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Letters Feb. 7: Support for a new approach to forestry; Canada can help defund Russia

A massive stump in a clearcut in the Upper Walbran Valley. Letter-writers support a recent suggestion that B.C. retool its approach to forestry to encourage retention of old growth. WILDERNESS COMMITTEE

Communities, take forest responsibility

Re: “Scrap the old B.C. forest industry, build a new one,” commentary, Feb. 4.

Anthony Britneff, a 40-year veteran who worked for the B.C. Forest Service, has stated that “we need to move from ‘fibre exploitation’ to forest reparation when forest companies have used clear-cut practices for most of the province’s primary and old-growth forests.”

The biodiversity of our forestlands is suffering and Britneff suggests legislation must be repealed and rewritten for ecosystem management.

As an environmentalist who seeks solutions to environmental problems, the following from National Geographic might be a solution to the regrowth of B.C.’s forests, where African leaders have promoted tree-planting since the 1970s to combat tree loss.

Planted trees were the wrong species or needed too much maintenance or goats dug the tree roots. Local communities with little at stake pulled trees out to sell the wood. Mostly, planted trees died.

Our B.C. forest replanting isn’t using the community workers to do the replanting and the tending of the new forests and preserving the biodiversity of the surrounding ecosystem.

Only through communities taking on the responsibility for a sustainable yield in their forestlands will B.C. forests thrive. In a time of climate change, our forest lands must be tended responsibly and not clear-cut for the temporary profits of some foreign corporation. Our forest-dependent communities can only succeed if the government takes steps to ensure their continued stewardship of their forest lands.

Rafe Sunshine


Radical changes needed in forestry

Re: “Scrap the old B.C. forest industry, build a new one,” commentary, Feb. 4.

As a recipient of the Order of Canada for my environmental work, I have long been critical of the perspectives on forestry provided by the Forests Ministry, foresters and the forest industry.

Retired forester Anthony Britneff’s perspective resonates with me. He exposes the truth.

In spite of all the good work done by so many in both the private and public sectors to change the government and industry’s destructive behaviour, the mismanagement and state of our public forests has markedly worsened over the past 30 years. Britneff in rapid fire provides most of the reasons why forest governance and management in B.C. have to radically change.

We must act now with scrapping the old forest industry and bad management before it is too late. Put legally enforce­able conservation values and protection as the foundation for new legislation and for management into the future. And immediately protect what little is left of the endangered old-growth forests and the rich biodiversity of animals within them.

Vicky Husband


Defund Russia to help end the war

Re: “Tanks but no negotiation is bad news for Ukraine,” commentary, Feb. 1, and “Remember that Russia invaded Ukraine,” letters, Feb. 4.

I would like to thank both writers for discussing this difficult topic. I agree that “Ukraine’s allies, including Canada, deserve praise for assisting the Ukrainian people in defending themselves” and also that “Civilians are the big losers in a propaganda war that devolves into the conclusion that the only way to ‘win’ the war is total defeat of the other side on the battlefield.”

I would like to point out that Europe continues to send money to Russia to buy oil and natural gas. Until the number of euros and dollars sent to Russia becomes zero, the West is effectively funding both sides of the war.

Whether we take the path of negotiation or combat, defunding Russia would be an excellent first step.

Canada could contribute to defunding Russia by providing an alternative source of hydrocarbons. That we refuse to do so has serious consequences, including a stronger Russia.

Scott Newson


Working out-of-office is good for everyone

The provincial government’s decision to allow employees to work away from Victoria reflects an understanding of the need to attract top talent in the modern job market.

With the cost of living rising, enticing employees to move to and stay in Victoria has become harder and harder.

Giving people the opportunity to work from anywhere in the province presents the opportunity to expand the talent pool, and, hopefully, keep the best employees from seeking higher-paying jobs in the private sector.

It’s also possible that this will result in cost savings, as government might require less office space.

As a taxpayer, I see this as a win-win. Good for employees, and good for the budget.

Karmen McNamara


Hyperbolic vitriol doesn’t help seniors

“When it comes to taxation, our politicians should ‘do no harm’,” commentary, Feb. 4.

The writer is upset because she received her OAS payment on Jan. 27, more than five weeks since the payment on Dec. 21. She refers to this time between payments as “inhumanity from Ottawa” and “absolute irrationality of government decision making.”

She doesn’t appear to take into consideration that the payment previous to December arrived on Nov. 28, three weeks earlier. The OAS and CPP payments normally arrive two or three days before month end — the one in December was obviously timed to arrive early, before Christmas. How is that inhumane?

She further says that “under present laws, employers are expected to pay workers within a reasonable time frame, month after month.” I used to be an employer. I can’t imagine an employee complaining about being paid a week early.

She is described as a “senior’s advocate.” Self-appointed, I expect. I’m a senior, born on the vanguard of the postwar baby boom, and she certainly doesn’t represent me, especially with the hyperbolic vitriol used throughout her piece.

How is that supposed to help get a better deal for seniors?

Supplements and subsidies are taxed so that those who need them less than others have to pay some, or all of it, back, depending on their taxable income. Seems to me to be a reasonable way to keep it fair.

Stephen Pierrot


Get together on tax increases

Despite the fact that environmentally friendly measures are needed, the high additional taxes on fuel are going to be especially tough on already burdened low-income citizens, in a time when many important other areas are already taking away so much disposable income.

