Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

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‘Take back your power’

In September, an eye-opening documentary feature film called “Take Back Your Power” was released and was shown at  the Shatford Centre on Main Street in Penticton, and is slated for viewing at the Oliver Community Centre on Monday,  November 18 at 2 pm and again at 7 pm. Admission is free.

This film  investigates the “smart” meter program currently being implemented in North America and worldwide by most of the major utility companies. Most people are still debating if this is for our profit or theirs.

Take Back Your Power uncovers alarming issues about  health, privacy, property rights, corporate fraud and the unprecedented vulnerability of the “smart grid.”  You will gain a deeper understanding of the political and economic forces behind the smart meter agenda, as well as resources and proven solutions for how you can protect yourself, your family, your home and your rights.

The many FortisBC customers who do not want to have the controversial radiation-emitting meter on their private residence will soon have to choose whether to opt-out.

In August of this year, the BC Utilities Commission gave Fortis approval to install the  smart meters on our homes only on the condition that a very inexpensive opt-out program be available to the many people who would choose not to have the radiation-emitting meters on their homes.

A meeting will be held this month between the BCUC,  several public intervenors and FortisBC  to determine an inexpensive opt-out program for Fortis customers.

The BC Utilities Commission will make the final decision.  Hopefully the cost of the opt-out  will be manageable to all people, especially those on low income.

 

Judy Nicholas, Oliver

 

A cave might look good 

Yes, I agree with Mr. Thorsteinson, whether it is seniors or otherwise, a six per cent raise on Fortis utilities is rough and all their excuses on their part that we should use less electricity.

So, pull the plugs on all when not using washing machines, TV, computer, etc. All lights off! Would it not be interesting to see the difference?

Is the “smart” meter going to make a difference to the control of our electricity? Fortis knows very well that smart meters are not necessary and the manufacturers have the far less costly wired meter alternative.

The excuse of the cellphone and other commodities carried by hand are not 24 hours/365 days a year steadily on. It is up to the individual.

B.C Hydro uses the drug crops found in individual homes as an excuse. It should be up to BC Hydro to report to our police as that is their duty.

I had a phone call with one to seven  questions apparently to do with the Enbridge pipeline. The caller said that because I answered yes to question one and seven, that I agreed to the pipeline.

Well I assure you that without question Enbridge should never be allowed to lay pipelines through our mountainous B.C., through the Douglas Channel embracing Kitimat and on.

Please get a map of B.C. out and look at our Coast line, it is one of the most hazardous in the World. The Douglas Channel is the longest and possibly the most difficult to maneuver.

An accident is not a question of never happening but when. Damage unlimited! All that area and in to the Dutch Steel planned fracking for gas has been cancelled thanks to the stand taken by the First Nations.

I have been through that area and it is one of the greatest Salmon spawning river areas in the World. We need to make Big business realize that our earth and people come first.

We may have to take life at a slower pace and consider our surroundings, wildlife and our health. We need to take a stand and voice our opinions!

Since the Free trade much of our industry has moved out of Canada into the Asian Countries, now they want our resources to keep them busy. How crass can our governments become?

We Canadians have become too Liberal in our attitude and Big Business has under Conservative thinking taken every advantage. The big bucks count for them. Big everything and I do not have to point anything out. Not good enough when they buck the Unions because of people demanding a decent wage.

Because of Big Business running to poor countries, setting them up – allowing low wages we will find decreasing sales and livelihood in Canada. In a generation or two who will reap the benefits? Even a cave might look good!

 

Agnes Sutherland, Oliver

 

War Amps program is vital

I belong to Operation Legacy, a group of members of The War Amps Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program dedicated to preserving Canada’s military heritage and teaching other young people how to carry on the remembrance message.

This year, The War Amps is celebrating a major anniversary. Ninety-five years ago, First World War amputee veterans formed The Amputations Association of the Great War. The name was changed to The War Amputations of Canada when Second World War amputees joined their ranks. These men later started the CHAMP Program to assist young amputees like me.

In addition to having had the privilege of learning about Canada’s military heritage from a young age, I also know what it is like to live without a limb – a strong bond that I share with war amputee veterans. I feel it is my duty to ensure that the stories of war are preserved and its lessons not forgotten.

I have been fortunate to be involved with Operation Legacy by participating in local Remembrance Day ceremonies and laying wreaths on behalf of The War Amps.

I encourage everyone to learn more through The War Amps Military Heritage Series documentaries, which are available at a cost-recovery price at waramps.ca.

 

Nicole Byford, Operation Legacy member, Cranbrook 

 

FortisBC bargaining in good faith 

With FortisBC’s labour dispute continuing despite our efforts toward a resolution, we believe it is important provide your readers with an update.

Recently the union membership voted down a second tentative agreement. The deal was signed and recommended to the membership for ratification by the bargaining committee and by Rod Russell.

We are disappointed with the choice to continue job action and had wanted to see our employees return to work. Clearly the membership and the bargaining committee have different perspectives that will need to be worked through.

These employees make a good wage.  On average, compensation including benefits is $127,000 per year.

This most recent tentative agreement saw a further increase to wages; no changes to benefits and the removal of a productivity enhancement from a prior settlement recommendation from a union selected mediator regarding travelling to and from job sites.

Prior to our two most recent negotiations, FortisBC and the union agreed to an agenda that included a four-day work week and staffing of our system control centre. Both items would reduce costs and enhance productivity for customers while seeing additional wage premiums and value for employees.

Since 2001, some employees represented by IBEW 213 have been working a four-day work week which requires wagreement between the company and the employees.  In bwargaining both parties agreed to a change that would be part of a new collective agreement and would be in accordance with BC Labour Law. Now, employees who are requested by FortisBC to work this shift would receive a premium of an additional five per cent for all hours worked on the schedule, and an annual shift schedule will be posted giving families time to plan ahead.

Employees in FortisBC’s System Control Centre have traditionally been designated as essential by the Labour Relations Board and have been required to work during a labour disruption.

This norm was challenged by the IBEW both in essential services negotiation and in their threat to walk out of the control room leaving it without personnel.

In recent negotiations, FortisBC and the union agreed on a solution that would designate these roles as essential to avoid offsetting wage increases with future training costs for management employees to fulfill this task. The avoidance of these costs directly benefits IBEW employees and FortisBC’s customers.

Throughout these negotiations we have tried to reach an agreement that meets the needs of our employees and customers.  We have bargained in good faith.  And we remain committed to reaching a new collective agreement.

 

Joyce Wagenaar, director, FortisBC communications

 

 

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