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Letters Jan. 18: Truckers are indeed essential; telling the truth about reconciliation

Transport trucks sit waiting to cross into the U.S. at the border crossing in Lansdowne, Ont. The federal government should recognize truckers' service to Canadians and deem the profession an essential service, a letter-writer suggests. LARS HAGBERG, THE CANADIAN PRESS

Truckers provide an essential service

I do admin work for a long-haul trucking company. Every week for the past two years these hard-working truckers have been traversing the Canada-United States border.

They were bringing fresh produce into Canada. To my knowledge there has not been one incident of them bringing the virus into or out of Canada. Zero.

They are no longer classed as an essential service. What could be more essential than our food supply? (Note that this new ruling for cross-border truckers affects all goods, not just our food supply.)

Our supply chain is already damaged, why is the federal government needlessly damaging it further?

Debra North

There’s a bridge to call ‘Reconciliation’

Why not, for many obvious reasons, consider renaming the Johnson Street Bridge as the Reconciliation Bridge?

John Lossing
View Royal

Let’s own our past, and stop living a lie

Regarding reconciliation, I agree that the key is learning. But first we need to tell the truth.

We — the dominant white culture — have for generations turned our backs on Indigenous Peoples. Our relations lack integrity and fail to genuinely recognize the pain our ancestors caused or the impacts today of missing girls and unmarked graves.

Our school texts haven’t always told the whole story. Our lack of honesty and failure to be forthright has led to the decolonization movement. Statues are being toppled because we haven’t owned our past.

Years ago, I worked in land claims and it’s disheartening to see the snail’s pace of treaty making. But the truth is, even with a treaty, an Indigenous community may have to fight in court to protect their rights.

Then there’s the myriad other issues that Indigenous communities grapple with, from housing to health, including the egregious and persistent boil-water orders.

Dr. Murray Sinclair, chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, said we have a mountain to climb.

I hope that one day all children will stand together, at that summit, united in trust with learning and knowledge as their guide. But right now, it feels like we’re circling the base in a fog, blind and indifferent to our reality.

We must speak the truth and ensure as well that newcomers have the whole story. I’m tired of living in this lie.

Peter J. Smith
Mayne Island

Getting beyond insincere platitudes

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

I really appreciated Geoff Russ’s sharp and hilarious commentary.

He found a wry way to expose something that has greatly troubled me, these last years, as I witnessed first-hand the adoption, in universities and colleges, of a whole new brand of insincere platitudes and rituals as dictated by administrators tasked (I suppose) with negotiating UNDRIP in their halls.

Likewise in the activist community, where focus on statues conveniently turns a necessary discourse quite literally to stone. Kudos to Russ for speaking to this difficult subject.

Darren Alexander

Indigenous Canada course is online

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

So, I’m doing an online course through the University of Alberta called “Indigenous Canada” — it’s $49 USD to get a digital certificate that one can share on LinkedIn, or elsewise. No textbook purchase required.

And it is a really enlightening course!

Matthew Asplin
UVic Geography 370 sessional instructor

Many languages to recognize

Re: “Inuit UN rep wants Inuktituk to be an official language,” Jan. 12.

It seems to me that asking for one Indigenous language to be made one of Canada’s official languages, as opposed to the other 70 such languages spoken in Canada, is a bit much, especially since according to StatCan it’s not even close to the most widely spoken, with 35,000 speakers compared to 83,475 speaking Cree.

The classic example of chutzpah is someone who kills his parents and asks for clemency because he is an orphan. Seems to me we have a new, and much better, example.

Ian Cameron
Brentwood Bay

Non-profits cannot get government relief grants

The provincial government recently announced “closure relief grants” for enterprises whose employees were benched in response to public health closures in December.

The announcement indicated that relief grants would range from $1,000 for operations with no employees and up to $10,000 for those with more than 100.

I am not aware of any gyms or fitness facilities that have more than 100 employees; consequently, most B.C. gyms and fitness centres would probably fall into the $2,000-to-$5,000 range for these grants.

Although these grants won’t diminish the financial and operational hardships of COVID-related closures, every dollar counts and helps.

It seems that the province has given little consideration to those non-profit enterprises that have closed their doors for the sake of important public health measures; many of which have actively embraced COVID-reduction measures.

The fact that these are non-profit organizations doesn’t diminish the reality that they also pay wages and benefits for their teams of staff and trainers.

This includes payments to suppliers, utilities, and insurance providers. They also stand ready to reimburse the fees collected from their customers and members because their doors are now shuttered.

Regrettably, non-profit organizations are exempt from being able to receive these welcomed grants.

John Stevenson, director
Selkirk Waterfront Fitness Centre

Rights, responsibilities for all of us

Too many people get concerned about rights without considering their responsibilities. Quebec’s proposed anti-vax tax is an interesting example.

You would still have the right to not vaccinate, but you would be taxed to cover the higher risk of your being hospitalized due to COVID. The overwhelming majority of those who do get vaccinated have to pay more taxes just to support those anti-vaxxers.

