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Letters July 5: Cartoon unfair to protesters; what constitutes 'hate speech'?

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Victoria police patrol past a protest against vaccine mandates in front of the legislature in February. Letter-writers say a recent cartoon in the Times Colonist painted an unfair picture of the protesters. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Shame on the TC for printing that cartoon

I am absolutely disgusted by Adrian Raeside’s Canada Day cartoon. I attended several of the freedom convoy rallies, and every person there was a very proud Canadian, myself included.

It finally felt like we were not alone for the first time in almost two years.

The message I’m getting from Raeside’s cartoon is one of division. He seems to be implying people who supported the convoy, people who were COVID vaccine-hesitant (not anti-vaxxers) and people who did not believe masks did anything are not Canadian.

How about instead of continuing to divide Canadians, try bringing them together instead.

I can’t believe the TC printed this cartoon. Shame on the TC and shame on Adrian Raeside.

Rachel Dennis
Saanich

Cartoon did not bring us together

I was saddened to see the Canada Day Raeside cartoon, wherein the flag was juxtaposed with an annotation indicating that it wasn’t the flag of “… freedom convoys, anti-vaxxers, anti-maskers and other fringe groups.”

Saddened first by the repetition of the prime minister’s ongoing rhetoric of demonization of those he disagrees with in order to divide Canadians.

Saddened secondly by the suggestion that the flag does not belong to all Canadians, including those fellow countrymen we may disagree with.

Nice smear job, Raeside, it ill becomes you. Why not just go all in like the PM and say that your fellow Canadians of all backgrounds and beliefs are racists and unacceptable?

Now that would really help bring us all together on Canada Day.

Anthony Roy
Victoria

More frustration with city’s lawlessness

Raeside’s June 25 depiction of the state of our city was spot on and unflinching. It was disappointing to see Victoria’s mayor, among others, write in and suggest that a portion of the cartoon was discriminatory against people with mental health.

The latest trend for when someone has an opinion about challenging behaviour or policy-making that involves a particular group, is to label that person as discriminatory.

The intent is to shame anyone from speaking up against something if it is not deemed appropriate for the current political climate of conversation around that group.

People being verbally assaulted or threatened should not happen to anyone, period. Mental health may be a reason, but it is not an excuse.

Kid-gloving violent or abusive behaviour under any circumstance does nothing but perpetuate it and cause it to proliferate as more people become frustrated and hopeless with the city’s state of lawlessness.

We need to take a hard look at how we are managing mental health, amongst other conflicts happening in our communities today, and find ways to help those who need it without sacrificing the peace, safety and integrity of everyone else.

To the men and women of service who do their best to manage these challenging behaviours in our community on a daily basis — a heartfelt thank you for all you do to try and keep our community peaceful and safe.

Leanne Bates
Victoria

Speaking of hate speech, what about that mural?

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps said she considers a Times Colonist cartoon “hate speech.”

Less than 20 months ago, the same individual defended the council-funded mural in Bastion Square that included “All Cops are Bastards” as artistic expression and promoting difficult conversations.

Let’s hope that in October we will elect a mayor with an understanding of freedom of expression, hate speech and hypocrisy.

Alan Humphries
Victoria

On the front lines, and in her family

My son-in-law is a Victoria police officer and my daughter an RN in the Royal Jubilee Hospital emergency department.

They were both caught up in this horrific incident on June 28 — my son-in-law having to watch his teammates bleeding and badly wounded and my daughter having to deal with friends and colleagues as they were brought into emergency.

Both these young people work hard. My son-in-law and all police go into work everyday not knowing what they will have to deal with — but deal with it they do with professionalism and empathy. Then they go home to their families and have to be just good old moms and dads.

What they saw and dealt with on June 28 will be forever in their minds.

Thank you to all the police and front-line workers who dedicate so much time and effort to help those around them. I applaud you. Let’s support them.

Jill Taylor
Oak Bay

Municipal councils must support police

Meaningful support for our hardworking police officers needs to come from municipal councils.

As evidenced from the June 28 attempted bank robbery in Saanich, police play a critical role in responding to incidents of violence and threats to public safety. Yet, our police are understaffed and overworked.

To help reduce crime, councils need to empower our police forces; pay them well; hire more of them; support and stand behind them when they have to do their jobs; and allow them to enforce our laws.

Police budgets should not be such a bone of contention that B.C.’s public safety minister has to wade into budget disputes between council and their police board.

Councils must call out and act upon anti-police slogans or acronyms on city-sponsored murals, etc. as offensive and disrespectful hate speech.

Bottom line is that if police departments suffer, the public will suffer. Our police deserve better, and citizens must demand it.

Maggie Skaarup
North Saanich

Vaccinations have helped for decades

The poor downtrodden, anti-vaccination, anti-government group referred to as the freedom convoy is made up of misguided, disgraceful individuals who have no idea what being an upstanding Canadian really entails.

If past vaccinations were not given en masse to everyone in Canada, these same individuals would probably not exist today because their forebears would have died from any number of diseases that have been eradicated by vaccinations.

These misguided protesters should be grateful and thankful to have been born and to live in this country instead of making real Canadians ashamed of them.

Mike Wilkinson
Duncan

We love cars too much to start taking trains

Stop speculating that the return of railway on Vancouver Island would be economical. That will never happen. People want to drive their own cars.

