Recent comments

  • The provincial government needs an education about education   1 year 5 weeks ago

    I admire your idealism and solution-oriented thinking, Andre. I'm afraid, however, that I no longer think we live in a democracy at the provincial or federal levels. Rather, we live in a system that merely serves the interests of capital--a place where good ideas--or ideas of any sort beyond the crude math of 'efficiency'--hold no sway.

    I can only imagine that things will get worse and worse for teachers and for everyone except the 1% as EVERYTHING is now measured solely in terms of 'productivity'. I was just reading an article from the Boundary Sentinel that speaks of Christina Lake's attempts to save their school. Parents saying that the value a school to a community can't be measured in dollars. Well, guess what? It can and it is. Say farewell to your school.

    This all reads as very depressing, doesn't it? I'm not writing from a negative space, however.  Maybe the most worrisome thing of all is that I seem to have accepted this view of things as a simple fact. Too many of us have drunk the Kool-Aid of 'money talks' and we'll now end up riding that train to whereever it leads us--then hopefully begin to rebuild after we hit rock bottom.

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 5 weeks ago

    Publishing an anonymous letter is not protecting a source, it is enabling a person to avoid accountability for a point of viewe expressed.

    When a reporter protects a source it means that the reporter gains access to information which the reporter then uses to publish a story after having verified and confirmed the veracity of the information provided which then contributes to a story of public interest.

    I have the right to believe that lawyers are crooks because they help criminals avoid the consequences of their actions, and that accountants are leeches because they help the rich avoid paying their fair share of taxes. If I have evidence of a lawyer or an accountant committing an act that is, if not outright illegal then at least unethical, and I pass that information to a reporter on the condition that I, the source of that information, be protected because the lawyer or accountant in question is my employer, then the reporter has an obligation to protect my identity when the information I have provided is used to corroborate a story published under the reporter's name.

    If all I want to do is make it known to the world that lawyers are crooks and accountants are leeches, I have the option of setting up my own blog, my own web page, or of fixing posters on power poles and highway overpasses. I need not attach my name to such publications.

    For a newspaper, be that of the digital or real paper kind, to publish my opinion anonymously, is to do what Will is says. That is so even if it is done by the Globe and Mail.

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 5 weeks ago

    Everyone on this thread needs to make a poster from this link and hang it on their wall -

    Ethical Journalism
    www.caj.ca/principles-for-ethical-journalism/

    Applicably to these stories -

    • "We avoid allowing our biases to influence our reporting."

    • "We don’t participate in movements and activities that we cover."

    • "Editorial boards and columnists or commentators endorse political candidates or causes. Reporters do not."

    • "If we promise to protect a source’s identity, we do so."

    • "We seek to capture in our stories the diverse values, viewpoints and lives of the people in our communities."

     

    That anyone daring to criticise the BCTF is subject to witch-hunting on these sites is very disturbing.

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 5 weeks ago

    A thumbs up to you Will for the stand you are taking. Burqa comments are not my thing. I know little of journalism, although I do write the occasional column for this and other papers. But that is not journalism, it is opinion-voicing. And that I do under my name.

    I have spent over 35 years of my working life as municipal administrator in small communities, starting in the NWT, then the Yukon, and finally in B.C. Over the course of my municipal career I have taken my share of public accusations, threats, humiliation, and misrepresentation. That is not to say that I did not have some darn good experiences too. But with reference to the verbal stoning and abuse I have taken, there is no way - no way at all - that I ever wished for a burqa to hide my identity.

    If nothing else, having to stand by and account for what you say and how you say teaches you how to think before saying anything at all. And that, over the long term, is rather useful.

