Letters to the editor, Feb. 2, 2021 | | kelownadailycourier.ca – The Daily Courier

Posted: February 3, 2021 at 10:52 pm


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Keystone denial offers Canada an opportunity

Dear Editor:

The many articles about President Joe Bidens cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline have run the gamut from hand wringing to anger that the president would do such a thing to its most important trading partner. Virtually none, except for Adam Radwanski (Globe and Mail, 2019), have mentioned the opportunities for Canada in this decision.

The opportunity for Canada and the provinces to get the finger out and begin to treat the climate crisis as a real crisis. The opportunity to make serious investments in renewable energy as Canada emerges from the pandemic, many of which could be made in concert with the oil and gas industry if Canada develops its large geothermal energy potential.

The opportunity to stop wasting billions of taxpayers dollars propping up an industry that must die. The opportunity to become a climate leader in reality instead of stumbling along far behind most industrialized countries with the second or third worst record of greenhouse gas emissions per capita.

The timing could not be better. Canada finally has a decent climate plan and, when passed, Bill C-12 will require the federal government to set and meet five-year GHG reduction targets. Alberta and Saskatchewan have very high potential for wind, solar, and geothermal energy production. The only thing standing in the way is government recalcitrance bolstered by oil industry lobbying.

Michael Healey, Peachland

Standardized tests are not useful at all

Dear Editor:

Re: Standardized testing provides useful information, Jan. 14

Richard Knight concludes his Jan. 14 letter: I believe that we should continue to give the (FSA) tests and receive the useful information they provide, and simply ignore the Fraser Institute.

What useful information?

The B.C. government has mandated the Foundation Skills Assessment tests to students in Grades 4 and 7 since 2000, which supposedly assess reading comprehension, writing, and numeracy.

In reality, these tests have flawed methodology. FSAs are not accurate indicators of individual progress, since no single measure of assessment provides reliable data by itself. FSAs do not take into account a students learning style, nor do they help students learn or teachers teach.

A question for the Minister of Education, school board members and school principals: If these tests are so important and contain useful information, havethe test results everresulted in additional funding or support for certain schools and students?

Then you have the Fraser Institute misusing the FSA data to create unscientific school rankings.For those unaware, this is the same right-wing think tank that in 1999, wrote letters to British American Tobacco begging for more funding, highlighting reports they had done to discredit science around the harms of second-hand smoke. This is the sameright-wing think tank thatsupports huge tax cuts for the 1% and corporations, but opposes a higher minimum wage for workers.

Patti Bacchus was chair of the Vancouver School Board from 2008 to 2014. Google her Jan. 2 article, FSA tests misused, should be scrapped.

Bacchus concludes: FSAs may have been well intended when they were brought in, but when the professionals we trust to teach our kids are telling us theyre a harmful waste of time, we should listen. I support B.C.s teachers in calling on government to scrap the discredited and misused tests.

I recall American author and lecturer Alfie Kohn was the keynote speaker at our teachers convention several years ago. Kohns talk is still very fresh in my mind. He works in the areas of education, parenting and human behaviour, andwas described in Time magazine as perhaps the countrys most outspoken critic of educations fixation on grades (and) test scores.

In 2004, Kohn was interviewed for an article inHope Magazine (Test Ban Entreaty, Jan-Feb. 2004). He remarked:The farther you get from real kids, the more likely you are to think that standardized testing is a fine idea.

A PDF of the article is available on Kohns website.

David Buckna, Kelowna

KSS football program a huge success

Dear Editor:

Re: Level up: Owls on the rise, page B1, Jan. 28.

Hats off to Head Coach Chris Cartwright and all the Kelowna Secondary School football coaches, who support, and taught these young players and those like them, who have developed the skills, talent and tenacity to succeed, both on the field and in the classroom.

High school is a big step up from Kelowna Minor Football and the leadership and program Cart-wright developed and expanded with all the coaches, is making a huge change in experience and of opportunity for these players, and those who will hopefully continue at KSS, until they graduate.

Nothing ever just happens; it takes a lot of effort, to set up, believe and follow through a tough program, when there are so many easier options to follow, if you dont have the right leadership.

Having this many players, from a single school, graduate, and take the next big step in their development is no accident; it is a net result, of respect, hard work, sweat, and a positive mental attitude..

Congratulations to you all

Chuck Liebrock, Kelowna

Travel rules meant to be a distraction?

Dear Editor:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced new international travel restrictions that are supposed to stop new COVID-19 strains getting into the country.

On paper, it looks very persuasive: every traveller will have to take a test on the arrival and wait for three days in specially designated hotels the result of the test and then (if all is OK) will be released to continue a quarantine at home. This welcome home package is supposed to cost $ 2,000 per traveller (much more than an air ticket itself).

