Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook Society provides grassroots leadership and an inclusive process, with a voice for all community members, to ensure that our community grows and develops in a way that incorporates an environmental ethic, offers a range of housing and transportation choices, encourages a vibrant and cultural life and supports sustainable, meaningful employment and business opportunities.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Cranbrook's Road Economy, True or False?

Letter to the Editor

When a city elects a mayor and council, it’s expected that they will make wise decisions with the money they raise through taxpayers. Those who live in Cranbrook expect their tax money to be spent wisely and not raise taxes for unnecessary reasons. 
Borrowing $10 million for roads and infrastructure and raising our taxes to pay for it is both unwise and unnecessary.  The debt servicing for this borrowing will be over 20 years, meaning householders will all pay an additional $31 per $100,000 assessed value per year, and businesses will pay $56 extra per year.  If your home is assessed at $250,000 you will pay an extra $54 each year for 20 years.  There will likely be additional tax increases over that period as well. People living on fixed or low incomes cannot afford this annual increase.
Do we need to borrow $10 million now? Interest rates are low. It could be a great time to borrow the money. However, does fixing the same amount of roads in 2 years instead of 5 years justify the loan? The city has allocated $4.1 million a year in their budget for roads and infrastructure. If Cranbrook is patient the same roads will be fixed in 5 years instead of 2. Stretching the work over five years would allow the City to be able to contract with local businesses rather than those from out of town.
Perhaps in the next year or two the City might avail itself of infrastructure grants through the federal or provincial governments as has happened in the past.
The mayor and council of Cranbrook have honoured their promise to “fix the roads” in Cranbrook as they continue to allocate funds each year. With the decision to borrow 10 million however, they are not honouring their promise to keep taxes low and bring in more business to our community.

For more information on how to make a difference call me:  Wendell Dalke at 250-489-3909

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wednesday Sept 21st, COR ,Yellowstone, Custer and a Hero’s Disgrace, presentation for GoGogrannies with Gerry Warner

Yellowstone, Custer and a hero’s disgrace
“Perceptions” by Gerry Warner
Please excuse what I’m about to do which on first blush may appear like shameless self-promotion. But, if you’ve got nothing planned for the evening of Wednesday, Sept. 21, allow me to make a modest suggestion.
At 7 pm on the above date, find your way to Rm. 250 at the College of the Rockies large lecture theatre for a Go-Go Grannies travelogue production entitled “Little Big Horn, Yellowstone Park and Custer’s Last Stand.” I’ll be the presenter and I promise you won’t be bored.
So why Custer and Yellowstone Park? Let me explain.
One of the best ways to get to the Little Bighorn National Monument from here is to travel straight through Yellowstone Park, the first National Park created in the US, one that sits on a giant underground pool of lava that has exploded into volcanoes many times in the past and continues to shake the ground on a regular basis and that scientists say is sure to explode again on a scale that could plunge the earth into another Ice Age because of the stupendous amount of cloud and ash it would produce.
And while waiting for that predictable catastrophe, we can see evidence of the disaster coming as iconic Old Faithful bursts from the warm ground every 94 minutes or so as well as thousands of other hot springs, puffs of steam rise from the dark basalt soil, and boiling pools of mineralized water from the Grand Prismatic Spring bubble away with every colour of the rainbow like a colossal kettle that never gets turned off.
Yellowstone is a wonder of nature and shows just how beautiful and violent nature can be when fatal circumstances come into play as was the case in 1876 not far from Yellowstone when Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer made his ignoble charge down Deep Ravine Trail where Sitting Bull, Crazy Horse and Gall were waiting in the largest concentration of native warriors ever to assemble on the northern plains.
The result was like an exploding volcano with the where’s why’s and what if’s of it still passionately debated to this very day.
For native Americans, who had already been cruelly and viciously uprooted from the land they thrived on for more than 10,000 years, this was a glorious, but brief  denouement, to a struggle that would be over in less than a few years. In fact, Crazy Horse was dead within a year of the Little Bighorn victory and Sitting Bull and many of his warriors were living in Canada and slowly starving on handouts from the government until they willingly returned to the US in shame and disgrace.
As for Custer and the 252 members of the 7th Calvary that died with him, they were lionized and mythologized into heroes bigger than life as Americans are so often  wont to do. But this story line changed drastically after the death of Custer’s wife, Elizabeth “Libbie” Custer, a popular Western author, who wrote three books stoking the flames of Custer’s legend. But when Libbie died after a long life of 94 years, historians were quick to revise the Custer legend and a much tarnished and reviled “hero” emerged.
Today Custer is often seen as an arrogant brute, who exemplified the worst of the genocidal attacks the American military made on North America’s first peoples, destroying their nomadic culture by imprisoning them on reserves that were little more than concentration camps. 
It’s not a pretty story. As a New York Times article said, “Custer went from a handsome martyr to a loathed symbol of manifest destiny.” But that’s not the whole story either which is plainly stated at the Little Bighorn National Monument by the interpretive staff and all the artifacts you find there and it made me think about “heroism” in a way I’d never thought before.
If you want to know why, check out this Go-Go Grannies presentation Sept. 21.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

