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The Columbia Journal
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Vancouver, British Columbia,
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Columbia Journal logoVolume Nine, Number Two    April 2004    www.columbiajournal.ca


    Anti-SSM Letter Out to Lunch

    I was offended to read Jay Keller's letter to the editor (March 2004 - SSM Issue Over-rated). Keller makes two wrongful claims that gay people have no desire to have families, and that some gay men are against the family unit because they are "supposedly" a barrier to having sex with boys.

    As a gay woman with many gay friends, male and female, I have never once heard anyone I have encountered over the years lament the family unit because they wanted to engage in sex with boys! This is a grossly untrue stereotype that Keller seems to have swallowed.

    And as for gay people not wanting families or being "anti-family," Keller is way off the mark. I know many gay people who are choosing to have children, who love their parents and siblings and are more pro-family than many straight people! Keller needs to spend more time in the gay community and witness the love and family spirit that is present there before making erroneous judgments that we are "anti-family!"

     Brenda Tombs
     Burnaby, BC

    Lesbians Have Families Too

    In response to Jay Keller’s letter SSM Issue Over-Rated in the March edition, I would like to thank Mr. Keller for pointing out that pedophilia, and thinking one’s sexual orientation is the only reasonable way to be, is limited to gays and lesbians only. (I wish it were so).

     I’m sure that my many lesbian friends choosing to birth and raise chosen, well-loved children with two mothers (and sometimes a dad or two) within committed partnerships and now marriages are relieved to know that they don’t need to pretend to be “family oriented” anymore, now that Mr. Keller, a straight man from Langley, has declared the truth about their lives.

    Sophia Kelly

    Anti-War Event Inspires

    A recent event at the Orpheum theatre gave us all a feeling of hope and inspiration that indeed there can be a change of course in the world, and that we can build a peaceful world on our terms, locally, provincially and federally.

    To be in the audience to witness Burnaby/ Douglas MP Svend Robinson, NDP leader Jack Layton and famous American intellectual Noam Chomsky speaking at the same event was to be truly blessed. The deep and passionate intellectual thought that comes from these three personalities is absolutely remarkable, and is something that is sorely lacking in modern politics.
    Tony Coccia,

    Natural Water not so Natural

    I am amazed to see that local stores are still stocking Dasani mineral water, produced and marketed by Coca-Cola. They must be aware that this product has been withdrawn from the market in the UK after Coca-Cola conceded that it came not from a mountain spring but from the company's tap!

    Apparently the company “purified” it by treating it with reverse osmosis, then added some calcium chloride to improve its “taste profile,” whatever that means. According to a recent Guardian Weekly article, they then added “a shot of ozone to oxidize the bromide in the calcium chloride. That was a step too far: the harmless bromide was oxidized into carcinogenic bromate.”

    My apologies for the scientific jargon but I hope it alerts both the public and the sellers to the danger.

    I certainly will not be buying any and neither should anyone else.

    Jean R. Macintyre
    North Vancouver

    Support the Citizens’ Assembly

    The Citizens Assembly on Electoral Reform is drafting the rules by which politicians get to rule us. They want to hear from you.

    During May and June, forty-nine public hearings will be held throughout the province where the citizens, voters, and taxpayers get to draft rules for politicians.

    This is unheard of. Never in our history have the people been asked to make rules for our rulers. After hearing from the people, the Citizens Assembly will decide whether to recommend a change to a different voting system, and if so, that recommendation will go before all the people in a referendum on May 17, 2005.

    From beginning to end this process gives power to the people. Your input really matters. Now it is your turn. Perhaps you gave up voting years ago, you feel voting doesn’t change anything, or it’s no good voting for your party in your riding because your party doesn’t have a chance, or because your party  will win anyway. Maybe you support the party but not the local candidate.

    If such frustration is your experience, you must speak up now and attend a public hearing near you. All British Columbians are invited to make a presentation in writing, or orally, or both.

    For a complete listing of public hearings, and to register to make your presentation, call toll free 1-866-667-1232, or visit www.citizensassembly.bc.ca.

    Nick Loenen

    Environment or Nothing

    Kudos for those who put the environment on their priority list, or at least to some extent (Co-op Retailer Puts Disposable Batteries on Recycling List—March 2004).

    All governments and political wannabes--and regular folk--should consider the following pertinent question: what good is creating or preserving businesses and jobs when people are sick, dying or already dead because of environmental degradation?

    For many years, California, albeit for decades a world-class example of vehicle-exhaust pollution producers, has exploited the winds. That state seems to be a good starting point for clean-energy ideas.

    It all can make one wonder. How long will the “Blue Planet” remain ecologically viable?
    One theory floating out there, but not readily known (and not necessarily adopted by me), is that of The Quickening. Quite like the human body’s immune system, the Earth is an organic form that will purge itself of the humanity virus through its immune system. For example, HIV/AIDS, which some experts believe was released from the ground during the human destruction of southern-hemisphere rain forests.

    Frank G. Sterle, Jr.
    White Rock

    Fearing Retirement

    I read with great interest and hope, but also sadness and worry, your articles on what’s happening with our pension plans (Pension Sense March 2004). I work in an industry where we recently learned our pension plan was in jeopardy.

    It’s great to see that a lot of average working people, especially in the unions, are getting interested in getting more democratic control of their hard-earned retirement money and how it’s used.

    But I wonder if there is still time. The Air Canada article (Pension Problems March 2004) may show that many larger companies are moving faster at taking apart pensions than people are at getting control of them.

    I am nearing retirement age, and now I learn that what I thought was a secure retirement income might not be so certain any more. I don’t think it’s right that people who have spent their whole lives working and saving for retirement should have to face this type of threat.

    May Brown

    Is There no Avian Flu Across the Border?

    Wild birds are said to be the carriers of Avian Flu from flock to flock.

    I wonder what is keeping the Avian Flu from crossing the very narrow band of territory called Zero Avenue along the border and spreading the Avian Flu from infected Canadian farms to the, so far, uninfected US farms so near to the border on both sides?

    From some farms one could walk across the border to similar farms on the
    US side in three minutes if it were permitted to do so.

    Bob Smith

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