Editor@Nanaimonet.com
Please address the topic, no personal attacks or insults. We welcome reasoned discussion

Government overstepping its authority

June 10, 2021 - 1,349,340 Canadians are official ‘nobody’s’ in the Covid pandemic.   My wife and I are two of them.   Despite increasing scientific recognition that infection results in natural immunity, equal to and likely superior to vaccination, we are considered ‘un-vaccinated’ and thus a threat to others.   The gov’t’s solution is that we accept vaccination, despite it posing some risk (my wife is immune compromised) while providing no measurable medical benefit.   We will likely be denied boarding by air or sea and would be subject to quarantine on return if we could travel. 

The government has an obligation to this significant number of Canadians with natural immunity and has no right to insist that we accept a medically unnecessary ‘emergency protocol only’ in order to enjoy the same rights as the vaccinated. 

Respectfully
Randy O'Donnell
Nanaimo, B.C

When does anyone go to jail any more?

Dear Editor,
A driver blows 4 times over the legal limit after sideswiping an RCMP vehicle, is falling down drunk, and he is released? Do you have to kill somebody before they will actually throw you in jail?
Howard Jeglum

The Editor,
You can be falling-down drunk to the point you have to be taken to hospital and you are released. It's way past time to get rid of the catch-and-release policy and institute a catch-and-keep system.
George Markle

School trustees pay increase

The Editor,
School Trustees have never been paid for doing as much (or more) work as City Councillors, so yes, they should be paid the same $50k a year.
Bill Bard

The Editor,
In my opinion it's better that pay scale of all school boards across province stay at the same level, except metro Vancouver & Victoria where cost of living is High.
Viraat BK Thammanna

Poor timing for new electric bus service

I'm excited about the electric bus from Nanaimo to Victoria! Unfortunately, at this point in the pandemic, it is not a great time to ride a bus full of people.
Debbie Lee Keith

Tourism officials united on the need to stay home

Tourism Minister Melanie Mark

Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport; Brenda Baptiste, chair, Indigenous Tourism BC; Walt Judas, CEO, Tourism Industry Association of BC; Ingrid Jarrett, president and CEO, BC Hotel Association; and Richard Porges, interim president and CEO, Destination BC; have released the following statement asking all British Columbians to stay local unless it is absolutely essential.

"As the number of people with COVID-19 in B.C. continues to rise, we are asking British Columbians to not travel outside their local communities in order to help stop further spread of the virus.

"People working at hotels, motels, resorts, bed and breakfasts, transportation services, attractions and adventure tourism operations, Indigenous travel providers, restaurants, bars, cafes and many other travel-related businesses throughout the province are struggling following a difficult year of border closures and non-essential travel restrictions. While the tourism and hospitality sector has done an amazing job implementing rigorous health and safety plans to keep its staff and visitors safe, COVID-19 takes every opportunity to spread. Unnecessary travel is too risky right now.

"We are asking British Columbians to listen to Dr. Henry and follow all provincial health and solicitor general orders.

"Each of us must make difficult decisions in our daily lives to do the right thing. We cannot gather indoors with people outside our immediate households and we must avoid travel for leisure so we can bend the curve down again. The many people and businesses in the tourism and hospitality industry in B.C. need each of us to follow the rules without exception. Their livelihood depends on us all doing our part now so some travel can safely resume this summer and set these businesses on the road to recovery.

"Let's support local businesses today by ordering take out, eating with our immediate household on a patio, picking up a coffee and enjoying it at a local park, visiting a local attraction or booking a staycation at a local hotel. Now is not the time to travel for leisure and risk spreading COVID-19.

"The list of essential travel activities, which are permitted between regional zones, is included under the emergency program order, available here: https://news.gov.bc.ca/24287

"At this time, we must listen to local communities that do not wish to welcome visitors yet. We have heard from many communities that are worried about the virus, its impact on their residents and health-care services, and have asked people not to visit. We must respect the wishes of Indigenous communities and First Nations given the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19. Know before you go is a great resource if you have any questions: https://www.hellobc.com/know-before-you-go

"We are at a pivotal moment in our province and we must act now to protect the health-care system. We must stay local now so we can get back to travelling across our beautiful province and once again welcome visitors."

