ER staff at KGH saved my life

Dear Editor:

I had a major heart attack on Monday, Labour Day. Emergency Room staff at KGH said I would have died within a couple hours, had my wife not brought me in. After my assessment, they gave me blood-thinner, then called in a cardiac doctor and a team of four nurses, none of whom were on duty, only on-call.

Within an hour, I was in an operating theatre, and a procedure to insert three stents in my major heart artery was soon completed. I spent the next two days recovering in a cardiac ward, and on Thursday, two more stents were inserted.

I was home Friday, recovering, and feeling truly thankful for the incredibly talented and dedicated staff in the cardiac unit of KGH, both in the operating theatre and on the wards.

An amazing, caring and coordinated team of healthcare professionals, without whose applied skills, I likely would no longer be alive.

All hospital staff are working under highly-stressful conditions – a shortage of beds, an excess of patients (one said 120% of capacity), many COVID-related. I struggle to understand why anyone would protest outside the hospital and interfere with medical staff’s treatment of the protesters’ families and friends, among others.

Thanks to all KGH staff for how I was medically, professionally and humanely treated at a time of great stress. They were invariably, friendly, concerned, helpful, and competent. I bow my head in humble gratitude.

R. Bruce Klippenstein, Peachland

More critical thinking needed inside City Hall

Dear Editor:

Reading David Bond’s Sept. 6 column (Failed attempt to change McKinley plan may not be over), one must wonder how the big decisions are made in our city.

The developer of McKinley Beach held up the shiny bauble of a new park and any sort of critical thinking from our planning department and several of our councillors was out the window.

According to Bond, a yes to the proposed official community plan changes would have seen the developer’s profits increase $100-plus million and in return Kelowna would receive an $11-million park. The response from planning, “Sounds good – let’s do it!”

Who doesn’t like the idea of a new park? But where was the analysis of the negative impacts associated with this deal?

Why was council not apprised of the impacts of additional urban sprawl relative to increases in greenhouse gases?

Why was it not pointed out to council that swapping the multi-family component at McKinley Beach for more million-dollar-plus single family homes would do nothing for our housing affordability problem?

Why was it necessary at a public hearing for several UBC professors to explain the negative environmental impacts to council?

Shouldn’t our planning department be providing all the information required for council to make reasoned, thoughtful decisions?

Thankfully, a few critical thinkers on council (Hodge, Wooldridge, Singh, and Stack) weren’t left mesmerized by the notion of a new park and took the time to query our planning department on their eagerness to move forward with the OCP changes for park swap.

But what about next time? I agree with David Bond’s statement, “…upgrade city management so that staff analysis provided to council is more rigorous and complete.”

I would also add, next time around let’s elect a council with the critical-thinking skills and vision to recognize that we are in the midst of a climate emergency. Ask the questions and base decisions on what we, as a community, can do to mitigate our greenhouse gas emissions.

David Crawford, Kelowna

Community pitches in to give museum a new appearance

Dear Editor:

On behalf of the board of directors and staff of the Westbank Museum I would like to thank the members of our community for their generous contributions. We have been humbled by the willingness of so many individuals, families, and companies to support our renovation.

As a small non-profit, capital projects can be difficult to undertake, but the community’s kindness and generosity allowed us to do so much more than we had initially planned.

This process began in late-2020 when we set plans in motion to refresh our building’s facade. At the time it was a drab single level, flat-roofed building. Now we have a colourful and attractive recreation of an early-20th century streetscape.

Representations of blacksmith and general hardware stores as well as a fruit packinghouse have been added. This last item has been embellished with an enlarged black and white photo print of a 1920s apple packing line. Soon another image, this time a colour one of a horse, will be added to the blacksmith shop.

Excited as we were with this portion of the project, we hoped to make the building’s sides match the improved the frontage. This spring, while construction was underway, we began a fundraising program to enable this process. To date, with the generous involvement of many, we have raised over $30,000 and counting. With these additional funds, we are making considerable changes to our museum’s grounds. Work has just recently begun on the first of two murals. This one, being done by Barb Hannington, will present an orchard and packinghouse scene.

On the opposite side of the building, we recently completed the initial landscaping for what we hope will be a special community space. Our hope is that when this section of the property is completed, we will have an accessible public picnic space.

We are planning on including interactive children’s activities, a shaded picnic area, and a xeriscape garden. Three large art pieces will add a special touch to this space: 1) a water feature recreating the open irrigation flume systems that once helped create the orcharding industry here; 2) a second mural that has yet to be designed; 3) we will allow interested members of the public to pick and paint a block on our retaining wall. Once completed, we are hoping the community will freely enjoy this space.

