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Letters July 20: Responding to mental-health emergencies; what Canada does has an impact; separated bike lanes in Oak Bay

Landowner Duane Olson and his dog Bella drive past solar panels at the opening of the Michichi solar project near Drumheller, Alta., Tuesday, July 11, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh Jeff McIntosh

Longshore remuneration is already healthy

Whatever you are doing, you should stop and become a longshore union member. They are on strike, and they say they are poorly paid!

Here’s what you might receive in your new job, based on a report in the Globe and Mail. The median annual wage is $136,000, you might receive a $8,000 signing bonus, an 11 per cent wage increase in your first year and a six per cent increase in your second year.

Depending on your shift times and so on, you will earn $48.23 an hour. Premiums are attached to certain shifts and depending on your skills, you can earn up to $77.17 per hour.

If the employer succumbs to the strike demands, you should earn $149,600 plus an $8,000 bonus $157,600 in your first year and a six per cent increase in your next year!

If Victoria is anything, it’s a red hot union town. I assume that many think the above looks to be fair, except the majority of us, who ultimately have to finance this dream, might not be seeing it as even sensible.

This greed has to stop.

Jim Laing


Community solutions help prevent crises

Re: “West Shore police to be paired with health-care workers for crisis calls,” July 18.

It’s good to see the province expand this program. No doubt about it. It’s a much needed supportive intervention and these mobile teams, like the one operating in Victoria, have done some amazing crisis work over the years.

Not to mention this initiative is in alignment with the police reform report published just last year.

But the expansion of the mobile integrated crisis response team, although needed, is just that, a response to crisis. It’s a down-river solution to an enormous challenge in our communities that will focus on acute and disruptive expressions of mental health that might result in harm, either to the person experiencing the crisis or those around them.

It’s institutional in its approach and does not provide supports outside of its direct interactions with people in crisis, many of whom will end up in psychiatric emergency services. Again, likely appropriate at that time, but what comes next? What if there isn’t any room in PES?

Psychiatric emergency services are beyond maxed out as are most of the peripheral case management and day programs within the mental-health serving system, including non-profits. So what are we to do?

These are great solutions, but they are limited and they don’t address the upstream need of people the other 364 days a year when they are not in crisis. Mental health never is ubiquitous, it touches us all, all the time.

Alongside this crisis response, where is the continued investment in our community mental-health care solutions? The civilian response team? 24/7 respite houses? Community service hubs? Clubhouses? Peer support networks? The list goes on … .

These community-based services are accessible, non-medical, far cheaper to provide and they are the upstream solutions that truly prevent people from falling through the cracks into crisis — especially when they are partnered and working collaboratively with the greater health serving system.

Chris Forester


Carbon taxes best way to fight climate change

Re: “Canada’s economic hara-kiri will have little impact on climate change,” commentary, July 15.

Gwyn Morgan’s commentary is a cry about the pain of dealing with our frightening climate crisis.

The scientific consensus is that the only viable course for our planet is for humans to reduce carbon emissions. There is also an overwhelming consensus that the only decent chance we have for solving this is by putting a sufficient price on carbon to encourage our economy to find alternatives to our current high-carbon ways.

No one thinks this remedy is going to be pain-free, but the pain of a carbon tax pales in comparison with the human and economic catastrophe that climate change is already starting to bring.

Morgan’s piece contains not a hint about an alternative. His thesis seems to be that if others aren’t doing everything that needs to be done, Canada shouldn’t either. Now there’s a new formula for mutual self-destruction.

Even a cynic should acknowledge that at worst, our federal government is ­shifting our economy to be more competitive with China and others in a low-carbon future. At its best, a carbon tax is an efficient, impactful, and really the only moral choice.

Al Hurd


‘Inconsequential’ theory is no longer valid

Re: “Canada’s economic hara-kiri will have little impact on climate change,” commentary, July 15.

While I do support Gwyn Morgan’s ­proposal for a carbon-intensity tax on Chinese imports, overall, I take issue with his argument that carbon taxes applied in Canada are too insignificant globally to be worth the cost.

It is a message that is either tone deaf in this, the hottest month on record, or from a previous era, or both.

The truth is that the whole world is suffering from climate change and ­arguments that one country, never mind one individual’s, actions are inconsequential carry the same message that has led to each previous “tragedy of the Commons.”

This time the global Commons at stake is a liveable planet. We won’t avert it by re-purposing the same old tropes that haven’t worked in the past.

Scott Richardson


Thanks to Saanich for improved Gorge Road

I have had an opportunity to ride Gorge Road West, after some considerable time, and to quote my daughter who was just in town visiting: “How splendid!”

The work is almost done, the municipality has new critical sewer and water infrastructure. There is new pavement for the cars, new sidewalks for the pedestrians and new fabulous bike lanes for cyclists!

And to top it off, some of nicest scenery in town. If this isn’t a win/win situation, I am not sure what is.

Kudos to Saanich for the project ­management, of a large job nearly completed and for having the vision to include other modes of transportation in the mix.

North Americans have been far to autocentric and it is time we take into consideration and provide infrastructure for the other means of transport available and used by a growing number of ­Victorians.

Jay Bowles


Oak Bay council right about bike lanes

Re: “Oak Bay, create some safe routes for bicycles,” letter, July 14.

The letter claims that Oak Bay council shows “classic NIMBYism” for not acceding to the demands of a vocal minority demanding separated bike lanes on Henderson Road, but the property owners, “who want to retain street parking” have rights as well.

I would argued their wishes take precedent over the desires of a few bike riders.

Oak Bay council made the right ­decision and should continue to err on the side of ratepayers versus the organized lobby of a vocal minority of bikers.

Victoria and Saanich councils caved to the pressure of this lobby group and ignored the positions taken by the rest of its citizens. Elections have consequences, perhaps the day of reckonning is coming for those councillors.

Keep up the good work, Oak Bay ­council.

Jim Reed

Oak Bay

Thanks, council, for holding back on bikes

Re: “Oak Bay, create some safe routes for bicycles,” letter, July 14.

As someone who has lived most of my 60-plus years here and cycled, I do not want to inherit the mess in Victoria and Saanich.

I am not against bikes lanes per se, what I am against is the one-sided approach where the needs of drivers and pedestrians take a back seat. What is different about Oak Bay is there are multiple lanes and quiet streets that can be used to cycle without the need for the concrete monstrosity and dangerous speed bumps prevalent throughout Victoria.

This is not a case of NIMBYism or privilege. It boils down to common sense.

An integrated approach is needed, not just a one size fits all. I would suggest that some injuries might be the result of cyclists riding without helmets or failing to follow the rules of the Motor Vehicle Act.

Regarding the environment, travel from A to B in Victoria takes longer on some routes and waiting for traffic lights to change where there are bike lanes but no cyclists.

Bike lanes have become such a divisive issue but there needs to be a holistic approach. I applaud Oak Bay for holding back for now.

Jeff Barnett

Oak Bay


• 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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