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Letters April 25: Growing old without children; too relaxed about drug use; keep cats indoors

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes a Volkswagen electric battery plant announcement at the Elgin County Railway Museum in St. Thomas, Ont. on April 21, 2023. TARA WALTON, THE CANADIAN PRESS

Think of what will be missed with that lifestyle

Re: “Why some young Canadians are choosing the DINK lifestyle,” April 21.

After reading the article, my thoughts turned to some of the important things that those who choose that double income, no kids lifestyle will never experience.

I agree wholly that such a relationship could be wonderful for a healthy young man but unfortunately the “Garden of Youth” has yet to be found and the vibrant young chap may well live long enough to become a frail old fellow of 75 or older.

That’s about when most of us start to find out where the medical specialists are located.

There is the possibility that one or other in the DINK union may pass away unexpectedly in later years leaving only a pet of some sort to provide company to the survivor. Yes, it will show affection of sorts especially when it’s feeding time.

There will be no children to admire and share their joy at their achievements. No big smiles at Christmas or other fêtes. No proud parent bragging rights when they become prominent in their chosen field of study.

When young, we tend not to think about who will drive us to the doctor appointment, to the grocery store, or who will help us in and out of bed should one incur something like major surgery.

I can only assume that the people mentioned in the article have few if any elderly friends from whom they can glean some knowledge of the problems of old age.

Everyone has the right to choose their lifestyle but I caution the DINK choosers to think ahead to what may become their reality.

David Smith


Battery plant subsidy is not to help Canadians

In 2022, Canada’s population grew by more than one million due to net immigration, and justified on the basis that Canada has a severe labour shortage.

Last week, the federal government announced a $13.2-billion subsidy to entice Volkswagen to build its battery plant in Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau justifies the expenditure on the basis that it will create thousands of jobs.

So what is it? Does Canada have a labour shortage or do we need government to create jobs?

In 2022, Canada added 1,050,110 to our population, more than one million due to international migration. With about 2,900 new residents arriving daily and an average household size in Canada of 2.5 people, that translates into 1,150 new homes to be built every day, or 420,000 homes a year.

Compare this to our capacity to build 240,000 nationwide. No wonder why Canada has a housing affordability problem for residents dependent on earning an income within the local economy.

Are we setting ourselves up for a severe recession when our economy is so dependent on continued high rates of residential construction and the associated high-paying construction jobs, all fueled by high population growth?

Is Canada’s high population growth sustainable in a world facing increased environmental degradation and a growing number of Canadians being priced out of the local housing market?

Perhaps Trudeau’s real justification for investing $13.2 billion in a battery plant, while at the same time growing our population, is more to satisfy corporate interests than it is to meet the needs of Canadians.

Doug Turner


Plain language would help guide drug usage

Re: “Campbell River tries new public drug ban,” April 22.

In news reports about restrictions on public alcohol consumption, a reader gets the “no drinking in public” picture whether or not plain language is used.

Plain language about public drug consumption was missing from the report. Including plain language in your next report would give a good picture about public drug consumption: “No injecting in public.”

Bob Bray

Campbell River

Relaxed attitude on drugs has been a mistake

We know that drugs like cannabis and alcohol can be habit-forming, and long term can have a very negative impact on our health and well-being.

Some people can deal with it and moderate their use; some cannot, as we see by the growing number of drug-related deaths.

In the 1920s, we observed and sensed that even though there was not a lot of research, that prohibiting the production and sale of drugs was the right way to go.

Today, there is more research but none that suggests a more relaxed attitude toward drug production and use changes anything that we sensed back in the 1920s.

At least with alcohol, there is a degree of quality control and of marketing. I think that our new and relaxed attitude toward drug use is one of the worst decisions made by government, not unlike the day we opened the doors of Essondale and foisted the patients on our communities without any plans for ongoing care.

Vince Devries


A cycling lesson learned: Always wear a helmet

Re: “Bill 32 looks to protect ‘vulnerable road users’,” April 21.

The photo shows a woman without a helmet and wearing headphones, both illegal actions.

While cycling, I will always wear a helmet. One most certainly saved me from serious injury on a windy day in 1999 at the entrance to the old Johnson Street Bridge from the Vic West side. Not quite sure what happened, as I got knocked-out for a few seconds, but I was either blown over by the wind or hit some sand, taking my bike and me to the ground.

With the help of a couple pedestrians I was lucky to walk away with a two-inch crack in my helmet above my left ear, four cracked ribs, a bruised pelvis and hip, three weeks off work and the need to take anti-inflammatories or painkillers ever since, although now I take them for other reasons too.

I agree with the intent of Bill 23, but I am concerned it will only be used to fine or charge somebody after an accident. Cyclists must also take responsibility to make themselves less vulnerable, first step being obeying the rules for your own safety.

I have had several instances where motorists have passed me too close for comfort. The most common is motorists will give an adequate berth initially when passing but will cut in too soon which brings the rear of the vehicle too close.

Unless I am going up a hill, I stop pedalling when somebody passes me just in case I have to take evasive action.

Walt Hundleby


Keep cats indoors or on a leash

Re: “Bright cat collars help protect birds,” April 23.

Your coverage accurately reports the devastating impact that free-roaming cats have on birds and other wildlife. There are several other parts of this story that were not covered, however.

Cats are also carriers of many diseases which can be transmitted to humans. While some are not life-threatening, others are more serious.