Help us spread the message: #WeAreAllConnected; #StayLocalSupportLocal #BCTourismCounts; #SaveOurSummer.

Peckford is playing a numbers game
Brian Peckfrord makes number of statements in his (March 29, 2021) column that are inaccurate/misleading. I will deal with the one concerning Sweden and its herd immunity approach in dealing with the virus. And it’s interesting that he chose to compare Sweden to other European countries or to North/South Dakota. You can’t make an accurate observation if you ‘cherrypick’ your numbers. So in response to his column, I will use my numbers (from The Lancet & Statistica);  
Deaths per million (as of Mar 30, 2021):
Sweden              1,303.01
USA                   1,668.79
Canada                 608.45
Finland                 148.90
Norway                 123.41
Australia                 35.84
South Korea           33.44
New Zealand            5.29 
   So with MY numbers, it appears Sweden’s ‘laissez-faire’ dealings with COVID were disastrous -  on a level with USA. And I suppose we should commend Justin Trudeau for the impressive job he’s done?
   And if you compare Sweden to its immediate Scandinavian neighbours (more meaningful than comparing it to North Dakota!), again, it appears Sweden’s approach doesn’t work. 
If you look at South Korea, it’s approach seems to be working & they have instituted social distancing protocols which many would say approach draconian.
   I chose Australia because of it’s population size and concentration (very similar to Canada). And finally New Zealand because of it’s proximity to Australia and also because of it’s COVID response which was the exact opposite of the Swedish response. PM Jacinda Ardern implemented an extreme lockdown almost immediately.
   My point being, that you can make numbers do anything you want. Peckford has his numbers, Fox has theirs and CBC, a third set etc. At the end of the day, we all have to do our homework.  – Jerry Steen, Nanaimo

Money for seniors is really helpful

The Editor,
0420 - Hallelujah for the increase in OAS. The $500 will come in handy too. 
Betty Hope

Daily Buzz earns high praise from reader

The Editor,
I really appreciate the daily e-mail reminders of the latest news and views on the Daily Buzz. I find this the most useable news source because it gives brief glimpses rather than long drawn-out reports. The lighter approach instead of the gloom and doom also puts Nanaimonet ahead of the pack. The links are handy to get more detailed information if I need it. Keep up the professionalism and good work. – Dale Smith

New coronavirus restrictions

0329 - Back to dark ages. Why don't we all get the virus and let the ones who survive get back to living. – Nicholas Rvachew, Nanaimo

Vaccine distribution and front-line workers

0323 - Essential workers (non-medical staff) are finally going to be booked in near future for the vaccination. It’s about time, even considering shortages of a vaccine.

As a driver for a local pharmacy, we have delivered consistently to individual customer homes, varying medical and dental clinics with the clinics having various COVID precautions and VIHA is only now apparently registering all pharmaceutical staff.

I suppose it relates to a "triage" system of need. We have to appreciate the complexity of choice for our health system. One must go with the flow.

With thanks to the frontline medical and care staff everywhere
Bob Sears, Nanaimo

Supreme Court ruling on church attendance

0223 - Some years ago I got dragged into a controversial claim that our local heritage church owned by the District was being leased to a religious entity which strongly opposed the LBGT community. They wanted us to terminate the lease. Both sides claimed the Charter protected their position and they were right. Briefly, sexual orientation is protected but so is the religious position. They can speak out against the practice based on historical texts. The contradiction is quite clear and one of these charter ambiguities we must wrap our heads around to make it work. 

