February 9 – Letters to the editor

Opinions and ideas from around the area, emailed to us and shared with you.

Addressing Mr. Rob Gay, Area C Director for the RDEK

I am writing this letter on behalf of the members of Waldo Stockbreeders Association.  It is in regards to the current Official Community Plan (OCP) process underway for the Jaffray area.

Originally we approached the RDEK in response to what we felt was a lack of representation from the property owners in the currently unzoned area.  This led to several meetings, as you may recall, though there was no further representation provided on the steering committee, we did have the opportunity to meet with members of the steering committee, and RDEK, to try to voice some of our concerns.

We acknowledge that the OCP process does not “require” meetings with affected groups.  However, we do feel the need to point out, that we live in a democratic society. Our concern is that of the, “olive branch” gestures, without willingness to follow through demonstrates the desire to push through a process regardless of the objection by the people affected.

Such an “olive branch” is well represented in your acceptance of our request to form a separate survey for the unzoned citizens.  On the surface more cannot be asked. We were able to form a committee to meet with the  steering committee and RDEK representatives in an attempt to create a survey that could be useful and informative to all parties.  RDEK representatives brought a “draft” survey to the meeting, as a starting point. However, when asked to include a few, key points that have been consistently brought up by individuals that we felt were important to the survey, RDEK representatives refused any such requests, only conceding to a “preamble” that, when presented to us, seemed reasonable. (We originally requested three questions: 1. “Do you know what an OCP is?” 2. “Do you understand how an OCP may affect you, or your property?” and 3. “Do you wish to be part of an OCP?”)   However, the existing survey, does not address these concerns or suggestions.  The preamble, is the only change in the survey from the draft, and is far too vague to address the questions we originally asked for.

Many people have expressed confusion about exactly how OCP’s affect rural individuals, and apprehension because of the lack of clarity or certainty. Specifics pertaining to building codes on outlying buildings, etc. show an added expense and more red tape for land owners, not something that ranchers and others who own land covered by Agricultural Land Reserve regulations want to hear or experience.

I have been asked to present a concern about lack of representation in this process.  Those property owners of larger tracts of land felt they were excluded from the process and are grateful that some effort has been made to include them.  However, the original intent of our presentations last spring were to attempt to obtain a voice for all individuals in the unzoned area.  Once again this was neglected by only sending the survey to those owning parcels of land 20 acres and over.  This excludes a lot of property owners in the area.  Also, information was provided that about 95 surveys were sent out.  This is concerning, because without the smaller lot size property owners being included, 95 or so surveys cannot be representative of the number of 20-plus-acre size land owners in the area.  That said, 20 returned surveys of 95 or so is 20 per cent whereas 20 returned surveys of 45-50 is closer to 50 per cent, so statistically saying, one is much more damaging than the other.

Finally, it has come to our attention that the process, final draft of the OCP is already prepared, even without a final session from the steering committee.  Again, this is indicative of a process that has a push to see it to fruition, with certain objectives in mind, regardless of what the affected people may need or desire.  This is the exact concern that we presented almost a year ago, it seems not much has changed.

Morgan Dilts, 2016 President of

Waldo Stockbreeders Association,

Jaffray, B.C.

 

A step towards protectionism?

Why is it that international aid, much like music in the schools, is one of the first things to go when the budget gets tight? Conservative leadership candidate Maxime Bernier has said the following with regard to foreign aid: “Canada has to show solidarity and do its part, however, every year we spend millions of dollars funding job training, technology and infrastructure programs to help develop other countries’ economies. We will phase out these development aids for which there is no moral or economic efficiency argument.” That statement has a familiar ring to it, almost like “from now on it will be Canada first, only Canada first” Hmm, not sure that I like that.

Connie Lebeau,

Victoria, B.C.

 

Tainting B.C.’s name

It is rarely that The Free Press provides a politically target-rich environment, but the January 26 edition certainly did, with Abbott’s letter (‘NDP Equity Dogma Revisited’) and Bennett’s retrospective (‘Bennett Reflects’.)