The time has come to be a “living wage” community, Gerry Warner

The time has come to be a “living wage” community
“Perceptions” by Gerry Warner
Does Quesnel Mayor Bob Simpson have a better idea?
Simpson announced this week that Quesnel would join New Westminster in becoming the second community in the province to be a “living wage community.”
The living wage in the north Cariboo town has been pegged at $16.52-an-hour, well above BC’s minimum wage of $10.45-an-hour, the lowest provincially mandated minimum wage in Canada. In New Westminster the living wage has been set at a generous $19.62-an-hour.
But before all you working poor start doing cart wheels or making plans to buy a new car, there’s a catch. Several catches actually. But just the same this is good news for all those struggling to make ends meet.
The major catch is that the living wage policy applies only to those working for the municipalities concerned and companies contracting to the city. So if you’re only earning the minimum wage at a local fast food restaurant or any other business in town not directly connected to the city, you’re out of luck. So put off those plans for more grocery money at least for now. But don’t kid yourself. There’s a change in the air. The thinking around minimum wage and living wages is starting to change and that can only be good news for those struggling to put food on the table or buying clothes for their kids.
In an interview with CBC Radio Mayor Simpson put it this way. “"What we're clearly trying to do is to establish a benchmark to get all employers in our community to think about what they're paying their employees. Can their employees earn enough through their wages to be able to live comfortably and affordably, and be able to participate in the economy?"
Surely the key word in the above is “participate.” How do you “participate” in the economy of your home town, if after paying for the basics, you don’t have any money? Isn’t it about time economists, planners and politicians started dealing with this vital issue?
In Quesnel’s case, Simpson said the town’s economy has been slipping in recent years as the pine beetle decimated forests in the region, forcing mills to close,  businesses to go under and jobs to disappear. "But as we look at the long-term future, we're a community that's going to transition away from high-paying industrial jobs to more of a service sector economy — more tourism industry, more small and medium-sized enterprises." 
But this situation isn’t unique to Quesnel. Travel anywhere in BC outside the Lower Mainland and the Okanagan and you’ll see the same dismal picture. Empty mall spaces, shuttered office windows and abandoned lots. About the only businesses doing well are liquidation outlets, dollar stores and food banks if you consider them a “business.” Look around Cranbrook. Former Canadian Tire building, empty. Former Super Valu, empty (for at least 20 years). Former Kootenay Springs building, empty. Former Legion building, empty. And in January 2017 the HSBC Bank is leaving town. The malls are not exactly bustling either. We may not be the rust belt, but we haven’t had a significant new industry in town for at least 20 years. Yes, the “P” word (poverty) is alive and well in the Key City and despite all the helping agencies we have in town many of our residents are hurting.
So what to do?
There are no easy answers, of course, but maybe our City Council should consider making us the third municipality in Canada to have an official living wage policy? It wouldn’t be an overnight solution but it would be a step in the right direction to see Cranbrook join Quesnel and New Westminster not to say other progressive cities like Seattle and San Francisco where the minimum wage is being raised to   to $15-an-hour in stages for almost all workers.
In truth, BC Premier Christy Clark has announced BC’s minimum wage is going up to $11.25 in 2017 which is a step in the right direction, but not nearly enough and still behind most other provincial minimums.
Let’s cut to the quick. Employers complain with some justification that raising the minimum wage or a livable wage policy comes off their bottom line. But what do the working poor do with their money? They spend it! And where do they spend it? In the community of course where it benefits every store, business and service in town as opposed to the top two per cent or so, who often invest in hedge funds and dodgy financial ventures off-shore that does nothing for the town in which they live.
Isn’t it about time we started spending our money in a more sensible and socially responsible manner?


