Letters to the Editor for June 9

This week's Letters to the Editor discuss trade partnerships, retirement and local school districts.

Letter to the Editor re: Trade partnerships

You recently ran two provocative letters from my socialist friend in Fernie, Mr. Vallance, both of which criticized the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement Canada is considering signing. Mr. Vallance has a peculiarly myopic view of trade and of business. Those like Mr. Vallance who still believe Canada and B.C. can go it alone in the world without trade agreements are no friends of working people.

Here are just a few examples of how the TPP will open up markets for B.C. workers and businesses. The TPP will eliminate tariffs ranging from 7.5 per cent (Japan) to 30 per cent (Malaysia) on aluminum products, assisting an industry that provides many jobs for British Columbians – including 1,000 workers at Alcan’s Kitimat smelter. Tariffs of up to 30 per cent (Vietnam) on petroleum products, whose production employs many of B.C.’s 50,000 natural resource workers, will also be eliminated. Tariffs on beef products ranging from 31 per cent (Vietnam) to 50 per cent (Japan) will be removed as well, directly benefiting East Kootenay ranchers – many of whom are running family-owned small businesses.

Trade agreements have led to the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs and hundreds of millions in government tax revenues that pay for everything from healthcare and education to highways and pensions. Mr. Vallance has the usual NDP perspective: punish business (job creators) and if ordinary workers get hurt in the bargain, just turn a blind eye to that. I do not agree with him or the NDP.

Bill BennettMLA – Kootenay East


Letter to the Editor: Retirement letter

I started working at 7-11 on June 10, 1991 so I decided to retire on June 10, 2016. After working 25 years (minus one year when I took a college course in Cranbrook in 1998) this will be a memorable date!

I always looked forward to working everyday, and seeing all of my customers. Thank you for making my job enjoyable. I am going to miss you all as well as my fellow workers.

Last but not least, I would like to thank my daughters and their families for their support over the years.

I will be starting a new chapter in my book of life!

Yvonne MajorFernie, B.C.


Letter to the Editor re: Kootenay Lake School District

Statistics from website KTO12.ca  In  2014, Kootenay Lake school district had 18 less students than South East Kootenay, but Kootenay Lake spent $13,375,668 more in accounts payable for the year than South East Kootenay did.

This raises a red flag that there is Kootenay Lake district employee theft and a waste of taxpayer dollars.

Joe SawchukDuncan, B.C.


Letter to the Editor: MP update

“We’re going to have to buy some tissue for constituents coming into the office.”

One week into opening our office in Cranbrook and my assistant was already experiencing how emotional some of the issues are that we deal with. I now have offices and staff across three time zones, and every day they work with me to provide service for our 107,589 (2011 census) constituents, many of who are dealing with difficult personal situations.

Kootenay-Columbia (K-C) is one of the largest ridings in Canada at 64,336 km sq with a driving time of just under six hours from corner to corner, quite a contrast to some urban ridings which you can drive across in 20 minutes! K-C incorporates three provincial ridings, Nelson-Creston (MLA Michelle Mungall), Columbia River-Revelstoke (MLA Norm Macdonald) and Kootenay East (MLA Bill Bennett). In a riding this size being “home” often means I am on the road.

While I am in Ottawa six months of the year, my four great staff in Cranbrook and Nelson are busy answering thousands of emails, hundreds of phone calls and meeting one-on-one with constituents. The most common topics raised relate to accessing and understanding federal government services like Employment Insurance, Immigration (including Syrian Refugees), Child Tax Credits, Canada Pension Plan and access to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program. We do our best to help people individually while also working to improve how the federal government operates long term.

My staff help me to hear what issues are most important to you, so that I can give you a voice in Ottawa. So far I have heard most about the need to fight climate change, the desire for proportional representation voting, eliminating tax loopholes for the rich, stopping the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, the desire to have Canada-wide child care and pharmacare plans, better pensions for seniors, the need to have both a healthy economy and a healthy environment, reducing student debt, and concern over Canada’s growing budget deficits.

What do my staff in Ottawa and the riding like best about their jobs? “Working with constituents. Advocating for good public policy. Learning more about, and strengthening, our communities. Making a real difference for people on issues that matter to them. Helping people where I grew up. Building understanding about political and democratic processes and educating people on how to better participate in these processes. Advocating for National Parks. Working each day to help build a better Canada.” I am so fortunate to have great staff who truly care about helping people!!

Parliament takes a break from the end of June to mid-September so I look forward to connecting with many more of you in Kootenay-Columbia in the coming months. To find out when I’ll be in your neighbourhood please go Waynestetski.ndp.ca or email us at wayne.stetski@parl.gc.ca . Have a great summer.

Wayne StetskiMP. Kootenay-Columbia