loss for farmers and other business enterprises, and loss of tax revenue for the Canadian government.

The costs, born by Canada, to process the extradition through the Canadian law courts will be substantial as this case moves forward at a snail’s pace through our inefficient judicial system.

Consider the following:

1. Canada is using the claim of rule of law in this country (and the U.S.) as the reason that they have no option but to accede to the U.S. request for extradition. They claim that political or other factors of national interest can not be considered as the judiciary is independent from government.

2. Yet in an interview with Reuters in December 2018, “Donald Trump said that he would intervene in the U.S. Justice Department’s case against Meng if it would serve U.S. national interests or help to achieve a trade deal with China.”

In other words the U.S. government can intervene if it is in their national interests, but Canada (which is only the intermediary and has no personal stake in the issue) cannot. Based on Trump’s statement, Canadian officials should have refused to extradite Meng, as the case had been jeopardized and politicized by the U.S. president himself.

3. John McCallum, who was Canada’s ambassador to China said this himself. He was subsequently fired and replaced for pointing out the patently obvious.

4. The Canadian judge, who was to adjudicate whether there were grounds to proceed with the extradition request, agreed to move the case forward. Another bad decision as the extradition should have been dismissed based on prejudicial statements by Trump regarding national interests.

5. Currently a number of past Canadian government officials, many of them Liberals, are asking for Meng’s release.

Canada should release Meng immediately subject to the release of the two Canadians held.

Claude Bergman, Penticton

Rising deficits now means tax hikes later

Dear Editor:

Where will the economy be in the aftermath of COVID-19? Some level of recession seems inevitable and the overall picture looks gloomy.

Our economy is largely service-based and relies on consumer spending, which will be anemic because of business setbacks, high unemployment and big personal debt loads.

Real estate, a significant driver to this point, is in trouble. The energy sector has been 10 per cent of our GDP, but slumping oil prices and Liberal anti-oil policies have put it on the skids.

COVID-19 financial packages and spending announcements can’t go on forever because they’re funded by borrowing and debt. The federal deficit is approaching $300 billion this year with our accumulated national debt pushing a trillion dollars. We also face increased debt and revenue losses at provincial and municipal levels, which fall on the shoulders of us, the same taxpayers.

Some level of government relief was necessary to cope with COVID-19. But some of it, like the $300 push to Old Age Security and childcare recipients, looks like “chicken in every pot” spending to buy the next election.

Money from government isn’t free. Tax increases and spending cuts are coming; it’s just a question of when.

It’s a Hobson’s choice for the Liberals who’ve spent their way to popularity. Too bad they went into this with five years of politically motivated deficits.

“Sunny ways” is now “apres moi, le deluge.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau claims to be the champion of the middle class, and says he’ll tax the rich. Many will be surprised to find themselves elevated into the ranks of “the rich,” at least for tax purposes. We can expect a hike in the GST and a COVID-19 tax on business and individuals to try to get out of the hole.

We should expect the Liberals to call an election before the full economic misery of COVID-19 becomes apparent. They can’t afford people biting back at them because of their deteriorating financial situations and the inevitable tax increases and spending cuts.

John Thompson, Kaleden

Shutting down the economy wrong way to address pandemic

Dear Editor:

The one thing a country never should do is shut down the economy. Never should this happen and our leaders should pay a price at the polls.

We went from having no money for hospitals, reducing transfer payments to provinces, and no money for serving and protection to as much money a government needed to fight COVID-19 and more.

Where did this money come from?

This has been the greatest mismanagement of the Canada economy ever.

We have people with nothing to lose telling us to stay home.

If you think wearing a mask helps you or others that’s OK. No harm done with a mask. If you feel that sanitizer stops COVID, I have a piece on land in Florida swamp I’d like to sell you.

How can you believe people who took a pay raise during this shutdown. This has been one screwup after another. When you elect inexperienced people you get inexperienced decisions.

Leaders of the G-20 countries missed the boat on this flu virus. You shut down travel, but you don’t shut down an economy. All four parties went along with this stupid decision in Canada.

This is like Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump where you follow the leader over the cliff. Taxpayers should do what we did to the Liberals during the advertising scandal in Jean Chretien’s time as prime minister and vote them out.

Stephen Harper said he become politician to fix the problems Pierre Elliot Trudeau got us into with biggest debt in Canadian history and a Charter of Rights that protects criminals.

We need you again, Prime Minister Harper. This mess will take 10 years of good, sound leadership to get out of and I don’t see anyone in any parties that can do this job. Please take over the Conservative party and put us back on track.

Mike Polvere, Peachland