September 7, 2016
Where did the elk go?
Larry Hall, president of the East Kootenay Hunters Association, states that the East Kootenay now has 7500-8000 elk, down from 30,000. MLA Bill Bennett agrees with Hall and then adds the diversion of wolves and bears as well as urban voters who don’t hunt.
Historically, at least half of the Rocky Mountain elk in BC have resided in the Kootenays, which would put the province’s total number of elk currently between 15,000 to 16,000 animals. How does that compare with other jurisdictions in North America? Let’s look at the facts:
ELK NUMBERS IN OTHER JURISDICTIONS
New Mexico 70,000
2012 ELK HARVEST HUNTERS
Colorado 43,490 215,326
Montana 20,550 102,861
Idaho 26,269 155,076
Wyoming 26,365 57,331
What do the various states do that BC does not do in managing their elk herds? What science and wildlife management in the U.S. is not practiced in BC?
No US state has a general open season exclusively for 6-points, the prime breeding bulls. Research long ago demonstrated that when the younger bulls rather than the mature bulls do the breeding, fewer calves survive.
No US state has a general open season during the rut.
No US state requires foreign elk hunters to hire a guide.
No state guarantees a guide business, with the health of the business counting more than the population of the species. See the Darwin Carey Decision, Environmental Appeal Board No. 2007-WIL-002(a).
The science, the state of the art, exists but BC chooses to put forth
misinformation and anything to divert the public’s attention. Weather: It’s so much warmer in the states. When you pass through Roosville or Eastport, you immediately feel the warm climate that allows for more elk in Montana, Idaho, etc. Somehow Colorado—with a million more people and 550 mountain peaks exceeding 4000 metres elevation in an area one-fourth the size of BC—has 16 times the number of elk we have.
Predators is another big distraction from dealing with the 6-point season and hunting during the rut—leading to inferior breeding with calves being born over 120+ days rather than 40 days. More days for predators to feast, and fewer days for calves to grow big and strong enough to survive the winter. As prey numbers decline, the wolves, we’re told, increase. Only in BC.
Six-point bulls are not only prime breeding stock, they are trophy bulls—much prized by foreign hunters but not by resident hunters, the vast majority of whom are after meat, not antlers. No wonder the guides requested the 6-point season, which allows their foreign clients to enjoy a “quality” hunt with very little competition from residents.
The cry for more funding is out of line with reality. As the government’s policies have driven hunters to quit, income to both government and the local economy has gone down, as predicted. Based on production, the Branch may have had too many funds.
The ignoring of scientific developments and the best practices of the day may be explained in a quote from Upton Sinclair: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” The guides have worked hard to kill their business, and the government has worked hard to support them.
William G. (“Bill”) Hills, M.P.A., Ph.D.
February 2nd 2016
Dear Guardian Editor:
In response to some of the comments about my earlier deer cull letter to the media, I’d like to clarify a few points. I support the City’s deer cull. I did when I was a councillor and I do so now. But I don’t support Mayor and Council making such an important and sensitive decision in-camera and hiding their deliberations from the public. They did the same thing when they decided to sell the City's heritage fire hall and this kind of government in the shadows has got to stop. I know the City acted in part out of concern about the traps being vandalized, which is a legitimate concern, but not a justification for secrecy. Let’s face it. We’re a small town and secrets are hard to keep. Not only this, the trapping permit has to be obtained from the Province and that information isn’t confidential. We also know anti-cull groups will go to almost any length to obstruct culls. So what should Council do. The answer isn’t rocket science. If another cull is ordered, hopefully after public debate, Council should make it a contract condition that the contractor also provides security so that the traps won’t be vandalized. Yes, that would cost more money, but to do a job properly, you’ve got to spend money.
Council has already spent thousands on the culling program and used up countless hours of volunteer time by the deer count committee. So don’t you think it’s time that our City mothers and fathers did the job properly? Maybe if they did and the deer translocation program proved a success it would eliminate the need for culls in the future and end the divisiveness that has hurt the reputation of our town. Maybe, as the experts claim, translocation won’t work, but it’s worth a try. And it would certainly be better than a Council that makes all its tough decisions in secret.
