Letters: Elder family left blind-sided by allegations

Readers wondering why many friends of former minor hockey treasurer haven't jumped to her defence in wake of embezzlement accusation

To all the PMHA parents, friends and colleagues of Sandy Elder.

Regarding the recent allegations of missing funds from PMHA, I am shocked at the lack of response from those who knew Sandy Elder. I knew her for 35 years and refuse to believe these allegations are true.

Sandy was a dedicated volunteer as treasurer, team manager and adopted hockey mom for so many girls. She was a testament to community spirit and cared deeply for every player, team and the association.

I find it particularly disturbing that Sandy’s family was never once contacted by PMHA or the RCMP prior to the press release. They were totally blind-sided. I find this cruel and irresponsible. Imagine finding out this news of a deceased loved one in print and on TV for the first time. I hope this is not how the Penticton hockey community wants to reward their volunteers. The damage has been done. Only the truth will help repair it. Certainly there has been an elaborate scheme at work, I refuse to believe Sandy was the perpetrator.  More likely the scapegoat.

I believe someone out there knows what really happened to this money. It is a large sum and you would imagine it would leave a trail. Hopefully many questions will be answered at the upcoming AGM.

The damage done to Sandy’s reputation will be almost impossible to repair but perhaps the pain caused to her family can be eased by those who knew her speaking up in her defence. I hope so.

Dave Roche

Bonnyville, Ab.

*****

Voters decide what kind of society they want to live in

It is common, both in Osoyoos, B.C., and in municipalities throughout Canada, for governments to outsource their economic development functions and transfer taxes to private and not-for-profit organizations.

These are commonly called public-private partnerships. Government services may validly be delivered through joint ventures between governments and private interests.

However, when power devolves to  public-private partnerships, this also moves power to private interest groups, which exist outside governmental channels, are beholden to private interests and know no loyalty to the public.

A public, I might add, which expects that its government be accountable to society, not to private interest.

It is therefore vital that independent prudent analysis is undertaken to show that public-private joint ventures are in the best long-term interest of society. Too often, objective analysis suggests that these undertakings are rather only  political, ideological and self-interest drive.

When I refer to objective analysis, I am suggesting that this can only be accomplished with the use of social and natural science.

Such an analysis will, at the outset, need to accept that transfer of a tax to private organizations can only be done at the expense of other alternatives and societal aims. Further, one must then accept that there is indeed an opportunity cost to be considered when we reject a possibly better alternative.

The goal of taxpayers must be economic development that leads to sustainable economic production and better-trained, better-paid employees in business.

All taxpayers in Canadian municipalities should ask; does this economic development meet modern standards for a democratic mixed economy?

Or, is it rather a fig leaf, covering mere promotion and advertising, that sidesteps the test cited above for a proper economic development project and that masks the social, economic, and environmental issues that really matter to society?

When one mixes government with the private sector in the wrong way, it can be as socially toxic as mixing apples and pears.  Both rot.

A related matter is suggested by the foregoing:

My analysis is that a municipal taxation system centered on property taxes fuels investment in less sustainable land development and real estate projects (the quick buck) and represses the more proper government/town hall interest in investment in more sustainable value-added job creating businesses.

What is the social, economic and environmental cost of the B.C. Resort Municipality Initiative tax transfer incentive (RMI) in Osoyoos?  And who is really benefitting?

The only resource that has no opportunity cost is knowledge; it cannot be diminished, and it does not decrease with use.

Knowledge and with respect to sustainable economic development is produced by relevant research.

But, as any student of Europe’s dark ages and China’s history will know, knowledge is easily destroyed, whether by political and religious dogma, by suppressed academic freedom, or simply by being ignored and not used.

Make no mistake moving tax and thus power to private and special interest groups outside the government and elected legislative chambers is a sheltering of government’s responsibility to the voters.  Why not

Ultimately, the voters will decide what kind of society they want to live in.

This truism is somewhat more pithily expressed in my old dictum: the behaviour in government reflects the level of understanding and the moral and ethical value in the society that makes up the economy?

My own research will continue as I continue to follow the process of economic development in Osoyoos and Okanagan. I raise the above issues simply to provoke knowledgeable democratic discussion.

My biggest  fear is always that ignorance will lead to misguided policy.

Kell Petersen

Osoyoos

*****

No land subsidy

According to the article in the Western News on May 2 (Penticton property development grabs school board’s attention), the developer of Skaha Hills was seeking assurance from the school board that school bus service would be provided for those students that will eventually move into the 600 homes bordering the south end of Penticton.

Property and school taxes are levied throughout the area to fund infrastructure and schools. As the Skaha Hills development is on PIB land all property taxes collected will go to the PIB.

I would suggest that the PIB levy a school tax based on the provincial model and that the band turn this money over to the school board if they wish to use the school system.

The people living in this development should not expect to use local services without contributing through their taxes for their use, whether for recreational facilities, infrastructure or schools.

It should not be up to the rest of the school district or the taxpayers of Penticton to subsidize PIB land development.

Elvena Slump

Penticton

*****

Must watch documentary

If you want to watch a great documentary on what’s at stake in regards to the construction of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline, watch Casting A Voice By Dimitri Gammer which you can watch free online.

It’s an exploration of the Skeena River and its tributaries which is one of the last bastions of wild steelhead on earth and the economic and cultural impacts the fishery has on the region.

One of the more telling points of the film is just how unstable and unforgiving the terrain can be, with literally chunks of the tops of mountains breaking off and sliding down into the valley bottoms. There are scenes in the film that show old natural gas pipelines that have not only been ruptured but have had massive sections taken out by land slides. The scary thing is sections of the Northern Gateway Pipeline mirror exactly the same route as some of those old natural gas pipelines. Pipelines that sit right above prime steelhead spawning grounds.

So when a pipeline literally has a section of it taken out by a landslide given the rate of water flow in the river, it will be next to impossible to contain.  The bitumen because of it being mixed with condensate will be a toxic slurry that will not only spread but sink down and kill everything that it touches.

Enbridge couldn’t even contain a spill on the meandering Kalamazoo in the middle of a fully accessible residential area, how are they going to contain something of that magnitude on Skeena?

Which is surrounded by some of the most inaccessible, rugged, mountainous terrain anywhere in the province.

The answer is they can’t, no matter how much propaganda Enbridge and the federal government spew, they can’t do it.

There’s a reason why the Harper government has gutted environmental law and regulation, this disaster would have never passed under the old rules.

Cody Young

Penticton

 

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