Letters to the Editor for Nov. 26

Letters to the Editor on coal prices, medicinal marijuana and Universal Children's Day.

Letter to the Editor re: Coal prices

We are all now fully aware of the impact of declining metallurgical coal prices to our coal mining industry in the Elk Valley. Teck has announced 1000 staff reductions world wide, hundreds in our own region. These families are worried right now and although I can’t control commodity prices, I can, as MLA and as Mines Minister, try my hardest to help ensure positive outcomes on the issues that I can influence. First,

I am working with Teck and all of B.C.’s mining industry to find ways for companies to lower their costs. Lowering operating costs will help ensure the mines remain open and get through this generational challenge. Second, I am working with the federal government, Teck and the Ktunuxa to finally get the Dominion Coal Blocks into provincial hands so that Teck and the Ktunuxa can manage the development of these coal resources. We were close to an arrangement with the last federal government to transfer some of the DCB lands into the Flathead no-mining zone and but we could not persuade the former federal government to get the high value coal lands into the hands of the Ktunuxa and Teck.

These are the lands close to Coal Mountain that would enhance Teck’s capacity to access high quality metalurgical coal that could, potentially, keep Coal Mountain open long term. I can’t guarantee what Teck will decide to do but it is my job to try to make their decision to keep Coal Mountain open easier. And it would hopefully be an easier decision if coal prices come back up and they have access to the coal in the Dominion Coal blocks. This is my commitment going forward.

I have been honoured to represent you for 15 years. Many of you have honoured me with your vote. I will not forget that. I will try my hardest.

Bill BennettMLA, Kootenay East


Letter to the Editor re: Medicinal marijuana business license

Fernie city council was approached on Nov. 9 about overriding a portion of the business license bylaw so that a medical marijuana dispensary could open in Fernie. I’m sure there are many in our community who know first-hand the powerful medicinal properties of marijuana.

I thank Mayor Giuliano and Council for taking the time to listen to our presentation, so that we might begin to do important work for the residents of the Elk Valley.

City Council was positive and receptive to our proposal, but, rightly, want to study the issue from a legal and zoning standpoint. Every day in the Elk Valley, people suffer from arthritis, neuropathic pain, MS, cancer and traumatic injury and medical marijuana should be an option to help them reduce their pain.

Many complain of a lack of relief from conventional pain treatments. A full 50 per cent of neuropathic pain patients receive no meaningful relief from conventional treatment. Of those, 57 per cent achieve a 30 per cent reduction in their pain with low-dose vaporized cannabis (Wilsey et al., University of California, 2013.) The implication of going from 10/10 pain to 7/10 pain means that these patients can begin to enjoy more of life again.

James GittensFernie, B.C.


Letter to the Editor re: Universal Children’s Day

More than 60 years ago the UN established Nov. 20 as Universal Children’s Day, a day where the rights and needs of children everywhere are acknowledged.

By all measures the world has done an incredible job at improving the lives of the world’s most vulnerable, but of course much remains to be done.

Sadly, Canada cannot take much credit for this, because we have long lagged behind all other major developed nations in our commitment to foreign aid, as a proportion of GDP.

With the election of the Trudeau government many Canadians hope for a significant improvement in Ottawa’s sense of social responsibility, at home and abroad.

But past Liberal governments began Canada’s steep decline in aid, a trend that only worsened under the Conservatives.

Canada’s aid is parsimonious, barely one third of it’s publicly declared goal of .7 per cent of GDP.

Improving Canada’s standing in the world has been one of Mr. Trudeau’s stated goals during the election, and this Universal Children’s Day is a great opportunity for him to show that this was not mere electioneering, and at last increase aid funding for the world’s most vulnerable children.

Nathaniel PooleVictoria, B.C.