Gerry Warner is a retired journalist, who cannot even afford mutual funds anymore.


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Adopt and Implement UN Declaration Say Stetski and Saganash

Romeo Saganash and MP Wayne Stetski

Adopt and Implement UN Declaration Say Stetski and Saganash

September 7, 2016

Cranbrook – Yesterday MP Wayne Stetski joined with the Ktunaxa Nation to welcome NDP Critic for Intergovernmental Aboriginal Affairs, Romeo Saganash, to Kootenay-Columbia to speak about, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indige­nous Peoples Act.

“Romeo has been fighting tirelessly for the rights of Indigenous people”, said Stetski, “in addition to his work in Parliament and in his community, he spent over 20 years negotiating at the United Nations.  I am very pleased he was able to come to the Kootenays to share his passion and expertise.”

Saganash is visiting communities across the country to build understanding about the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People through his private members bill (C-262) that is before Parliament calling on the government to adopt and implement the declaration. 

“Implementation of the UN Declaration would explicitly reject colonialism, in favour of justice, equality, respect for human rights and good faith.” Saganash told the crowd who joined him and Stetski at the Ktunaxa administration building Tuesday evening. “This bill includes a national action plan as part of the legislative framework called for by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The national action plan will provide clarity and highlight the importance of harmonizing federal laws: something that will facilitate investment and development.”

On 13 September 2007 the UN General Assembly adopted the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This followed more than twenty years of discussion within the UN system. The text recognises the wide range of basic human rights and fundamental freedoms of Indigenous peoples.

"The Ktunaxa Nation welcomes and applauds the life-long work that MP Romeo Saganash has done in first developing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and since 2011, advancing his Bill C-262 within Canada” said Darrin Jamieson, Ktunaxa Nation Council CAO. “This legislation will acknowledge the basic human and self-determination rights afforded all peoples in this country, now more clearly to First Nations. We endorse the Bill's intent to recast our relationship with all levels of government in providing a framework for not only reconciliation, but partnerships in prosperity moving forward. We hope the Prime Minister honors his commitment to implement the Declaration as expressed in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action. Only by working together can we advance our collective quality of life."

“This is an incredibly important conversation for our country” said Stetski.  “We have heard from the Prime Minister that implementing the declaration is a top priority for his government, but we have seen little movement in that direction. The NDP are in full support of moving this bill forward and want to work with the Government towards reconciliation.”

Romeo Saganash is the MP for Abitibi-Baie James-Nunavik-Eeyou 


For more details on Bill C-262 please visit: www.adoptandimplement.com

For more information, please contact:

