` Columbia Journal - Letters
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Blurred Ideology

Dear editor,

I don't see much ideological difference between the federal Liberals, Progressive Conservatives -- and nor the Canadian Alliance, for that matter.

The left- and right-wing of the political/ideological-spectrum divide are becoming blurred, though I believe that this divide may eventually dissipate completely.

Apparently, there's a contemporary-societal proliferation, in general, of a somewhat separate ideology gradually replacing the polarized left- and right-wing camps -- i.e., Libertarianism. This ideology, in its fundamentalist form, basically translates into the survival of the richest and the fully employed; liberalism on social issues, notably abortion and homosexuality, though ultra-conservatism on public/private fiscal matters, which translates into "welfare" and "social services" becoming proverbial dirty words.

This ideological shift is only exacerbated by the diminishing public sector, with its accompanying job-security and benefits; plus the expanding private-sector self-employment and contract work, in which there are little, if any, of the public-sector's above-mentioned positive employment-attributes. As this change occurs, there's much resentment by those employed in the private sector against those receiving job-security and benefits in the public sector.

Frank G. Sterle, Jr.
White Rock, BC

Drug Advertising

Dear Editor;

In a recent British Medical Journal editorial, University of British Columbia researcher Barbara Mintzes argues that direct-to-consumer drug advertising is contributing to the "over-medicalization" of our society, a trend which increasingly classifies problems of daily living (such as baldness or shyness) as diseases and therefore treatable with a pill of some sort.

This might fall into the "shake your head at the state of the world" category if the consequences weren't so serious.

According to UNICEF, recent market pressures have forced ten out of fourteen drug companies to partially or totally stop production of older, inexpensive childhood vaccines -- including those used for polio, measles, tetanus, diphtheria and whopping cough -- resulting in shortages serious enough to jeopardize immunization programs in both developing and industrialized countries.

Perhaps this is in part due to UNICEF 's own substantial decrease in basic immunisation spending after 1990 (which could have pushed drug companies to find more lucrative markets) but the current vaccine shortages are no doubt exacerbated by our "pill for every ill" North American lifestyle.

We obviously need to shift the "market pressures". Consumers could refuse to buy into the "disease-mongering" that is so profitable for drug companies, choose to tread lightly on the Canadian health care system, and insist that the federal government commit to increased and longer-term funding for basic health and immunization programmes in developing countries.

Yours truly,
Deb Ireland


The Editor,
Dear Sir,

If there is anyone out there still labouring under the delusion that Gordon Campbell is your friend, pay attention.

The privatization that Campbell touts is nothing less than a massive giveaway of your assets to his corporate backers. The inevitable result will be higher costs, diminished (or extinguished) services, and private contractors that will not be held accountable. Remember the leaky condo scandal? Those swindlers just took the money, closed their offices, and vanished. The suckers were left holding the bag. Where extreme right wing regimes exist, corruption and poverty follow.

I have never been a political activist, and I have never before written letters to the editor, but this reckless right wing nut must be stopped.

Don't wait until B.C. is just another banana republic. Use every lawful means to force Gordon Campbell and his deceitful "B.C. Liberals" our of office before they destroy all that the people of B.C. have worked long and hard to build.

Vance Ponsford

Forestry Woes

Dear Editor:

The previous Provincial Governments should not be blamed for all the failings of the BC forest industry. The Industry should look at itself.

Fortunes were made and are still being made since the start of commercial mining of the forest resources at the turn of the century. Until recently, the economics was based on cut-and-run capitalism. And the forest resources were provided to the Industry at nominal prices by the Government on behalf of the people of British Columbia. This modality laid the ground work for the current economic crisis.

The easily accessible large trees have been felled long ago, particularly in the coastal region. When the trees are gone, the jobs are gone also. Now the remaining large trees in the intact old-growth forests are much more inaccessible and costly to harvest. The important social and environmental benefits of intact forests are only lately being recognized. Who is at fault?

Despite the enormous profit made during past years, the Industry never had any vision to progress beyond the "2 x 4" business mentality. The Industry's only mission is still to get more wood cheaper and to make money faster.

In reality, the harvesting rate for softwoods has already exceeded the overly-optimistic allowable annual cut for many years. Further aggressive deforestation is of no benefit to the people of British Columbia in the long term. Fewer government regulations do not confer any competitive advantage to British Columbia's "2 x 4"s, finger-joint mouldings, window frames, etc.

The low-cost off-shore products are coming! These products are made from imported softwood logs, and with the use of cheap labour and latest technology. It is laughable to hear provincial and federal politicians touting the considerable market opportunities in East Asia. The East Asians importers want logs and not finished wood products.

Wong Syuh-jeun


The Columbia Journal
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