Saturday’s letters: Mosquitoes don’t warrant ecological warfare

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Re. “Council failed to read the room on aerial mosquito-control policy,” Keith Gerein, April 7

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Edmonton city council appropriately voted to terminate an expensive program to aerially distribute a toxin to control mosquitoes. The bti toxin produced by bacteria is not directly toxic to humans or other mammals at the concentrations used to control aquatic insects, but it has devastating consequences by killing many species of insects that are food for swallows, swifts, flycatchers, nighthawks and other avian insectivores. .

In fact, insects are required by the young of most species of birds. Avian insectivores are biological controls for flying insects, but because we are uncomfortable being bitten by mosquitoes some people would like to allow the city to destroy these birds that give many of us much pleasure.

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Keith Gerein needs to wear a long-sleeved shirt and wear repellant—his discomfort does not warrant the ecological warfare of insecticides that upsets ecological processes in Edmonton’s wetlands. Clearly, there is a need for public education on the consequences of mosquito control, but based on a CBC interview, city staff are undermining the city’s policy. This makes me wonder who is in control in the city?

Mark S. Boyce, FRSC, biological sciences, University of Alberta

Private clinics don’t mean US-style health care

There has been a great deal of moaning and gnashing of teeth over the UCP’s attempt to increase the number of private surgical facilities. We hear that the government is planning to privatize health care and converting to an “American system.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Everyone will still have access to free health care, including the private clinics.

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In fact, Canada and North Korea are the only countries that don’t have some combination of public and private health services. Canada has possibly the longest wait times of any first world country, and as it has been said before, “access to a wait list is not access to treatment.”

Art Davison, Sherwood Park

Education program for mosquitoes?

So Edmonton city council has a program to educate? If they’re hoping to teach the mosquitoes not to bite, good luck with that.

Randy B. Williams, St. Albert

Cutting oil-by-rail contracts premature

The UCP started their tenure with an attack on oil-by-rail contracts of the previous NDP government. Oil by rail was old school, uneconomical and an environmental threat and put Alberta taxpayers at risk.

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At great expense to the taxpayer, all the oil-by-rail contracts were terminated and Alberta taxpayers picked up billions of dollars in contract termination fees. Now the world needs oil and these great visionaries are now looking at moving oil by rail because, between the UCP and the federal Liberals, there are no other choices for transporting oil. The cost of being a visionary. Donkey carts anyone?

Ralph Williams, Edmonton

Bank surtax a step towards Venezuela

Canadians beginning without much capital, but willing to work hard to implement good ideas have been enabled by Canadian banks. When they retired, they invested the income from their enterprises in shares of Canadian banks — to live from the bank’s dividends and provide capital for the enterprise of the rising generation of Canadians. Think of Stan Milner and the Edmonton Public Library as one of the innumerable examples.

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To hamper this crucial economic process by imposing a surtax on Canadian banks is to the detriment of all Canadians, a step along the path of Venezuela, a country rich in natural resources impoverished by the sordid political practice of confiscating the money of those who have earned it to buy the votes of those who have not, thus killing motivation and, in the case of Venezuela, alienating worthy citizens to the point of seeing them leave the country.

Jack Ondrack, County of Parkland

Kudos to council for cutting aerial spraying

Congratulations to city council for not allowing aerial spraying for mosquitoes. Rachel Carson, who wrote the famous book Silent Spring was completely against aerial spraying. I would suggest that those councillors who voted for aerial spraying would read her book by her. Unfortunately, it is not only mosquitoes that get killed.

Myrtle Smyth, Leduc

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