There are many individuals and families to thank for their donations and contributions: the Reece, Brown, Ingram, Blower, Pritchard, Paynter, Drought, Kennedy and Hewlett families and Ferne Jean. These parties have all purchased dedicatory plaques in their ancestors’ honour.

We would also like to thank the following organizations for their help and support with this project: Westside Curb Appeal, PostNet, Manchester Signs, Approved Services, the City of West Kelowna, the Stober Foundation, Gorman’s, the Kelowna Public Archives and Wishbone Site Furnishings.

Finally, we want to extend a special “thank you” to our previous executive director, Paulina McChesney, and Museum Coordi-nator Jaden Cormack. When I joined the staff in January of 2021, this project had already started, and I am very grateful for the groundwork that they did to allow us to have the success that we had this summer.

Anyone who may still wish to contribute can contact us at 250-768-0110 or by emailing info@westbankmuseum.com.

Jeremiah Ryder, executive director, Westbank Museum

Not all lives seem to matter

Dear Editor:

Watching the recent leaders debate on TV, I wondered could we have a debate on the understanding of each leader on what it means to be a human being with infinite longings.

This would be followed by questions like: How come the young people in our country no longer expect to find happiness in ordinary things? Why are illegal drugs so urgent to human survival and fulfilment? Why is pornography so widespread and gambling on the rise?

It is clear in our society “not all lives matter.” Abortion is always a betrayal, allowing a “human being” in its mother’s womb to be destroyed rather than loved.

As one mother said after a miscarriage; “they called my child “bio waste” — it broke my heart into pieces.” Now a child awaiting birth can be treated as an enemy by doctors and parents.

How can we promote a culture where assisted suicide is not treated as a modern victory over death? I think COVID-19 is forcing people to confront death and generally we try both to hide from it and to hide it away.

When President Calles of Mexico, in 1926, closed all Catholic churches, Graham Green, was sent from Fleet Street to make a report on its effects. The first woman he interviewed said: “they don’t know what to do with us when we die, they bury us like animals.”

When will our leaders recognize that religious groups are part of culture and not sub cultures? The French Revolution (1798) laid one of its first attacks on Notre Dame Cathedral, destroying priceless art works and renaming it the Temple of Reason.

Their leaders boasted of a new era; liberty, equality and brotherhood, but they quickly forgot about brotherhood.

Napoleon came to power in 1799 and being a strong leader reopened the Cathedral to its Catholic mission and established religion as part of French culture. There is nothing new in history and brotherhood is our tomorrow.

Fr. Harry Clarke, Penticton

Dr. Bonnie stays cool, collected amid a storm

Dear Editor:

I have always admired the cool, calm and collected way that Chief Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presented pandemic facts and figures to the citizens of British Columbia.

As the virus and its variants evolved, she changed tactics on several occasions to match circumstances. When health orders were altered, she never ducked a question from the media, always willing to explain how and why new paths taken were consequential of evolving science.

This was most evident on Tuesday, Sept. 7, when Henry ordered that everyone who has been vaccinated must obtain the Vaccine Card to enter certain establishments for the foreseeable future.

Her presentation was so crystal clear, and easy to understand; it’s so simple to obtain a vaccine card, even for people like me who have never owned a smart phone. Everyone had ample advanced warning that this was the next step being taken, in a concerted effort for the hesitant ones among us to wake up, smell the roses and get inoculated, if they want a return to some kind of normalcy during this ongoing pandemic.

Strident anti-vaxxers have spent about 20 months listening to influencers on Facebook and other sources filling their gullible heads with disinformation.

Literally, millions of their fraudulent and often crazy claims have been discredited on an hourly basis, yet they persist in spreading vicious, vile, viper-like, virulent accusations all through cyberspace.

Throughout it all Henry has maintained a quiet dignity, and her latest excellent presentation must have caused the knotted knickers of the anti-vaxxers to tighten to an even more excruciating painful level.

Bernie Smith, Parksville

Those who come home to serve are commendable

Dear Editor:

It is with a great degree of sadness and frustration that I have been reading the comments about Liberal candidate Tim Krupa being from out of town coming mainly from the Conservative camp and being framed in a hateful, negative manner.

I am in my 20s. Like Tim, I have been raised in Kelowna. I have been going UBC Okanagan. We often hear about how the area needs young professionals, and yet when a highly educated smart young person like Krupa with Kelowna roots wants to come back to serve his community, he is being criticized. 

