Opinion

Letters: Clark gets C- for jobs plan

Some Surrey elementary schools are trying a new no-grade program and doing away with traditional letter grades. The media have put Ms. Clark and her posse on the “letter-grade program. Let’s analyze this a little further.

Just as the experimental grade removal and subjective evaluation experiment is taking place in schools, the pundits are handing out grades. Ironic, isn’t it? Ms. Clark and her B.C. Jobs Plan is rated at a miserable C-. According to Stats Canada, the unemployment rate in April 2013 was 6.4 per cent. As the jobs plan was announced it was 6.7 per cent.

On Clark’s first day on the job as Premier in March, 2011, it was eight per cent. B.C. is fifth among all provinces, with 17,600 full-time and part-time jobs created. B.C. trails Ontario, Alberta, Quebec and Saskatchewan in job creation. The only job growth has come in public sector jobs (+42,200) and self-employed (+21,000).

The province has lost more than 45,000 private-sector jobs. On a percentage basis, B.C. ranks eighth among provinces. Total full-time and part-time jobs have grown by just 0.8 per cent in the last 17 months.

Only Manitoba and New Brunswick have done worse.

So far as full-time job creation goes, B.C. ranks third in absolute terms (+38,500 new full-time jobs), but ranks fifth in relative terms (+2.16 per cent), fifth (+11,500).

In absolute terms in growth of its labour force (all employed plus all unemployed) B.C. is fifth (+11,500) and dead-last among all provinces in relative terms (0.46 per cent). Across the country, 66.5 per cent of Canadian participate in the labour force as either full-time employed person, part-time employed persons or unemployed persons. In B.C. the labour force participation rate is 64.3 per cent, fourth worst among all provinces.

Ain’t facts and figures grand folks? This is especially true when they can be corroborated.

BC Liberals will point to the unemployment rate, currently at 6.4 per cent compared to 6.7 per cent when the Jobs Plan was announced. But that unemployment rate is the highest unemployment in the four Western provinces. Moreover, the size of B.C.s labour force has hardly grown at all. In, fact B.C. is dead last among all provinces when it comes to the rate of growth of its labour force in the last 17 months.

In conclusion, although she would have her Jobs Plan rated as A+ (thanks to her and her spin doctors), once again facts and figures don’t lie.  An A+ is a long way away from a C-. Who says that letter grading is all bad? Sometimes the truth really hurts! It’s time for some after-school tutoring Ms. Clark and maybe a reality check? It’s time to get your head out of the clouds; your feet on the ground and to start calling a spade a spade.  Your predecessor taught you well, Campbellnnochio rides again!

Ron Barillaro

Penticton

*****

Utility bills are starving seniors

I can’t grasp the concept of increase after increase without the recipient of the increase getting an increase, which would allow the person receiving the increase to comply with all these damn increases!

It’s insane. I’m convinced that this government wrote the script to Catch 22, only this catch 22 is not fiction, but getting more intense and actually fictional by the day.

My neighbours and I were trading information on utility bills, and being apartment dwellers, it’s mind boggling. Especially if you are on a fixed income.

How are we supposed to keep our heads above water if the price fixers (government) don’t keep the cost of living price fixed. And to add insult to injury they gave us pensioners and those on a fixed income, a 1.5 per cent increase to offset the 10 per cent increase in the cost of living they have imposed on us.

They say we have all got to pull together, well, I’m not even going there, or tighten our belts. My goodness we’re all going around with tourniquet cutting off our life support while the fatted calf gets fatter by the day, OK, pig for Tom’s benefit.

The government will not be content until it has turned us all into homeless street people. Even then they will fine us for vagrancy. And we will be forever more, screwed, blued and tattooed.

Andy Homan

Penticton

*****

Smart Meters safe and secure

I would like to respond to some misinformation recently published about smart meters.

The Smart Metering Program is about more than just exchanging meters. It’s about upgrading the province’s aging electricity grid to provide a secure and reliable power system for all customers for years to come. The radio-frequency signals BC Hydro’s smart meters use to communicate are safe and similar to those used for decades by televisions, radios and other common household devices.

B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer, Health Canada and the World Health Organization all confirm the wireless meters pose no known health risks. Smart meters record how much electricity is used each hour and cannot identify the specific appliance or activity that used the energy.

We have been collecting electricity-use information for 50 years through a secure, regulated process: the upgraded metering system does not change this.

Now that almost all the new meters have been installed, operational efficiencies like automated meter readings, reduced wasted electricity and improved theft detection will deliver savings that will be used to help keep rates affordable for all customers.

Those customers who have the new meters are already seeing the benefits of the modern system. The new automated billing system is eliminating routinely estimated bills and manual data-entry errors, ensuring customers are billed only for the power used in a billing period.

And customers who have signed up for secure MyHydro accounts can use the more-timely information about their electricity use to help identify new ways to conserve energy and save money.

Fiona Taylor

Director of Smart Metering

BC Hydro

*****

Blowing smoke

(re: No pity for demise of pot petition, Letters, Western News, Dec. 27, 2013)

Mr. Homan you’re just blowing smoke. The petition was not about the legalization of marijuana. It was for a referendum on whether or not to decriminalize its use.

I am a sensible non-smoker (of anything), however, I do object to the waste of taxpayers’ money going for pot cops in helicopters, etc., chasing after small growers and users, especially those on medicinal prescriptions.

A few years ago, my daughter, on her rural Vancouver Island property, was nearly buzzed right off her small door stoop by a two-man RCMP helicopter, whirling its blade dangerously close to the encircling pine trees.

All this time, money and effort had to do with six tomato plants she was watering in their pots! Pot seems to be such a dirty word that even when it contains tomatoes, it sets some people off.

Joy Lang

Penticton

*****

Lakeshore walkway poses safety risks

The new  Lakeshore walkway and upgrade are now completed and I have some serious concerns.

We walk that stretch of sidewalk all the time and have observed and believe there are definite safety concerns regarding how low the curbs are.

We have already seen vehicles jump this curb and we are not even into the beach season. Along this busy tourist stretch what we now have is a serious accident waiting to happen.

Wilma  Van Vliet

Penticton

 

 

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