Church leaders support COVID restrictions

Dear Editor:

The following letter was sent on Dec. 23 on behalf of several BC clergy representing a variety of denominations, including the following signatories from the Interior:

“Dear Dr. Henry and Minister Dix,

“We are faith leaders from across British Columbia and from multiple denominations within the province. We wanted to publicly reach out to show our deep respect and appreciation for you, your staff and all those in leadership in this most challenging time.

“We fully support the work you have done throughout 2020 and appreciate your calm, considerate guidance and wisdom as you work to keep us all safe.

“As faith leaders we have worked hard to keep our communities safe and connected in many imaginative ways.

“Some of us have remained online throughout this pandemic while others have followed clearly laid out protocols for in-person worship gatherings and events in the summer and early fall.

“Each of us, along with our leadership, has prayerfully made decisions that we felt best cared for our congregations.

“Throughout all of these decisions it has been incredibly helpful to have strong guidance from the provincial health officer, the BC CDC and the provincial government. None of us have served in ministry through a global pandemic before and we look to experts to help us through these times.

“Your work has been invaluable to us. We have been deeply disappointed in the multiple times that the voices of a particular group of faith leaders have been spotlighted and amplified publicly criticizing your work and your mandates.

“As you are already aware, those voices do not speak for all of us. We want to publicly reiterate our gratitude and support for your work.

“We are deeply grateful that you have, from the beginning, taken time to be in conversation with faith leaders and have spoken publicly many times in support of the work we are doing. We are looking forward to working with Dr. Robert Daum to continue those conversations.

“Thank you for your hard work. We continue to hold each of you, your staff, our government, B.C.’s front line workers and all impacted by COVID-19 in our prayers.

In peace and gratitude,

The Rev. Patricia Giannelia, Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church, Kelowna

Rev. Brian Krushel, Pastor, Faith Lutheran Church, Kelowna

Rev Robin Jacobson, Minister, Trinity United Church, Vernon,

The Rev. Canon Chris Harwood-Jones, All Saints Anglican Church, Vernon

Rev. Erik Bjorgan, Pastor, Deo Lutheran Church, Salmon Arm

Rev. Curtis Aguirre, Pastor, Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, Penticton

Rev. David Hunter, Pastor, Peace Lutheran Congregation, Vernon

Rev. Jane Gingrich, Pastor, Hills of Peace Lutheran Church, Kamloops

Rev. John Caswell Boyd, Pastor, St. George's Anglican Parish, Kamloops

Andrew Stephens-Rennie, Missioner, Valhalla Parish, Castlegar

Rev. Dr. Gregory Mohr, Bishop, BC Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada

Quail streets need snow route designation

Dear Editor:

Here we are four years later and I am still trying to have Quail Run Drive and Capistrano Drive added to the Snow Route list. These are dangerous and slippery and are both very narrow at the top and difficult at the entry to Quail Ridge Drive.

I have been to City Hall, I have had a petition signed, I have watched the snow ploughs struggle to manoeuvre around the parked cars to clear these streets during a snow storm and on Dec. 30 as of 3:34 p.m., there was no yard waste pickup because of the conditions.

The cars parked on the road are mostly renters and not taxpaying owners. At one meeting with the public works department two years ago, I was told to get the Quail Ridge Association to request a snow route designation from the city for these two streets and it would be done.

I got onto the association last year, requested the president support that very important designation and was told no.

Why would that be? I was told that it was not in the interest of the association to have the area designated a snow route. I can only presume that somewhere there is a conflict of interest because on their new website the association asks residents not to park on the streets during snow clearing.

Regardless of communal politics or municipal politics, it is essentially a safety issue for those of us who live on these streets

Ask your snow plough operators and ask your garbage and yard waste drivers for their opinion and you will get your answer.

It is difficult to drive both up and down Quail Run Drive and Capistrano at the best of times because of cars parked on both sides of these roads. I have a document that shows how many vehicles were parked on Quail Run Drive alone during a two-month period in 2018.

Here we are in almost 2021 and still no snow route designation. Please get off the fence and do the right thing. Your taxpayers’ safety and security should be a priority in snow storms.