It seems that by making the restrictions unreasonably tough, the government tries to actually ban an international travel.

Health Canada says that international travel accounts for only 2% of all COVID cases; will it really help fighting coronavirus?

Some examples of such disproportionate measures. Many countries already require an anti-COVID test before you get on board of an aircraft. So you are certified of not being ill, but you are still required to pass another test on arrival; so the danger of getting infected is during the flight.

Another issue: 14 days mandatory quarantine in Canada and a 10-day quarantine in U.S.. Does it mean that COVID lasts longer in Canada?

What are rules without exceptions? No fun for bureaucrats!

The latest clarification from the government says that foreign temporary workers will be allowed to take their quarantine not in the hotel, but at their working place.

So the government knows that foreign workers provide less danger from the point of new COVID strains than its own citizens.

Then why make this fuss with travel?

Maybe the answer is simple: to blame travellers and to distract attention from local news (insufficient number of vaccine doses; alleged future supply shortages; we still do not know when mass vaccination will start and will end, etc.).

For example, we are told about recent recommendation of doctors to delay the required second dose of vaccination to 42 days instead of 21 day as prescribed by Pfizer (because there is not enough vaccines).

Have you ever heard about doctor who prescribes you to take a pill every morning or (at your choice) every third day if you lack a medication?

Is it serious? Will Pfizer extend its guarantee of such extended vaccination?

The government seems to jump on any measure to show us that it is fighting with COVID irrespective of whether these steps will work or not (show me any analysis or reflections on the efficiency of previous lockdowns). To be fair, it shall be noted that governments in other countries are also totally lost and play stop-go/open-close policies, thus losing trust of its citizens.

Serge Kouzmin, West Kelowna

Make life better for people with dementia

Dear Editor:

At the end of Alzheimers Awareness Month 2021, the Alzheimer Society of B.C. thanks the people of Kelowna for the role they play in helping to change the future for people living with dementia and their families across B.C.

While the Alzheimer Society of B.C.s vision is for a province where families on the dementia journey are welcomed, acknowledged and included a truly dementia-friendly B.C. the COVID-19 pandemic has shone a light on some of the issues facing families on the dementia journey, including social implications and the many challenges being experienced in long-term care.

Never has it been more important to not simply raise awareness of the disease, but to talk about what we want the future to look like people living with the disease and how were going to get there.

Even under normal circumstances, the dementia journey can be incredibly isolating. This remains a difficult time for caregivers of people living with dementia, including many who are supporting people living in long-term care and are unable to stay connected as they have in the past.

Making a commitment to finding ways to engaging with the people in your life who are living with the disease is an important part of a dementia-friendly future but so is raising your voice and becoming an advocate for policies that reflect their needs.

Though Alzheimers Awareness Month ends with January, the work isnt finished. We hope Kelowna residents will remain committed to changing the future. One way we invite you to do this is by registering and fundraising for the IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimers.

Participants can raise funds to support Alzheimer Society of B.C. programs and service and walk their own way all throughout May to honour people in their lives who have been affected by dementia. Then we will join together virtually on Sunday, May 30, to celebrate the difference weve made. To learn more, visit walkforalzheimers.ca.

Its going to take a movement of people committed to making life better for Canadians affected by dementia.

Local volunteers play an invaluable role. By sharing our stories and publishing our letters, local media helps foster a better understanding of dementias impact on local families. Together, we are working towards our goal of a dementia-friendly province.

If your family is affected by Alzheimers disease or another dementia, please call the First Link Dementia Helpline (1-800-936-6033) to learn about the disease or find out about support groups and other services available to Kelowna residents. Support is also available in Mandarin or Cantonese at 1-833-674-5007 and in Punjabi at 1-833-674-5003.

Learn more about us at alzheimerbc.org.

Sherry Wezner, Support & Education Coordinator, North & Central Okanagan region, Alzheimer Society of B.C.

Leave nostalgia to the future generations

Dear Editor:

When nostalgia poisons the soul,(guest column, Jan. 28).

Neil Godbouts column was interesting and informative. However, I wondered why the Canadian references to restorative nostalgia were always negative and apparently only applied to European settlers.

Would it not be fair to presume that all races and cultures through the ages share equally their acceptance of restorative nostalgia?

Is the implication that before settler Canada was perfection restorative nostalgia for some, and reflective nostalgia for others? Does it depend on whose agenda is paramount at any given time?

The final paragraph provides a clear path: make positive choices to deal with the problems at hand.

But who will make the decisions for which problems who will judge?

Throughout history, the effects of well-meaning and ill-conceived choices abound.

Future generations will decide which nostalgia they want to apply to choices that are made now.

Eleanor J. Walker, Okanagan Falls

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Letters to the editor, Feb. 2, 2021 | | kelownadailycourier.ca - The Daily Courier

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