 You must see the irony that the charter not being a flexible document as interpretation through the courts are being developed as we speak. I note that the position of some of the more progressive religious leaders have taken is that the charter protects free peaceful assembly i.e. church services but an assembly can hardly be called peaceful when the potential for serious infection and possibly death is possible.
Jack de Jong

Carbon tax nothing but a tax grab

0323 - Definitely a cash grab by the inept Justin Trudeau (Liberals) to fund their reckless and unaccountable spending in order to develop some kind of Budget to shove down the throats of Canadians. It is known that Canada’s carbon print is near or less than one per cent.
Leo Ressler

Peckford is off-base on religion argument

0321 - Now I am not a church going man having been exposed to enough religion (Dutch Reformed) in my early life to last a lifetime and beyond. Added to that was a stretch of religious philosophy (Loyola Jesuits) in university so the term religious freedom has meaning.

With this in mind I am a little amused by Brian Peckford’s suggestion to appeal  the court’s decision on worshipping in churches  on the grounds of religious freedom. In the previous centuries religious institutions could have claimed some legitimacy as they would have been in the forefront in health care and other philanthropic endeavours. Religious freedom has a price.

However, I have an open mind. I would be more sympathetic with Peckford's proposal if he could see his way clear to attend some church services where the corona virus was detected. and rampant and if by some miracle he escaped being infected I may have to change my mind and give religion another go!

All this is really helpful in combatting an epidemic that has already claimed 23,000 lives in Canada

Jack de Jong
Lantzville

Germany weighs rationing to stabilize green power grid

By P Gosselin on 19. January 2021
Is the German model America’s future?

Putting matches in charge of fighting gasoline fires? Even more interference appears to be the German government’s approach to solving the power grid mess that its earlier meddling created in the first place.

Germany struggles to keep the lights on, looks for a law to prevent its power grid from crashing.  

Before the days of climate alarmism and hysteria, the job of deciding how to best produce electricity was left to power generation engineers and experts – people who actually understood it. The result: Germany had one of the most stable and reliable power grids worldwide.

Green energies destabilized the German power grid

Then in the 1990s, environmental activists, politicians, climate alarmists and pseudo-experts decided they could do a better job at generating power in Germany and eventually passed the outlandish EEG green energy feed-in act and rules. They insisted that wildly fluctuating, intermittent power supplies could be managed easily, and done so at a low cost. 

Blackouts threaten

Fast forward to today: The result of all the government meddling is becoming glaringly clear: the country now finds itself on the verge of blackouts due to grid instability, has the highest electricity prices in the world, relies more on imports and is not even close to meeting its emissions targets.

Germany’s rickety and moody power grid now threatens the entire European power grid stability, as we recently witnessed

The need for “smoothing out” demand peaks 

So what solution does Berlin propose today? You guessed it: more meddling and interference, more outlandish bureaucrat solutions. Included among them are shutting down the remaining baseload coal-fired and nuclear power plants, and relying even more on the power sources that got the country into its current mess in the first place.

And new are restrictions as to when power can be consumed by consumers and industry! Energy rationing and targeted blackouts.

Hat-tip. Tichys Einblick 

Cutting off e-vehicle battery chargers and industry

To deal with the power grid problems, Germany’s Economics Minister Peter Altmaier presented a draft law that would allow electric utilities “to temporarily cut off charging power for e-cars when there is once again too little electricity available”, an idea known as “peak smoothing”. 

‘Shutdowns due to power shortages have been practiced for some time. Aluminum smelters, for example, have to put up with having their power cut off for limited periods of time,” reports Tichys Einblick. “These, like refrigerated storage facilities, consume great amounts. It’s a dangerous game because after three hours the molten metal has solidified and the factory is ruined.” 

Situation now “too critical”

The situation in the German power grid has deteriorated so much that Tichys Einblick also comments: “The situation in the power grids has become too critical. The only thing that helps are abstruse ideas like: ‘You are not allowed to refuel your car from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day!’”

 A law that would allow for “peak smoothing” has been demanded by power utilities for some time now as they struggle to keep the increasingly wind and solar powered grid from careening out of control and into blackness. In other words: targeted blackouts.

And as Tichy Einblick mentions, the increasing number of cars on the market will only serve to cause more extreme power demand peaks. Currently Germany is set to make a major push into electric mobility this year. 