Michael Henderson, Kelowna

Greenway needs better winter maintenance

Dear Editor:

The City of Kelowna does a reasonable job protecting users of streets and sidewalks through timely winter maintenance, but the same cannot be said of the regional district.

As a senior daily user of the Mission Creek Greenway I fear for my safety during the winter. 

The Regional District of Central Okanagan does credible maintenance from spring to autumn, but virtually nothing during winter.

New snowfall is quickly packed down by the many daily users but then turns to treacherous ice with thaw-freeze cycles, making it extremely dangerous for users, especially the elderly.

With COVID-19 restricting recreational opportunities, it seems reasonable to expect the RDCO to regularly plough its major walkways and perhaps use a bit of sand when needed.

Glen Wittur, Kelowna

Wealth tax best solution for taming deficit

Dear Editor:

The “polarization of wealth”—everybody talks about it, and nobody does a thing about it.

The COVID pandemic hit most people hard, but the super-rich cashed in.

According to the Institute for Policy Studies, the collective wealth of America’s 651 billionaires has jumped by more than $1 trillion since the start of the pandemic. They now have $4 trillion.

Meanwhile, our federal government is running a catastrophic deficit, and nobody wants to raise taxes. The solution should be obvious, but it isn’t. In today’s world, the solution may sound “far left.”

Under Republican President Dwight Eisenhower in the 1950s, the highest marginal tax rate in America was 90%.

There were no super-rich back then. The super-rich popped up after the rich reshaped the tax systems.

The solution to our current federal deficit is not to raise taxes on ordinary people. The solution is a tax on wealth.

The rich can afford a 2% tax on assets higher than $20 million. Such a tax wouldn’t deplete them, their wealth would continue to rise. And, miracle of miracles, the deficit would dwindle.

Fact is, we can’t do without this added revenue if we are to accomplish what is essential: conquer the pandemic, combat climate change and restore a living wage to ordinary Canadians.

There are signs that the federal Liberals are considering new economic policies. In The Daily Courier, economist David Bond recently noted Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is currently being advised by two innovative economic thinkers, Mark Carney and Michael Sabia. Bond suggested Carney and Sabia may propose a new Royal Commission on Taxation.

Is it off-the-wall for me to think that a Royal Commission might recommend a wealth tax? Canadians got used to the GST, which took money out of their pockets. A wealth tax only takes money from persons who can afford it 10 times over. It‘s a progressive tax, in a system that has been increasingly regressive.

Let’s be honest: Any wealth tax will meet with stiff resistance from the vested interests that make a wealth tax necessary.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, could be a major target of protest. Even some Liberals might attack her. But Freeland is not weak. And she may have strong personal convictions. It was she who in 2012 published a book entitled Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super-Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else.

Gary Willis, Kelowna

Trump acts like king Americans rejected long ago

Dear Editor:

The leaked phone call of U.S. President Donald Trump pleading with Georgia’s Secretary of State is remarkable to listen to.

It starts off listing more unproven allegation of voter fraud, and not getting the kind of responses he hoped for.

Trump said to Georgia’s Secretary of State, “look guys, I just want to find 11,780 votes, one more than we need, because everyone knows I won Georgia by hundred of thousands of votes.”

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger responded “those facts are wrong Mr. President. Sir, we’ve re-counted three times and investigated Mr. Giuliani’s video evidence and found it to be cut so many times that when we examined the original TV footage, what he says happened is not what actually happened” Adding, “sir we’ve investigated thoroughly and found no irregularities.”

When pushback came from one of the lawyers about Trump’s reliance on social media for evidence, Trump remarkably responded that “he doesn’t rely on social media — he relies on “Trump media” — and knows

his allegations at true, because “big people call and tell me I’ve won.”

Listening to the conversation was fine examples of the art of bamboozle and blatant use of high office to intimidate subordinates.

If Trump’s actions don’t produce some sort of legal consequence, then there is no difference between the office of the president and the king’s-rule Americans rebelled against some 233 years ago.

Trump pushes legal limits because he’s worried about the outstanding legal consequences that will follow him out of office. But Trump’s narcissism does allow him to see how his petulance over losing will further hinder him, not help him.

Jon Peter Christoff, West Kelowna