Letters: Fort McMurray not such a bad place

What we saw was Canada in action and they are building a vibrant, healthy community of young families and they should be respected

Fort McMurray not such a bad place

My wife and I recently attended the Fall Consumer Trade Show in Fort McMurray. Before we left we had heard all of the usual negative preconceptions about the area. Many thought we were nuts taking spa products there.

“There are no women there,” was a common comment.

It seemed no one had anything positive to say about this place that contributes so much to our country’s GDP.

It was during the first day of the trade show that many of the myths about Fort McMurray hit the dust bin.

Fort McMurray is ground zero in Canada for babies! On Friday afternoon, my wife and I were stunned by the plethora of new moms pushing their babies and most of the time there was another one on the way.

Hundreds of them.

The hospital delivered over 2,000 babies last year, compared to just over 400 in Penticton.

Throughout the weekend we met the nicest folks you could imagine. Fort McMurray is a big city, 80,000 in the city and 30,000 in camps, but the people were down-home, small town folks.

The average age is 33, and many are bright, well-educated young people starting their families and creating a community in the north.

I am not sugar-coating the oil sands mining industry.

I did not personally observe the mines and thus my opinion on this matter is uninformed.

I think it is fair to assume that the bitumen mined close to the surface will leave a scar on the land and the bitumen mined in situ beneath the surface would leave less of a scar.

There is a risk of pollution in the holding ponds and I would like to learn more about reclamation policies.

What I do feel is an affinity for the people living in Fort McMurray and other northern, energy-based towns. What we saw was Canada in action and they are building a vibrant, healthy community of young families and they should be respected

The reality is that these environmental matters need to be addressed by policy, not by grandstanding flybys.

How would we feel in the Okanagan if outsiders decided we shouldn’t grow wine grapes because they aren’t food and mounted a campaign to discredit our wine industry? “Plant broccoli, not chardonnay.” We might understand how our fellow Canadians in the north feel.

We should also realize there is a huge anti-oilsand lobby being funded by U.S. oil producers from the states using coalbed-fracking horizontal drilling. They would love to see an end to Alberta crude so they can get more for their South Dakota oil.

Overzealous environmentalists play right into their wheelhouse.

The politics of oil is and always will be complex.

It’s time to stop bashing areas like Fort McMurray and defend our interests from ridiculous and unfounded claims.

We need to look at rail transport and pipeline construction objectively and not ban them all, just because.

Most of all, we need to stop acting as naïve pawns of the U.S. Bakken coalbed fracking oil interests who have Redford, Young and Cameron in their back pockets.

Brian Hughes



Origins of life still disputed

Mr. McGee, indeed YouTube has much information. It also has information against evolution by people far more intelligent than you, me and many others combined.

Their understanding is not limited to just one area of science either.

There has been two theories of how life began, one which has about died off and another which still makes no sense. If people actually read and took the time to understand they would see that the bible is more scientific than they think.

Of their own kind is evident everywhere in the world. It is a statement that was made long before man spread around the world. This is a very bold statement that would have caused many problems if it had been proven wrong.

But it still holds true today as we can see the physical evidence such as chickens have chickens, dogs have dogs, etc, although evolutionist continue to develop theories for this.

I have read articles and more whereas this is tried to be explained but once again, when countered they fail.

They all sound good if unchallenged but fall when others with knowledge counter the claims with science.

So when you make claims like, “based on facts, verifiable evidence, etc,” I wonder why you think only they have them?

Why would anyone think that only evolution has facts and evidence? Why is it that anyone who disputes it with sound evidence is wrong?

This sounds kind of arrogant to me.

My experience with almost all who defend evolution, as being filled with insults and more, with the usual, if you don’t believe your uneducated and ignorant.

I have found it interesting that people can believe that matter has always existed yet say this is not possible with God. I think the only thing that does not exist is nothing, as there is always something.