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 5 weeks ago

    Kyra,
    I admire your elegant put down. Very well done.
    However, what I find "sophmoric" is the argument the write may face "economic, social and emotional jeopardy"!
    Based on what?
    Apparently, its based on your say so.
    I also want to be clear, as I perhaps was not earlier. My argument is, by publishing the smear, and that's all it was, no basis in fact, with a shielded name, you basically promoted the person's view, while protecting the person. That's aiding and abetting a smear.
    I am a journalism graduate and worked many years in the field. In all those years I never saw or heard of an editor publishing a letter anonymously where there was not some very clear and verifiable proof the author of the letter would face persecution as a result of the letter being published. In fact, in over a decade working with newspapers, I only saw one letter published anonymously. It was kept anonymous because it contained information that would have identified a minor in an abuse case. Most papers simply will not publish anonymous letters, ever. Its something you should seriously consider.
    I also find your excuse, that somehow the letter managed to create dialogue and bring people together, sophmoric, and little more than self-engrandizing, self-importance.
    The argument that many people feel the way the author does is not backed up by fact. And if many people do feel the way the author does, then the threat of negative reaction against the author is diminished. But the real problem was the letter itself, it was little more than reiteration of BC Liberal negative talking points. To claim teachers' desire for a better contract is driven by greed is nothing more than hyperbole. To lump all teachers into such a statement is little more than an attempt to bully via public shaming.
    Yes, part of your job is to talk about the elephant in the room, but that's not what you did. You let someone else do it. Had you written an editorial about a letter you received, fine, but that's not what you did. You willingly protect someone who was attempting to smear the hard working people who teach our children.
    As for your allusion to my "angry vehnemence", what is that buy a out and out attempt to marginalize my point of view by annointing me with the "angry man" label?
    If I am angry, and I don't believe I am, acerbic maybe, angry not, such anger would be justified by the fact the media are now engaging in yellow journalism by protecting people who make unfounded insults against an entire profession.
    Then again, based on this latest letter from you, and the fact you allowed a smear to be printed anonymously, its pretty clear who is in the business of smear, labelling, and Hearst-like marginalization.

     

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 5 weeks ago

    I don't feel bullied, although I feel your tone has been fairly wantonly disrespectful. I'm okay with that.

    You can say I was wrong and made a bad decision, and you're welcome to your opinion, in fact I value it as a self-assessment tool. You can say I should be sued, and I'm fine with that, as I'm confident my understanding of journalistic legalities is adequate to manage my position.

    My only objections to your rhetoric are a) saying I shared the letter writer's opinion, which was a blatant falsehood; b) saying I had no reason for withholding the name - my refusal to share said reason with you is miles from proof that it doesn't exist.

    Finally, c), it's sophomoric, I think, if not totally disingenuous, to insist that the threat of physical violence is the only form of jeopardy possible. There also exists the potential for economic, social and emotional jeopardy, and your willingness to sacrifice admitting knowledge of all three at the alter of your moral superiority is grossly unfair, I think, to the letter writer in this case - a form of smear, perhaps?

    It's also worth noting that many people share this letter writer's views - the letter in question wasn't inventing the wheel, it merely brought the issue front-and-centre, allowed for rebuttal, caused support to rally ... and generally did more to promote the teachers' cause than could any pro-BCTF commentary.

    Part of my job is to talk about the elephant in the room when everyone else remains silent. I believe the letter writer's viewpoint is the elephant in the room in this regard, and angry vehemence like yours serves only to drive the conversation underground, rather than actually changing minds or solving any problems.

    Food for thought.

    Regards,

    Kyra Hoggan

    Editor, The Castlegar Source/Trail Champion

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 5 weeks ago

    Internet comment activists (or ICA's) accomplish a lot for our communities and really make a difference for the teachers on strike, so your work is important, and we all very much appreciate your efforts will. I commend you for being up late at night working so hard to make things better. I am ashamed to say that at 11 15 last night I was sleeping, while you were still awake, behind the computer, getting the job done. We need more people like you.

    I feel like writing an anonymous letter about how much gratitude and respect all of us have for those selfless individuals who sacrifice so much to get names published on the letters for our local online news websites, but I wouldn't want the editor to have to go through anymore bullying about the anonymity, so I won't.

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 5 weeks ago

    Willy,

    How clever of you to try to turn it around like that. Did you think it up all by your self?
    I'm impressed. You should notify Stephen Harper of your ability to make such unfounded inferences. I'm sure he has a place for you among his short panted boys.
    Actually, your post says a lot about you, and nothing about me.
    One of the things it says is that your reading comprehension could use some work.
    I don't really care who wrote the letter, although they seem rather cowardly. What I'm concerned about is the media protecting smear artists.
    The author of that letter smeared teachers, and the Editor, Kyra, helped him or her. I don't think our media should be in the business of smear, or aiding and abetting smear.
    You seem to think differently, which leaves me wondering if you are the smear artist. If so, next time, have the courage to put your name to your art.