Laura Branswell: 250-417-2250 or wayne.stetski@parl.gc.ca

Friday, September 2, 2016

Disasters can bring out the extraordinary in all of us, Gerry Warner

Disasters can bring out the extraordinary in all of us 
“Perceptions” by Gerry Warner
The death toll from the 6.2 earthquake that hit the Italian agricultural town of Amatrice a week ago is close to 300 and the only thing known for sure is that it won’t be the last quake to hit Italy or much of the rest of the world as well.
However, one thing known for sure is no matter where the next quake strikes one of the first aid agencies on the scene will be ShelterBox Canada, part of the global ShelterBox network and an official partner of Rotary Canada.
And thank God for that!
It takes little imagination to picture what it must be like when a major tremor hits. I felt one in Vancouver once and even though it did no real damage the eeriest thing about it was the sound which was like a big truck or a train going by and I was in a noisy pub at the time.
In 2001, Spokane, Washington experienced an “earthquake storm,” some 75 tremblors from May to November and although damage was minor a woman who worked in a downtown tower told American Press, “We’ve felt every single one of them. The building doesn’t sway. It jumps.” Others talked about “booming sounds.”
Earthquake “storms” in nearby Spokane go to show quakes can happen almost anywhere and the day may well come when ShelterBox tents appear close to home especially the Lower Mainland where the “Big One” is a virtual certainty. That’s why as a Rotarian I chose to become involved in the ShelterBox disaster aid agency, and also being a cyclist, I will be riding in the Kootenay Rockies Gran Fondo Sept. 10 and taking pledges for the ShelterBox program.
As a retiree of a certain age, a septuagenarian actually, I will be riding in the 58 km “Piccolo” event, which runs from the St. Eugene Mission to Kimberley and back along the North Star Trail and any amount per km you want to pledge, or just a specific donation regardless of kilometers, will be gratefully accepted. Donations can be made online at: www.shelterboxcanada.org or by calling 1-855-875-4661 or by mailing a cheque made out to ShelterBox Canada at 159 Jane Street, Office 2, Toronto, Ontario M6S 3Y8. However you decide to do it, I’d greatly appreciate if you’d call me at (250) 489-3271 or email me at gswarner@shaw.ca so I can track the amount raised and give you a personal thank you and arrange a charitable receipt for all cheques of $20 or more.
I feel strongly about this because many of the natural disasters that plague humankind – be they earthquakes, floods, hurricanes or landslides – happen in Third World countries where search and rescue teams are sparse or non-existent and infrastructure so limited that often more people die in the aftermath of the disaster than the catastrophe itself.
Fire and disease are two of the biggest post-disaster killers because drinking water gets contaminated or is unobtainable and fire crews, if any, can do little without water. In the great 8.2 magnitude San Francisco quake of 1906 more than 700 died and 225,000 were left homeless out of a total population of 400,000. Property damage in 1906 dollars was over $400 million, which would be many billions in today’s dollars.
This is why ShelterBox tents that can sleep up to 10 and the supplies that come with them – portable stoves, cooking utensils, tools, blankets, water purification tablets and even activity kits for children – are so valuable in the immediate aftermath of a quake. Like the so-called “Golden Hour” paramedics have to save the life of a trauma victim there’s a limited period of time in which to save disaster victims before the odds of them surviving plummet.
“Bad things happen in the world, like war, natural disasters, disease, but out of these situations arise stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary things,” says former CNN news anchor Daryn Kagan, who covered many disaster stories.
That’s what ShelterBox supporters are – ordinary people doing extraordinary things. And you can be one.


Gerry Warner is a retired journalist and a member of the Cranbrook Sunrise Rotary Club, an official partner of ShelterBox Canada.






Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Keeping our Democracy Healthy, MP Stetski

Aug 26, 2016

Keeping our Democracy Healthy

This summer you do not have to look hard or far to find examples of struggles within democratic systems.  Whether it is the uprisings in Turkey, the deep divisions caused by Brexit or the rise of Donald Trump, democratic systems are suffering.
It is easy for us, as Canadians, to pat ourselves on the back, and say that our democracy is healthy.  Yet it is important to remember that what keeps our democracy strong is our ability to have free and open conversations about what matters most to us as Canadians. We must also be able to explore where we can improve. 
The federal government has committed to making 2015 the last first-past-the-post election. The existing system has produced false majorities in Canada since before the invention of the automobile.  The Government tasked a special parliamentary committee to conduct a study of viable alternate voting systems and recommend changes to how we vote.  My NDP colleague Nathan Cullen was able to pressure the Government to change the committee’s structure so that it has proportional representation for all parties and a majority of Members of Parliament from opposition benches. This committee is seeking input from Canadians across the country to participate in its review of the electoral system.
To ensure the views of residents from the Kootenay-Columbia are heard and have a strong voice in Ottawa, I hit the road in August on a “Democratic Reform Tour”. I hosted discussions in 14 communities about what type of changes can be made to help improve our voting system. I was joined by citizens of all political stripes, and conversations ranged from mandatory voting, to lowering the voting age, to electronic voting, to discussing the advantages and nuances of different proportional systems. The overall sentiments were virtually unanimous - Canada needs an electoral system that is more fair, representative and engaging.
In addition to the tour, I have also mailed a survey to every household across the riding that can be sent back, postage free, with your thoughts.  As always, feel free to contact my offices if you have questions or feedback to add. 
We have an historic opportunity to improve our unfair voting system. It is important that any changes represent the interest of all Canadians, not just that of those from the party in power. Your voice can help make the difference!
Wayne Stetski
Member of Parliament

Kootenay-Columbia