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Letters July 26: Making a public service private; layoff was right decision

Motorists at the ticket booths at Swartz Bay ferry terminal. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

Reminder privatization does not work

Listening to B.C. Liberal Leader Kevin Falcon bemoaning the NDP’s decision to terminate B.C. Ferries CEO Mark Collins rings hollow indeed. After all, it was Falcon’s Liberal government that privatized the ferry system in 2003 to begin with.

B.C. Ferries should never have been made a private company, and now that it’s being run like a lemonade stand is the fault of those that chose to privatize it in the first place.

The NDP must deal with such private sector problems the best way they can short of re-establishing the company as a Crown corporation, although they probably ought to. Perhaps Falcon should have shown a little more foresight almost 20 years ago rather than now simply criticizing the outcome of a decision he helped to implement.

Privatizing public services has rarely worked out well for the service recipients or the service provider and B.C. Ferries is no exception. When profit and loss is the determining factor for the private delivery of a public service, profit and loss prevention will always prevail and the current situation at B.C. Ferries was quite predictable.

Of course they can’t retain staff and are cancelling sailings, left, right and centre. They’re suffering the same ­problems that so many private sector employers are facing and they don’t have the resources to address the problem that a public sector or Crown corporation employer could.

Stu Shields

Collins did right thing in trying to reduce staff

Mark Collins was fired at B.C. Ferries because he was trying to run the company like a business and the NDP are ideologically against such wisdom!

When COVID hit, Collins laid off 1,000 ferry workers as the company was hemorrhaging cash, $1 million per day. With few people travelling and very limited ferry income, a smart leader tries to limit expenses so the firm does not get into serious financial trouble.

This plan upset the union, who went running to the NDP government about the loss of jobs and income and that’s when Collins’ days of employment started to wane.

So now the B.C. government will take over the ferry system, it will be a great day for the union and everything NDP. Everything they screw up will fall on B.C. taxpayers, just like it did when they decided to replace the ferry fleet at a cost of hundreds of millions to taxpayers.

Let’s hope for a change of government soon, one that we hope will include one with some business brains as they will inherit hundreds of millions of dollars in debt and an NDP ferry system.

Jim Laing

If she can handle ferries, here’s another idea

Re: “Swashbuckling MacPhail back on the bridge as B.C. Ferries CEO walks the plank,” July 23.

Can we please hire Joy MacPhail to fix the doctor’s crisis?

Gery Lemon
View Royal

Health Ministry needs MacPhail as well

Re: “Swashbuckling MacPhail back on the bridge as B.C. Ferries CEO walks the plank,” July 23.

Quick, can someone appoint Joy MacPhail as minister of health?

Barbara Abercrombie

Hockey Canada should also clean house

The head of B.C. Ferries has fallen on his sword. The technology boss at Rogers has been made accountable for the outage.

What will it take for Hockey Canada’s brass to do the right thing?

Anne Moon

No shock in report on Victoria council

A report about Victoria city hall activities quite accurately reports that 81 per cent of taxpayers are dissatisfied with the level of competence of the mayor and councillors in carrying out daily duties in running Victoria. This comes as no surprise.

Mayor and councillors, remove your blinders and see the level of frustration in the public.

It is ironic that Adam Stirling of CFAX has been badmouthed by the mayor and a few councillors these past few years — but Stirling has been accurate in reporting on several of the decisions of this group in city hall.

The October election can not come soon enough.

Paul Baldwin

To save the planet, we must act now

Re: “Disastrous results of the green movement come home to roost,” ­commentary, July 23.

While Gwyn Morgan seems only concerned with all the relatively minor bumps on the road to the destruction of our atmosphere, his blinkered vision does not see the cost of destruction if we allow the further increase of global warming.

Here a few positive news items:

Governments of Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands are working towards a 10-fold increase of the wind-turbine farms in the North Sea.

A worldwide effort is underway to replace fossil-fuelled transportation, including rail and aviation, with hydrogen fuel machinery.

Canada’s nuclear energy industry is in the forefront of the small modular reactor development that will result in factory-built reactors to be assembled on site where wind or solar generation is not an option.

When our grandchildren experience widespread flooding, displacing millions and millions of people due to rising sea levels resulting from the melting of the world’s ice caps, it will be too late to take action. The time is now to keep coal, oil and gas in the ground.

Fighting global warming is and will be expensive, but doing nothing will be far more costly and disastrous!

Evert Moes
North Saanich

Salmon, EVs and organic food should be on the list

Re: “Disastrous results of the green movement come home to roost,” commentary, July 23.

I would like to add a couple things to Gwyn Morgan’s list. Rabid environmentalists got on their chargers (high horses) and decided to save the seals on the West Coast.

The seals were never endangered. Now there are thousands of them, and sea lions, eating away at their food source, salmon. Now the environmentalists are trying to explain the lack of salmon and why the orcas are starving.

I am annoyed by the holier than thou attitude of EV devotees. Don’t they realize the oil companies chuckle every time another EV is sold?