Gerry Warner(250) 489-3271 January 15th, 2016
Say it ain’t so, Cranbrook City Hall! I still have difficulty believing that mayor, city council and CAO would approve a clandestine deer cull (kill) in-camera without the taxpayers knowledge while telling the public they were going to translocate deer instead of killing them. Then carry out the cull spending taxpayers’ money doing it – and at the same time – accept plaudits from the many opposed to the cull including the Animal Alliance of Canada who offered to donate $10,000 to the translocation program. Then when their sleazy, deceitful act was exposed in a video – yes, a You Tube video! – by the Animal Rights people and questioned by the media they stick their haughty noses in the air and say they don’t discuss sordid deeds like this in the media! But unless the sun has started rising in the west and setting in the east this is apparently what they did. And once again Cranbrook’s name has been darkened from coast to coast to coast. In his play Hamlet, Shakespeare says “something is rotten in the state of Demark.” Well, I’m going to update the Bard and say unequivocally that “something is rotten at Cranbrook City Hall” and it’s time these representatives of the people fessed up. And oh yes, I have special knowledge of this situation and know how difficult an issue the deer situation is because I was a City councillor myself in the previous administration and foolishly made the same mistake myself of approving a deer cull in camera without telling the people. But when our council got caught in the act, I admitted what we had done, apologized to the public and condemned council for what it had done starting with myself first. Never again, I said and it didn’t happen again during that council’s term. Instead we did surveys and studied the problem which didn’t do a hell of a lot of good either. But at least we didn’t hide behind the public’s back. So I challenge this council, the mayor and the CAO to do the right thing and apologize publically to the citizens of Cranbrook for your perfidy. In the circumstances, it’s the least you can do.
July 6th, 2015
Letter to the Editor:
Recently, the Cranbrook Chamber of Commerce announced that it is already organizing an all candidate’s event for the upcoming federal election. Wonderful!
The looming question is: “Will MP David Wilks show up for all the debates?”
In 2011 Mr. Wilks attendance was 43%. He failed to attend debates in Revelstoke, Invermere, Kimberley and Cranbrook. If someone wants to be elected to act and speak on our behalf, it’s like a job interview - best to show up. No excuses. Debates are where many people can learn what each candidate stands for and whether or not they will reflect our values in government.
It will be good to see all the candidates at all the debates, especially in the communities new to the riding, like Nelson.
Yours for democracy,
RE: March for Action on Climate Change, September 22, 2014
What Next After the People’s Climate March?
Last Sunday, I was among the 400,000 in the streets of New York participating in the People’s Climate March, the largest climate protest in history. I applaud everyone in Cranbrook who joined in solidarity with thousands in communities across Canada and around the world.
Being part of such a mass of humanity was exhilarating, striving with people from all walks of life and ethnicity for a common goal – a livable world for future generations.
I come home energized with the realization it is now time to roll up our sleeves and do what we can to quickly change our path to a low carbon future.
There is a way forward that is elegant in its simplicity – a steadily-rising fee on carbon-based fuels that returns revenue to households. Such a fee can quickly reduce our carbon emissions, grow the economy, and protect low and middle income people. The price signal will rapidly spur innovation, opening up new business opportunities, as we move toward low carbon energy.
I urge everyone to educate your elected officials, business leaders, and community members about this simple solution for creating a safe future for our children. We have a moral obligation to demand serious action now.