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 5 weeks ago

    Witherton, the bullying was done by the intitial letter writer who did nothing but smear teachers, aided and abetted in the activity by the editor who chose to help hide the writer's identity.
    It is not bullying to challenge the media on a bad decision.
    I have not tried to coerce the editor, nor have I asked her to give up the name. I have not threatened the editor, or the letter writer. I have said the letter writer was cowardly, and I stand by that assessment.
    Look up "bully" in the dictionary before you accuse people of it.
    There is something really wrong in our society if we can't question or challenge the decisions of public figures, whether they be politicians like C. Clarke and S. Harper, or media personalities like writers and editors.
    And there certainly is nothing bullying about challenging a person who hides behind their anonymity while producing smear to own up and have the courage to put their real name to their attacks.

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 5 weeks ago

    GrownUps Pay Taxes.

    And don't mind doing so.

    For they realize we really do get a lot for our tax dollar.

    Like a lot of the stuff we take for granted.  That make BC the best place in the world to live.

    Like a good education system for example, and good accessible health care.

    To heck with F-35's and expensive foreign wars and mandatory sentencing to force us to build more jails--sure, those things we could likely do without.  

    But let's pay the taxes to keep our education and healthcare (and infrastructure) top notch. Or at least adequate.

    I feel bad for how the teachers are being demonized and scapegoated and fear that morale may suffer as a result of this government full-on assault, particularly if it finds resonance with the media and voters, which I pray it does not.

    For then the kids will lose and we will all lose.  

    And the damage done will continue to be felt for many years.

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 5 weeks ago

    From reading your replies...Will, it sounds like you are desperate to find out the Author's name of the letter so you can retaliate, harrass & go out of your way to make life hard for them because you do not share the same belief as the Author. Let it go man & move on!

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 5 weeks ago

    You're bullying. That is lame.

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 5 weeks ago

    You claim you withheld the author's name to protect them from possible hassle as a result of expressing their opinion.
    Meanwhile, you have nothing at all to base such a decision on. There have not been personal physical attacks on anyone who has presented their opinion.
    What's more, that letter was not opinion, it was smear. It should not have been printed, name or no name. It was an all out personal attack based on innuendo.
    You claim to support teachers, but when you published that smear, you did not protect them.
    Nuff said.

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 5 weeks ago

    "Without this willingness [to spend public funds] no significant educational improvement can be expected. Here there is the predictable bar to effective action when the overriding issues of puiblic costs and possible taxation are encountered."

    These are the words of JK Galbraith, "the Culture of Contentment", p. 181.

    Ayn Rand would disagree, and so would a few other thinkers on her side of centre. Problem is that the proof of who is right and who is wrong will not become evident to the next generation. If decisions made today result in a reduction in the quality of education, the next generation will pay the price for our decisions. The bucks we save today will be of little value then. If decisions made today result in higher educational achievements, the next generation will enjoy benefit of the price we paid while they were still in diapers. 

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 5 weeks ago

    For God’s sake why are people against not only teachers but anyone else having a living wage? Why should anyone have to bring a calculator with them when grocery shopping for fear of not being able to pay? Do you think politicians worry, we pay their wages. Why should the 1% have all the money and be able to have a good life are we not humans a well? They should pay their fare share and we would see a better world. I have a hard time understanding why people are so hard on their fellow humans, is it jealousy that someone will be better off than them or are they just hateful? We see people bitch about anyone that would like to have a better life why is it really?

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 6 weeks ago

    I'm tired of hearing variations of the "if they don't like it, why don't they just get another job".  By the same principle if you're whinning about teacher's high salaries and wonderful benefits, which presumably you help pay for with your taxes - why don't you get a new job which pays more so you can stop whinning about taxes to pay for childrens' education?  Maybe you could even get a job as a teacher?  Or if you don't like paying for government services, why don't you move to a country that doesn't have any taxes, or government services?
    Oh wait, only teachers should have to change profession, or uproot themselves and their families from where they live if conditions aren't perfect.

    Also, anonymous, try to pay attention to the union demands.  Most are about class sizes, and support for the children.  Not about pay. But I don't think asking for pay increases that at least match inflation (specially after no raises for so long) is out of order.  It's not like the cost of those many years of education to become a teacher is getting any cheaper.

    And the last election?  No one party won a majority of the popular vote, nor was education the only issue.  So I don't know how you can twist that to interpret the will of the electorate as being against the teachers.

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 6 weeks ago

    I respect that we disagree on this, but when you accuse me of agreeing with the letter-writer, I believe it implies your failure to read the column I posted, moments later, strongly defending teachers. With my name and photograph at the very top.

