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Letters Jan. 28: Truck convoy recalls trek from 1935; rationale for paid hospital parking rings hollow

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Truckers and supporters raise their fists and hold a banner before a cross-country convoy destined for Ottawa to ­protest a federal vaccine mandate for truckers departed Delta on Sunday. DARRYL DYCK, THE CANADIAN PRESS

Reminiscent of the On-to-Ottawa trek

Freedom Rally 2022 by Canadian truckers is on its way to Ottawa to protest a federal vaccine mandate for cross-border Canadian truckers. The truckers are angry about the need to be fully vaccinated if they want to avoid a two-week quarantine and pre-arrival molecular test for COVID-19 before crossing into Canada.

The convoy of trucks left Vancouver on Jan. 23, met with another convoy from Prince George and is now into Ontario. Media reports indicate the convoy is gathering more trucks and support along the way. In less than a week more than $5 million for the event has been raised from donors.

Freedom Rally 2022 reminds me of the June 1935 On-to-Ottawa trek by 2,000 unemployed men who were protesting their demand for work and wages at the height of the Depression.

The trek also started in B.C., where the men boarded boxcars. The rally also gained public support and sympathy as it moved eastward. Unfortunately for the men, it was halted in Regina by Prime Minister R.B. Bennett. His decision ultimately provoked the Regina Riot of July 1.

Let’s hope history does not repeat itself for the outcome of the ­Freedom Rally.

Michael Dupuis
Esquimalt

Pay the good doctors what they are worth

After spending more than a quarter-century in human resource management, I found one fundamental principle to be true, whether working with skilled, unskilled, professional, unionized or management employees — pay the good ones what they are worth and weed out the bad ones.

Doctors should be paid according to how their work is valued by their employer. In the public health system, doctors are employed by the taxpayers and the taxpayers have made it clear that they highly value the work of our good doctors.

Let’s hope government gets the message.

David Mansell
Courtenay

Parking at hospitals should remain free

Re: “Hospital parking fees return in March after two-year suspension,” Jan. 21.

One wonders how it was ­determined that non-users of hospitals in B.C. are generally unfairly taking advantage of their free parking, when most are not located in areas that otherwise have high parking demands.

The Saanich Peninsula Hospital, for instance, isn’t near Saanichton’s town centre or any facilities requiring additional parking. It is not on any public transit routes, and so personal vehicle or taxi are unfortunately the only ways to practically access it.

Victoria General Hospital and many others around the province are similarly situated in areas that do not have any other major parking demands, and so who would realistically use their parking lots unless they have hospital needs?

Having to pay for parking at a hospital is dismaying and annoying. A 15-minute appointment can take two hours or more. When one goes to Emergency it is impossible to know how long it will take, or if the patient will be admitted.

When one leaves to top up the meter, that is when the long-awaited visit from the doctor might happen. I know of a critically ill patient who sadly passed away when the family was topping up the parking meter.

Let’s have a more pragmatic and empathetic approach to pay parking at hospitals, and only charge at those facilities where it is necessary to maintain reasonable availability for those who require it.

This decision deserves a re-visit, and hopefully a model closer to what we currently have will be considered a better solution.

Danny Foster
Saanich

Be tough on Putin, be kind to doctors

I read the letters in the Times ­Colonist and two jumped out at me.

This is not time for appeasement; I believe if we, as Canadians, don’t hold Putin’s Russia in check in the Ukraine, we will be fending them off in Nunavut.

Secondly, if you want more ­doctors in Victoria, you must figure out how to get them and their families into a house for under $1.5 million. A million-dollar interest-free loan from B.C., payable in 25 years or when they leave the jurisdiction, might work.

Gus Bradley
North Vancouver

Is supporting Ukraine not in our interests?

A recent letter-writer asks if Ukraine is really in the “orbit of Canada’s interests.”

Well, if Canada doesn’t consider supporting, with more than mere words, an independent sovereign nation facing a dictatorial power that signed the 1994 Budapest Memorandum promising to respect Ukraine’s territory and independence; which in 2014 invaded/annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region; which actively supports the current armed incursion of Ukraine’s eastern territories; and which provocatively intimidates an independent nation through significant military troop and ordnance buildup along its borders…

Then what interests do merit ­Canada’s support? If support for a democratic nation under siege and the world rule of order are not ­worthy of our support, what is?

