Letters to the Editor: Missing/murdered women, Refugees, Fernie Museum, Climate change

Letters from readers from the Sept. 24, 2015 edition of The Free Press.

Letter to the Editor re: Missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls

According to RCMP statistics, 1017 aboriginal women and girls have been murdered or are reported missing in Canada from 1980 until 2012, and that number continues to rise. Despite urges from Canadians, the United Nations Human Rights Committee and Amnesty International for a public inquiry, Prime Minister Stephen Harper refuses to take action. In an interview with the CBC’s Peter Mansbridge in 2014, he stated that it wasn’t “high on his radar”. A year later, however, he denied making that statement to Chatelaine Magazine, although it is on record.

Then comes the “terrorist attacks” on Canadian soil. In the span of two days, two people lost their lives in what has questionably been called “terrorist attacks”. Had the victims of these killings been visible minorities, their deaths probably would have gone unnoticed, at least by our PM. Unfortunately for the Canadian public, both victims were white males in the Canadian military, and the second event happened on Parliament Hill.  Now our Prime Minister is all action. After all, what if he was the target? Enter Bill C51, which forces Canadians to forfeit many of the rights and freedoms that define us as a nation, because we are “under attack”.

Ignoring the wholesale slaughter of our First Nations women and girls reeks of bigotry. Using the deaths of two of our nations defenders to advance your agendas of promoting war and stifling dissention is cowardly and self-serving. It’s time for Harper to go. The only leader with the foresight and courage to kill Bill C51 and lead this nation back into prosperity is Thomas Mulcair. I want my Canada back. I’m voting NDP.

Terry HumeSparwood


Letter to the Editor re: Refugees, Lynton Crosby

In politics, as in any other area of human endeavour, actions speak louder than words – and intentions speak louder than both.

Stephen Harper has shown a marginal change of face about Middle Eastern refugees, but to help him justify and sell his original cold and soulless intentions to the Canadian electorate, he has employed Lynton Crosby.

Crosby is a treacherous political fixer out of  South Australia. His salary is unannounced, but he was paid over $1,000,000 by the Cameron Conservatives for his  work on the British election earlier this year.

A master of divisive ‘wedge’ politics, he holds parliamentary democracy in contempt and exploits the darker, hidden aspects of the human condition.

At Crosby’s instigation, Stephen Harper has willingly exploited fears, biases, negativity and ignorance about the men, women and children fleeing for their lives from the Middle East, to safe haven in Europe.

He has ridden roughshod over the decent and tolerant assumptions, which, until he became prime minister, underlay Canadian politics. He has pushed decency and humanity to the margins and has twisted the human tragedy of the Middle Eastern refugees into a socio-political wedge issue, but at a cost : the trashing of Canadian values and of Canada’s reputation among the nations of the world.

Whether or not Stephen Harper is the worst prime minister Canada has had in the last 50 years is a matter of opinion.

If, however, he continues to allow his divisive campaign to run on the fuel of ethnic and religious bias and anti-refugee bigotry because he is told to do so by some squalid  political hitman like Lynton Crosby, he will find himself on the wrong side of history and will be judged as having neither shame or conscience.

JC VallanceFernie


Letter to the Editor re: Fernie Museum

Congratulations to the Fernie Museum . They held an awesome event on Satturday. Interesting information on our local history that was well presented and fun. Way to go staff and volunteers, keep up the good work.

Cindy PaceFernie


Letter to the Editor re: Women and climate change

Women: The Hidden Victims of Climate Change

Though climate change affects all of us, its burden falls most severely upon the backs of women.  The UN’s Fact Sheet, Women, Gender Equality and Climate Change. states, “women constitute the majority of the world’s poor who are dependent on natural resources that are threatened by climate change.”

The report found “Women face social, economic and political barriers that limit their coping capacity.

Together with unequal access to resources and to decision-making processes, women are disproportionately affected by climate change”.

In addition, ACTIONAID, a human rights NGO, found that environmental degradation puts pressure on girls to do more work at an earlier age.  As environmental conditions deteriorate, girls do the hardest work; have the least say and suffer the lowest educational opportunities.

Priority must be given to safeguarding the lives of women and girls most adversely affected by climate change.


Carole SummerKaslo