Wrong to remove dissenting views

Esther Darlington MacDonald says it's wrong to dismiss Ermes Culos from the landfill monitoring committee.

Dear Editor

re – Dismissal of Ermes Culos from PMAC

It has been common knowledge that Ermes Culos of Ashcroft has been opposed to the Cache Creek landfill from its inception.

Ermes has spent the last 23 years questioning every stage of the landfill’s development. When the project became a fait accompli, he spent countless hours monitoring, assessing, questioning, and challenging the transportation of Vancouver garbage to Cache Creek.

All this did not make Ermes Culos popular.

Ermes is not a politician. He is a retired educator. He didn’t much care if he cared at all, what people thought of his diligence, one might say, his obsession.  He cared about the environment. Especially the environment where we live, breathe, and take our sustenance.

Nevertheless, the TNRD recognized Ermes’ due diligence by appointing him to PMAC, the council that is supposed to monitor, assess, question, if necessary, the landfill operation at Cache Creek. This past week, his services on the council were no longer required. Apparently, Ermes’ use of the PMAC letterhead in his correspondence with various agencies concerning the landfill has been a thorn in the side of certain persons. Yes, it might well have been.

Now, in his own way, Mayor John Ranta of Cache Creek, is as single minded about keeping garbage flowing into Cache Creek as Ermes Culos was determined to do the next best thing, if he couldn’t stop the flow. Monitoring, investigating, researching, and, finally, challenging.

All this has been a test. Two men with a passion. One might even call it an obsession. There’s a twist of humorous irony about this. Mayor Ranta, who has just been launched into his 20 plus years as Mayor of the wayside village, says that his former TNRD colleague has “run his course”. That may be seen by many as the “pot calling the kettle”. And Mayor Ranta’s calling Ermes Culos, a “conscientious objector” (Kamloops News) is also pause. Conscientious objector. Is that such a bad thing?

The Oxford Concise Dictionary defines a conscientious objector as “a person who for reasons of conscience objects to conforming to a requirement”.

Three persons on the TNRD did not agree with the decision to strike Ermes Culos off PMAC. Jessoa Lightfoot of Area A put it best.

“I have an objection to disposing of people who disagree with your view”.

It is a sad tale. It smacks very much like those who say, “If you are not my friend, you are my enemy”.

That kind of primitive life view should have gone by the way of the dinosaur.  But, apparently, in this region of the B.C. Interior, that kind of view is alive and well.

Esther Darlington MacDonald