March 16 – Letters to the editor

Opinions and ideas from around the area, emailed to us and shared with you.

NDP candidate posesses cultural disconnect with locals

While I understand that NDP apologist Mr. Vallance is duty-bound to minimize his NDP candidate’s cultural disconnect with local people, local people are quite capable of deciding who has bona fides with B.C. hunters, me or the NDP. I have received a Life Membership from the B.C. Wildlife Federation and awards and recognition from conservation groups from across the country – all because of my 16-year advocacy of rural hunting values. This includes passing the only private members bill in 20 years at the time, the Heritage Right To Hunt and Fish.

I eagerly await the list of such awards and recognitions that the West Kootenay NDP MLA’s have received from non-governmental groups. They have been MLA’s for 12 years. What have they done for wildlife or hunters? Why are they suddenly interested at election time?


Bill Bennett



In response to Mr. Bennett

I am writing in response to our MLA’s letter in The Free Press regarding my personal history.

While I am grateful to be referred to as “a well-intentioned gentleman,” Mr. Bennett’s letter provides an opportunity for me to correct his erroneous description and more fully and clearly introduce myself to both him and the voting public of Kootenay East. As Minister Bennett has only known me since he retired from law to pursue politics it is understandable that he knows little of my life and experience.

My family has harvested food from the land and sea in British Columbia for generations and wild meat was always a staple in our household. Hunting and fishing is a core part of our culture here in British Columbia and is particularly so in the East Kootenay, as it was for me growing up on Vancouver Island. I have the greatest respect for those in our community who carry on this tradition.

British Columbia was built on mining, forestry and fishing. I have worked both in the forests of Vancouver Island  and in the fishing industry on the coast. My relatives and family put food on the table working in logging and fishing in this province. I also spent time working in the construction industry while going to university in Victoria. These experiences taught me the value of hard work and the sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that it provides.

Later, in my professional life, I worked as a museum curator. This experience immersed me in the rich industrial and cultural history of our province. What I really came to understand is the value of the people through their stories of determination and resilience. The importance of wildlife, fisheries, forestry and mining is central to our lives, the economy and the communities in which we live.

My work and life has allowed me to live in both the largest city in B.C. and in one of the smallest, it has given me a perspective on how fortunate we are and how much we have yet to accomplish. I can say with confidence that here in the East Kootenay, we have some of the greatest potential in the province, if not the country.

I have also come to understand and believe a government’s responsibility is to support and steward that legacy of resource development for today and the future of all British Columbians. Stewardship that appropriately considers both the continued livelihood of workers and their families and that carefully manages environmental risk.

Stewardship is the responsibility of all British Columbians and extends in turn to the defence of wildlife in our region. An NDP government will do what it takes to effectively steward our wild lands, maintain healthy populations and robust harvesting opportunities, while ensuring our resource industries remain the definitive backbone of our regional economy.

It is important for an MLA to represent everyone in this constituency. We need an NDP government, a government that will work for regular people, protect our jobs, protect our health and safety, and that will steward our environment and the land that sustains us.

As MLA for Kootenay East I will do what I have done as a leader throughout my political career: listen to all points of view, do the work necessary to make informed decisions, and work toward solutions that will benefit all the people in our communities. I’m your NDP candidate in Kootenay East and I look forward to meeting you.


Randal Macnair

NDP Candidate, Kootenay East


Emergency medical service in Fernie

I am a winter resident from Edmonton, and would like to share a recent experience I had with emergency medical care in Fernie.  I had a circulation blockage in my right leg that had been treated in Edmonton.  On Friday February 24, I developed discoloration of my toes, and my wife, Elizabeth, took me into the Emergency department at the Fernie hospital, where I was immediately assessed and put on intravenous Heparin.  The Fernie doctors, after a telephone consultation with the on-call vascular surgeon at the Peter Lougheed hospital in Calgary, decided that the artery had probably collapsed again, and that I should be transferred to the Vascular Surgery unit at the Peter Lougheed by ambulance.  Because of the IV Heparin, I was accompanied by a trained nurse with emergency equipment.  I arrived in Calgary at 3 a.m. Saturday, and was seen by a vascular surgeon at 4 a.m. The surgeon was armed with all my medical information from both Fernie and Edmonton.  I had a CT angiogram at 5:30 a.m. Saturday that confirmed the tentative diagnosis.  By noon Saturday I was established in the vascular surgery unit with a confirmed diagnosis, a surgical plan, and a date – Thursday March 2 – for surgery.  I had a femoral-femoral bypass in which my right leg is fed from the major artery in my left leg, and I’m back in Fernie on the road to a complete recovery.

It is hard to see how I could have received any better care – or even equivalent care – if I had been in a major centre such as Edmonton or Calgary. I am grateful for the emergency services at the Fernie hospital!


John Clark

Fernie, BC and Edmonton, Alta.