March 30 – Letters to the editor

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

NDP proposed action on U.S. softwood a serious mistake

B.C. is the largest Canadian exporter of softwood lumber to the U.S. It provides about 145,000 direct and indirect jobs – B.C. Lumber Trade Council.

The U.S. Lumber Coalition is alleging Canadian lumber is being sold  below market prices in the United States. It has been reported that in the latest round of the long-running softwood lumber dispute, the U.S. coalition asked the government to protect American mills by imposing new duties on Canadian lumber.

This never-ending quarrel is based on an unfounded, fabricated claim that B.C. and Canadian governments subsidize Canadian companies. For decades the U.S. has falsely challenged and for decades Canada has successfully rebuffed the challenges in international courts.

The foundation for success in protecting Canadians is that there are no subsidies.

It is therefore surprising that Kootenay Columbia NDP MP Wayne Stetski and the 13 other New Democrat B.C. MPs are now calling for federal loan guarantees for softwood lumber producers.

“Will the federal government subsidize B.C. mills in the form of low cost loans or no cost loans so they can keep operating until they find new markets if they’re no longer competitive going into the states?” Stetski asked.

Doesn’t he realize his ill-founded request supplies ammunition to our U.S. adversaries? Stetski’s advice that the government should subsidize Canadian operations will be used against Canadian interests, even if the NDP is ignorant of the facts,

I suggest the Kootenay Columbia MP might want to seek information about this issue before commenting again. There are 145,000 jobs at stake.

Jim Abbott

Wasa, B.C.


Should the government subsidize forestry jobs?

In regards to Kootenay-Columbia MP Wayne Stetski calling on the Liberal government to subsidize local mills in the event of an unfavourable softwood lumber agreement with the United States. It is not in the best interest of rural B.C. communities for the government to spend money bailing out forestry companies. This money can provide more benefit to rural B.C. communities if it were to be used in a way that diversifies their economy.

The forestry industry has been providing fewer and fewer jobs due to the increase of labour-shedding technologies. Further to this, profits are increasingly being removed from the region as large corporations use their economies of scale to outcompete or buy out the small, local mills.

If the government were to invest this money in rural communities in different ways (promoting entrepreneurship, manufacturing, increased tourism) this is likely to provide increased growth in the region, while also increasing its economic resilience and likely the skills of residents. Right now most rural communities have all their eggs in one basket and with the rise of populism in the U.S., there is no guarantee that tariffs won’t increase on lumber year after year. In which case we could be in the exact same situation next year with forestry requesting another bailout.

Subsidizing B.C.’s forestry industry is just a temporary bandaid as communities will continue to rely so heavily on industry that any political or environmental shock to the industry would be devastating.

Calvin Robinson

Fernie, B.C.


No ‘snowflakes’ in this valley

Whenever challenged or criticised, Kootenay East MLA Bennett reacts by distancing himself from rational discussion and common sense.

And, on occasion, from reality.

In last week’s Free Press, for instance, he claimed that BC NDP education policy would create ‘snowflakes’ and ‘social justice warriors.’

After teaching for many years in the Elk Valley, 10 of them under an NDP government, I can assure Mr. Bennett that there are no ‘snowflakes’ among Elk Valley students. Nor will there be, regardless of who is in power in Victoria.

By describing them in this way, however, he insults the students, their intelligence, their parents and their teachers. He also shows a profound ignorance of current BC NDP education policy which apparently, in the political Twilight Zone he inhabits, also produces ‘social justice warriors’.

Unfortunately for his argument, there have always been one or two of these ‘warriors’ in every grade in high school; bright sparks who keep teachers on their mettle. They are, more often than not, personable, knowledgeable and memorable.

Little wonder that Mr. Bennett is afraid of them.

In his short article he also revealed other areas where, in addition to NDP education policy, he distorts reality. They were, in no particular order of priority, NDP natural resource policy, NDP taxation policy, NDP ethics, NDP budgetary surpluses (1999-2001) and Canadian provincial economic history.

To fold, spindle and mutilate the truth so often in so few words is no easy task, but if he insists on being brief, it would be appropriate if he restricted himself to the facts. And to writing in standard English.

As it is, he has not only fabricated an alternative, fact-free, political reality, but has also adopted the toxic vocabulary of American alt-right trolls and the Trump White House.

JC Vallance

Fernie, B.C.


Dog crapper on Hand Ave

Two things mark a pervert: (i) deviation from a statistical norm; (ii) behaviour revulsive to the common folk.

To the pervert who leaves bagged dog crap in front of the houses on my street, or heaves it into our driveways: Please stop.

Few things instil a sense of revulsion like grasping at crap, particularly when still steamy, wafting, warm, damp.  The common dog owner does it because it’s the decent thing, getting the crap off the road or path.  One shoulders one’s responsibility like Sisyphus a boulder.  What drives one to seize a poo if not duty?  It baffles the mind.

It’s not merely abnormal.  It’s sick.

I have not spotted you, but envision the dog’s slight unease as, tail tensed, he casts back a weary eye, your anticipation palpable.  Thinks the dog, you’ve missed the point, friend: “There’s no call to bag it if we’re not taking to the bin.”

In quieter, more thoughtful moments, one considers, there’s something of fecal taxidermy in the way that plastic preserves poop.  Is that it to you, a kind of uncanny monument?  Do you consider it a gift?  Did you think I wanted it?

I hasten to clarify: Your fixation is an afront not just to the residents of West Fernie, but to nature, to God.

Please, for the love of God.

Shane Bryson

Fernie, B.C.