Letters to the Editor – Duffygate, Wilks and Wildfires

The following letters to the editor appeared in the Aug. 27, 2015 edition of The Free Press.

Letter to the Editor re: Duffygate scandal

Emails emerging from evidence at former Conservative senator Mike Duffy’s criminal trial in Ottawa sends a chill down the spine. They implicate the prime minister’s office, senior Conservative senators and other high-level Conservative Party operatives in cover-up scenarios that bring Watergate to mind.

Stephen Harper should never have appointed Mike Duffy as a Prince Edward Island senator in the first place, given that Duffy had lived in Ontario for decades and visited P.E.I. only on occasion.

But once again Harper bent the law to suit his political purposes and now he’s got to face the music as his subordinates’ shenanigans become public.

Duffy made 168 Conservative fundraising appearances across the country in 2010 alone, leaving me to wonder when he had time to fulfill his senatorial duties to the Canadian public.

It doesn’t matter a whit whether Harper knew in advance about Nigel Wright’s secret $90,000 payment to Duffy. The central question in my mind is do we want a prime minister who employs, appoints and consorts with people of this caliber?

If we, as citizens, are to clean up this parliamentary web of deceit and lies, and the stain of corruption and sense of entitlement, we need to carefully choose who we send to Ottawa.

If senior Conservatives in the PMO and senate can try to cover up repayment of expense claims by one senator, how can we trust them to tell us the truth about the state of the economy, federal government finances, and the urgent needs around climate change?

It would be very easy to simply walk away in disgust from what our parliament has become, but we need to clean up this mess and elect representatives who can start changing the culture and the way our  government is run. We owe it  to our children and grandchildren.

My vote is going to Bill Green and Green Party leader Elizabeth May. They have the integrity and vision to make Canada a country I can be proud of again.

Andy ShadrackKaslo, BC

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Letter to the Editor re: David Wilks

In his interview with the Free Press editor (FP, August 20) MP David Wilks is quoted as saying, “ There’s been a lot of talk about how Canadians want to take back Canada.” Musing on this, he said he was uncertain about “…what Canada they want back.”

Given the widespread belief that Stephen Harper once said, ”When I’m finished, you won’t recognize this country”, Mr. Wilks must surely have realized that the Canada ‘they’ want back is one they can recognize, the one before Stephen Harper became prime minister.

It might, for example, mean that ‘their’ Canada is one where the Prime Minister and his party would not mislead the House of Commons on 31 occasions, or a Canada free from the taint of 17 Conservative violations of election laws…sorry, make that 18, because only last week Mr. Wilks himself had to take down a dishonest and untrustworthy online political ad which contravened the Elections Act by using a fake NDP logo.

Or a Canada where the prime minister does not wage all-out war against science by defunding crucial High Arctic research centres, barring National Research Council members from discussing their work and threatening to fire scientists working for Environment Canada if they share their findings without political approval.

And perhaps even a return to a Canada where, regardless of political persuasion, Canadians could take pride in a prime minister whose policies and philosophy were rewarded by a Nobel Peace Prize and not by a daily body count from Afghanistan – and had Harper had his way, from Iraq as well.

It is hardly surprising that Mr. Wilks is unable to understand the political implications of “I don’t know what Canada they want back.”

He doesn’t want to know.

JC VallanceFernie, BC

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Letter to the Editor re: Fires

Though the forecast was for rain, from where I’m sitting all that’s coming down is ash.  With over 1,479 fires in B.C in this fiscal year, I could be anywhere in the Province.   Children and our elders with asthma or lung conditions are struggling to breath.

Through the haze it can be hard to see solutions to the mess of climate change.

A decade ago it was inconceivable that there could be gay marriages or reconciliatory efforts with First Nations People….. And yet, it happened because people who wanted change led, from the grassroots. Whatever you may think of these issues, their trajectory show how quickly change can happen.

The same can and must happen with climate change.  Innovative solutions are available now like: a fee and dividend system on carbon emitters, to corporate giants committing $140 billion to address climate change, to capturing energy waste from the constant and predicable flow of municipal water systems, to decreasing our own consumption.

There is a way out of this, and our will is the driver of that change.

Dona Grace-CampbellKaslo, BC