Laura Sacks, 2305 Hwy 3A, Castlegar, BC V1N 4P3
(250) 399-4313 email@example.comLaura is founding member of Nelson’s chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby. Please contact her for more information, especially on forming a coalition with the East Kootenays.May 27th 2013
Doctors’ errors and omissionsThe election ad in the May 8 Townsman and the May 10 Advertiser by Cranbrook Physicians for Health—all 6 of them—was a big case of errors and omissions.Were they too busy or too important to bother complying with the Election Act? Section 231(1) of the Act requires third parties who wish to advertise during an election campaign to register with Elections BC. Further, they must state in their ad that they are a registered sponsor under the Election Act, and they must provide an address or phone number where they may be contacted. The ad in the Townsman by the Cranbrook Physicians for Health failed to fulfill these requirements.The errors include the statement that “Cranbrook is a full-service regional hospital” and that “We have a full complement of medical specialists.” The ad lists 14 specialties. The Kalispell Regional Hospital lists 39 specialties including: cardiology 9 physicians, cardiothoracic surgery 2, medical oncology 6, neurology 6, neurosurgery 3, nephrology 2, rheumatology 2, pulmonology 3, endocrinology 3, dermatology 3, plastic surgery 2, physical medicine rehabilitation 2, pain management 4. Since 1987 the Kalispell hospital has had both radiation oncology and a permanent MRI.For a fuller look at a regional hospital offering a full spectrum of health care services, google Kalispell Regional Medical Center’s clear and informative website. For an eye-opening shock, google Cranbrook Regional Hospital for a paucity of information in a bureaucratic style.How does the Kalispell area, with a population not much greater than Cranbrook’s health area, get to where Dr. Milton Glatterer says “It will be an uncommon need to travel out of the Flathead Valley for heart surgery”? How? The area legislators work hard and quietly bring home their fair share, while not having their funds drained off to pay for big city stadiums and convention centres—all without political cheerleaders.There is much more to life than winning elections at any cost.William G. Hills, Ph.D.Cranbrook, BC250-489-1108
May 10th 2013
Why are we letting our B.C. Liberal Government and Big Oil plunder our Natural Resources?
Why are we letting our B.C. Liberal Government and Big Oil and Big Coal plunder our petroleum, coal,
and natural gas deposits as fast as they can? Are we worried that those resources will not be worth
anything as soon as alternative energy becomes common and cheap? Well that is wrong, wrong, wrong.
Our natural resources will be valuable forever. We should only extract our share and leave lots of
natural gas, coal, and oil for future generations. My dad was a chemical engineer. He used to tell us
in the 1960s and 70s that fossil fuels were far too precious to be blown out a commuter's exhaust pipe.
Fossil fuels will be valuable forever as starter chemicals for industry. If we are going to participate in
the carbon-fiber economy of the future, having oil, natural gas, and coal left to sell as starter chemicals
makes good business sense. Let other countries sell off their resources fast and cheap. We should make
sure we are getting good value for our resources. The multinational companies should be paying us full
value for our coal, oil, and natural gas, instead of making hefty political donations to the party in power
to give them tax and royalty breaks.
We need to elect a government that is going to protect our children's and grandchildren's share of the
resources. The B.C. Liberals seem to be in a hurry to sell off our resources. Are you NDPer's willing to
protect our children's heritage?
March 21st 2013
Tom Fletcher is wrong to say the Liberals and the NDP are equally guilty of mishandling funds (“Both parties have betrayed us,” March 19, 2013).
In fact the NDP caucus got the green light from the Legislative Comptroller before it began pooling money from constituency funds. Later, when the Auditor General disagreed with that decision, the NDP discontinued the practice. Obviously, two government officials had two different opinions on this matter.
In the case of the Liberals, no prior approval was sought, and their own investigation “confirmed allegations that public officials committed serious breaches of their duties, mixed party and government business, misused government funds and used private emails to try to cover their tracks.” (Craig McInness, Vancouver Sun, March 17, 2013). Cassidy Olivier, in The Province (March 16, 2013), described the Liberals’ actions as “a clear violation of the standards of conduct as outlined in the B.C. Public Service Act.” As a result the party wrote a cheque for $70,000 to cover the estimated cost of the improper use of taxpayer funds. Guilty as charged.
As Vaughn Palmer said on CBC radio (Almanac, March 15), “There is no comparison” between the actions of the two parties.
March 1st 2013
City Council hides from accountability
Cranbrook City Council is sorely lacking in leadership when it resorts to a secret meeting not only to have a debate but also to take a vote. “Secret” is the word that explains the obfuscation “in camera.”