    Both my parents are teachers, and I have always firmly supported teachers.

    You also continue to decline to hear that the decision was made by the Castlegar Source and the Trail Champion, NOT the Nelson Daily.

    Can we please at least argue the facts - and not just the ones that are convenient?

    Regards,

    Kyra Hoggan

    Editor

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 6 weeks ago

    I know of no incident in the the Canadian English media in modern times where any letter to the editor writer was ever subjected to any sort of violent retaliation for a published letter.
    I know of many who have written letters and had to endure written responses, but that's the nature of making controversial statements. If you can handle feedback, you probably shouldn't turn your amplifier up!
    If a person has grounds to fear, based on some past incident or acton, fine, but having fear because you suspect your opinion will be unpopular is not grounds, its paranoia.
    Clearly, the author knew their comments were inflammatory, and suspected there would be a backlash. The author was quite willing to subject teachers to verbal abuse but wasn't prepared to accept the same right back.
    In other words, the author can dish it out but can't take it.
    Since when is it an editors job to protect such a person.

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 6 weeks ago

    I don't think the NN should have printed or posted the letter without a name.
    I think the withholding of the name was cowardly. Why did you not also protect the teachers? They are people too.
    How can you possibly justify protecting someone who slanders the entire teaching community?
    Your decision makes no sense.
    If the person who wrote the letter had any courage at all they would have attached their name to it. Without the name, its just anonymous gutter sniping.
    The letter itself contained very few facts, and was basically an anoymous partisan attack on an entire segment of our community.
    In the end Kyra, its you who have damaged your own reputation. You've protected this friend of your for some unknown reason. I suspect its because you actually agree with the person. Why else would you allow a letter that has no substance to it, but plenty of innuendo, to be published?
    I would suggest you do as most papers do, and refuse to publish any letter anonymously.
    If a person isn't willing to put their name on their opinion, then their opinion isn't worth publishing.

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 6 weeks ago

    I actually like the idea of teachers paying for the education of children. In fact, I would want to adopt that idea as a general economic principle.

    Doctors pay for my health care.

    Pilots pay for my air fare.

    Farmers pay for my food.

    Oil companies pay for my gas.

    Banks pay for my mortgage,

    Artists pay for my entertainment.

    And, saving best for last, Prime Ministers and Premiers pay for my taxes.

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 6 weeks ago

    To the anonymous author of this unsigned letter...

    • When you assert that a worker who feels they deserve a raise should just 'move' you are being silly. Is your philosophy really that employees should either accept whatever their employer is willing to offer them or jump ship, uproot their families and disrupt their communities? Would this include, for example, Celgar or Teck workers? If so, that's pretty radical! Beyond even what the federal Conservatives or BC 'Liberals' would endorse (at least publicly). Is your real first name 'Ayn' and your last name 'Rand', perchance? However, I suppose it's your right to epouse views that undermine the traditional values of our nation. I imagine you're one of those (undercover) radicals who would privatize health care, prisons, etc. Because our Great Father In The Sky, 'the market', knows best.

    • When you write 'We all know' that the strikes are about self-interest' you are being inaccurate. I was one of 'all of us' last time I checked, and I don't 'know' this and neither do most people I know. So 'all' is out the window.

    • There's nothing paradoxical about wanting a raise AND caring about class sizes and composition at the same time. You've offered up a false dilemma here, either through error or rhetorical dishonesty. The public school teachers I know (and I know quite a few) are exclusively talking about the latter issues this time around, for what that observation is worth. They feel their jobs are becoming more and more untenable and their students' lives harder due to serious underfunding. That said, I suppose your 'supply/demand' paradigm applies here and students who don't like overcrowded, undersupported classrooms should just 'move' as well. Speak with your feet little ones! Mystery Author...is your last name 'Thatcher' and your first name 'Margaret'? Ms. Thatcher was the great proponent of the idea that 'there is no such thing as society'--that, beyond families, people exist only in naked  economic relation to one another. It's a creepy philosophy and very un-Canadian.

    • Repulsive 'greed' at 'the expense of our kids'? How is this true? Should teachers subsidize our children's educations? Here's an idea! Why don't you do  it instead? Perhaps consider going to your employer and offering to take a wage cut, with the difference going to SD 20. If you do that, I'll salute you when I pass you in the street--or would if I knew who you were. But until you're willing to do that yourself, perhaps lay off the teachers. They have no more reason to pay extra than you do. Taxation is how we typically fund things like health care and education in this country.