In September 2016, Wilson’s Transportation started a daily bus commuter service from Langford/Colwood to Victoria. Wi-fi and coffee were included in your fare.

In May 2017, Wilson’s suspended the service as the average daily passenger count on the 52-seat bus was 18 people.

When Seattle opened HOV lanes on their freeways, for people driving to work, the lanes had traffic like they never seen before — and road checks found many cars had the required three people, except that two of them were mannequins.

Rail service from North Vancouver to Lillooet was cancelled as people preferred to take their cars for the four-hour drive.

Before retirement, I drove from Lake Cowichan to Victoria every day. Many cars from Colwood and Langford had only one person. So 10 people living on the same street do not car pool, each taking their own car and paying to park their car for the day.

On long weekends, people line up for hours, get on the ferry, arrive at their destination, park their car and never use it again until it is time to line up again to return home.

Having patience is the greatest victory in life, but there is no patience left in the people of today, thus they must drive a car. In summary, the return of the railway on Vancouver Island is history.

Joe Sawchuk
Duncan

Physicians are working to protect the planet

Re: “What is the real crime here and who are the real criminals?” column, June 26.

The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada is not a radical organization. Neither is the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

They set the standards for physician training in this country, so that patients can trust their doctor will do everything possible to support their health and well-being. Many skills are required, including being a medical expert, leader, and health advocate, amongst others.

When Dr. Tim Takaro was sentenced to 30 days in jail for an act of civil disobedience, by sitting in a tree to protest the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, he was fulfilling this role of advocacy and leadership.

As a world-renowned expert in the field of environmental medicine and public health, his action was an expression of his “duty of care,” to emphasize the urgency of the climate crisis which is upon us. He is to be commended for his courage and profound commitment to the health of the planet.

Tim is also a board member of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War Canada, which together with our sister affiliates won the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize.

Physicians around the world are passionate about protecting the health of their patients and the planet.

Tim was unable to join us for this month’s meeting because he is still incarcerated. The board passed a unanimous resolution supporting Tim’s action, and our thoughts go out to his family.

Dr, Jonathan Down, president
International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War Canada
Victoria

Speed bumps would help in school zones

There is no point reducing residential speed limits to 30 km/h until we can effectively reduce all speeds in school zones to 30 km/h.

Installing a large speed bump on the road on each side of the school would permanently solve the problem, 24/7. They do this quite effectively in Colombia.

If we reduce the residential speed limits to zero km/h, the survival rate in a collision with a pedestrian would be 100 per cent, and only challenged when a pedestrian glued to a smartphone walks into a car bumper.

Chris Foord
Oak Bay

Angry, frightened over our health care

I am angry. I am frightened. I can no longer be calm and kind. I, as many others, have been abandoned by our so-called leaders and caretakers of our health system, and nothing is being said that makes me feel confident that this will be rectified by these leaders. Where are Adrian Dix and Bonnie Henry?

Doctors and other health professionals are alerting us and raising the alarm to new variants of the Omicron version of COVID and warning of new surges coming soon to our already overstretched health care system.

This province is not in compliance with the Canada Health Act, which cites universality and accessibility as two of the five principles of the act. I do not have this because my family is now without a family doctor, the gatekeepers to receiving primary care.

If I or another member of my family becomes ill and needs care, we would be forced to attend a hospital as all clinics are oversubscribed 24/7 and there is very little else. Phone calls and private virtual health care are not health care.

If politicians and other leaders (our provincial health officer, for example) think the populace is getting angry and restless now with this situation, amongst so many other critical issues facing us today, just wait.

We won’t all be agreeable, compliant and patient for much longer.

Peg Orcherton
Victoria

Cruise-ship industry an environmental mess

After retiring to live in James Bay 18 years ago, I recently moved to a condo one block north of the cruise ship docking area.

Until this point, I had no idea of the extent of negative environmental and noise impact that this industry has on our community. On most days from April to October, one to three of these 350 mammoth floating hotels moor in the harbour for hours all the while discharging constant clouds of greenhouse gases and their garbage in our landfills.

In the meantime, 780,000 of their travellers are transported to and from downtown Victoria via many huge coach buses and countless taxis throughout the day until 11:30 p.m.!

For those of us residing roadside, there are no open windows or sleep before midnight, as the traffic noise is akin to rush hour on Douglas.

Residents deserve to know if the preceding activities negate all of our initiatives from high gas taxes, bike lanes, plastics elimination and so on.

Does Victoria council, the Capital Regional District, and the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority with Marianne Alto our Victoria council rep have the answer, or are we allowing today what our grandchildren will suffer with ongoing climate change disasters in their future?

It is my opinion that we are not “walking the walk” on this one.

Elizabeth Kozak
Victoria

Before a museum, bring back the E&N

We know that the vast majority of British Columbians are against building a new museum, which is not a priority considering many more urgent projects such as health and housing.

That money to build the museum should be used for health care and housing. There are many other things that can be done, for example restoring the E&N railway, which has an excellent value for near future use and beyond.

The E&N railway has historical value for this Island and should have priority above a new museum. On the list of projects, a museum should be built when it has its turn.

Salih Zeki Cinar
Victoria

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