How is the voter to know what he/she voted for in the last election, when councilors refuse to be publicly recorded on a vote? So much for accountability and transparency. Anyone wondering why we get a 30% turnout for city elections?
City Hall has confused city governance with corporate governance. The City is not a business; it’s a government. And what qualifies a city to go into a secret meeting was listed years ago: 1) personnel matters, 2) employee relations, 3) land, 4) litigation, 5) information prohibited under the Freedom of Information & Privacy Act.
On the deer cull vote, the council abused the use of in camera by resorting to a private discussion and vote, simply because the decision was difficult or uncomfortable for some.
What could have been an easy decision was made much more difficult by the fawning press, who spent pages virtually reprinting the position of the out-of-town public relations. Mayor Stetski’s constant equivocation and promising to go everywhere—in search of what no credible scientific research has yet discovered—simply added smoke.
As Council was out-of-line on procedural requirements (Section 90 of the BC Community Charter), I urge them to voluntarily do what is right and hold a vote on the matter in public, and to explore how Council went off the rails.
I voted to change Stonewall Hall into City Hall, but so far the Stonewall is still there.
William G. Hills
The Odd Couple fundraiser
Graham Thompson’s article in the Edmonton Journal (Jan. 17, 2013) said that Alberta conservatives helping to raise cash for the beleaguered B.C. Liberals was not so odd “because B.C. Liberals are not really liberals; they’re conservatives in liberal clothing.”
The organizers of the $125-per-plate dinner in a nice Calgary hotel, Andy Crooks and Rod Love, were hardly the Odd Couple. The Odd Couple were two members of the B.C. “Liberal” government—Deputy Premier and Minister of nearly everything, Rich Coleman; and Bill Bennett, Kootenay East MLA and Minister of Communities, Sport and Culture and a key player in Premier Clark’s re-election campaign.
The Financial Post reported that some funds raised will go to the B.C. Liberal Party and “A portion of the funds will be used to support swing ridings where many Albertans have vacation homes.”
Every democratic minded person, especially in the East Kootenay, has to think about what kind of democracy they want to live in and what they are willing to do to protect it. Ours is a representative democracy wherein we vote for someone to represent us in Victoria. Age, citizenship and residence are among the requirements for voting.
The views of some dinner attendees, as reported by CBC news, give me pause: “We have property out there and we’re taxpayers.” “We should be paying attention.” Many Canadians work or own property in other provinces or even other countries; and while they pay taxes there, they do not expect to vote there.
It’s the two B.C. ministers’ actions that should worry us. B.C. Liberal Campaign Director Mike McDonald, speaking with the Globe & Mail on Jan. 16, 2013, said: “It’s tough raising money. You have to raise it where you think you can find it.” Hence, Bill Bennett and Rich Coleman in Calgary.
It raises the questions: Who is Bill Bennett representing? What is Bennett’s limit for Alberta funds? The Calgary fundraiser sets a dangerous precedent. In a Radio West interview, Kathryn Marlow asked the National Post’s western business columnist, Claudia Catteneo, if this was a common practice. “No,” she answered, “and they probably shouldn’t be doing this.”
Where goes our democracy when we fail to speak up? How much is our democracy worth? These are the questions facing the voters in Kootenay East.
William G. Hills, Ph.D.
December 18. 2012
In response to a locally, recently published article regarding the book 'Raising Kain' by Keith Powell.
To the Editor
The Conrad Kain Centennial Society is intimately familiar with Kain’s true life story. Some of us in the society read Keith Powell’s novel ‘Raising Kain’ when it first appeared, winced, and privately hoped it would die a quiet death. But Powell’s relentless self promotion of the book seems to be paying off, and it doesn’t look like it’s going away soon.
His attempt to ‘cheese-up’ Conrad Kain’s life story by introducing a bizarre and distasteful link to the Nazi era that developed in Europe years after Kain’s death have many Kain fans shaking their heads in disbelief.