The lithium mines are among the most polluting in the world. The battery cases, bodies, interiors and tires in their EVs are all petroleum products.

Another thing that annoys me is that everything is now labeled organic. This, plus the higher price, fools people into thinking it is pesticide free. Everything is organic. Unless it is labeled pesticide-free, it is not.

Kerry Butler
Salt Spring Island

Tax private vehicles based on their weight

Interesting reading on July 23 from David Suzuki and Gwyn Morgan. I have a simple solution: Tax cars and trucks by weight. Every year.

More steel, fewer trees. More aluminum, fewer birds. More glass, fewer bees. Think organized environmental crime. Those old guys with their old cars can fix them, and recycle them.

The newer road vehicles are largely unfixable, an insult to Mother Nature to produce, and guaranteed landfill.

Who amongst us will stand for election, for a job few of the talented want, to stand up for Mother Nature against the chainsaw rapists and their concrete-clotting cohorts.

Brien Smith
Campbell River

There’s a bright future for renewables

Re: “Disastrous results of the green movement come home to roost,” ­commentary, July 23.

Gwyn Morgan’s argument against ­“unaffordable” renewable energy is plucked from thin air.

On a levelized cost of energy basis, which represents the net present cost of an energy system over its lifetime, Bloomberg says onshore wind now costs 30 per cent less than coal and 35 per cent less than gas. Solar costs are 28 per cent less than coal and 35 per cent less than gas.

Morgan squeezes much of his argument against a green economy into the Ukraine/Russia conflict, but that will have far less impact over the next decades than the fossil fuel-generated climate crisis.

For example, he claims the war is hurting people in poor countries, when the real harm is caused by global warming, generated by fossil fuels, that has wiped out the grain crops they have successfully grown for centuries.

Morgan asserts that renewables can’t replace the 87 per cent of energy supplied by fossil fuels, but that ship has already sailed. According to the International Energy Agency, renewables already account for almost 95 per cent of the annual increase in global power capacity, a trend that will only accelerate over the decades. In other words, as fossil-fuel energy systems are retired, the vast majority will be replaced by renewables.

Finally, the Times Colonist’s continued failure to publish Morgan’s ramblings on environmental issues without pointing out that Morgan’s career has been almost entirely in fossil fuels constitutes journalistic malpractice.

Paul DeGroot
North Saanich

Another pipeline would help end the Ukraine war

In the interesting juxtaposition of the articles on July 23 by Gwyn Morgan and David Suzuki, only the former made reference to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its impact on green energy initiatives.

It is incredible that a significant part of Europe, and by extension, NATO, is dependent on Russian oil and gas. This essentially makes NATO hamstrung, if not powerless, in confronting Russia in a conventional war.

As for the nuclear variety, the West, to a large degree dropped out of the arms race, while Russia, China,and North Korea kept on running.

These three nations boast hypersonic guided cruise missiles for which there is no sure defence and are capable of carrying nuclear warheads over very long distances. The U.S. has only very recently demonstrated that it has the same capability but not the same degree of deployment.

If Canada had the pipeline infrastructure to export gas and oil to offset Russia, the war would be stopped forthwith, and from an environmental perspective, Germany would not have to do a U-turn and bring back the use of coal and interrupt its adoption of renewables.

Consequently Canada needs to do a U-turn with respect to pipelines immediately. As it is, adding insult to injury, Russia has opened an LNG station in the Arctic.

Canada needs leadership to act with foresight, not react on hindsight.

David A. Clark

Few writers could match McFarlane’s knowledge

I was sorry to read that Lawrie McFarlane has decided to retire from offering his weekly piece.

I have known Lawrie for more than 45 years, having first encountered his Scottish manner when we both held junior roles in the government of Saskatchewan.

Being an excellent writer Lawrie could criticize and compliment government policy with the same honesty, vigour and effectiveness. He was able to do this, in my opinion, because he clearly understood the role of government and our Westminster system of Parliament.

Few editorial writers have the historical understanding of government and the context of public policy decisions to do this effectively. Like many of his readers, I did not always agree with his opinion, but I respected how he arrived at his conclusion.

I hope he will continue to express his assessment of timely issues, as current problems present real challenges to our democratic system of government.

Ken Fyke

Remember the days of the garbage-free sky

From the dawn to the death of human civilization Baby Boomers are likely the last people ever on Earth to witness with the naked eye the majesty and beauty of the night sky free from orbiting human garbage.

Robert Marsh
East Sooke

Think pigs are bad? Look in a mirror

Re: “Race on in Cowichan to round up escaped pigs,” July 23.

Ryan Brook of the Canadian Wild Pig Research Project is said to call feral pigs “the worst invasive large mammals on the planet.”


Humans are.

Pattie Whitehouse

If not Deuce Days, give some ideas

Re: “Dinosaur car culture on full display,” letter, July 21.

Let’s not forget the many hard-working citizens whose livelihood depends on the economic benefit such events create.

So, when advocating we stop promoting such affairs, it would be useful to propose alternatives that would generate equivalent or greater economic benefit.

Glen Armstrong


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