One thing is for certain, the “Rash Putins” and other world ­dictators won’t be stopped by hollow, ­meaningless words.

Gordon Zawaski
Parksville

Victoria needs better protection for renters

On Nov. 4, Victoria city council approved a redevelopment project that includes restoration of the Montrose Apartments building downtown at Blanshard and View streets.

As part of this redevelopment (which includes construction of a new hotel on the adjacent parcel), the developer agreed to offer tenants displaced by renovation of the 109-year-old apartment building the right to return to their former unit at the same rent they are currently paying.

This renter-protection commitment mirrors policies in place elsewhere in Canada. For example, under Burnaby’s Tenant Assistance Policy, tenants displaced by renovations or redevelopments have the right to return to the new development and pay the same rent.

In contrast, Victoria’s Tenant Assistance Policy provides a right of first refusal at only 10 per cent below market rents. Given that the average rent in Victoria jumped nearly 20 per cent in the past year alone, in a city made up of 60 per cent renters, this is unacceptable.

The Montrose Apartments ­project shows us that it is indeed possible for developers to both generate profit and ensure the rights of ­tenants are respected.

Skyrocketing rental costs have highlighted the need to improve protections for renters; the Montrose redevelopment and Burnaby’s policy provide examples of how to do so.

Amending Victoria’s Tenant Assistance Policy to provide renters displaced by redevelopment the right to return and pay the same rent previously charged is a reasonable and important step for council to take.

Andrew Kerr
Victoria

Taxpayers are grumpy for good reasons

The recent letter criticizing the Grumpy Taxpayer$ cries out for a response. Although I am not a member of that group, I understand and appreciate the very reasonable points they regularly make.

It is not taxes per se that they oppose, it is the waste of tax dollars.

One obvious example is the $1.5 billion that the CBC consumes annually, and which the ­Liberals recently suggested should be increased by another half-billion. This is despite the fact that the network attracts the viewership of a tiny proportion of the population. Does that not proclaim that those tax dollars are largely wasted?

Even this, however, is small potatoes compared with the waste that the really big public spenders plow through. Health, social services, education and justice have all exploded into publicly funded industries that are immune from any sort of budgetary probity.

If you tried to run a shoe store, a restaurant or a landscaping service in this fashion, your local bank would haul you back to reality in short order. No such constraints trouble ministries that operate on the public dime.

And as if that were not annoying enough, the constant complaint of those industries is that they fall short of their prescribed objectives because they are — you guessed it — chronically underfunded!

This is the source of dissatisfaction from annoyed taxpayers, and it is long past justified.

Michel Murray
Saanich

A great step forward in fight over plastics

Re: “UVic law team triggers ­landmark decision over plastic coffee pods,” Jan. 9.

This great court story sets a timely, logical precedent for B.C. and Canada to finally act in ridding our communities of everyday single-use plastics such as inane coffee pods.

These and many other toxic, ­ubiquitous plastics made of fossil-fuel oil are a global menace.

Sadly, they are so entrenched in our lives it seemed impossible — until the UVic law team’s victory — to make plastics companies, and end users such as Keurig, change their wastefully wicked ways.

Brewing java using reusable or compostable bleached filters makes infinite sense versus filling our brimming landfills and recycling systems with millions of Keurig’s plastic pods.

What a valiant battle all for ­making “a bloody cup of coffee,” as eco-lawyer Calvin Sandborn rightly states.

Peter W. Rusland
North Cowichan

There are many reasons why we should avoid nuclear

Thanks for the recent letter with a clear and important statement that building nuclear reactors is an expensive waste of money.

I want to add additional reasons Canada should not invest in building them or small nuclear reactors.

All sizes of nuclear reactors are fuelled with radioactive uranium. This uranium has to be mined and its wastefields at mine sites are forever contaminated and dangerous, and often many square kilometres in area.

More important, nuclear reactors eventually run out of sufficient radioactive material to function, but the radioactive material they contain is still highly radioactive and dangerous to humans and animals.

Many countries have tried, but none have succeeded to find a safe and permanent storage site. Some of the proposals for “safe” storage have run afoul of ground water leakage and others have been deemed unsafe for other reasons.

For Canadians, the lesson seems to be avoid nuclear reactors and find a safe way to get rid of those we have.

Edwin E. Daniel
Victoria

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