Letters to the Editor – May 25

Proportional representation, the main stream media and Interior Health

Loyalty will be tested

On May 31 our MPs will be voting on whether or not to adopt the ERRE/all-party committee’s report that overwhelmingly recommended Proportional Representation.

The Liberals campaigned and won the election on the commitment to ensure that 2015 would be the last time a federal election was conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system, a clear and unequivocal commitment to change the way we elect our MPs.

Some time later Prime Minister Trudeau arbitrarily abandoned his commitment, insisting “a clear preference for a new electoral system, let alone a consensus, has not emerged,”

That was nothing less than a blatant lie, and when Liberals vote on this issue May 31, their loyalty to the voters will be tested.

Will they deliver on their commitment to the people who elected them in good faith to change the way we elect our MPs – or – will they allow Trudeau to control their vote.

The consensus among MPs from ALL federal parties is that our parliament no longer functions:

Our MPs are being controlled and manipulated like a bunch of useless pawns, and Question Period has become a perpetual disaster.

It has been reduced to an uncivilised, disrespectful barking dog contest.

Party discipline has crushed meaningful debate on all major issues, and destroyed the opportunity to function as a productive, consensus driven legislature.

A Proportional ballot will end Party Discipline.

There will be no more ‘fake’ majority governments representing only one-third of the people, and our MPs will finally be liberated to represent the people.

Andy Thomsen

Peachland, B.C.

The media, Christy and Tom

During the recent election campaign, the main stream media maintained its journalistic ‘objectivity’, Christy Clark misspoke herself and Tom Shypitka won Kootenay East.

Main stream journalists, having been provided with a target-rich, free-fire zone of scandals and incompetence by successive BC Liberal governments, chose to deal in irrelevancies and non-issues. For the 2017 election they persevered in their ‘political objectivity’, treating Premier Clark with a touching delicacy. Notable exceptions were the churlish – yet surprisingly clear-sighted – staff of The Tyee and Michael Smyth of the Vancouver Province.

Yet, in 2000, avoiding journalistic integrity as though it were the bubonic plague, B.C. journalists exhibited all the impartiality of a hammerhead shark, lashing themselves into a feeding frenzy over the perceived sins of the NDP Nineties, devouring every anti-NDP lie and distortion that the BC Liberals fed them.

Then Christy, having misspoken herself on a regular basis during the most recent campaign, did so again on election night, claiming that she had won the popular vote. Alas, no. The Liberals scored 40.84 per cent, their lowest share of the vote since 1991, the BC NDP 39.86 per cent and the Green Party 16.75 per cent. Christy’s Liberals were therefore unpopular with 57.59 per cent of voting British Columbians. Recounts have not materially altered this perspective.

And in Kootenay East, Tom Shypitka, having been successfully shepherded throughout the campaign by former MLA Bennett, waxed most indignant at the publication of documents which revealed several questionable financial transactions: “…failure to pay $147,000 in property tax, utility bills and GST…default on two mortgages totalling $411,000… (court documents, quoted in The Free Press, May 4)

But perhaps Mr. Shypitka’s irregular financial procedures have been misinterpreted.

Perhaps, by withholding payment of GST, property taxes, utility bills and mortgages, he is conducting a one-man, Tea Party-style revolt against the Taxation and Banking Establishments in accordance with his deeply-held political convictions.

Perhaps, with Clark losing ministers Fassbender, Anton, Virk and Yamamoto, a cabinet post beckons.

Perhaps Finance Minister. It seems a good fit.

JC Vallance,

Fernie B.C.

Providing quality health care

Thank you very much for bringing attention to the struggles we are having with respect to finding a new surgeon for the Elk Valley Hospital in Fernie, B.C. I am writing to express my surprise that someone from the Interior Health authority told you we have five weeks of mandated closure in order to give the doctors time off.

In fact, the five weeks of operating room closures are to allow nurses to get their allocated holidays and save the Interior Health Authority money. It has nothing to do with providing doctors with a holiday. Of course the nurses deserve holiday time! Especially when our hospital is underfunded for the number of nurses it takes to be on call. How are five nurses (not all of whom work full time) supposed to cover 365 days a year on call for emergency surgery when two nurses have to be in the operating room at the same time for a surgical case? We have dedicated staff, but expecting someone to be available at the drop of a hat every second day for years on end is unfair and unsustainable. If the residents of the Elk Valley don’t speak up to our provincial government, we will be left behind like so many other rural towns. Yes, it is expensive to provide quality health care. But small towns deserve safe quality care too.

Tara Chalmers-Nixon

MD, FRCPC

Fernie, B.C.

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