The approach taken by Conservative candidate Tracy Gray to keep bringing up Krupa’s period as a policy adviser for the Prime Minister's office as a huge negative is ridiculous. In fact, it should be commended.

Here is a person who has worked at the highest level and knows the system regardless of who is in power. Her constant repeating is not just upsetting, but it sends the wrong message to many of us young people.

I have been offered a position in Ottawa as well. Now, I am concerned about taking it. The question comes to mind: would I be welcomed back  if I wanted to return to my home town of Kelowna? I want to run for office later when I return. Would that be a problem? 

Many grads leave the Okanagan to pursue our education, look for employment opportunities and seek challenges in life. I think it is highly commendable that Krupa  followed his academic passion, went to Oxford, which is no small feat, and then Harvard.

He was lucky to have worked in the PMO and most recently he was working for a large pension fund manager. All this he has openly stated.

It’s no brainer someone with Krupa’s experience will be able to get things done for our community.

Tim has now come home to the city where his parents and siblings still live, to serve the people of Kelowna-Lake Country. Is there something wrong with that?

Comments in news reports by Gray’s campaign spokesperson Adam Wilson referred to Tim Krupa as ”Justin Trudeau’s former staffer turned Liberal candidate.”

Gray herself repeated that several times in the media. Once again, I ask, what is wrong with coming home to serve? Kelowna is his home. He left for a while but is now back home. We need to welcome our bright young people back to the region, end of story.

Let’s deal with the real issues folks, issues like climate change, the global pandemic, and how we are going to rebuild after this health crisis. I look forward to hearing what all the candidates have to say about issues that affect all Canadians and how we can build a healthy Canada. Let’s keep it positive. Young people want to move forward with real issues and real solutions.

Amarit Brar, Kelowna

Liberals believe in strong, central government

Dear Editor:

Conservative pundits are anxious to point to similarities between Liberals and Conservatives, while hiding big fundamental differences.

Liberals promote a strong federalism, while Conservatives promote a decentralized Canada, where the provinces have more autonomy, which makes regional disparity more pronounced.

When Canada’s founding fathers met in 1864, the Untied States was at war with itself. John A. Macdonald, like others, believed the civil war happened because the American constitution gave too much power to the states.

At the Charlottetown conference, it was agreed, Canada would be created with a dominant federal government that had sufficient powers to speak and act for all citizens and the financial capacity to deal with all emergences.

Canada was formed as a federation with provincial and territorial components and for over 150 years this federalist principle has woven itself into our political fabric.

In January 2001, former Reform Party MP Stephen Harper and five others published an open letter asking Alberta premier Ralph Klein to “build firewalls around Alberta,” to limit the extent to which an aggressive and hostile federal government can encroach upon legitimate provincial jurisdictions. A new Conservative party emerged and by 2006 Harper was prime minister.

It turned out, Harper’s objectives remained the same. In his nine years as prime minister. he continued to hobble the power of not just his own federal government, but also any future federal government.

Harper cancelled national daycare, and offered families a $1,200 annual stipend. He maintained healthcare transfers, but surrendered federal influence over how the money was spent. He cut the GST by 2%, reducing Ottawa’s financial power.

He cancelled the long-form census that provided social scientists a clearer picture of Canada. He cut grants to scientists, which at times stood in contrast to his interpretation of Canada and forbade them from making public statements.

Bit by bit from 2006 to 2015 Harper quietly chipped away at Canada’s centralized federalism, increasing provincial-rights.

The idea of provincial-rights over federalism is still clearly audible in Conservative MP Dan Albas’ recent comments aired on CBC, complaining, the Liberal carbon tax was forced on the provinces, “without due consideration for individual provincial situation or jurisdiction.”

Every one of Canada’s nationally run and regulated programs, beginning with the Canadian Pacific railroad and our early national telegraphic system, to Canada’s equalization payment program, and CPP, to healthcare, carbon rebate system, childcare and hopefully Pharmacare, could only grow out of a strong federalist system.

For Conservatives, from Harper, to Andrew Scheer and now Erin O’Toole, national programs are a tyranny over provincial rights — their resistance to Canada’s federalism has led them to import the idea of “States Rights — the weakest feature of the American constitution. This is a historic wrong turn for Canada and one that would surely have Sir John A. and our founding fathers turning in their graves.

Jon Peter Christoff, West Kelowna

Email: letters@ok.bc.ca