    • When you write that teachers' jobs are over protected, you make me sad...because I sort of agree with you on this one. I know of a number of teachers who deserve to be fired immediately and shamed publicly. But this issue has nothing to do with the current job action. Sigh. Your only strong point and it was totally off-topic...

    • You fear 'reprisals' from teachers? We 'all' do? Seriously? What kind of teachers do you know? Ones on steroids wearing black leather chaps and riding Harleys? The ones I know are...nice, ordinary people. Kind of meek, if I'm to be honest. Still, I'm sorry you're scared. Of teachers.

    • Even kindergarten teachers? What form do their ‘reprisals’ take? Extended quiet times?

    • What's all this about the last provincial election? Was it about teachers and their greed? I guess I forgot that bit!

    • You 'love' teachers??? Oh dear...I guess this is what they call 'tough love'. I'd hate to see what someone who despised teachers and sought to assault their integrity in public while hiding their own identity would write!

    • In your final paragraph, you repeat your strange assertion that teachers should pay for their students' educations. Why not bus drivers or loggers or those ever-mobile nurses? Or anonymous letter writers? Or better yet...all of us. Through taxes. How’s that for a radical idea?

  • COMMENT: Local infrastructure projects run amok (with a nod to the Mountain Kingdom))   1 year 6 weeks ago

    Is the recipe of “one official who takes ownership” not a cloud blocking the value of the sunlight in your recipe? Were the projects criticised by the Auditor General for Local Government not precisely of the kind managed by “I-am-in-charge” individuals?

    Nietzsche held that “the errors of great men are venerable because they are more fruitful that the truths of little men.” Sunshine is of limited value when Nietzsche’s little men have no say, are denied participation, and are thus left with no sense of engagement in and responsibility for decisions.

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 6 weeks ago

    Back off a bit on the whole name thing. There's more productive and much more important things to be all irate about than whether or not the author's name of a letter is published or not. There's something powerful about being able to anonymously post your opinions and thoughts, that's why voting is always private, and a lot of meetings now-days are moving to a more private environment so that it's not only the bold and the confident who get their opinions heard, but also the more shy and meek. No need to be attacking the people who made this decision, they obviously did it after thinking about it and weighing the options and came up with what they thought was the best decision. There's nothing sinister about the process and nothing evil. So direct your energy to something more important, like the topic at hand in the article.

  • LETTER: Teachers using kids to mask greed   1 year 6 weeks ago

    Will, this was NOT the Nelson Daily. We will discuss ways to make that more clear (the paper of origin).

    My name is Kyra Hoggan, I am the editor of the Castlegar Source and the Trail Champion, and the decision was mine, and mine alone.

    Please direct any distress to me, not my affiliates, and I apologize for the lack of clarity around who posted this.

    I am horrified that the backlash for my decision is impacting my very hard-working and worthy fellow editors.

    We will strive to find a way to better identify ourselves in the future.

    Thank you for bringing this very serious issue to our attention, and I personally am deeply sorry for the confusion this has created.

    Regards,

    Kyra Hoggan

    Editor

    The Castlegar Source/Trail Champion

  • Stephen Harper’s ‘Strategic’ Path to Ruin   1 year 6 weeks ago

    I don't normally respond publically about political commentary but in this instance, I'm going to. Mr Dobbin has, in the past, had blogs that were entertaining, relevant, humourous, and even plausible. This blog, dated May 21, 2014, has all these qualities plus added value.

    The added value is in the point by point, methodical, chronicling of our Prime Minister's systematic disassembly of his powerful coalition's main message to the voting public. This message has been that the ' Conservative Government of Stephen Harper ' is in control and has the best interest of Canadians first and foremost. The Prime Minister, by his actions and speech, seems to be trying to prove his government's slogans and rhetoric to be mere window dressing, hiding the nasty bits behind the curtains.

    One item mentioned, but barely touched upon by Mr. Dobbin, is the absolute gutting of the ' Navigable Waters Act '. The changes to this act alone have opened up for development most fresh water resources in Canada by industry, with little or no recourse for the citizens to protest or impede developments.

    This action by the government, along with the numerous other changes in legislation, have had and will continue to have extremely negative effects on the lives of all of us.

    I can only hope, for the sake of our country, that the electorate will realize, in enough time to change the government, that the present course of our Federal government is sheer folly.