Letters of the week – Sept. 29

Politics, bridge costs and more spurred on letters to the editor this week.

Politics not a laughing matter

To the Editor,

Political Leadership is seldom a laughing matter for those involved, but it can turn into a bit of fun looking at all the vices and vicissitudes of the participants and their parties.  South of the border there’s late drama in the almost-completed marathon presidential campaign. There have been many candidates stumbling in the polls, now the nominee is stumbling in public. What if ill-health prevents Hillary Clinton from completing the marathon; does her place get taken by her chosen running mate, or by the candidate who finished second at the Democratic Convention? Imagine the November showdown being between Trump and Sanders.

In Ottawa we have all the parties showing leadership consternation; Liberals are trying desperately to show that their leader is more than just a pretty face. Then the Tory leadership hopefuls look like Forrest Gump,  in more ways than one. Remember Forrest’s famous line: “My Mom always said life is like a box of chocolate…you never know what you’re gonna get.”

So the Conservative Party have to choose a leader from between the hard nutty ones on the right side of the box, or smooth soft centres in the middle?

Not for the first time in its chequered history, the NDP is in disarray; although Tom Mulcair was superb as opposition leader, last year’s election campaign was blown way off course by the Red Liberal Tsunami. Then came the April post-mortem in Edmonton, leaving the NDP a rudderless ship, with nobody willing to grab the helm to prevent them foundering  on the rocks of oblivion. The Leap Manifesto of the Lewis family, including Naomi Klein, has taken the party into waters where many members never wished to navigate.

Things may be looking bleak, but perhaps we should take a peep from a somewhat skewed position outside the box. Imagine if New Democrats merge with the Green Party Of Canada, as the Leap Manifesto really seems to suit both entities. No need for a nasty divisive and acrimonious Leadership race, simply install Elizabeth May as your leader. Problem solved.Political leadership speculation really can be a lot of fun, eh?

Bernie Smith,

Parksville

 

Bridge cost still concerns resident

To the Editor,

On July 28, 2016, I wrote a letter to the editor  of the Alberni Valley News concerning the cost over runs on the Gertrude bridge “widening.” I received no answers but I can understand that my letter probably slipped into the abyss of the council not being in town during summer holidays.

On Sept 8  Wilf Taekema, manager of operations for our city is quoted as saying in the News that “total costs were almost double the initial estimates” to do the work on the Gertrude  bridge Project.

I would assume that Mr. Taekema  knows his figures in his position with the city. One should not quibble over if it was 92% or 95% cost over run—the total cost is what matters to the taxpayers. I will be asking for a Freedom of information request to ascertain the real cost.

I think that this issue has particular relevance  now as the city is doing a “refit” of Victoria Quay Bridge .

The Attorney General for Local Government in Victoria is an independent body with the mandate  “exploring topic learnings from local government capital procurement projects.”

I will be sending my two letters to the AGLG just to see if they would like to once again assess Port Alberni.

The AGLG did a report on Port Alberni RCMP functions, as well as financial reports on Rossland, Sechelt, Dawson Creek and North Vancouver—they were interesting to read.

In my letter of  July 28  I simply asked for transparency and accountability as some of the council have voiced their desire for those attributes. Having taught local government issues for 30 years, I am not feeling overwhelmed by these statements considering the massive cost over run on the Gertrude bridge.

How much did the refit cost?

Derek Squires

Port Alberni

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