There’s a bright light on the horizon for Kain fans. Climbing historian Zac Robinson, who is not only well-versed in Canadian climbing history, mountain culture and is an accomplished climber himself, will release his exhaustively researched nonfiction book, ‘Your Friend in the Western Woods, Conrad Kain: Letters from a Wandering Mountain Guide, 1906-1933’, to be published by the University of Alberta Press in 2013.
In the meantime, if anyone would care to read the unadulterated version of Kain’s life, J. Monroe Thorington’s book, ‘Where the Clouds Can Go’ is considered the gold standard of reference material on Canada’s most celebrated mountaineer. In fact, this book is the source material for much of Powell’s novel.
Pat Morrow, Chair of the CKCS, Wilmer, BC
Dr. Mitchell sent this letter to us for publication.
September 21st 2012
Dear Mayor Stetski and Council, re: Fluoride issue
I am writing as a concerned citizen of area C as I witness from the sidelines the pressure on city council to remove fluoride from the Cranbrook city water supply. This internet campaign has been ongoing for many years and sadly individuals are lead astray by so called reputable internet articles, as many believe all internet sources to be valid. This issue arose in Whitehorse Yukon in the early 1990’s and due to population and Dental apathy was allowed to pass. The subsequent tooth decay witnessed in the pediatric population has been a tragedy.
I have spent much of my anesthesia career involved with Dental anesthesia and my most recent 8 years in the subarctic providing over 1200 pediatric dental anesthetics has shown the extreme edge of the effects on the developing teeth of over use of fruit juices, the sippy cup which allows constant bathing of the developing teeth with carbohydrate rich fluids, lack of parental attention to brushing and fluoride deficient water. I have hundreds of pictures which I am more than happy to provide on a CD showing these poor children under anesthesia as they have restorations, extractions and pus filed abscesses drained. I anesthetized 30 children a week and the average child had 7 procedures done. Certainly this cross section is an extreme example, but I would also argue that the average city dentist rarely sees the disenfranchised individuals who lack the resources to visit a dentist. There also is minimal operating room time available to local dentists to service these problem children. It is often expensive and impossible to do a complicated pediatric mouth in the chair, and so a subset of the population is not treated.
The average individual family would have the where withal to ensure their child brushes with fluoride toothpastes and may well not require the fluoride, but for another subset of the population this is not the case. It is the individuals without tooth decay issues who can afford to raise the fluoride issue. What is also not appreciated is the fact that the primary teeth are responsible for guiding the secondary dentition into place. If these primary teeth are rotted out, as many are by age two, the secondary teeth erupt in any direction and present an orthodontic nightmare for the developing child.
My generation, (I am a 1948 model), had horrendous tooth issues with multiple cavities, my children nary a one. In the 1950-1960’s, it was not uncommon for the teenage daughter in the family to receive a full set of dentures prior to marriage as a dowry of sorts, due to unmanageable tooth decay.
Today’s society forgets how “bad” the “good old days” actually were when it comes to health issues. The fluoride issue is promoted by many of the same people who want to see chlorination of drinking water and vaccination removed from daily life. I just wish many of these messianic individuals would travel to the third world to witness the carnage created by lack of access to clean, chlorinated drinking water, vaccination, and fluoride.
Will most of Cranbrook notice the removal of Fluoride? Probably not! Will the marginalized families who you represent notice? Yes
Is fluorosis of the teeth...white staining of the teeth due to excess fluoride a common problem? Your dentists can answer that better than I can, but after 35 years of Family Practice and anesthesia, I can’t remember if I ever saw a case.
So please take your time in this decision. The anti-fluoride campaigners in Yukon saw themselves in a messianic light, saving the population. They never had the chance to witness a general anesthetic administered to a 3 year old whose mouth consisted of 20 small rotten nubbins of teeth which were imbedded in pockets of pus.
I am away until October 5th but would be more than happy to present a power point presentation to city council illustrating the ongoing “bad old days” which currently exist in much of rural Canada.
Roger Mitchell MD CCFP
|a small sample of extreme fluoride free tooth rot in 2-7 year old under anaesthesia|