Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Letters Feb. 25: Renaming B.C.; thanks to Melanie Mark; spruce up the place for visitors

The British Columbia flag. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Why can’t this province just be Canadian?

Re: “Changing that name means rewriting history,” letter, Feb. 23.

History written by whom? Not by Indigenous people, who have been on these lands for thousands of years before the explorers, settlers and colonizers came.

Is it history written by those who believe the British are superior than others, where this superiority remains the foundation of discrimination, bigotry and racism that we continue to experience to this day?

Niigaan Sinclair, a Native studies professor at the University of Manitoba writes: “Queen Victoria presided during some of the most brutal and expansive years of colonial history – when land was stolen the most, when things like the Indian Act [were] put into place.” This was British superiority.

“British Columbia,” named by a British queen, does not place the province in the correct perspective: Thousands of years of pre-colonial history and the 152 years of the province in the Canadian federation.

The colonial rule in our province was for a minuscule 13 years, yet some still insist our province remain “British” to this day. A name change is not rewriting history, but having a correct name for our province.

Why can’t we be 100 per cent Canadian, like those of the other provinces, with an all-inclusive name?

Why are we partly “British” as in “British” Columbians, where “British” is defined as being a citizen of Britain?

Ben J. Pires


A name for the future, not locked in the past

Re: “Changing that name means rewriting history,” letter, Feb. 22.

I beg to disagree: even if our province’s name was changed in 2023, it would everywhere and forever be known as “British Columbia” from 1858 to 2022.

It is not rewriting history: it is writing the future.

Gil Verrier


Thanks to Melanie Mark for telling the truth

Finally, someone has the guts to tell the truth about our legislature. This collective of our elected representatives are simply a disgrace.

Their behaviour over the years in the house is deplorable. If anyone in a public company behaved in the manner that these people do they would be fired on the spot.

They show no respect for one another whatsoever, let alone the people who elect them.

This behaviour is not unique to the B.C. legislature — just look at Ottawa, London, or Washington D.C.

James MacDonald


Company is coming, let’s spruce up the place

In just a few months the first cruise ship of the season will arrive at Ogden Point. Disembarking passengers will have a few choices to make about where to spend their time (and money) on their short visit.

Many seafaring tourists will board buses to visit the world-famous attraction of The Butchart Gardens. Many will want to explore Victoria for the first time, and many will be returning again to rekindle more memories of our city.

Before our visitors’ arrival we should be concerned about how we will look. We only have one chance to make a good impression, after all.

We need to roll up our collective sleeves and find a solution to the random vandalism in the downtown area, and try to keep crime down to a bare minimum.

With many downtown businesses having to board up their windows after an attack, maybe local artist Paul Archer will paint each one like his window on Fort Street.

As well, the pandemic-built patios should be tasteful and inviting rather than looking like a backyard shed in need of completion.

The most important part of our image of downtown are the people. With many downtown offices allowing their employees to work from home, there are fewer people shopping, having a coffee, or having a business lunch. We don’t want to appear to tourists that we don’t like being downtown, do we?

Even though many returning visitors will notice (and hear) our booming growth of construction, there is not much time to spruce ourselves up in the best way we can.

Let’s get to work. Company is coming.

Mur Meadows


Victoria’s downtown needs to be vibrant again

My husband and I are city of Victoria taxpayers. In 2017 my mayor said it was not the job of the city to supply parking, so find other means to get to the city core — take public transit, ride your bike or walk.

I said to my husband she forgot one: “Just don’t go there.”

We changed our habits and only went to the city when shopping at Capital Iron and now it has closed.

We spend our money in Oak Bay, Saanich, Esquimalt and even Langford; they want our money and don’t care if we drive a car.

Now that the government workers aren’t returning to the office in the city, I hope the city approves lots of housing in the core because I am sure my husband and I aren’t the only ones who no longer go to town for numerous reasons. The restaurants and businesses will have to work extra hard to retain and get new business.

The core could be a ghost town in a few years. Hopefully our city council finds ways to make our core vibrant again.

Eileen Cannon


Deconstruction needed along downtown streets

Re: “We need parking spaces, not ­pandemic patios,” letter, Feb. 21.

I agree wholeheartedly with the writer, who is of the opinion that de-construction of the pandemic patios would free up much-needed parking spaces and generate enough parking revenue to offset Victoria council’s intended rate increase.

Yes, these “pandemios” look like cattle pens. Yes, they are unsightly along the streetscapes. Yes, many of these temporary structures are now sprouting windows and roofs, further adding to their permanency while detracting customers from neighbouring businesses.

These pandemios are a stark reminder of the dark days of the COVID lockdowns. Time for new beginnings and a re-vitalization of the downtown core. Let’s start with some deconstruction, particularly in Cook Street Village and along Fort Street.

Larry Westbrook

James Bay

Needs treatment, but no chance to see a doctor

Recently, I received two mailings from the B.C. Cancer Colon Screening Service. The mailings have asked me to obtain a lab requisition form for a FIT test from my health-care provider.

I have also developed a very painful case of sciatica. Since I am one of the million-plus British Columbians without a family doctor anymore because my doctor of 47 years retired last year, my only other option was to try to obtain the requisition form and treatment for my sciatica from a walk-in-clinic.

Well, that is a misnomer. There is no such thing as a walk-in-clinic any more.

There are three clinics in my neighbourhood. One of them is permanently closed and the other two have signs posted on their locked doors to phone a number and arrange for an appointment.

I have made numerous calls and all I get is a busy signal or a recorded message that says, “we are booked for the day or we are closed for today.”

I suppose I will just have to die of colon cancer and in the meantime suffer with sciatica and leave it at that.

Canada’s health-care system has become one of the weakest in the developed world. Our political leaders over the past 30 years should be ashamed of themselves. It has been obvious for decades that this crisis was going to happen.

Paul Arnold


Professional athletes trivialize their religion

I suspect that I’m not the only one who is sickened by the spectacle of professional athletes pointing heavenward, dropping to their knees in prayer, making the sign of the cross etc. every time they make a touchdown, score a goal or hit a home run. Surely such antics serve only to trivialize the religion which they profess.

At the moment, my God is preoccupied by such issues as the Russian genocide in Ukraine, the suffering of the Turkish and Syrian earthquake victims, the daily mass shootings in the U.S. and the catastrophic damage we are inflicting upon the beautiful planet bestowed upon us, and couldn’t care less which team of pampered millionaires wins some football game.

John C. Simpson


An electric train would help the Island

When my wife and I travelled in Europe in 2015 we experienced the pleasant, efficient and sustainable service provided by Europe’s network of electric trains.

The future challenge of moving large numbers of Vancouver Island residents and visitors up and down the Island in an inexpensive and sustainable way could be solved by an electric train system similar to what we experienced in Europe

This could be accomplished by upgrading the system of rail lines that we already have and equipping it with the latest in rail technology. This would also create jobs during our energy transition and lessen the need for lithium and other critical minerals used in the production of batteries for electric vehicles.

However, we must act quickly to secure our existing railway corridor.

The courts have given the federal government until March 14 to make a commitment to develop a commuter rail system on the Island.

I urge our government officials to seize the opportunity to create a world-class electric rail system that we will be able to enjoy in the future.

John Mayba

Port Alberni


• Email letters to: [email protected]

• 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.