By ‘revisiting’ NDP electoral policies, former Conservative MP Abbott seems to have developed a fixation with the sexual identity of Columbia River-Revelstoke’s (CR-R) NDP candidate.

Abbott is evidently unaware that the B.C. NDP affirmative selection process by which the CR-R, NDP candidate was chosen, is shared in principle by those who value democratic minority rights, from the Australian Labour Party to the Icelandic parliament and by a great many in between..

This would be the same Abbott who was one of  Harper’s more practiced sycophants and who, in his first mail-out newsletter from Parliament Hill in 1997,  told us that we should ask for less. He admonished us for wanting a decent standard of living, while he simultaneously supported tax cuts for those who already had more than enough.

And this is the same Abbott who, in April 2005, made it quite clear that he would not be averse to the privatization of Canada’s healthcare system.

MLA Bennett’s piece, on the other hand, revealed itself as thinly-veiled propaganda for the BC Liberals. in the upcoming provincial election.

But, in retrospect, why did Bennett not mention that his 16-year voting record supported every regressive and unconstitutional piece of legislation passed by the B.C. Liberals: every lie and every act of political malfeasance, corruption and incompetence?

And why was there no mention of his January 2015 e-mail in which he sneered at resident East Kootenay hunters, telling them that their concerns over B.C.’s hunting allocation policy didn’t “…mean sh**…”  to him?

And why no mention of a venal and avaricious premier whose encouragement and receipt of corporate donations undermine our democratic infrastructure and whose pay-for-play has tainted B.C.’s name right across Canada?

Just asking.

JC Vallance,

Fernie, B.C.

 

Minister Gould, let me try to make this subject easier to understand.

People are not fixated on the method that is used to account and assign votes.

What they are fixated on is that we need a paradigm shift in the way you conduct our politics. They think that you as a group conduct our business in an asinine and unproductive way, and that does not rise even anywhere near mediocrity. It is old, corrupt and misguided in this current world.

It was clear from that peculiar quiz your predecessor conducted that the public wants more constructiveness, less consumptive partisanisms, genuine representation of constituents in parliament, and a much more cooperative and innovative system. And they are well aware that will not be forthcoming under this system. It is the basic driving forces of the existing system they want radically changed, to a system that will make change possible. And this is the electoral reform they look for.

Your leader decided to run game on the subject because he wanted to back out of his promise, stiffed you with a phony excuse saying there had been an amazing public transformation on the subject since his promise. Bull feathers. Nobody believes this and you will forever be associated with this lie.

So, we are stuck with a system that presides over a voter decline from apathy (in the 5th decile), that is universally disliked and disrespected, and that is unable to solve the most tractable problems of this country.

It is shamefully old, decrepit, and an embarrassment to the country. Quick, name another developed country that still has the same old voting stations as the only way to vote, unchanged in the last 100 years! Uh, I didn’t think so. That should tell you something.

Why you as a group don’t have more pride in your institution is beyond me. You rank next to the bottom of professions in public esteem and trust, but you are insular, shameless and indeed inert, when it comes to this subject. This system demands this of you, and making comprehensive change is just too much for you to contemplate. You are stuck in your rut and can’t come up with the vision, initiative and collective wisdom to get you out.

Your leader has just shown he has succumbed to its evils; he has already stared into its Nietzcheian abyss, and has fallen into Acton’s warning of the corruptions of power. Now we get stiffed – with a government that is no bigger, or as small as, than what exists between Justin Trudeau’s ears, for the system has been corrupted so as to make all real power to be held by one person. In that process your system has methodically crushed democracy to a very low level.

Lastly, I personally can’t get over the feeling of being ruled. You see yourself as the landlords of the country and we are the tenants. It must have been what the Brits felt 200 years ago. And I can’t help feeling that I am probably wasting my time writing this letter.

Roy Roope

Summerland, B.C.

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