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Letters Feb. 4: O'Toole's ouster part of our own Jan. 6 revolt; a tale of two museums

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Erin O’Toole leaves a news conference in September 2021 in Ottawa. A letter-writer suggests O’Toole’s removal as Conservative leader was a result of his attempts to move the party closer to the political centre. ADRIAN WYLD, CP

Our very own Jan. 6, and O’Toole is gone

Time for a happy dance? I think not.

The far-right-wing coup of Erin O’Toole’s Conservative Party leadership in Parliament was dramatically enhanced by the Trumpian-inspired takeover of Ottawa going on just outside by our very own “freedom fighters” in their big rigs adorned with Confederate, Nazi and upside-down Maple Leaf flags.

Dancing on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, defacing public property, intimidating the citizens and homeless of Ottawa: what a dismal day, you say?

Despite his COVID diagnosis, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau couldn’t be faulted for doing a happy dance and looking forward to facing off against a backward-looking opposition party in complete disarray; but I bet he isn’t.

Predictably, O’Toole was judged guilty of trying to find a moderate and reasonable way to serve Canadians with more conservative views, but did we really deserve to be treated to our very own version of Jan. 6, 2021, as the backdrop?

Howard Brunt
North Saanich

History repeats itself in our museums

Disturbing parallels are becoming apparent regarding the future of two of our beloved museums, the Royal British Columbia Museum and the Maritime Museum of British Columbia.

The issues facing the MMBC seemed straightforward when they were announced many years ago. The primary justification from our provincial government for moving the MMBC was that the building was in dire need of upgrading.

Despite much discussion and many great ideas regarding an appropriate new home for the Maritime Museum’s substantial collection of artifacts, they remain, for the most part, warehoused.

Recently there have been several enlightened letters asking pointed questions regarding the justification for the removal of RBCM’s Old Town exhibit, followed by a mindboggling announcement; essentially that the RBCM building is in dire need of upgrading.

As far as we know, there is no timeline for reopening the RBCM nor is there a plan available for what the exhibits might be.

It appears that Victoria soon will have neither museum but we will have yet another warehouse full of artifacts.

Ed Lien
Victoria

Rapid Bus network is a top priority

Re “Lanes being built so buses can bypass traffic on Pat Bay Highway,” Jan 29.

The first transportation project the provincial government announced since the Capital Regional District passed its new transportation strategy is bus lanes and new transit stops on a future Rapid Bus route.

This is good news. The CRD’s new strategy calls for improving public transit and active transportation rather than increasing highway capacity for cars.

We expect that the province will respect the unanimous decision of our regional representatives and ensure that provincial funding is refocused on improving public transit, walking, rolling and bicycle infrastructure.

This is also essential for meeting the provincial government’s new CleanBC target of reducing automobile travel 25 per cent by 2030.

The time for widening highways, and building flyovers or interchanges, is past. Our precious public dollars must go to B.C. Transit’s proposed Rapid Bus network and other projects that reduce greenhouse gas pollution and make our region safer, more inclusive and more affordable.

Eric Doherty and Jane Welton
Climate justice team co-leads
Greater Victoria Acting Together

A bit of inconvenience so we may live free

As Canadians, I think we need to be reminded that Saturday’s protests were about protecting our democracy. Our world is changing at a breakneck speed and in the not-too-distant future here in Canada, we might wake up to a different regime other than democracy.

Our rights and freedoms are worth standing up for and certainly worth protesting peacefully at the legislature on a Saturday afternoon.

Is being inconvenienced for five hours a lot to ask if it means we can continue to live strong and free in this beautiful country?

Lia Fraser
Victoria

Freedom convoy does not seek freedom

Out of the vague intentions of the truck convoy protests has emerged a serious threat. They may be confusedly demanding an end to COVID “mandates” — what are actually legally constituted, necessary and important health orders — but that’s no more than window dressing.

