Premier John Horgan looks on as Finance Minister Carole James delivers the budget speech at the legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Tuesday, February 19, 2018.
CHAD HIPOLITO / THE CANADIAN PRESS
The Feb. 19 evening newscast began with details of the provincial budget, with the reporter noting that Finance Minister Carole James was “choking up when catching a glimpse of her family and mentioning her childhood home.” Then a close-up of a teary James, stating, “I knew I’d have trouble getting through this,” as Premier John Horgan looked on approvingly.Nowhere in the story was there the brief analysis I received from my broker the next day, advising that in all the good news about a “balanced budget,” with great emphasis on families, was anything about the provincial debt climbing by $14.5 billion during the budget reporting period. The total provincial debt will balloon to $82.4 billion — a little over $17,000 for British Columbians. An average family has 2.9 individuals, meaning each family’s share is about $50,000.It’s enough to bring tears to all our eyes.Bernie Smith, ParksvilleUse fear for goodThis recent resurgence of measles, which has been virtually wiped out thanks to effective vaccines, is a prime example of how the internet can be more effective at spreading misinformation than scientific fact.Science is a realm that many don’t understand and are easily confused by. For instance, some may not understand that the 99-per-cent effectiveness of a vaccine against a serious disease far outweighs the one-per-cent chance of possible side effects.If one puts the focus on the more extreme of those reactions or side effects, the chance of which is actually much lower than one per cent, people can be swayed by their fears to opt out. So maybe it’s time to emphasize the dangers of not getting vaccinated, which are far worse. If fear sells, let’s use it proactively!Charles Leduc, VancouverSurrey goes begging againWith approval of the UBC subway line, Surrey is once again getting the short end of the stick when it comes to transit. We get a half-funded SkyTrain route to Langley and no SkyTrain to fast-growing South Surrey for at least 10 years.Please, sir, can we have more transit services?Alan Kuhnert, SurreyMust stop the ‘parasites’I saw the news about the drug mule with 27,500 fentanyl pills in his van who was let off on a technicality by a judge who thought his rights were being violated. Defence lawyers and the judge should be ashamed, especially given the amount of damage drug dealers are doing to our society.Let’s put a stop to these parasites! Our justice system is being violated.Rudy Plett, AbbotsfordWhat horrorNone of us can possibly imagine the despair the young Syrian couple must feel from losing their seven children in the Halifax house fire.We have no words or deeds to comfort the couple, who survived war-torn Syria, lived in a refugee camp and were happy to come to Canada for a better life for them and their children. We can only hope that the father of the children, Ebraheim, severely burned trying to save them, will survive and give his wife, Kawthar, someone to cling to.Our prayers are with them.Ruth Enns, VancouverLet’s go cashlessWhen is someone going to discuss changing to a cashless society? We are already partway there, with debit and credit cards, direct deposits and direct payments. Most of us never actually see the money.Let’s end the casino fiasco of money laundering and the fentanyl problem by implementing a cashless society where we can track the money.John Parfitt, Pitt MeadowsLetters to the editor should be sent to email@example.com. The editorial pages editor is Gordon Clark, who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.CLICK HERE to report a typo.Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email email@example.com.