February 23 – Letters to the editor

Ideas and opinions from around the area, emailed to us and shared with you.

Unspoken sacrifices

The article “The unspoken sacrifices of our local first responders” written by Phil McLachlan , regarding PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) a very real and debilitating disorder, hopefully shed some light on the subject for those out there that do not realize that such a thing exists.

There has been many policies and programs implemented to raise awareness towards PTSD, more so now than ever.  It was refreshing to see the article was full of statements from our RCMP brothers and their personal experiences, as they too are on the frontline like many other First Responder groups.

Firefighters, Police, Paramedics, and Search and Rescue (SAR) are all essential first responder roles here in Canada.  I know many members from each of these sectors, some volunteer, and some career. I myself, am a first responder here in the Elk Valley with both Elkford Fire Station 1300 and BCAS Paramedics Station 405.  The first responder “brotherhood” has a tough job.  We see a side of the communities we live in, that many would rather turn a blind eye to, or pretend doesn’t exist. We deal with the “ugly” to serve the citizens of our local communities. Some calls stick with you harder than others, and sometimes this can affect your home life and loved ones as well. In turn, this is why I am writing.

We cannot overlook the sacrifices our spouses and  families make to allow us to respond within our communities.  Without an understanding wife, it would not be possible for me to be as involved as I am with Emergency Services. When the pager goes off at 3 a.m., I jump out of bed, fumble with my clothes and try to collect myself for the call.  My wife gets up, starts the truck and backs it out of the garage while I try to get ready.  Talk about support…. our spouses are the ones that worry about us from the time the “tones drop” to the moment we step foot back at the front door.  My children are always worried about me when I am gone, and curious as to what happened when I return….  In their eyes they would not understand some of the things we as First Responders deal with, so I tell them “someone was hurt and needed our help,” or something of that nature. Fighting fatigue and a million thoughts racing through my mind, after a tough call, my family gives me the support I need to continue doing what I’m doing. Indirectly, they too deal with the aftermath of a “bad call” as they have to deal with what comes home with me.

It is difficult to juggle a full time job at the mine, two children with lots of extra curricular activities, a spouse that works, and to still be able to serve your community to some magnitude. Many First Responder families face these and other tough challenges.  Without ongoing support from our spouses and loved ones none of it would be possible.  So when you are thanking a First Responder for being there during your darkest hour, be sure to say a prayer for their spouses and children that allowed them to be there for you and yours.


Jason Kaiser

LT 1309


Mayor and City Council

Thank you for your prompt response on the parking problem. What the hell are we paying our bylaw officer good money for doing. “In my estimation” absolutely nothing.

By and large, with this years snow, removal has been excellent. Think how much better it could be if some people parked off the pavement. I can’t believe how ignorant people are. I can, however, believe how ignorant and oblivious our city council is.

I’ve complained about parking on the corner of 10th Ave. and 9th St. Drive by and have a look and see if I’m lying. The stop sign is approximately 20 feet away from the road. You have allowed people to build on half lots without stipulating off road parking. Or are there laws that are just not being enforced. Now I hear rumours that people want to open Bed and Breakfast places. That should alleviate parking problems.

Your attitude seems to be – ignore the problem and it will go away. There are illegal suites in town that you are unaware of or turning a blind eye to. This is not only my problem, I’ve talked to a lot of people about parking and they voice the same opinion, so once again, please tell us the duties of our bylaw officer and why is he on “our” payroll.

Aside from council and “some” city employees most of us have to work for our pay.


Phil Soukoroff

Fernie, BC


Alternate facts

I normally don’t respond to Mr. Vallance’s public expressions of class warfare dogma since his point of view has been so totally discredited (yes JC, unionized mine workers actually vote for me because they know I will work to keep their jobs viable while the NDP is tied up in knots trying to please downtown Vancouver socialist environmentalists who oppose mining, forestry, oil & gas & pipelines).

However, since Mr. Vallance accused me of something, I am compelled to set the record straight. At no time in my 16 years of representing the people of the Elk Valley have I ever “sneered at resident hunters.” I have advocated for resident hunters and outdoors people my whole career and if Mr. Vallance wants to debate that with me publicly, please let me know when and where.

