Kudos to SOSLIP and SOICS

Recently, June 15, 2017,  I attended a one day conference at Okanagan College in Penticton, which brought local employers and immigrant newcomers together. It was put on by the South Okanagan | Similkameen Local Immigration Partnership (SOSLIP). It was billed as a Forum for Immigrant Job Seekers and Regional Employers. 

I hope this valuable event is repeated annually. 

The conference opened with a workshop about challenges, perceptions and benefits of Diversity presented by Jeanne Martinson, a leadership and diversity speaker from Regina.

It was especially helpful learn about communication differences. Even when the birth country and language is the same, communication styles are imprinted through family conditioning and values, Eastern versus Western global perspective, gender communication differences (biological and culturally conditioned), generational patterns (Baby Boomers versus Generation Y) and individual personality.

Did you know that Eastern interviewing styles are different from Western ones? The Eastern view is less individualistic. It’s more important to talk about group efforts, the project, less about personal involvement. In the West employers want to hear about individual accomplishments and talents.

You can imagine what happens when a Western employer has certain expectations in an interview, but a newcomer with an Eastern or Asian background is accustomed to another process.  Teaching immigrants how to interview in the West is one of the services that SOICS could implement more, if they don’t already.

After the morning workshop, we networked. Employers and Immigrants together. We shared a meal and our stories of coming to Canada. Employers reached out, handed out business cards, and provided advice and information during a panel discussion. Later newcomers sat on a panel and offered their perspectives. 

During a break, a table-mate talked about a recent lightbulb moment about differences between personal values and culturally conditioned values. This sharing evoked emotion in both of us. Our experience of Canada and life— so different yet so similar.

We, new and sometimes not-so-newcomers, made a decision to change our lives. Some followed dreams, others left bad situations in their homeland. Some wanted better lives for their family and children.  

More often than not immigrants struggle with finding good and reasonably paid work. Yet we are an optimistic hard-working talented group.

As one of the immigrants on the panel said when asked what she would tell other newcomers– this is paraphrased, “Don’t give up hope. Keep pushing to do what you love. Even when you are desperate to pay your bills. One step at a time.”

Kudos to SOSLIP and SOICS!

Shawn Limbach

Unions & laundries last shift

Very sad for those who now find themselves unemployed. However, This is what happens to well paid jobs when unions continue to pressure for unrealistic higher wages perks and benefits. There is only so much money to go around.

When "already well paid" workers (cave in to the greedy union mentality) demanding better pay and benefits, the jobs will disappear. As much as I feel for the workers, I can not understand that they failed to recognize when they had it good. It is human nature to want more and make more, but at what point will people realize that many of these union jobs already have perks that go beyond what the job deserves?

There was a time that unions had their place. However, looking back over the last decades, unions have caused the extinction of what use to be many well payed blue collar jobs.

The Postal workers are a prime example of jobs becoming extinct. Well paid, great benefits, yet continually striking.

Unions stir up discontent, entitlement, greed and create an environment where "bosses" have a difficult time getting rid of lazy and poor workers.

We are now (for the last decades) witnessing the private sector taking advantage of the collapse of these "well paid jobs" and reinventing them at despicably low wages with no benefits. Companies sold and re-established offering workers minimum wages

Too bad that many workers fail to recognize how good they actually had it but instead caved in to the greedy, striking union mentality.

In the private sector, unions stir up their members and create a sense that "workers" should be entitled to benefit from the profits of the company (the employees are not the ones risking and putting out the dollars to operate a new venture or business).

When it comes to "government jobs" somehow union employees think that monies can "always" be found for their unrealistic perks and pay increases. So, all you over payed Government/civic workers be warned, be thankful for what you have. There is only so much "tax dollars" to go around. That job you are complaining about could go to the private sector.

Unfortunately, the greed that unions stir up definitely also exists among private companies and employers. If a company wants to truly succeed in their reputation and prosper they will learn fairly quickly that it is to their advantage to treat their employees well, with respect and reward them.

I empathize with the workers and families who have lost their jobs. I imagine that there are probably those who would have taken a cut in pay just to remain employed.

Unfortunately it is too late

Unions, for years now, have only stirred up discontent and greed. Time people learn about thankfulness, and recognize when they have it good.

Wilma VanVliet

Stop the textademic

This morning on my way to work I was almost side swiped by a distracted driver; the only saving grace was today I was in my car instead of my normal transportation which is a motorcycle. The young lady was driving her newer model grey Hyundai Sonata south up bridge hill. She was in the very left lane and as we came around the corner she crept about 3 feet into the centre lane where I was driving. I was able to swerve right and avoid her. I pulled up beside her honking my horn and saw that she was engaged in her texting. We travelled in the same direction and I noted again at the highway and Boucherie Road intersection that she was still texting, even after a near miss and someone honking and yelling. As I said, I normally ride my motorcycle and this may have had a much worse ending as I would have been leaning in to the corner and she more than likely would have sent me to hospital or to an early grave.
As much as I would like to blame the RCMP and ICBC for not stepping up, they have so much to deal with on a daily basis this cannot be a priority, but it should be. There has been a lot of comparison to impaired driving and distracted driving including the number of accidents and deaths; perhaps it is time we increased the penalty to $750 and anyone caught doing this would have their phone confiscated and/or vehicle impounding as with impaired driving. I have seen one blitz by RCMP looking for distracted drivers, perhaps we need more.

I am simply fed up with this epidemic of texting and driving, if the message cannot wait then find a safe place to pull over and text.

Robin Carter

West Kelowna to spend big

So, West Kelowna has awakened to the new world.  They want to make Rose Valley (Bear Creek) water into nice clear water.  

They have asked for bids to operate the $53.5 million new plant and were surprised some bids were as high as $2.3/year. What did they expect — a no fee operation?  

It would be much cheaper in the long run to construct a new pumping station and ultra violet purification system to supply the drinking water required and leave the Rose Valley water system for irrigation purposes.  Rose Valley water will never change, it will always be creek water which will vary much more in quality and purity than Okanagan Lake.  

This price of $53.5 million is not peanuts.  If we all drink Okanagan Lake, then I presume we will look after our lake much better — i.e. no sewage treatment plant discharge into our lake. Just in case you don’t remember, Kelowna discharges about 30,000,000 litres per day and West Kelowna does 10,000,000 per day, everyday of the year, so multiply by 365 equals an awful lot of sewer plant treated sewage water.  The new treatment plant will probably use “aluminum sulphate” a chemical to force the dirty Rose Valley water to flocculate the sediments for removal.  This chemical will be in your “new improved” drinking water.  

So, enjoy your $53.5 million improvement.

Jorgen Hansen

Tourist centre

Letters to the editor, polls, public discussions, on and on, all voicing displeasure with the planned Tourist Centre.

This only goes to show how Kelowna’s Mayor and Council views the taxpayers views.

Time for a totally new Mayor and Council next election.

Jim Sutherland

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