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  • Volume Eight, Number Five: July 2003


    Ten Thousand Dead - not for nothing

    Art Paul’s letter (Ten Thousand Dead) in the last Columbia Journal was certainly moving, but also off base.

    Those Iraqi civilians did not die for nothing. The fact is Iraq was governed by a bloody tyrant who invaded other countries. He had to be removed.

    Yes, I too am very concerned that some of the most ruthless dictators today, including Saddam, have been supported and aided by the US government, and big American companies are benefiting from this.

    I’m also worried that lucrative contracts for Iraqi oil and other businesses are being awarded to US firms with insider ties to the Bush Administration and the Republican Party, especially since they insisted this war wasn’t about oil. And I also fret the new Iraqi government may turn out as bad as Saddam.

    But these are reasons for changing US foreign policy, not reasons against removing Saddam by force, regardless that the US supported him previously.

    Saddam crossed the line. He used chemical weapons against his own people in violation of UN treaties. He attacked surrounding countries—first Iran, then Kuwait—and threatened others, like Syria and Saudi Arabia.

    He was clearly the greater evil and something had to be done. The US invasion of Iraq was neither heroic nor glorious. It was simply necessary.

    Andy Cohn


    Tell It Like It Is

    I really liked your editorial on fighting terrorism by getting to the source. Finally! Finally, somebody tells it like it is.

    It always amazes me how the US government goes out and finds these crazy freaks, teaches them how to be even worse, arms them, puts them in power, gives them deals with the biggest corporations in the world and then wonders why they can't control them.

    Glad to see someone’s making some sense in the media today.

    J. Crill

    New Westminster

    Split Vote Could Keep Liberals In Power

     I noticed in your print issue an ad regarding the next provincial election as being "Payback Time" for the BC Liberals.  I am afraid that this is overly optimistic what with the left/green opposition nearly certainly splitting the vote between them and having the Liberals win up the middle.  The NDP and the Greens must come to an agreement about how they can jointly field candidates or else it will be another disastrous Liberal term in office.

    Andrew Phillips

    New Westminster

    Letter of Shame

    My laconic ex-European neighbor, Sam, stopped by my fence on his morning walk yesterday. In the midst of our usual "avoiding politics" chat he came out with this remarkable comment:

    " I will carry to the grave my shame that I voted for this government."

    Arthur Tinney
    Black Creek

    Light Rail Answer to RAV Debacle 

    The problem with the RAV project, as well as the Expo and Millennium Rapid Transit Lines is that rapid transit has proven not to attract much new ridership.

    Expensive R/T projects, the great Philosopher's Stone from the 1960's and 70's, were built on the premise that speed alone will attract ridership. The faster and more expensive the R/T system the better it will be. SkyTrain was born out of this philosophy.

    Yet speed alone has proven not to attract much new ridership! Embarrassingly, subways and elevated R/T systems also have faired very poorly against at-grade LRT, in attracting new customers! Why then continue R/T planning in Vancouver?

    Today, studies have shown transit planners that to attract ridership, rapid transit must serve both where the customer lives and where he wants to go, comfortably, in an ambient and seamless (no-transfer) journey. As R/T is too expensive to build to the suburbs, as well servicing major destinations, it fails. SkyTrain's Expo Line is a perfect example: it's only carrying one third of its predicted peak hour ridership and embarrassingly, ridership on SkyTrain in falling!

    Hence the renaissance of modern light rail transit. Being much cheaper to build than rapid transit, LRT can be economically built, servicing the suburbs, where customers live, and the many destinations where customers want to go, providing the network for the all important seamless journey!

    The real question of RAV has been ignored, both by naive politicians and devious bureaucrats alike: building with LRT from Vancouver to Steveston, via the Arbutus Corridor, for about $20 million/km. or a SkyTrain R/T subway at about $150 million/km.

    With little public debate, the taxpayer is forced, yet again, to ante up for a hugely expensive dated R/T line, built mainly for political prestige!

    Malcolm Johnston

    Delta, BC

    Let’s Help BC For a Change

    Recently, Competition Minister Rick Thorpe asked how to raise revenues without debt and without leasing, closing down or selling off public assets like the Coquihalla or BC Hydro, etc. In reality, sufficient revenue exists, however it’s surrendered to “Yankee traders” by our unpatriotic governments.

    Currently, our greatest revenue producer, the BC forest industry is being systematically weakened, drained and destroyed by the US lumber bullies’ efforts to grab and control our vital timber resources.

    The BC Government vehemently opposes subsidization. Yet it hypocritically allows our superior BC forest industry to pay the lumber tariffs. However, this is tantamount to subsidization, because under the USA’s unjust Byrd Amendment, tariff monies can go directly to help individual inefficient USA lumber companies compete, rather than to the US treasury.

    To counter and offset lost lumber revenues, why hasn’t the BC Government done its public duty and given the US lumber bullies’ ultimatums to stop tariff extortion or face the following:

    1. Immediate tariffs on all raw logs exported to USA up to three times the USA lumber tariffs.
    2. Threats of banning all raw logs to USA.
    3. No further payments of lumber tariffs and full reimbursement of all tariffs collected.
    4. Increased export prices on our oil, gas, electricity etc to cover lumber tariff costs.
    5. A BC Government initiated worldwide boycott of USA wood products.

    There’s no revenue problem, and it’s detrimental to privatize the public’s assets. Privatization is a neo-conservative ideological scam, where governments undemocratically help a few to get rich from the wealth created by the many.

    To maximize revenues, the BC Government must cease helping Corporate America’s pastime of pilfering BC.

    Robert Cichocky


    More on Liberal Fiscal Fallacies

    Okay, now for the facts.

    The Liberals gave away over a billion dollars to the rich. That giveaway will cost the province about $3 Billion to recover back into social programs.

    Everyone agrees that health care needs restructuring. Every province is actively pursuing this.

    When the NDP left office there was over $1 Billion in surplus revenue. Employment was up, unemployment was down and we ranked third in economic performance among the provinces. After giving away the Billion, we are dead last in economic performance, unemployment is up, new job creation is down and for the first time in the provinces history we are classed as a "have not province."
    Newfoundland is doing better than us.

    Put it all together and the picture is quite dismal. If the forestry sector doesn't turn around we will be in for a rough ride in 2004/2005. The Liberals can't be blamed for the global economic slump, but giving away the Billion sure didn't help.

    Barry Sanderson



























































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