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Letters Jan. 13: Criminal protesters don't deserve negotiation; a way forward for Langham Court Theatre

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Save Old Growth protesters block the street on Monday on Douglas at Burnside in Victoria. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST Jan. 10, 2022

Don’t negotiate with logging protesters

If these disruptive protests are effective, then our society is likely to be deluged with similar tactics by groups for virtually any “cause.”

That’s why major governments refuse to negotiate with or accede to demands of kidnappers.

The protesters say they are not criminals, but what they’re doing is in fact illegal. That is, after all, why they’re doing it. And, yes, that does make each one a criminal, convicted or not.

Ruth Robinson
Victoria

A sense of hope for Langham Court Theatre

Over the past two weeks there have been numerous letters from people worried about the future of Langham Court Theatre. I’m worried, too.

I’m worried that the harassment that I and my friends have experienced and witnessed in my 10 years there will continue unchecked; that the organizational system that protected the racist actions of one director instead of the safety and humanity of a Black actress will remain in place; that new, young actors will continue to be told “Oh, they didn’t mean anything by it” when they bring forth concerns of sexual harassment.

The letters of the past two weeks have assured us that the previous board had anti-discrimination policies in place. But it’s not enough.

It wasn’t enough to stop that same board of directors from bullying and belittling two of their own members into resigning, or to stop racist comments being shouted at people of colour at the recent AGM.

And it hasn’t been enough to stop the harassment experienced by members of the new board since that meeting.

But I’m also hopeful. It was electrifying to see the community rally together to vote for new leadership.

Cries of a hostile takeover are false: A majority of members voted for change and it was done openly and democratically.

I’m confident this new board has the vision and strength to make difficult decisions, like cancelling this season, in order to put proper staff and policies in place to ensure this theatre lasts another 90 years.

Kyle Kushnir
Victoria

Langham board picked by the membership

Re: “Can Langham Court rise from the ashes?” letter, Jan. 11.

I was particularly disturbed by the characterization of the current leadership at Langham Court Theatre as “a small group of people who mounted what was essentially a hostile takeover of the Langham board.”

The current board was elected at Langham’s annual general meeting by a vote of the membership, as per standard procedure. They do not represent a radical fringe of outsiders, but rather the collective will of the voting membership.

That some members disagree with the current board’s policies, or with which candidates were elected, does not invalidate our choice. A vote is not legitimate only if you win.

I am also disturbed by the claim that “There are bills to be paid but no revenue stream.” In its message announcing the cancellation of the season, the board stated that “private rentals may continue, however will be subject to updated restrictions.” If rentals are continuing, then the claim that there is “no revenue stream” is also false.

Finally, regarding Langham’s code of conduct referenced in the letter, I can say that I have witnessed multiple incidents of bullying and misconduct at Langham over the years that were not adequately addressed, and that the existing code of conduct is therefore clearly not sufficient.

Nor do I think it would be safe to mount a season now given the Omicron surge, and how easily illness can spread among cast and crew backstage (as any experienced theatre worker should know).

Anton Brakhage
Victoria

Those bright headlights are a safety risk

Re: “Dazzle factor a growing risk on roads,” Jan. 7.

Thank you John Ducker! Those blinding headlights should be illegal. They are a menace and a safety hazard for drivers in the opposite direction.

Until these are taken out of circulation on cars, I’ll keep flashing my high-beam light to let the drivers know they are a road hazard to others.

Our legislators should take a leaf out of their European counterparts’ workbook and do as they do, namely, oblige the car manufacturers to change their product and make it safe.

Liz Fraikin
Victoria

Bad driving has become the norm

I enjoy reading John Ducker’s column every week and appreciate his focus on road safety, especially his recent column on vehicle headlights blinding oncoming drivers.

The same column highlighted the problems involved in getting anything done about this growing safety hazard.

Driving has become an increasingly dangerous activity. There is no effective, ongoing or widespread enforcement of motor vehicle legislation. We are, for all intents and purposes, left to our own devices.

We must trust the other driver to do the right thing. Just don’t count on it. Occasionally, police will set up a speed trap or check stop if enough concern is raised; however, this type of enforcement is inefficient, expensive, limited and ineffective.

Bad driving is now the norm, even expected on our roadways: tailgating, speeding, running yellow and red lights, cruising through stop signs, merging incorrectly, manoeuvring aggressively.

All are now routine, with predictable results. It’s not pleasant out there, whether you are a pedestrian, cyclist or simply a driver trying to follow the rules of the road.

What can be done? Lots, but it will take determined political will because driving has always been regarded (wrongly) as a right rather than the privilege it truly is. A moving car is a weapon and we need to start treating it as such.

Re-test all drivers at five-year intervals; impose tougher penalties for moving infractions; establish special traffic enforcement officers (not police); deploy traffic monitoring technology on a wide scale.

More than anything, market cars differently to emphasize the responsibilities and dangers of driving one.

Brian Mason
Victoria

Broadmead is doing what is best for patients

Re: “Pandemic visiting restrictions deny couple of 63 years a birthday visit,” Jan. 9.

I was disappointed to read the article about a man not being able to see his wife on her birthday.

The care home is just trying to keep our loved ones safe. They are doing their best to help keep families in touch. Working under difficult conditions, often short-staffed, they remain smiling, caring and loving their patients.

My husband, Tony Bennett, whom I have been happily married to for 62 years, is in good hands, even though I wish I could visit him, I know he is safe, well cared for by a group of dedicated caring people.

Please be thankful we can visit our loved ones when the time is right. A lot of patients do not have visitors or their families live far away.

You should be so thankful that we are lucky to have our loved ones in such a caring home.

Please be patient, be kind and be appreciative of the wonderful staff taking care of our loved ones that we cannot care for ourselves as we all would love to be able to.

With great appreciation to all the staff at Broadmead Care Home.

Elaine Bennett
Central Saanich

Put Capt. James Cook back where he belongs

Why has Victoria not restored and replaced the statue of Captain James Cook across from the Empress?

Is Victoria a city where the uneducated and malcontent make the rules? Are we to show no respect to such a brilliant navigator, sailor and innovator because a tiny portion of our population is somehow hurt or offended by such a man due only to their own misinformation?

Stop the madness and give us back a fine statue of a decent man who did more than most to better the world for all humanity.

C. Scott Stofer
Victoria

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