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Letters Feb. 16: Trail campers didn't deserve harsh treatment; voices of real protesters should be heard

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The waters along the West Coast Trail. DEBRA BRASH, TIMES COLONIST

Many crimes are worse than camping in a park

Re: “Six friends fined thousands for camping on West Coast Trail,” Feb. 13.

I read this headline and the first thought that occurred to me was that the levied fines are way too high given the men involved and the “crime” that was committed.

Shaming publicly on the front page for what purpose?

And, no, I don’t know any of these men.

Seems as though much worse crimes are treated much more leniently.

Yvonne Andre
Campbell River

Paddleboard decision should be revisited

Six paddleboarders were fined and requested to write an apology for camping one night on the West Coast Trail. This seems extremely out of line when we have protesters causing havoc across our wonderful country.

The protesters are polluting the air with their gas/diesel emissions, causing people to close down businesses and fear leaving their homes for groceries (if they live near the demonstrations), not to mention holding up goods that should be moving between the U.S. and Canada.

What is happening to them? Where is the fairness in this ruling? The protesters are holding our country prisoner and affecting the lives of millions.

There needs to be some common sense used in this situation. With the pandemic, people are trying to find healthy ways to exercise and enjoy life. These paddleboarders weren’t harming anyone or causing havoc. I strongly feel this ruling needs to be revisited.

Dianne Kobe
Nanaimo

Let’s go after kayakers, but not trucks

I was both amazed and amused when reading Sunday’s bold front page headline: “Six friends fined thousands for camping on West Coast Trail.”

Kudos for wisely placing this article next to news about the truckers demonstrating downtown against the vaccine mandate.

Seems there are more lenient penalties for taking over the roads with a licensed truck rather than taking over waterfront campsites with an unlicensed kayak — never mind the unfair treatment accorded protesters of old growth and the pipeline.

My first thought when reading about these illicit campers was that they were part of the truckers convoy, throwing beer bottles and taking a much-needed rest from their busy activities of idling their engines and honking their horns.

But no, these were just a group of six paddlers on kayaks and paddleboards temporarily escaping from the mad world erupting around them.

Were Mad magazine still in existence, it would be scrambling for rights to lampoon who the police are authorized to arrest, and judges required to prosecute in this country.

And yes, “low hanging fruit” being picked is a good analogy to what appears to be the policing going on all across Canada, including within Parks Canada.

Al Lubkowski
Victoria

Difference in cases is beyond belief

The juxtaposition of two front-page stories in Sunday’s paper was breathtaking.

Six young men were found guilty of illegally entering a national park and fined thousands of dollars for camping on the West Coast Trail. They had their paddleboards confiscated and must write letters of apology.

Contrast this punishment for breaking the law to the fact that after weeks, protesters continue to occupy the streets of Ottawa, gridlocking the downtown area, shutting down businesses, harassing citizens and holding our governments hostage.

And yet, nothing is done to disperse these crowds. Police seem unable or unwilling to react and governments appear to be stymied as to how to handle the crisis.

How is it that six paddleboarders are charged and fined for trespassing on a remote part of Vancouver Island, and yet nothing is done to end the occupation of hundreds of protesters and blockades that continue to go on without an end in sight? It’s beyond belief and totally unacceptable.

Joan Richardt
Sidney

Voices of protesters should be heard

I attended the Freedom Convoy protest in Victoria on Feb. 5. I am an educator, follow public health recommendations, vaccinated by choice, and support the initial trucker movement.

The Omicron variant has changed the course of the pandemic and that should be reflected in our vaccine mandates. The reality is both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals are able to contract and transmit COVID.

I caught COVID from my vaccinated husband who caught it from another vaccinated individual. The pandemic is now evolving into an endemic.

So why new mandates? If there are safety issues with people crossing the border, then all individuals, vaccinated or unvaccinated, should be subject to the same testing and quarantine measures.

At the protest I was amazed at the diversity of people, signs, and reasons for attending. The majority of the participants were not “fringe” or “extremists,” nor were they hateful. They were peaceful, hard-working Canadians who shared the truckers’ frustrations.

The pandemic itself has caused innumerable amounts of challenges and losses, but we can’t ignore the suffering that has also been caused by lockdowns and mandates. Lost businesses and jobs, increase in mental-health issues and domestic violence, drug overdoses and isolation, to name a few.

These voices also have a right to be heard.

While I believe the blockades should be ended, I wonder if things would have turned out differently if our government had been open to dialogue, instead of labelling a group of people based on the actions of a few.

Judy Roper
Metchosin

Torturing families with blaring horns

I am a mess after only one sleepless night. I am both unproductive and exhausted for most of the day. It is hell.

This is why sleep deprivation is widely used as a means of torture to punish, confuse and impair judgment. We know that without sufficient sleep, our health can be easily compromised. Without rest, you can literally die.

Now, imagine a group of discontents preventing families, including their children, from getting any sleep for two weeks. What kind of people use torture to achieve their goals?

Would the supporters at the legislature mind if I stood outside their homes with my air horn and sounded it every few minutes for two weeks? Maybe I could block their driveways and possibly get them laid off from their work.

How would they react?

In truth, these discontented few represent the antithesis of Canadian values and are more representative of a group of spoiled children who didn’t get dessert.

Disagree with me? Give me a call. I have three boxes of air horns and use of a large truck standing by.

David Anderson
Victoria

Canadians must take back our flag

Do not let this so-called freedom movement of extremists redefine the Canadian flag.

The flag represents the basic values and principles which hold us together as Canadians. It represents pride in a country that has given us freedoms and immeasurable joy.

Wrapping yourself in the flag, or association with other good works, is a way for fringe groups to appear mainstream — legitimacy by association. Using the flag as a prop to make the chaos of an unrestricted society appear more reasonable is a disguise of the real agenda.

Our liberal democracy without limitations would be anarchy.

Below the Canada flag image on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is written: The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

The British North America Act of 1867 references “peace, order and good government” — the legitimate power of government to make laws to ensure a peaceful society with prudent limits. Freedoms are given and they are restricted to ensure the civility of our constitutional monarchy.

Let us hoist the flag in an atmospheric river of Canadian pride that drowns out their revisionist message.

Do not allow these flag bandits to redefine our flag. Let us be proud of our flag.

Paul Servos
The Flag Shop
Victoria

Downtown tram could help business

With respect to motorized transport on Government Street, it could be time to reconsider the electric tram that was tried several years ago in Victoria.

It would help with emission reduction and contribute to green initiatives while helping the tourist businesses.

Harold McCarthy
Saanichton

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• Email letters to: letters@timescolonist.com

• Mail: Letters to the editor, Times Colonist, 201-655 Tyee Rd., Victoria, B.C. V9A 6X5

• Submissions should be no more than 250 words; subject to editing for length and clarity. Provide your contact information; it will not be published. Avoid sending your letter as an email attachment.

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