Make no mistake, this group seeks the opposite of freedom. They hijacked the city core in Ottawa and a border crossing in Alberta. Their supporters hijacked the Conservative Party with a putsch against its democratically elected leader. And they will hijack democracy if we let them.

At the beginning, their actions might rightly have been called a protest. It has now become an insurgency. Some participants clearly stated they wanted this to be Canada’s Jan. 6. What happened in Washington, D.C., on that date was an attempted coup.

Canadians have seen this before, but not south of the border 13 months ago. Go back to the “apprehended insurrection” of the FLQ in October 1970. Only this time the evidence of an organized, well-funded and widespread risk to Canada’s democratic institutions is staring us in the face.

The goal is to push the state into using force to incite anger among their supporters. Canadians must be resilient in the face of what is nothing less than gangsterism. The most important democratic institution in any free country is the individual.

Each of us must remember that as we are confronted by people who will happily destroy the genuine freedoms that past generations fought and died for.

Paul Walton
Nanaimo

Not everyone opposes protests

Without exception, the authors of the letters to the editor on Feb. 1 expressed disdain at the Freedom Convoy this past weekend and basically echoed the prime minister’s unsavoury viewpoint that the protesters held “unacceptable views” and weren’t real Canadians.

Perfectly fair to express your opinions, but please accept that not everyone shares your particular viewpoint. The Canadians doing the protesting are your neighbours, your fellow citizens, your colleagues — individuals from all walks of life who have their own viewpoint and are tired of the woke mob marginalizing them for questioning their concerns about the various health mandates and edicts restricting their freedom.

Instead of nodding sagely at the mainstream media’s hysterical reporting, do your research; no statues were torn down, no churches were burned down as part of the protest.

Tony van Wouw
Sidney

It’s not easy to be a reviled minority

Re: “What to remember about Nuremberg?” letters, Feb. 1.

I’m sorry the writer’s quiet getaway to Victoria was disturbed by the rally at the legislature on Saturday.

I believe the protester’s sign referred to the Nuremberg Code’s Permissible Medical Experiments, which states: The voluntary consent of the human subject is essential.

This means informed consent and the absence of coercion. Some people, despite the effort made by government and media to prevent vaccine hesitancy, do not feel that “trust the science” is sufficient to inform them fully. Some people feel that the choice of accepting an experimental vaccine and keeping their job so they can feed their family is coercion.

We are all on this Earth for a purpose. Those who protest the mandates, cast off as the lunatic fringe, have not made these decisions lightly. It’s not easy to be a reviled and hated minority. Opinions are formed in an instant or a lifetime, and we grasp and clutch and wave flags to defend our personal position.

By listening to both sides of the story, the position softens. We realize there is no black, no white, but a mottled sky full of shapes and colour formed by the force of wind, magnetism and light. Individuals have billions of stories and billions of reactions, and all are valid.

The need to save face, to keep our heels dug into our position, is hurting us all. If we could only let go of our judgments, if we could just let go.

Megan Herlaar
Saanich

GoFundMe should be investigated

If a group with no formal leadership or consistent purpose can raise $10 million so quickly, while they are defying local bylaws, disturbing the peace, threatening residents of Ottawa and refusing to follow the directions of local police, what’s to stop any group from raising money for even more nefarious purposes?

And how will anyone know what the money raised for the truck convoy people has been, or will be, spent on?

Could they use it to buy guns? I don’t see why not.

There is a role for the federal government in this troubling event, regardless of what their leadership is saying, and that is investigating GoFundMe.

Barbara M. O’Neil
Nanaimo

Losing our link to Capt. James Cook

What a shame that the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority has decided to complete the destruction of the statue to Capt. James Cook that was initiated by the mob action on Canada Day.

The agency was created to manage the port and marinas in Victoria and to promote the city’s maritime heritage. But rather than rebuild the statue, and perhaps commission others, the authority’s vision seems to extend only to the promotion of the cruise ship visits.

The decision diminishes the Inner Harbour and the northwest coast’s association with one of the greatest explorers in history. We are the poorer because of it.

Richard McCandless
Saanich

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