If I call you an imbecile, would you be offended?

Dear Editor:

As I believe in brevity, I will make this missive short, and to the point.

With all due respect and defence to Greta Fader, Barrie Pelland, et al, who, perhaps wisely, chose to take a kinder and gentler approach in this very important matter, I ask, would it be considered offensive, rude, or derogatory, and without knowledge of the etymology of these nouns/adjectives idiocy and imbecility if they were applied to anti-vaxxers/anti-maskers?

Perhaps a follow-up response could straighten me out if I have transgressed the bounds of propriety!

Lynn Bryngelson, Kelowna

Canada should wear black to Beijing Olympics

Dear Editor:

Many, including Conservative leader Erin O’Toole, have suggested a Canadian boycott of the Beijing Olympics as a response to China’s unfair treatment of Canada’s Two Michaels. 

I too was of this opinion until just recently when I realized such a boycott may well make us feel good about ‘doing something’ to retaliate but will accomplish absolutely nothing except deprive the athletes of the chance to finally display the fruits of all that hard training. Punishing our athletes in this way is a misdirection in my opinion.

Instead, let’s participate in the Olympics but rather than wearing sparkling designer outfits in which to parade around or other clothes particular to specific sport, Canadian athletes just wear black. 

Not just black armbands but all black. Everything, from the opening/closing ceremonies’ outfits and whatever clothing is needed to participate in a sport, our athletes simply wear black. 

Everything, all clothing, helmets, skates, skis bobsleds, etc. — black. 

It may not change anything but would send a powerful message to China and the rest of the world, about Canada’s displeasure at how the Two Michaels have been and continue to be mistreated treated.

In the meantime, I’m also of the opinion that Meng Wenzhou should be thrown in a real jail to await the outcome of her appeal rather than being treated as a princess and allowed to live in splendour while two innocent Canadian men languish innocently in a Chinese prison.

Richard Begin, Kelowna

We need to save the planet for each other

 Dear Editor:

Whatever happened to “do unto others as you would they should do unto you?”

Will people ever learn? They should help each other. What is happening to the air we breathe, the water and everything?

Want to go to Mars and spoil it, too?

Smarten up before it gets too late. We are all responsible for life on Earth.

Please help.

Amy Polman, Kelowna

Ex-cop’s letter simply spouting propaganda

Dear Editor:

Bob Sherman’s opinion (Crocodile tears from U.S. police, Aug. 3) seems to be one formed of the history books developed by the propaganda system of a victorious power, a little less fulsome than Life Magazine’s propaganda magazines that neglect Canada’s contribution the Second World War effort.

History is not objective. History is based partly on perceptions whether First Nations or others. Quoting Donald Trump dilutes Sherman’s credibility considerably.

I denounce the unrepentant celebration of conquest of foreign lands whether at Mount Royal or Plymouth Rock.

Patrick Longworth, Penticton

MP’s report an attempt to score political points

Dear Editor:

Re: Kelowna-Lake Country MP Tracy Gray’s report on Aug. 4

“We must show compassion and support,” says Gray. This, I assume, means as long as it doesn’t involve cold, hard cash without which there is no buying power, without which the economy crumbles.

Gray states: “flood of cash” … “Prime Minster’s money printing … “the inflation rate hits 3.1% in June.

Goodness. Stephen Harper took a $23 million surplus and turned it into a $56-billion deficit.

In 2020, the inflation rate was 0.7%. Now, Gray tells us in spite of a devastating pandemic, the inflation rate is 3.1%.

And yes, there are “travel metrics.” As to easing border measures, long a Conservative plaint, in spite of the threat of COVID-19 and the Delta variant, could it be that Kelowna International Airport is so inundated with smoke that as my cousin found to her sorrow, she could not return to her Kelowna home?

The MP says she offers constituents assistance with federal programs — the very programs she decries.

This “report” is political posturing for Conservative elite friends.

Zoltan Lawrence, Kelowna

Neighbourhood nudist colony beats the heat

Dear Editor:

The bare facts about testing the width of your mind

The problem is how to express one’s concerns about the divisive polarization that currently monopolizes the media.

It appears there is no common ground, or common sense, when it comes to such things as Church atonements, climate change, lifesaving vaccines, or political agendas.

I can’t fathom why some people react so irrationally whenever they feel their sense of what is right and what is wrong appears to be challenged.

Test your own tolerance by reading the following and then ask yourself if you would support the placard-carrying protesters or support the heat-suffering seniors.