Toxic plasmosis is one that is well known, and there is recent research that suggests links to dramatic increases in schizophrenia and suicidal tendencies in women who have merely been exposed to it. There are cases also of people who have died of bubonic plague contracted from cat saliva.

The Canadian Pediatric Society has a useful table on its website of cat-transmissable diseases.

Some of these diseases are spread when cats defecate in children’s sandboxes and people’s gardens, including gardens that produce food for our consumption. Nobody wants that.

Your story also does not address the fact that cat collars do nothing to protect cats. The American SPCA reports that indoor cats live on average almost five times as long as cats allowed outdoors.

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association has on its web site a position statement on reducing the numbers of free-roaming cats, including owned cats.

The cat collars may be helpful only if cat owners use them. They are useless in protecting birds from attacks by feral cats, which cause at least a significant percentage of bird kills (some authorities say a majority).

I also do not agree with the statement that “most” communities have cat control bylaws; I am aware of only a handful that require cats to be contained in the same way that dogs and all other domestic animals are.

For readers who would like a science-based review of this problem and some of its “solutions” I recommend a book, Cat Wars: The Devastating Consequences of a Cuddly Killer.

The only real solution is to enact enforceable bylaws to require cat owners to keep their cats indoors or on a leash. It is long overdue.

Bruce Whittington


Instead of losing a statue, add a second

We have just returned from Spain. I was impressed with that country as I am with most European countries.

What was significant about Spain in the five cities we visited was how well planned these cities were in the past to allow for beautiful esplanades and plazas today. What also struck me was the amount and quality of their monuments.

Of course, they have been around much longer than we have, but their monuments are impressive.

Which brings me to Victoria and John A. Macdonald, our first prime minister and the person who almost singlehandedly created Canada. However, his treatment of First Nations people was abysmal, and all of us are still paying the price of reconciliation.

John A. was a product of his time.

Still, I was nhappy with his surreptitious removal from City Hall. I was surprised that the council of the day could not bring some imagination to the table.

Instead of removing John A., we should have added Maquinna, also a product of his time. A fierce and savvy ruler who controlled a large swath of our West Coast and played the Spanish off against the English to suit his people’s needs.

John A. on one side and Maquinna on the other. If they ever came to life, my money would be on Maquinna.

Hans de Goede


Small boat exercises mean money is saved

Re: “Navy small-boat exercises planned for Royal Roads area,” April 19.

Upon reading the headline, this thought pattern went through my mind: Not enough personnel to crew frigates/coastal patrol vessels to participate in meaningful integrated training? Or DND telling operations community to cut fuel consumption so the prime minister can jet around the country and world telling “peasants” to reduce our carbon footprint?

N.F. Jamieson

Retired RCAF

Campbell River

Better off with expanded amalgamation?

A recent contributor in support of amalgamation pointed to Toronto’s example. In 1998, Ontario forced seven municipalities to merge — decidedly undemocratic, since some three quarters of residents had voted to reject amalgamation.

How did that really go?

Transition costs ran over budget, to $275 million.

The province downloaded additional obligations and responsibilities to the municipality.

Instead of the predicted $300 million, the new Toronto managed to find only $135 million in annual cost savings. In the year of amalgamation, the city operating budget jumped by 18 per cent. This formed a new baseline that was not offset in subsequent years.

Nine years later, Toronto’s operating budget had grown to $8.1 billion, compared to $5 billion pre-amalgamation. The municipal employee count only grew over the same period, by 4,741.

The wage bill grew even more since wages and salaries were harmonized at the highest rate of the prior municipalities. Harmonization of municipal services resulted in increases in some areas, but decreases in others.

Evidence dating back to the 1960s shows that the assumption that smaller, numerous municipalities provide services at higher cost is typically wrong. How can anyone be so confident that our region would be a shining exception?

Shaun Cembella


Value in having a cougar on Sidney Island

There is only one reason Sidney Island fallow deer have proliferated, and that is there are no predators to keep the population in balance.

Rather than spend $6 million of taxpayers money to “eradicate” the invasive species, the natural, logical and most cost-effective solution is to put a cougar on the island. Natural prey/predator balance restored; problem solved.

Peter Clarke


If you build housing, more people will come

For a city/capital region with an aging population, and likely the lowest birth rate in Canada, Victoria and environs has the highest migration of new residents from other provinces.

At least 60 per cent of the new residents in 2020 were from elsewhere in Canada.

What study has been done on the balance between social and economic profit from construction of housing and services, including the availability of water for an increased population, sewage and garbage disposal, transport, policing, medical services, parks and all the facilities that sustain an escalating population?

The claim that we need housing to attract workers is interesting. We have employable residents who cannot find jobs. How can we not use the residents already in place to fill jobs employers have open? If this is a post-COVID consequence, housing will not solve the worker shortage.

Yes, our population is aging many out of the workforce but, if attracting workers is the mandate for building homes, existing housing is becoming available as my generation downsize or die off. Affordable is now history, whether food, cars, services or housing.

Don’t add Victoria and environs to the lost paradise list. Housing requires services for the people who live in them. Lower Vancouver Island is on the cusp of more people than services to sustain them.

The history of humanity is migration, but humanity versus resources is a real equation that must be considered.

Building more housing than can be serviced will not solve the problem, it will acerbate the influx.

Karen Harris



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