HAVE YOUR SAY: September 11

I have just read an online B.C. news item about striking B.C. teachers taking calls to supply day care for out-of-school kids for $40 per day. Am I missing an equation here? Are teachers not on strike and collecting strike pay? Does the BCTF union allow this when they are on strike and are supposed to be picketing? Is this not a conflict of interest in their ideals?

Flowers and appreciation galore to the team at Harbourside Dental Office, Comox. Perfect expertise and precise clockwork. A pleasure to go to the dentist! Doctor Gallway, Sheila, Kelly, Dawn and Kelly, thank you all!

We’d like to thank all who came to our garage sale on Sandpiper Drive in aid of Maple Pool campground. Your generous donations reflect the wonderful community spirit of this Valley. Thank you for your support of affordable housing.

At 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 6, I was driving southbound about 20 km south of Courtenay on Highway 19A near Fanny Bay. Reaching a straight stretch, a car appeared, coming straight toward me in my lane. Thankfully, I was able to quickly pull over on the generous shoulder, allowing the speeding car to whiz by. This story could easily have ended with a Mountie ringing my daughter’s doorbell and another deadly car crash story in the local newspapers. I know that the RCMP resources can only go so far and you have your budgetary limitations, but that scenic, two lane highway — Highway 19A from Courtenay to Qualicum Beach — is getting dangerous these days with impatient, tailgating and recklessly passing drivers. I believe that it would be a timely project if you would set up a campaign to catch a few of the wild drivers on this area. Your officers’ efforts will surely save a few lives.

It should be a positive move  from BCTF for offering binding arbitration on wages, and benefits. What about arbitration on class size and composition – the BCTF only seems concerned about BC teacher wages and benefits? The BC government does not want arbitration – they are nearly broke and would have no money for executive bonuses and executive salaries.   Both sides in this dispute are heading to zero credibility. Kids are out of class -get them in to stay. The ball is in the court of the BC Liberals. The former BC NDP government had the same challenges with the BCTF. Only in B.C. do students pay for teachers’ strikes. It is no wonder that the B.C. economy is falling behind the other Western provinces. No leadership in this dispute – only rhetoric from both sides. How long will the millions of very disappointed British Columbians accept this? Not much longer, we hope. The wealthy are not vexed – their kids are going to private school, so may be many more kids of less wealthy folks who see education as the priority for their kids, not available is the chaos of B.C. pubic schools. So – two very different B.C. governments for two decades, and still B.C. kids are out of school. Could it possibly be the BCTF approach?

I want to thank all those who came out to Campbell River, Willow Point on Saturday to support the Parkinson Society of BC. Together we raised $4,300 towards a cure for Parkinson Disease. There were approximately 50 walkers of all ages, even a few dogs came along too, so once again thanks to  you all. Every one makes a difference.

The has been a lot of articles in the paper about boating safety and the need to obtain a “Pleasure Craft Operators Card”. It’s time this was applied to bicycle operators also. Ninety per cent of the riders do not know the rules of the road or choose to ignore them. Two recent bad intersection accidents should prove that bicycle operators completely ignore stop signs. They also ride on the wrong side of the street, even on sidewalks and speed through a crosswalk in front of a vehicle about to make a right turn. Drivers are watching for walking pedestrians, not speeding bikes. Very dangerous. Some do not wear helmets or ride, ride three or four abreast instead of single file. They ride in front of traffic and hold it up, example; the Fifth St. bridge, they ride in the traffic lane instead of walking the bicycle on the sidewalk as instructed. There is no bicycle lane on the bridge. Yes, it’s time for a Bicycle Operators Course and Card. Riders need to be taught the “Rules of the Road”.

Now that Prime Minister Harper has been all excited about finding “parts” of the Franklin Expedition, which “went missing”  over a 100 years ago, could he please give his full and undivided attention to finding the missing and murdered First Nations women of the past few decades.  It’s all well and good to be excited about Canadian history, but the neglect of the 1,200 missing/murdered First Nations women is going to be historic in its own way. I can see the text books now: P.M. Harper and federal Conservatives find Franklin Expedition, in 2014,  after they were missing for 100 years. Murdered and missing First Nations women, still missing and murdered and no arrests, after 30 years. Perhaps they spent so much money and effort on finding the Franklin Expedition because they were male and white.  The 1,200 murdered/missing people are female and First Nations. Given all the research which went into finding the Franklin Expedition, perhaps a little national research could be put into finding out why First Nation’s women continue to be  murdered at a higher rate than non-First Nations women.

Roger Albert deserves credit for trying to forward the plight of Comox Valley residents who are lower income earners. It would be nice if minimum wages could be raised to livable levels and sustained, but many B.C.  employers have been hiring out-of-country workers who will work for less than minimum wage – this would likely worsen, with fewer local jobs for locals. The plight of the 40 per cent lower income Comox Valley residents has been ignored by most local politicians who have approved continual, excessive increases in property taxes and fees, and created large reserve funds. These 30,000 lower income residents are contributing to  $130 million reserve funds in local government bank accounts, that they can’t afford. There is an opportunity to make things a little better for low income residents in November. Vote for politicians who pledge to lower taxes and fees, or at least freeze them for the next four years.

I would like to add my support to a bridge at the extension of 29th Street, connecting to McDonald in Comox. This is absolutely the best location, and should be supported by all the councils in the Comox Valley. Concerns re the environment are always valid but when you consider the vehicles idling in congested traffic with any other option, it’s a no brainer. There will be environmental concerns with any location, so pick the one that best solves traffic concerns.