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Letters  

Coronavirus hysteria

The recent information overload from the media about the coronavirus, originating from China has instilled people with fear, worldwide.

Fear brings out the worst in people and the worst among us play upon our fears, inciting xenophobia and violence. Quarantining passengers with elevated temperatures on flights out of China may be prudent but acting out against anyone who even looks asian verges on hysteria. People are being barred from restaurants, bars, shops, and malls. In the US women and even children have been assaulted. 

Here in Canada, we like to think we are better than that. We pride ourselves on being a multicultural society. We have publicly acknowledged our regret for the shameful way we treated our First Nations, the Chinese, the Japanese, and others in the past through ignorance, fear, and greed. As our own Prime Minister has said, “There is no place in our country for discrimination driven by fear or disinformation.”

Sadly, in Penticton last Sunday night, there was an incident of vandalism directed at Chinese people who are part of our community, people who have lived and worked here peacefully for many years; people who are just as worried about this virus as you and I. A man shouting expletives and racist slurs picked up rocks and deliberately hurled them at the windows of a place of worship owned by a Chinese religious group.

This kind of behaviour cannot be tolerated in our country. It is our duty as proud Canadians to speak out loudly against such fear induced hatred whenever and wherever we see it or hear it voiced. We must never allow the sins of the past to be repeated.

What many Canadians don’t realize is that we encounter deadly coronaviruses all the time without becoming paranoid, anxious, or fearful. According to our government, in Canada every year due to the flu, which also is a coronavirus, around 12,200 Canadians are hospitalized and 3,500 people die.

Do we attack people with the flu and call them diseased? No, of course we don’t. We are sympathetic and wish them well. If we know who gave us the flu, do we go out and attack them? No, not even if someone gave a person we love the flu and that loved one died. 

No one has yet died in Canada from this coronavirus outbreak. So, why are we overreacting to the extent where, instead of offering support for victims, we malign and attack an entire group of totally blameless Canadians?

We should instead be supporting anyone who falls ill from this disease, regardless of race, creed, or color.

David Hume, Penticton



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When will blockades end?

Police discretion in enforcing the law is essential. However, police are caught between a rock and a hard place in dealing with current illegal rail blockades. Government inaction regarding the application of criminal law to radical rail protestors is crippling to the rule of law. 

Railway lines and associated property are private property!  Provincial and federal laws are being violated by persons conducting illegal rail blockades.  

What would happen if a non-Indigenous related protest blocked highway 401 in Toronto or the main rail line between Toronto and Montreal. Would protestors be arrested?

Recently the media reported that such a group blocked access to BC Premier Horgan’s home. Reports indicate protesters were quickly arrested and removed. A double standard? 

I am all for peaceful and legal protest by any group, but the use of illegal activities during protest actions should not be allowed. Government inaction not only hurts Canadians and the economy, it makes our country and leadership appear weak.  Allowing rail blockades to continue will only encourage radical protestors to use this tactic in the future.

Police will be reluctant to enforce injunctions and enforcement orders related to rail blockades without support by the government, the courts and the department of justice. 

Police attempt to ensure the safety of all persons at protest sites but in the current state of things, removal of railway blockade protestors and filing of charges will most likely not occur any time soon.

Gerry Fish, West Kelowna



Double standards

Young and Hazell Roads provide access to my neighbourhood of about 80 homes. Frustrated by the City of Kelowna inaction to slow vehicles traveling at unsafe speeds, a neighbour placed durable, commercial grade speed bumps across the roadway. 

As someone who has nearly been hit, at as witness to dozens of close-calls, I know why he did it. Since we've no sidewalks, we are forced to "share" the roadway. Pedestrians and vehicles cannot safely use the same space, especially at 50km/hr and especially when its main users are under 14 years old. 

He knows they were illegal, but he did it for the sake of a safe neighbourhood. When a pedestrian is hit at 30km/hr compared to 50km/hr, they are eight times more likely to survive.

Well, not 90 minutes after that speed bump was put out, RCMP dismantled it; took it off the road and threw it off to the side with zero concern over the purpose of it being there. 

However, yesterday while having breakfast, I saw video of RCMP protecting people blocking an entire country's path for trade. This disrupted ten of thousands of lives and endangered their own. On Vancouver Island, blue-collar Canadians tried to remove the illegal blockade. What did he get for it? Handcuffs! 

Illegal trespassers protected by a national police force, blue-collar Canadians protecting their community, arrested. Blue-collar Canadian protecting his community, shutdown. Speeders who threaten the safety of children, pets and seniors get protection.

The speed bump was illegal and he has to go through the proper channels, much like the pipeline protesters. Remember the pipeline project has full support of the elected council members, yet it is allowed to be stopped and those who are willing to gamble with the economy were protected.

I noticed he gave up, instead listing the speed bumps for sale on Castanet Classifieds. Stay strong buddy.

Troy Gangl



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More corridors needed

I wish to add my voice to the issue of Glenmore and Beverlake Road.

Being a working class member of society, I am one of many, many hundreds of people who make use of the local roads, before 80 per cent of the population of this area, gets up for their morning bathroom run, then go diving back into their cozy beds for another three hours of sleep.  

Within those 3 hours, we are the travellers who take some of the biggest risks getting to and from work, during horrible weather.  We are the ones who are out there, with the snow plows and sanding/deicing vehicles, and in some cases, even before they are out on the road.  Having said that, there should be more corridors for transportation.  

Years ago, there was talk of opening Jim Bailey road through to Flightcraft, keeping all commuters from this side of the highway off the highway, should they work in those areas.  Wow, intelligence back then which would perfectly work right now! The level ground would be easy for maintenance, maybe not so much pooling and freezing and potholes. Commercial vehicles sure, since the railroad disappeared.  

Another thought, the tiny populus that the rail trail gives access to is totally ridiculous given the surrounding population and growing population. A far better use for it would be light rail, providing commuters direct and fast access from Vernon, to Kelowna, and perhaps Penticton. Run the line one direction in the morning, and then back again during evening rush time. I can see it from the highway now, soft lights below, with the cars, taking blue collar workers home, safely, to their families at night.

Catherine Knox 



Trudeau has got to go

I want to believe, I really do, but how can I or anyone else for that matter?

I'm trying very hard to cling to my very shaky belief in law and order, in truth and reality, in right and wrong, in even a little bit of common sense. 

I'm desperately trying to continue to believe in Canada itself, but how can I or anyone else?

Our so-called "leaders" are allowing domestic terrorists (and many who I suspect are not so domestic) to destroy our economy, our industry and the livelihoods of Canadian citizens all for the sake of monarchy versus democracy.  

When I was in school (many years ago), the history teachers spoke of royalty who actually believed in "divine right" — is that not something along the same lines as "hereditary" chiefs? Our nation has fought wars over the elimination of such beliefs.

What was considered right and appropriate behaviour and treatment 100-300 years ago is not the same as today and we really have no reason or need to feel guilt for something our relatives may have done.

I feel that if our democratically elected government is not going to uphold the rule of law and simply do its job, then I believe it is time for this government to be recalled.

John B. Collinson



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