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Letters Jan. 15: They had a safe wedding; a different sick days approach; what brings the rain

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A man walks across the Johnson Street Bridge on a rainy January day. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

They were married despite COVID and snow

We need to steer clear of pandemic despair. None of us can afford to go there!

On that note, my family just celebrated my niece’s marriage. It was supposed to be a big wedding (joining up with a large Italian family) with a wedding planned a couple of years ago for Victoria and one in Italy.

The pandemic changed that to one wedding in Victoria at a beautiful venue. That eventually got shaved down to 50 people. And then that got shaved down to 50 people with “no dancing and no mingling between tables.”

Ten days before the planned New Year’s Eve wedding, the venue was shut down because of COVID. The groom’s parents kindly offered their home to the determined bride and groom and the allowable 12 guests, six per table, with the wedding ceremony only permissible outside in their back yard.

The snow storm shaved that backyard ceremony down to about nine minutes with the marriage commissioner, two cute little flower girls, and the bride and groom running outside to quickly say vows.

A wobbly zoom camera was set up to give extended family members and friends a glimpse of the backs of the bride and groom from about 50 feet away.

I thought it was hilarious and unique and charming. My partner and I dressed up at home for the Zoom call and once the wedding was over, we had a dance around my office to Louis Armstrong’s What a Wonderful World.

Our niece and new nephew are happily married! We think their can-do spirit will serve them well. No point in letting a little pandemic beat us down!

Thelma Fayle
Victoria

A better idea for mandated sick days

First of all, five days is hardly enough. Secondly, five days per employee could place a great hardship on small businesses.

An alternate solution could have been to add “COVID sickness days” to the employment insurance program.

Either the worker could apply with no wait time or the employer could continue to pay the worker and then make a claim to EI.

Employers who already have sick days in their agreements or those with salaried employees would still cover until those agreed-upon sick days were used.

Andrea Racicot
View Royal

No, First People are not all the same

Re: “Name of new Island-class Gabriola ferry rankles former Snuneymuxw chief,” Jan. 13.

If anything, this needs to be viewed as educational – for non-natives! For centuries, the stereotype has been that the First People are all one and the same. Wrong! We are diverse and distinct.

I once said to my late father that our Best Western Tin Wis Resort in Tofino would be best served if employees from different nations continued to work there – it would let the world know we are not stereotypical.

Remi Tom
Port Alberni

Higher tax possible for the unvaccinated

Given the fact that our health care systems have to pay for COVID, I have a lot of sympathy with Quebec’s notion to tax the anti-vaxxers and am not sure B.C. should nix the idea out of hand.

Of course the bio-ethicists immediately spring from the woodwork and complain how a flat tax affects the poor and marginalized more so than the rich.

There is a simple way round this. Rather than direct taxing of the anti-vaxxers, why not adjust the “Personal” amount on their tax return? This is the tax “credit” which applies to us all and which is increased for the aged and infirm etc.

If the anti-vaxxers get this amount reduced, then the rich pay much more tax; the poor and marginalized pay little or nothing. In short, the marginalized are unaffected. If, however, you are the world No. 1 tennis pro, then you pay a whole lot more.

Same result. Different math.

Neville Hircock
Parksville

Pineapple express versus atmospheric river

Remember the good old days when heavy rains in B.C. were called a pineapple express? Now they are called atmospheric rivers, a new term and one fraught with fear, stress, and worry.

If both terms mean the same thing, could we not go back to pineapple express please? It’s a little easier on the psyche.

Lia Fraser
Victoria

Think of Kenney, Harper and those licence plates

Re: “We’re a laughing stock because of the protests,” letter, Jan. 12.

We are a laughing stock because of the protests? The Albertan author of the letter might have a relevant point, however he needs to look in his own backyard.

The Alberta premier is the most ridiculed premier in all of Canada. Alberta gave us Canada’s most hated prime minister in recent times, Stephen Harper.

By the way, we consider those red and white licence plates, learner plates!

Grant Maxwell
Nanaimo

Take the profit out of decolonization

Re: “$238 textbooks and more: profiting off ‘decolonization’,” ­commentary, Jan. 13.

Geoff Russ’s commentary is unusual, to say the least. The calling out of the mainly white, liberal/progressive academics with the governmental handmaiden that funds the university-based grievance and victim decolonization and reconciliation industry is a huge step in furthering reconciliation.

Getting the grifters, those who profit from the ongoing misery of the ­Indigenous, out of the picture, as Russ bluntly and clearly shows, will get more of the non-Indigenous something to understand, have to hold onto and fully support.

Without the vigorous pushback from the Indigenous to rid the dialogue of the profiteers, nothing will change.

Clay Atcheson
Saanich

Higher interest rates, higher taxes might help

For the past decade, housing prices have become unaffordable. Why? Low mortgage financing rates are part of the reason.

More compelling, return on equity without tax consequence on primary residences has attracted owners to invest.

Consider purchase of a primary residential property at $1,000,000. Down payment at 25 per cent is $250,000. Mortgage financing is $750,000.

An annual price increase on this home of five per cent brings a $50,000 gain. Return on the $250,000 equity is 20 per cent. This gain is not taxed on sale of the primary resident property.

The leverage available for primary residential property ownership allows returns like this. Where else can one get a huge return with no tax?

Many primary resident owners are leveraging their valuable property to purchase investment residential property, adding to unaffordability.

Things may change when interest rates on residential mortgages increase, and residential property prices decline. In this case, a five per cent decrease in property value results in a 20 per cent decrease in equity.

Current deficit spending and financial need in Canada may attract graduated federal tax on gains on sale of residential property. This could apply to larger gains with increasing tax rates as the amount of gain increases.

As interest rates increase and potential tax on residential property become attractive to senior governments, housing prices may turn around and become more affordable.

Peter Daniel
Victoria

Paper millionaire? Yes, you can spend it

It’s true that you can’t spend a paper asset – but if you are a millionaire “on paper” you can secure a term loan, line of credit, reverse mortgage, etc.

Therefore you can spend it without selling the property.

James Marshall
Esquimalt

Drivers are worse than they were in 2014

Re: “Bad driving has become the norm,” letter, Jan. 13.

I thought I was the only one who objects to the region’s current narcissistic driving culture. It’s vastly different than when I arrived in Victoria in 2014.

Coming from Ontario, I was delighted to see that people here didn’t run red lights, speed, etc. It seemed I was coming to a civilized city. No more.

Vicki Metcalfe
Esquimalt

Yes to immigration, no to unfettered cash

Canada’s future is best aligned with high rates of tax-paying immigrants who will keep Canada financially stable and culturally advanced. Don’t decrease immigration rates but please follow the money (unfettered) which is devastating Canadian citizens’ opportunity to own homes.

If a foreign investor wants to purchase Canadian investments or businesses they have to undertake a significant audit of their overseas funds to prove the cash is legal and taxed in their home country.

But that same person can transfer $2 million (or more) to purchase a Canadian home with no accountability or audit to ensure the money is clean and legal.

Although these home purchases with foreign cash may be a small percentage of real estate transactions, they are accelerating the cost of home ownership because the home price is not the first consideration for those bringing questionable cash into Canada.

Solution: Government needs to force all banks to declare and report all foreign cash transfers to Canada and then audit each transfer with the same rigour used for auditing foreign investments.

Tax all non-audited cash coming to Canada at a high rate (40 per cent) and make it the owner’s responsibility to prove the cash is legal to ensure it’s not being laundered through housing.

Make it retroactive (10 years) and Canada will have billions of dollars of added tax revenue to invest in housing and social programs for all.

Blake Mooney
North Saanich

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