Letters to the editor – December 10, 2020

Universal access needed for COVID vaccine

On April 12, 1955, the Salk vaccine for polio was declared “safe, effective and potent.” Jonas Salk, inventor of the killed polio virus vaccine, was interviewed by CBS newsman Edward R. Morrow and was asked who owned the patent. “Well, the people, I would say.”

Franklin D. Roosevelt, himself a victim of polio, established the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, later renamed the March of Dimes Foundation. It was the March of Dimes that funded the research for Salk’s vaccine. While developed countries eradicated polio, it continued to flourish around the word until 1988 when the Global Polio Eradication Initiative was founded. By 2016 the number of paralytic cases was reduced by 99.99 percent with only 42 cases reported in that year worldwide.

The rising COVID numbers are alarming, and the reporting of such across the media is relentless. News is emerging of two possible vaccines for the coronavirus, so why don’t we hear more good news of what is going on behind the scenes and on the ground?

There is a concerted, co-ordinated effort to eradicate COVID-19 by organizations with experience in fighting global diseases, such as the Global Fund to fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis, GAVI the Vaccine Alliance, The World Bank and the World Health Organization, to name a few.

Canada is at the forefront of funding this effort, and as COVID knows no borders, it would be insanity not to work hard to find equitable access for vulnerable people, both within and outside of our borders.

I am proud to be Canadian at a time like this, and I hope that Canada continues to put at least one percent of its COVID-19 response in new and additional aid towards  an emergency global response to end the pandemic everywhere. We must leave no one behind.

Connie Lebeau,

Victoria, B.C.

RM council criticism not warranted

I am the retired reeve of the Rural Municipality of Mervin, No. 499 in Saskatchewan. I made the decision to retire after serving eight years in that position and as such, did not partake in the municipal election conducted on Nov. 9.

It is therefore with dismay and disappointment that I read your Nov. 19 edition where your agriculture reporter, Karen Briere, interviewed Gerry Ritz in his role as our newly elected reeve.

In the article, Mr. Ritz made disparaging remarks regarding the past council’s conduct as to the transparency, accountability and the lack of responsiveness and receptiveness in addressing ratepayers’ questions and concerns.

I feel strongly compelled to address these very serious accusations.

I wish to reinforce that all decisions and actions taken by the past council were made carefully with diligence and always in consideration of what was in the best and the complete interests of the entire municipality, be it agricultural, commercial or the resorts at the lake.

I say it proudly and with no hesitation that all the decisions of this council were made with no personal vested interests by any one of them. Any requests for general or specific information or for an appointment to meet with council members to address questions and concerns were ably accommodated.

In regard to the accusation of the lack of transparency, openness and accountability, I wish to inform your readers that our council held an annual ratepayers meeting in which reports of all actions taken were presented at that time.

Additionally, each and every year the municipality includes an audited financial statement in the annual tax notice to their ratepayers. I want to point out that the latter is not always the practice of every municipality in this province.

Our council was accountable to answer any and all questions resulting from the reports or the financial statement that the ratepayers posed. We also exceeded requirements in hosting public meetings regarding proposed developments.

I encourage Mr. Ritz in his new role to refrain from the public discrediting and disparagement of those who have served their community before him. As a property owner at the lake, Mr. Ritz, and being unhappy with a bylaw as it pertains to lake property, I hope you and the new council will make all decisions for the well-being of all the municipality, not just the few with a vested interest.

Tom Brown, Former reeve,

RM of Mervin

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