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Letters  

Discrimination while visiting

While visiting BC, I have been subjected to discrimination for having a serious medical condition.

First a bit of background, I have a medical condition that has paralyzed my stomach. Instead I use a feeding tube and a pump that pumps liquids into my stomach. I walk while I “feed” and use a backpack to hold the pump and tube feed.

I was recently escorted out of a grocery store in Trail by the owner, when trying to talk to someone I knew because I could not “remove” my backpack. Then while out for a walk, I stopped at a Kelowna gas station at Pandosy and Harvey and after making a purchase was denied access to use the bathroom because again I could not “remove” my backpack. Despite explaining my situation and showing the tube feed in both situations, I was just told “sorry”.

While I understand the rules of removing backpacks, I find it hard to believe that there is no exception for medical reasons. I do not have a choice of using the backpack and tube feed if I want to survive. Seeing eye dogs are allowed in stores that don’t allow dogs and people in wheelchairs are allowed to have backpacks. Both of which should be allowed. Women are allowed oversized purses but I am denied access because the “no backpack” rules have to be followed.

Apparently there are no exceptions for medical reasons, even if that reason can be proven. Shame on you for making a person with a medical problem feel degraded!

Kevin Baines



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Campaign promises to vets

Canadian veterans, who felt betrayed by the Harper government and campaigned to remove them from power during the 2015 election, are now pressuring the Trudeau government to live up to all of their campaign promises. To their credit, the Liberals reopened nine regional veterans offices (including Kelowna) that were closed by the Conservatives, and rehired both claims processing staff and case managers at Veterans Affairs.

On November 9, a veterans rally took place on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. During the press conference, retired major Mark Campbell, who lost both legs in Afghanistan, told reporters: "Veterans are angry, particularly the generation of modern veterans that have been subjected to the new Veterans Charter since 2006, which saw a significant 40 to 90 per cent reduction in our disability compensation in the middle of the Afghanistan war. While we were fighting the war, without telling any of us that our disability compensation was being reduced. That in and of itself, was an unconscionable act on the part of the government of Canada. We need to rectify that with a return to the lifelong pensions. It has to be a true pension, and it has to achieve parity with the former Pension Act or it's all been a waste of time and Veterans Affairs and the government of Canada’s credibility with the veteran community will die. This is the hill that Veterans Affairs is going to die on if the government of Canada does not get it right next month."

In 1917, Prime Minister Robert Borden said: "When a Canadian enlists, they are promised that if they are injured or killed in service, then Canada will take care of them and their loved ones. This social contract is our sacred obligation to those who serve. We Canadians must defend it."

David Buckna



Landscape littering

Having lived in Kelowna since 1974, I have seen many great changes to our city. Of course there are always growing pains as we develop as a city.

I would love to see some changes by elimination of the billboards as one drives down the hill into Kelowna approaching the new bridge down highway 97. Some have referred to these billboards as landscape littering and I would agree. I personally feel it ruins the beautiful entrance to our city from the South entrance.

The North entrance is seemly impossible to change as there are vast numbers of car lots that are not helpful to the nature beauty of Kelowna.

Gordon Whyte



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Vets lifelong challenge

There is no doubt in my mind that local staff in our Veterans Affairs office are to be commended in what they do and how they do it. All office staff across Canada too should share the same compliments.

Every MPs will openly tell you how wonderful the Canadian Military are, how great they are to serve and protect our country and others and yet when it comes to taking care of them which government is bound to do, government lacks in this department.

It took approx two hours for the veteran to fill in the required forms which seems excessive and from that point on it seems to go down hill. The veteran may or may not hear back from VA for approx 90 days or more, their claim must be forwarded to head office and will be adjudicated taking up to and over a year. This still does not mean the veteran will receive any form of compensation and of course there are appeals in the process which most who present a claim will have to do. So now the veteran may be into two years waiting, fighting, frustrated, ready to give up waiting for an answer.

PM Trudeau said he was going to bring back the life long disability pension but he has not. VA is in the process to determine whether they will continue with the award which replaced the lifelong disability pension saving government millions of dollars and at the same time this award does away with helping the spouse and children should the veteran pass away, they serve too. So it would seem an award is best for government as it saves them money and somehow the disabled veteran is healed.

PM Trudeau said veterans need not take government to court over their disability needs but yet, he has continued the on going law suit Equitas, has against the crown.

This lawsuit Equitas seeks to make veterans equal to all the rest of Canadians under the Pension Act. Why should they not be equal? This would bring back the life long disability pension and I believe should the veteran pass, the spouse would receive 100% help and children would be included.  Not like it is today because of the Liberals who did away with the lifelong disability pension.

We are not at war anymore. Canada has not made up her mind if we will engage in peacekeeping yet we send personnel to assist other nations in war efforts. So the civilian side of Canada quickly forget their Military and don't care if their veterans who are disabled receive their just rewards, lifelong disability pensions. 

Back a veteran every day and not only on the 11th of November.

Dale Dirks



Fixing traffic congestion?

It seems our Mayor and Mayor Moonbeam in Vancouver are drinking the same Kool-Aid when it comes to
traffic congestion.
 
Instead of building roads that improve traffic flow they want people to sit at lights and in traffic for hours. If you go from point A to point B in 10 minutes you burn less gas and cause less pollution than sitting in line for hours. Kelowna is so spread out you need cars to get around. The transit system is great for going up and down the highway. Try shopping, going golfing or visiting by bus, you need all day to get around. Let's hope you are young enough to carry the bags of groceries home!
 
We moved here in 1980 and there was one east west road through town. Kelowna has more than doubled in size and there is still only one road through town. It may be six lanes soon but it will not ease the congestion. The north end connector has been delayed for ten years by council.

If you need a roundabout or a green bicycle path you may be in luck.

Jim Walker
 



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