Food, property taxes, mortgage and rent costs, as well as inflation in general, are really cutting into spending options for everyone, and now they want some people to possibly freeze in their ­dwellings due to unaffordable heating bills.

Is it unreasonable for all governments to band together to have a combined reasonable increase in the different ways of taxing us all?

Larry Ware


Regional plan needed for transportation

John Ducker has noted in his Driving column that the McKenzie interchange was “chock-a-block” with traffic heading north in the mid- to late afternoon.

This is not the exception. I’ve noted that this is the norm now as dense traffic from Saanich along McKenzie attempts to merge with the usual Colwood/Langford crush from the downtown core.

Barely two years after it was completed, the McKenzie interchange is already well on its way to being a choke point again. Who did not see that coming? Anyone?

Literally within days of the project’s completion, builders on Bear Mountain gleefully announced that it was full speed ahead with development because the interchange would let residents reach downtown in less than 10 minutes.

Saanich continues unabated with plans to approve high-density developments along the McKenzie corridor to add to the misery.

It’s proof — again — that simply building more roads to solve traffic congestion doesn’t work if unchecked development overwhelms it.

Before councils throughout the region continue the rush to density, maybe they should first establish a comprehensive regional transportation plan. And maybe they should take a hard look at their cosy relationships with developers who are only to happy to encourage the race to densify.

Mike Laplante


Common sense, please, in the great dog debate

I was sad to read the recent anti-dog letters. My children grew up and were raised by many dogs over the years. The lessons they learned have made them compassionate, responsible adults who are kind to animals and people.

The pollution complained about is not coming from dogs but from the hundreds of geese and ducks, in Gyro Park in particular. It has become a smelly mucky mess that I would not let children play in.

Many places hire dogs to keep the geese moving along to keep them from polluting the parks, golf courses, playgrounds and destroying farmers’ crops.

We need to reach a balance so that there are places on the beach where dogs and their families are able to play leash-free.

There are places in parks were dogs should be leashed. Leashes on in playgrounds and picnic areas. People could chose to go where they are most comfortable.

Please, can we not find a balance that meets the needs of all of us?

I have paid well over $1,000 in dog tag tax over the 20 years I have lived in ­Saanich, but I feel my needs are not heard. I am in my 80th year, and to struggle over the logs to get to walk on the beach I must let my dog off leash.

It is the safest way for me not to risk a broken hip.

All I ask is for common sense to return to the dog issue.

Nancy Bain


Rebirth of museum would help tourism

Re: “The Maritime Museum and the future of history,” commentary, Feb. 2.

It was a joy to read Murray Farmer’s commentary on the proposed location of the Maritime Museum in the Inner Harbour’s Steamship Building.

As a master mariner involved in the whale-watching, tugboat and sport-­fishing industries for 60 years and recreational boater since I was six weeks old, I really hope this comes to pass. Victoria exists because it has a great harbour for working, playing and learning.

It was first inhabited by Indigenous people. It was the first stop in the early days of marine transportation for immigrants. It has been home to multiple marine industries including shipbuilding, commercial and recreational fishing, ­kayaking, whale watching, crabbing, prawning, diving, cruise ships and ferries.

It is home to a whole lot of bird and sea life.

I would recommend that this rebirth of the museum on the waterfront include exhibits inside the Steamship Building and on the water.

Explore the tugboat, fishing, whale watching, diving, tourism, cruise-ship, ferry and shipbuilding industries. I would also recommend there be a strong Indigenous element as those groups inhabited this area long before the colonists.

Victoria has lost many attractions in recent years. A maritime museum would be a major tourism attraction. It could also provide a range of educational programs describing how these industries began and their present undertakings.

Fishing, marine resources and coastal logging have been decimated. Let’s explore why and how to reverse those trends. The oceans cover 70 per cent of the planet and are crucial to our survival.

In my industry of whale watching only about five per cent of our customers are local. Most have no idea what’s right off our waterfront. Let’s change that. Tourists rave over our marine life.

Capt. Bill Day

Orca Spirit Adventures Whale Watching


Milk is precious, so why dump it?

In Canada the cost of milk is much too high and getting higher. In many parts of the world milk is available, but at a cost beyond the reach of the consumers.

The bean counters in this industry defend these high costs as reasonable and claim that dumping milk is a solution to overproduction. How insane is that conclusion, when starvation is at the door of hundreds of millions of people in the world?

Just look to the less-developed regions in Africa, Asia, the Americas and right here in Canada, we see starvation.

Milk is a food that can be converted to other food products. It can be dehydrated and stored for a long time; it can be made into cheese, butter and yogurt; it can be consumed whole. It’s a marvellous food.

The milk board agencies that set the regulations for the industry say dumping lifesaving food is the answer.

Surely the great minds that exist in Ottawa and Washington and London and Berlin can figure out how to feed the hungry rather than dumping this wonderful food down the drain.

The fact that the milk producers, who only get 90 cents for a product that sells for $7 on the store shelves, illustrate that the regulators are involved in excess profit-taking.

Fearing that excess supply will reduce the selling price and in turn reduce the profit-taking, these same regulators say dumping is OK … is it?

Brian McCarthy


The herring fishery: Worth more swimming

The southern resident killer whales are an endangered species. The primary food of orcas is the chinook salmon. Salmon rely on herring as their main food source.

To protect our endangered orcas we need to reduce or cease the herring fishery. To adapt a conservation slogan from the forests: “Worth more swimming” these herring are.

Paul Elworthy



• Email letters to:

• 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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