Final effort needed to defeat polio
Many Canadians are old enough to remember the horror of polio. In the1950s and 60s, polio killed thousands of children and left countless others living in iron lungs or with life-long paralysis. With the development of effective vaccines, we thought we had seen the end of this terrible disease. We were wrong.
The World Health Organization recently predicted a global polio emergency in Pakistan within three months. In 2011, 73 new cases were reported there, nearly equal to all the cases in the previous five years. Polio is now 99 per cent eradicated globally, but without immediate action, the number of children paralyzed each year is expected rise to 200,000 in a decade. We are failing at the very moment of our victory over this terrible crippler of children.
Canada contributes $35 million annually toward global polio eradication, but our spending is set to decline to just $5 million in 2014. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been invited by the UN to co-convene a meeting on polio next week, and discuss Canadas support in fighting this terrible disease. It is crucial that he recommit to our earlier funding.
Nathaniel Poole, Victoria
Woodwynn Farm benefits community
Recently, my wife and I responded to an appeal to prepare and deliver a hot dinner to the Woodwynn community (12 to 15 people). Over this shared meal with the director, Richard Leblanc, and the young men who live and work at the farm, we learned much of the farms objectives and operation. We noted its therapeutic nature both to the neglected land and the young men.
The program offers a variety of farming and hospitality skills, but more importantly, help is given to clients to become aware of their true potential. We took our leave thankful for these folk who are so grateful for a hand up, who have found a safe home off the streets, a welcoming presence, useful work and much improved good health.
We note the impact of this therapeutic initiative as it benefits the wider community:
A lot of drugs dont get dealt and/or ingested.
A lot of assaults, thefts, and prostitution does not occur.
A lot of street corners and business fronts have fewer panhandlers and dealers loitering.
A lot of medical services are available for other people.
A lot of police services and court time are not wasted.
A lot of shelter beds and food bank are available for others.
A lot of family stress, hardship and grief are averted.
A lot are fully integrated into society and have new lives.
Blain Thierry, Victoria
Asian trade mission good for the city
Re: Local delegation planning Asia trip, Sept. 15.
As a local developer and property manager I want to applaud the forward thinking and leadership our mayor is taking in putting together the upcoming trade mission to China.
Vancouver has long had the cultural and business ties to Asia and I believe with some effort, we too can attract more investment in Victoria from these overseas markets.
As a matter of fact, we have had some recent success within our own property management group in attracting our first tenant from China who is about to set up a new business in our building at 947 Fort Street. This was a first for us and I know there is more to come.
We need to reach out to other communities, not just to create more business opportunities for our region, but also to learn how to do things better. These trade missions and other similar tours allow us to do this. Its about building partnerships.
As a business person I appreciate the efforts being made not just by our mayor and several councillors, but also city staff. Through our industry organization, Urban Development Institute Capital Region, we have worked with the city to identify ways to support a better economic plan for all of us. This trade mission to China is one such example.
Travis Lee, Victoria
Sea birds not likely to eat cigarette butts
Re: Gorge cleanup nets tonne of trash and 7,187 butts, Sept. 18.
I was most intrigued by the 7,187 cigarette butts they found (was that number checked and certified?) and the comment that not only are they very toxic, but they are a fire hazard. It upsets me to think birds and marine life are ingesting these things.
I am a retired registered professional forester who was involved in fire hazards and safety. I cannot imagine how cigarette butts pulled from the Gorge Waterway could possibly be a fire hazard.
I went to the Internet and found there was a host of information about the dangerous chemicals found in cigarette butts. There did not seem to be very much information about birds or marine life that actually died from their ingestion. I found one experiment that had been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health in its campaign against smoking, where the scientists had poured water through cigarette butts and poured it into a container that had minnows in it. The minnows died.
I know seagulls will eat just about anything. I have never seen one even attempt to eat a cigarette butt. I suspect that any bird that would eat such a poisonous object would be affirming Darwins theory about survival of the fittest.
Gerald McVeigh, Victoria
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