Burning churches isn’t reconciliation

Dear Editor:

In response to recent articles in the Westside Weekly and The Daily Courier, I have to comment on references to the burning of churches.

I refer to two definitions of reconciliation: 1. The restoration of friendly relations; 2. the action of making one belief compatible with another

I do not honestly think that the burning of churches meets either definition. In my opinion anyone supporting the desecration of churches does not help the process of reconciliation and should rethink their comments and or actions. The individuals attending those institutions were probably not responsible for the residential schools and do not deserve the burning of their places of worship.

Eldon Kerbes, Peachland

Deniers living in a cold, dark cave

Dear Editor:

Re: “Good news from climate crisis” (Letters, Oct. 2).

I guess Andy Richards lives in a cave when stating that the media is cherry picking facts on climate change. It must be a cold dark cave, because while the rest of us were experiencing a heat dome in June, he didn't notice.

He certainly does not avail himself of global news, or he would have seen, on BBC, Aljazeera, Euronews, CNN, and the National, that 800 year old villages in Germany were washed away by never before seen flooding, as were thousand year old cities in India, France, Spain and on every continent on the planet.

Rather than concern himself with cherry picking, he should focus on pulling his head out of the sand, like an ostrich, and join the rest of humanity who experience the consequences of this apocalyptic problem.

What will it take to convince deniers of not only the reality, but the urgency of mitigating action?

49.6 degrees doesn’t seem to be enough.

Patricia Reid, West Kelowna

Gov’t slow to order masks in schools

Dear Editor:

Currently in British Columbia, about half of the unvaccinated population is under 12 years of age.

On Oct. 1, after weeks of pressure from parents and teachers, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced the mask mandate in schools would be extended to include all students, kindergarten to Grade 12, effective Oct. 4.

This is just the latest example of Dr. Henry and Jennifer Whiteside (B.C. Minister of Education) being reactive instead of proactive.

Following the press briefing, BCTF President Teri Mooring said she was happy to hear the mask mandate was increased, but "we were looking for this mask mandate to be put in place at the beginning of the year as a preventative measure … perhaps some children that ended up getting sick might not have..." 

Mooring added: "It (decision-making) should be based on data, but it also can be preventative … Following the data doesn't preclude putting in preventative measures.” (BC Today, CBC radio)

During the last week of September, the Vancouver, Surrey and Burnaby school boards voted to pass their own mask mandates to include kindergarten to Grade 3 students.

Three days before, Henry had shared the data: “We have seen an increase in numbers of children in each of those age groups (0-4, 5-11, and 12-17) who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last week compared to what we've been seeing over the course of the pandemic … The rates that we're seeing right now, of COVID-19 per 100,000 population, is going up quite dramatically, particularly in those younger school-aged children (between the ages of five and 11) who are not yet eligible for vaccination."

If this isn't a red flag, what is?

When a reporter asked Henry why the government wouldn’t put a mask mandate in place for all students, she deflected with typical Bonniespeak: “I have tasked, as I said, our school team that works together. They meet two to three times a week to look at every individual situation, and particularly look at those communities where we have higher transmission rates and lower vaccination rates, to see what we need to do in the province to make sure we can make schools continue to operate safely.”

If the B.C. government had been proactive, it would have sent rapid tests to every school in January. The BCTF has been calling for rapid testing in schools.

If a teacher notices a student has flu-like symptoms, or a student says s/he doesn’t feel well, the student should be tested by a staff member trained to administer a rapid test, just as every school is required to have staff members with First Aid/CPR training.

Go to the B.C. School COVID Tracker website (run by parents) at bcschoolcovidtracker.knack.com. Type in the name of your community, and search. Then compare it with Interior Health's weblink showing COVID-19 school exposures.

Which site do you think has the most up-to-date and detailed information?

David Buckna, Kelowna

Wilson-Raybould didn’t know her job

Dear Editor:

Jody Wilson-Raybould released her new book, Indian in the Cabinet: Speaking Truth to Power, just before the recent election.

A Deferred Prosecution Agreement is a recognized legal process. While not applicable in all cases , it was deemed applicable in the SNC Lavalin case and deserved more than a few days cursory attention.

It should be noted the Senate invited Wilson-Raybould on numerous occasions for the purpose of examining the DPA, then relatively new in Canada. The nature of her job would indicate her duty to appear, but she “systematically refused.”

Apparently she did not consider it applicable to her agenda and hence of no interest, similar to the case of Glen Assoun, 17 years wrongfully incarcerated, whose review request laid on her desk, 18 months, unaddressed.

By the same token, when a judge of Indigenous connection was not appointed to the Supreme Court, following her recommendation, her displeasure was expressed in the media.

There may have been an error in judgment, appointing as justice minister an individual of a scant three years law experience and with a single priority — her final directive as Justice head being to affirm her Practise Directives to all Crown lawyers, to cease adversarial arguments in all litigation involving Indigenous claims.

The ethics of one who supposedly respects the law and common decency, and yet tapes a conversation unbeknownst to another, is disturbing .

Wilson-Raybould “warned” the Prime Minister that removing her from the Justice Portfolio “would be a mistake.”

The apparent compulsion to discredit others in order to excuse oneself, may lend credence to the adage “Hell hath no fury.”

Elaine Lawrence, Kelowna

Conservative ideas soundly rejected

Dear Editor:

Today, message control is difficult, where there was once only mainstream media, now alternative media holds sway, providing a soapbox to anyone.

Political leaders and their programs are pilloried, insulted and diminished like never before. Minor controversies become outsized, and venomous attacks strike from behind phoney e-mail addresses or fake Twitter accounts. Mainstream media is forced to lower its standards to accommodate this hatful trope, which debases our national dialogue.

Today’s visceral polarization decreases the chances leaders in parliament can (without a majority) fashion a consensus on any given issue.

Minority government can work. However, when the Official Opposition’s stated purpose is to not co-operate and merely attack, delay and obstruct in their effort to topple government, which characterized the Conservative goals in the previous session of Parliament, is it any wonder Justin Trudeau called an election.

Despite all the handwringing, winning elections with low vote totals is a result of Canada’s multi-party system.

Before 1991, there was no Bloc, which now saps 7% of the federal vote. The NDP usually averages 15%. The Greens lost ground and the People’s Party grabbed 5%.

However Canada’s political pluralism does not negate the simple fact that Canadians still only have two main political directions to choose – either a progressive or conservative agenda.

If we look at the total popular vote, seven out of 10 Canadians who voted, chose a progressive party with a progressive agenda — the election results clearly showed the Conservative agenda was soundly rejected by the majority of Canadian voters.

Jon Peter Christoff, West Kelowna

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