This just isn’t fair, and I agree with making the anti-vaxxers pay more to help pay for their inevitable hospitalization costs.

Perhaps we should also consider similarly penalizing others who, in exercising their rights, participate in dangerous activites, sometimes even illegal activities.

Those who ride bicycles (especially adults) without wearing helmets, ride motorcycles without appropriate helmets, jaywalk while texting, distracted drivers, driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, boating at night without lights, boating/fishing without flotation devices being worn, skiing and snowmobiling in out-of-bounds areas, avalanche risk areas, etc. are all risky activities.

Why should the majority end up paying to cover the extra rescue and recovery costs and all the extra needless hospital bills caused by those who totally ignore their responsibilities?

Time for governments at all levels to encourage people to consider living up to their responsibilities, and make them pay extra for their flouting of common sense.

David Hogg

Long-haul patients need serious attention

COVID-19 has resulted in many of those that had it becoming long haulers. This is finally getting some serious attention.

The majority of long haulers are women between 30-60 years old. This may be why their symptoms were downplayed or not believed by physicians, and dismissed as psychological.

My daughter experienced a mild case of flu a couple of years ago — before COVID.

She was always cheerful and stoic. Even when she was a small child, I learned to pay attention if she was making a fuss about something. She has always been fit, and is in a medical profession.

After the flu, she started experiencing disabling fatigue and sometimes could barely get out of bed.

Her doctor finally referred her to a female neurologist who said that she should see a psychologist.

When my daughter said that she had found a long-hauler support group online, it was dismissed as equal to anti-vaccination groups. Almost three years on, and with no treatment, my daughter can still crash if she is not very careful not to overdo it — difficult in her profession.

I hope that all long haulers, not just from COVID-19, will now be taken seriously and will be able to get proper supports locally.

Stephanie Greer
North Saanich

Not hard to tell people they are not welcome

Re: “How best to deal with the unvaccinated,” letter, Jan. 14.

The writer requests advice on living with a non-vaccinated family member. She lives with fear because of “rage within seconds and verbal attacks” during simple discussions from this family member.

It’s very disheartening to read. I think she would do better seeking help from a therapist or an officer rather than the media.

My husband and I have four grown children. Our eldest dragged her feet with getting the shots. It wasn’t difficult to tell her she could not come into our home unless she was vaccinated. This included Thanksgiving dinner.

She finally received both shots before Christmas and we were all together as a family. I want my life back and I feel that the people on the fence, or the flat out anti-vaxxers, are holding that up for everyone.

Darlene Prendergast

Going through hell after the death of her son

Re: “How best to deal with the ­unvaccinated,” letter, Jan. 14.

There is no understanding as to why someone will not get vaccinated.

I begged my 48-year-old son to get vaccinated, but to no success. He had the exact same reasoning as your family member and discussions also turned to rage. My begging, pleading, crying didn’t help.

My son died of COVID on Nov. 14, leaving four children behind. We grieve every minute of every day.

I think that non-vaccinated people should walk through an ICU room and sit for even five minutes to view a COVID patient and the one family member who is allowed to visit, and watch us crying outside a windowed room praying for our loved one to please fight.

Look at the tubes coming out of every major vein in their body. Watch their chest go up and down because of the machine breathing for them and another machine is keeping their temperature normal.

We love them regardless and always will. Why can’t they love us enough to not put us through hell, leaving us behind when they could have prevented this agony?

The nurses and doctors who take care of these patients are exhausted, and they talk to the grieving friends and family with such grace and empathy. They are amazing.

B. Thornton

Not vaccinated? They are a disgrace to the uniform

Re: “Military launches proceedings against 900 unvaxxed troops,” Jan. 15.

It is a sad day when troops refuse to obey a direct and legal order to get vaccinated. These dissenters put their team members and themselves at risk for no valid reason.

How can they truly believe in the Force’s mission, which is to stand on guard for Canada. They are a disgrace to the uniform they are wearing.

Roger Cyr, OMM, CD
Retired Navy Commander

When you buy local, there are people to help

Re: “Nothing about the new iMac is simple or easy,” column, Jan. 16.

Sorry to hear about Lawrie McFarlane’s iMac woes.

One piece of advice for anyone thinking about a new Apple computer: Buy local.

It’s the same price as buying online. And knowledgeable people are available to help in the unlikely event you run into a problem setting it up.

Norman Spector

The worst of all systems, except for all the rest

Re: “Nothing about the new iMac is simple or easy,” column, Jan. 16.

Grumpy contrarian that he is, for once I have to agree with Lawrie McFarlane about the evolution of the Macintosh computer and its operating system.

As a Mac user of long standing, I have seen its rise and fall and rise again, despite its flaws, to its current superlative position.

As Winston Churchill once said of democracy, it is the worst of all possible systems — except for all the rest. The same can be said of the Mac.

Tom Masters


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