By Lyla Smith
I write to appreciate our local paper’s (Powell River Peak) fine and objective coverage of recent events at city hall. At a time when western
governments choose to send the pride of our youth to foreign lands to fight and die for democracy, it is truly a horror that we still have to fight so hard to maintain it at home.
What will be the cost to the taxpayer in legal fees for council’s harassment of its citizens? Perhaps council could save itself and the people a lot of future pain by publishing a clear list of what it considers fair and legal comment on its actions. For all I know, these very words I write now will be deemed outside the law.
Whether or not I agree with Ms. Aldworth, Mr. Brown, and Mr. Hopkins is truly beside the point. Fair criticism of elected officials is a pillar of our freedoms of speech and the press. And anyway, the only way a charge of libel or slander can have any legal teeth is if the offending statements are untrue. Let’s have a full airing of the issues at hand. Let Mr. Alsgaard et al. open up and share all the facts of
the matters in question.
Until this draconian legal action on the part of the city arose, my opinion was wholly unresolved. Now I’m reminded of the bard: Methinks thou dost protest too much. Until all the laundry is aired, methinks I smell a rat!
There is an exploited producer at the bottom of every cup of conventional coffee. That’s the message of the Guatemalan Campesino Committee of the Highlands (CCDA).
On Nov. 19 about 120 people were treated to a moving film at the Ecole Cote du Soleil, about Guatemalan Mayan peasants working co-operatively toward agrarian independance.After the film, committee president Leocadio Juracan Salome (pictured) explained the clear necessity for farm workers to work collectively to empower them all. The subtitle of the program, ‘For Food Security, Land Reform is Needed’ speaks directly to Guatemalan farm workers. In that country 2% of the population owns 75% of the arable land. Working on large farms, often trekking hours to and from the fields, wages typically are not high enough to cover the cost of living. For members of CCDA things are entirely different. Ratio of land ownership in Guatemala may seem very extreme and third world. But recent BC data shows the wealthiest 10% own 54.6% of this province’s wealth. Or, seen from another angle, BC’s top 50% control 95.7% of wealth, leaving just 4.3% for the rest of us. The other half. Globally the richest 2% own half of the world’s wealth. Rather than shrinking, these gaps are growing in the developed world. While many Canadians are clearly better off than average Guatemalans, our farmers also face huge negative legislative impacts that threaten small farms and local production. Maybe we can all learn from each other and work together.