Abbott the man for Liberals

To the Editor,

To the Editor,

With the BC NDP in disarray, the provincial Liberal leadership race is the only political event worth watching.

If the Liberals choose an egocentric leader who thinks she/he has all the answers, then we will all suffer. British Columbians do not need another dogmatic premier addicted to power and self-promotion.

Instead of a one-woman band, or a one-man band, B.C. needs an 85-piece orchestra that is willing to sit in the Legislature and play nice together.

George Abbott appears to have the political experience and the mentoring persona to successfully lead a more open-minded and inclusive government. With any luck he will get the chance to show that proven ability and reflective contemplation are more important than theatrical flash and snappy sound bites.

Lloyd Atkins,

Vernon

Jail deal goes bad already

To the Editor,

Port Alberni’s mayor Ken McRae and city councillors are hoping to attract Ottawa’s consideration to locate a federal penitentiary here.

This was followed by an announcement from eastern Canada that the National Treasury will spend $2 billion on a federal pen building boom.

Unfortunately, as is usual with Ottawa spending priorities, none of the $2 billion will reach British Columbia. Beginning in Quebec, the funding will head west to Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta, but it won’t get over the Rockies.

So, construction and operation of a federal pen here in the Valley is unlikely. But if this city could get a bit of funding, it could build a prison on the original jail site which is again vacant after removal of the Imperial Oil gas station on Johnston Road near Elizabeth.

The first jailhouse was built in the late 1800s and was close to the Arlington Hotel beer parlor (built in 1893) which provided drinks for those spending a night in the loghouse jail.

Alberni’s greatest historian, Jan Peterson, wrote “it was said of the jail that the gaps between the logs were so wide that a bottle could be passed through to the inside. If he had friends outside, a man incarcerated for being drunk could be found in the same condition the following morning”.

If our city government scaled back their request for funding to the small amount required for a new loghouse jail on Johnston, the feds might approve. And think what a tourist attraction that would be (just kidding).

Harold Hamilton,

Port Alberni

This disaster we call poverty

To the Editor,

Rob Rainer of Canada Without Poverty, tells it like it is for those suffering constructed poverty in the 21st century.

Citing a Margaret Wente article in the Globe and Mail, Rainer notes that the life expectancy for residents of low and high income neighbourhoods in Hamilton, Ont., differs by 21 years.

Poverty is a public health and public safety issue.

We must resolve it as we move into these uncertain times of climate disaster.

Parts of the planet are now unlivable and agricultural output is being negatively affected everywhere.

The only way to save on our unmanageable health-care costs in B.C. is to keep the population reasonably healthy.

Biological disease epidemics spread fast through the poorest neighbourhoods, but they kill, and sicken, rich and poor alike. If we’re sincere about saving our single-payer health care we have to look at prevention, and that means soil health, nutrition and food accessibility.

We need a guaranteed livable income to stabilize the nation.

It will cost less than our current social safety nets combined, because it will eliminate much of the expensive bureaucracy.

Canadians’ unprecedented debt-to-income ratio leaves us a hair’s breadth from insolvency.

We cannot sustain our current borrowing habits.

Before credit card debt we were a nation of savers. Maybe we need to withdraw from this risky debt business.

In 2010 there was a 17.5 per cent rise in the use of food banks. This is unacceptable.

The current system is failing us all.

Jen Fisher-Bradley,

Port Alberni

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