No electricity for up to 2 hours a day

In the proposed draft law, which has since been recalled because it was deemed so embarrassing, it was written that “controllable consumption facilities” would be able to receive no electricity for up to two hours per day if there was a threat of overloading the grid.

‘This includes charging stations for e-cars as well as heat pumps, which can already be temporarily disconnected from the power supply,” reports Tichy.

More burden on power grid 

Currently there are only 33,000 electric car charging points in Germany, a country with over 50 million cars, and the government plans a vast expansion in the future, yet isn’t sure what that infrastructure should look like. It’s a policy of going  full speed in total blackness and hoping there won’t be a brick wall in the way.

Government admits it’s not going to function

Tichy comments further: “The German government has recognized that in the future electricity system, it will no longer be possible to satisfy every demand at all times. Therefore, the control of the consumer side should be put on legal feet.” […] “ 

‘Controllable consumers such as heat pumps, electric heaters and wall-boxes, i.e. charging stations for e-mobiles, would then be switched off variably at times.”

This is the sorry state of Germany’s once highly regarded power grid.

Doughnut Economics: Seven ways to think Like a 21st century economist

0108 – It is always encouraging to see some of our younger Nanaimo councillors advocate for more progressive legislation to deal with our social and environmental challenges. At the same time an overreach could stretch the limits of the possible. I humbly suggest the recently adopted the “Doughnut Economic Model” as a cohesive vision for all the city initiatives and planning processes, is unreasonably ambitious.

The Author

The 2017  book “Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist”,  by the Oxford educated philosopher economist Kate Raworth, steps outside  classical economic and social models including socialism, capitalism, and various mixtures of the previous, claiming they have failed to strike a balance between growth, environment and economic equality. The fundamental theme is philanthropic and in her own words: 

The central premise of Doughnut Economics is that humanity’s 21st century goal should be to end poverty for all, and do so within the means of the living planet. Ensuring everyone in the world lives well above the Doughnut’s social foundation (in terms of healthcare, education, housing, food, water, energy use, mobility, and so on)”

Pointedly the author has conceded that the text is contradictory as economic growth is requirement to attain her goals. However, the most discerning critiques generally focus on the author’s idealistic economic and social ambitions, without any constructive and practical recommendations on how to reach these objectives. The strongest underlying weakness for Nanaimo is the unexpected consequences of adopting an untested model which in the view of some, it is more a prayer than a contract.  

The Nanaimo Council Motion

Which brings me to the reason for this letter. When Nanaimo council made a value judgment and advocated one economic philosophy over another it is a bit like advocating the advantages of one religion over another, always controversial but no clear answers. Among others, Council could have considered any number of economic models including the Keynesian, developed as a result of the great Depression, or the Marxist Engels model during the industrial revolution. Even the United Nations is hard pressed to endorse one model over another. Which makes   Nanaimo Council arguably adventurous to adopt the “Doughnut model” and at least theoretically, all future decisions according to the motion should align with the new model.

The Mayor was generous to allow the motion to be moved and seconded. It is no small consequence, no matter how appealing, to introduced a new economic philosophy and compel all of council, staff and Nanaimo to fall in line. I don’t think there was any serious discussion on some of the more controversial points:  

  • Is this the right model and is there any corroboration evidence if it is practical at the municipal level?
  • Is it democratic to have all of council, and the community they represent embrace a new philosophical economic model?
  • is council stepping outside their legislative limits ? (note education and healthcare are Provincial government responsibilities)
  • What are the long-term financial implication 
  • Is it in the taxpayers’ interest?

Summary

 Clearly some councillors were uncomfortable with the motion and requested a staff report. That in itself would have been a challenge. How do you judge and provide guidance for the application of a new untested economic philosophy in the context of every day realities of a municipal administration? 

The current health crisis has changed the dynamics of municipal administration and Nanaimo has many challenges. With this in mind, I suggest council deal with the practical aspects that fall directly under their legislative control rather than promote a new untested philosophical economic model that has many serious application flaws.

 Jack de Jong