What I have done is get passed in the BC Legislature the only Private Member’s Bill in 20 years, The Heritage Right to Hunt and Fish, which resulted in the BC Wildlife Federation giving me a Life Membership. Mr. Vallance’s partisan attempt to smear me to this group of voters is a transparent attempt to discredit me and my successor Tom Shypitka.

Mr. Vallance is probably worried that his candidate for the NDP will not play well to outdoors people or mine workers because he is so absolutely not one of them. Although he is a well-intentioned gentleman, the NDP candidate is not a hunter, a snowmobiler, a quadder nor has he ever worked with his hands.

Mr. Vallance is well aware that inconvenient truth will make the case for the NDP very difficult in the spring election. How can someone represent a community of people when his experience is so foreign to that group of people. I’m sure Mr. Vallance is not done trying to trash me and my political party but perhaps he will consider not using alternate facts to make his case.


Bill Bennett

MLA, Kootenay East


Meet your replacement

Changes have been made in Europe, the U.S. and coming to Canada.

$15/hr.  for  8 hrs.  equals $120/day for 5 days/week which equals $600/week for 52 weeks which equals $31,200/year.

Of course when this happens, like it did in Los Angeles, the poor and unskilled workers will go on welfare and cost the working population more money to support them.

McDonalds recently came out with their answer to those that want $15/hour pay.

They hired 7000 touch screen cashiers which can produce one burger every 10 seconds.

It is a win/win situation.  McDonalds’ profits go up and the customers stay happy because menu prices stay the same, whereas paying the $15/hour decreases McDonalds’ profits and the customers  are now unhappy because the menu prices went up.

A sign of the times. Self serve banking, self serve check outs at big box stores, and now self serve ordering your meals at McDonalds.

Something to think about, as the rule of thumb is that an increase in the minimum wage creates unemployment. Just ask a small business owner, as they have to increase their prices on to the consumer to cover the increase.


Joe Sawchuk,

Duncan, BC


Election budget sets the stage

In his recent column, Tom Fletcher was right to say that education will play a key role in the February 21 budget. He’s also right that B.C. teachers are raising the bar for government.

With our Supreme Court of Canada win at our backs, B.C. teachers are telling government that it’s time to respect our rights and fund the full restoration of what they illegally stripped away. When our working conditions improve, so do our students’ learning conditions.

So, after 15 years of unconstitutional legislation and underfunding, this is the budget that needs to finally deliver the necessary funding to improve working and learning conditions in our schools.

That means smaller classes, more support for children with special needs, and increased time with specialist teachers for all students.

Mr. Fletcher is also right that we are calling for the defunding of private schools. Last year, independent schools received $358 million in public funds. It’s time to phase out that practice, starting with the elite private schools that charge tens of thousands of dollars in tuition. They don’t need subsidies from taxpayers.

In addition, families who have children with special needs should not have to be coming up with thousands of dollars to cover the cost of programs and services that have been cut from the public system. Those students should be able to get the education they need at their neighbourhood public school.


Glen Hansman

BCTF President


Fake News

Quite the “fake news” story Christy Clark tried to peddle when she wrongly accused John Horgan and the NDP of hacking their Liberal web site.

It’s typical of Clark and the BC Liberals to try dodging a bad news story i.e. the Child Welfare Watchdog report on the death of Alex Gervais (a child in care) but, surely B.C. voters will view this blatant “fake news” tactic as going much too far!

Without even a shred of evidence to implicate the NDP, Clark decided to smear the NDP with the hacking allegation. Then as it turns out, it was their own Liberal staff who had failed to protect, what should have been, the private information on their web site.

During the 2013 provincial election campaign Clark fabricated the notion that LNG would create huge prosperity, if only the Liberals were re-elected. That too turned out to be “fake news”.

Hopefully in the upcoming provincial election, B.C. voters will be more attuned to the blatant lack of credibility of Christy Clark and the BC Liberal Party.


Gary Werk