I shall return the suggestion to you that maybe you would look at the mountains of evidence against evolution and perhaps moderate your misunderstanding in these regards.

Also what is your knowledge of the bible? I don’t mean what have you heard or what you have been taught.

I am sure you and I would have some very interesting and good conversations.  I hope nothing here made you feel insulted as that is not my intention.

David Mercier



Herald, Vassilaki out of line

While in Vancouver at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention each morning I went to the business centre and check the morning news including the Penticton Herald.

I have to say on the morning of Sept.18, I was a bit surprised and quite disappointed by the James Miller article, Vassilaki unconventional, quoting John Vassilaki saying that he had only been to the event  four times in 11 years and suggesting that the event was too expensive and “one councillor maybe two” from Penticton is all that was needed.

In my five years as an RDOS representative I have attended five times and plan to attend next year.

For me it has been productive.

I could talk about meetings that I have had that have led to programs that helped bring high-speed internet into my rural communities, to others that helped establish regional parks, those that produced infrastructure funding and so on.

I have had many meetings that led nowhere while others made substantial changes to my region.

While I often agree and applaud John’s thinking, I think he missed the boat on this one.

The event is what you make of it. It can be a learning experience that translates daily to better decision making, to new ideas and to better government.

As a constituent I want my representative to be there.

Immediately after reading the news in the morning I went to listen to a hero of mine, a great humanitarian, Stephen Lewis.

Mr. Lewis spoke eloquently about world issues, aids, climate change, education and all of those issues that often seem out of reach to local politicians caught up in day to day matters from noise bylaws to goose droppings.

Mr. Lewis managed to tie that larger thinking process to local politics.

He pushed me to check my moral compass and to remind me to connect those little things that come before me onto a larger world view that will matter not only today but to my children and grandchildren in the future.

That alone to me was well worth the price of admission. Really sorry you missed it, John.

Brad Hope

Area H, RDOS


Thanks to Okanagan Fest-of-Ale Society

Penticton Seniors’ Drop-In Centre Society (South Main Drop-In Centre) would like to acknowledge and thank the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale Society for Charity Funds received from them.

We are a non-profit society that runs with volunteers and all funding is greatly appreciated.  This donation will provide some new chairs for our Great Hall.

Thank you for your support of South Main Drop-In Centre.  The Okanagan Fest-of-Ale Society does great service throughout our community. Thank you very much.

Don Wilson, Director

Penticton Seniors’ Drop-In Centre Society


Smart Meter panel cherry picking evidence

(re: End to smart meter saga in sight; Opinion, Western News, Sept. 27)

Reading Tom Fletcher’s piece regarding smart meters suggests to me something is out of whack.

Testimony given Dr. Yakov Shkolnikov retained by Fortis B.C was not challenged but three other experts didn’t fair so well, according to Tom Fletcher.

Energy Minister Bill Bennett has made a final offer of like it or lump it which make me ask,  what are Bennett’s credentials to sound off on this saga with only the power of  supplied lip service?

Other than being an elected mouth-piece telling many people who put him there to fill their boots, Bennett failed to mention Fortis will empty them as soon as your pocket book is drained.

Anybody can stand on a soap box with the intent of selling anything nuts, bolts, bad medicine or what have they.

Here lies the problem in a world where  porkaticical  boots full of possible B.S. walk and stain the ground on planet Earth.

Ted Azyan



Story should be left alone

(re: Coroner links alcohol to woman’s death, Western News, Sept. 25)

It grieved and angered me to see this kind of reporting in the Penticton Western News.

This lovely young woman  was a mother, daughter and friend of numerous people in Penticton.

What purpose did it serve to drag her reputation through the mud and cause more hurt to those who loved her? Who hasn’t ridden in the back of a pick up sometime in their lifetime?

Everyone knows  there are risks involved whether sober or intoxicated. No one needs to read this kind of  insensitive reporting.

Disappointed and disgusted.

Alana Schierling