Let’s say one of your neighbours came up with a plan to help seniors beat the heat.

Suppose your neighbour proposed organizing a nudist club for seniors who don’t have air-conditioning.

Suppose he promised to build an eight-foot high, knothole-free wooden fence around his backyard and make mask wearing and social distancing mandatory, but would allow blindfolds to be optional.

Once the idea circulated through your neighbourhood, would you join the inevitable mob of placard-carrying protesters or would you support the right of seniors to be cool?

Whichever group you chose should be a self-revealing “look-in-the-mirror,” moment that will indicate the width of your mind.

By the way, if an incident like this ever occurs in your neighbourhood, don’t look over the fence. It won’t be a pretty sight.

Lloyd Atkins, Vernon

Care homes should be able to answer certain questions

As stated in my previous guest opinion (July 20, Kelowna Daily Courier) well over 15,000 Canadian care home residents — plus 30 care workers — have died of COVID 19. 

That’s over 57% of all COVID-19 deaths in Canada! (Total: 26,600 plus)

In recent days, there have been COVID-19 outbreaks in two Kelowna care homes (Cottonwoods and Brookhaven) plus one in Cranbrook; last month an outbreak occurred in Nelson’s Jubilee Manor, which remains active.

As far as I know, every case of COVID-19 found in a B.C. care home strongly suggests the outbreak began with an infected staff member, never a visitor.

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said as much at a December 2020 press briefing: visitors are not causing outbreaks, which are more often caused by staff unknowingly spreading the virus. 

Although B.C. Seniors Advocate Isobel Mackenzie and BC Care Providers Association president Terry Lake have been calling for rapid testing of staff and visitors to long-term care homes since January 2020, it took seven more months of foot-dragging for Henry to finally say at her July 8 press briefing: “Workers who are not fully vaccinated will be required ... to be tested for COVID-19 using rapid tests three times a week.”

The Canadian Medical Association and Canadian Nurses Association have joined the call for mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for health-care workers, but no nurses’ unions in Canada have. Why not?

The New Brunswick Medical Society is also calling for COVID-19 vaccinations to be mandatory for all health-care workers. “The Delta variant is highly contagious and can cause serious illness, especially for the unvaccinated population,” said Dr. Jeff Steeves, president.

What follows are questions that care home executive directors seem reluctant to answer. If you have a family member who resides in a full-care or assisted-living facility, good luck getting answers to these questions.

1. What’s the total number of staff members, including casual workers and temps?

2. How many staff members have refused to be fully vaccinated?

3. If a worker can refuse the vaccine and still remain employed, have any workers also refused to be rapid tested three times a week? If yes, are you still allowing them to work at this facility?

4. How many times has the in-house social worker visited my family member in the last 12 months? About how long is each visit? 

5. How many times has a staff member or approved volunteer had a “friendly visit” with my family member in the last 12 months? About how long is each visit?

6. If my family member ever displayed COVID-like symptoms, according to your protocols, how much time would pass before a nurse would administer a rapid test? A PCR test?

7. How many shifts ran short-staffed, whether absent a nurse or care aide? 

8. What happens to the money saved by not having to pay the absent worker for their shift? 

9. Do residents wanting to play a game (e.g. bingo) but have difficulty seeing the numbers on the card, have a helper to assist them?

10. Dr. Henry’s July 19 medical order states fully immunized visitors are required to wear a mask when moving through and “in common areas of the facility” but are not required to wear a mask while in direct contact with the person. The dining room is located in a common area. Am I allowed to sit beside my family member in the dining room, during a meal or snack, to assist them if they have some difficulty seeing the food, or using a utensil? 

11. About how many meals served each week (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack) contain fresh fruit or vegetables? 

12. How many residents attended July’s resident council meeting? Did my family member attend?

13. Is music that has strong appeal to most seniors, played regularly to residents during meal times? If not, why not?

14. In August, will residents be invited to attend any mini-concerts or presentations?

15. How often are presenters (e.g. singer, guitar player, pianist/organist, dancer, etc.) scheduled to perform?

A lesson to emerge from the COVID pandemic is how older members of our society are treated. Margaret Morganroth Gullette is an American scholar in age studies. She calls the high number of deaths from COVID-19 in long-term care: “eldercide.” 

On the B.C. Care Providers website is an invitation to join a virtual discussion forum that will discuss best practices to managing COVID-19 in long-term care homes. Management, staff, residents and family members of those living in care homes are invited to participate. Each forum will last about two hours.

David Buckna, Kelowna

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