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Letters June 29: Protests can spur retaliation; protesters do what governments can't

When protesters lead to retaliation Re: “Protesters are straining the social contract,” column, June 26. Lawrie McFarlane’s column is right on the money.
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Saanich police and West Shore RCMP arrest Save Old Growth protesters who blocked the northbound lane of the Trans-Canada Highway during rush hour traffic in January. A letter-writer says police response to pre-announced protests that impede roadways is far too slow. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

When protesters lead to retaliation

Re: “Protesters are straining the social contract,” column, June 26.

Lawrie McFarlane’s column is right on the money. When police allow protesters to defy the law in public, it gives permission implicitly for injured parties to retaliate.

That is how an anti-logging protester got injured on the Pat Bay Highway recently. As the police stood by, a commuter walked up and released one of the ropes holding the fool atop his ladder.

Note that destructive acts against public monuments like the statue of explorer James Cook (done as the police watched) stopped after somebody torched a totem pole.

Illegal retaliation worked, but it’s not how democracy is supposed to work.

I dare the Crown to prosecute that commuter. No jury will convict.

Steve Weatherbe

Victoria

The environment relies on others

Re: “Protesters are straining the social contract,” column, June 26.

Lawrie McFarlane mostly targets environmental activists in his commentary, but needs to consider the social contract and Thomas Hobbes in a present-day context.

A contemporary understanding of the social contract is between society and its stakeholder groups more so than between society and individuals.

In today’s world, business (resource-industry business in this case) is the societal group that most often acts according to “might makes right” by virtue of access to financial resources and political connections.

The environment, on the other hand, has little or no “might” in its own right, cannot represent its own interests, and is entirely dependent on others to speak or act on its behalf.

Not a level playing field.

Kai Lamertz

Victoria

We can’t trust governments to act

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

Thank you, Trevor Hancock, for a column that reinforces the message from so many scientists and environmentalists around the world.

When governments are led by the nose of multinational forest, oil and gas, and development companies hell-bent on removing every square inch of wilderness, then we the people in the form of biosphere protesters must step in, be it Fairy Creek or any wilderness that is keeping every creature on this Earth alive and well.

Protesters saved Gwai Hanas, among other valuable areas in British Columbia and around the world, so keep up the essential work.

We can’t trust governments to do it.

Lynn Martin

Victoria

An effective way to warn of heat risk

Re: “Policy revamp might save lives in next heat dome, but so could ­community, say experts,” June 26.

The most effective means to alert the public of heat risk is to refer to the wet bulb value. Very simply, since it is based on a complicated calculation, the wet bulb value is a mix of temperature and relative humidity that at a certain point will hinder the human ability to cope with heat.

With a range from 15 to 44, risk increases as the wet bulb value approaches 30. Over 30 is high danger, and above 35 is considered lethal.

As with fire risk levels, a scheme using a colour diagram based on wet bulb data could be widely communicated and easily understood.

If the wet bulb value triggers a warning, we can all know to take action to protect ourselves and those we know to be vulnerable.

Federal and provincial government scientists should have the means to take accurate wet bulb measurements. Bureaucrats know how to educate and alert the public. Now let’s put some tax money into a simple and effective heat warning system.

Paul Walton

Nanaimo

Bring back Old Town to our beloved museum

Premier John Horgan made the right decision in terminating the proposed demolition and rebuilding of the Royal B.C. Museum at a cost of $789 million.

What happened to the third-floor exhibits? I mourn the loss of our Old Town, the important piece of history: the little theatre where we chuckled while watching the silent movies of Charlie Chaplin; the little railway station where the invisible train huffed and puffed as smoke billowed beyond the tiny window; the sounds of the blacksmith shop; and the clip-clop of the horses on the cobblestones.

Certainly, these innocent flashbacks can hardly be grounds for incriminating accusations of “colonization” or “racism.” A clear understanding of what all this means has never been defined.

Why tear out the heart of the museum? Who made this irresponsible, rash, draconian decision? Now, with a sudden, miraculous turn in the museum’s destiny, it seems only fitting that the third floor should be reinstated with all of its former endearing features.

Old Town and the First Peoples Gallery were important for school curriculum field trips, over several generations, for students to learn about the diverse cultures.

The museum showed us the “then” and “now,” and allowed us to grasp the profound advances in knowledge and technology over the past 100 years. The new proposal to restore the museum with a focus on “modern knowledge” would erase and rewrite the true purpose of the museum. Museums are founded on truth and facts.

Who will decide the new exhibits and what will be the history that is told at the revived museum? Can we trust that the true Canadian story will be represented, or will other messages and minority groups take precedence to dim the Canadian landscape of the past?

Dorothy Sullivan

Victoria

Banfield Park dock earns high praise

The City of Victoria certainly got this project right. What a christening for the new dock. Perfect weather, pent-up desire to swim, and encouragement from a couple of inviting pictures in the Times Colonist.

There were new swimmers on Friday as the heat set in, a crowd on Saturday, and a tsunami of old and new faces on Sunday.

It was an incredibly joyful scene. The new bike racks encouraged pedal power and alleviated parking problems.

My husband and I are longtime swimmers off the dock at Banfield Park. We were part of the design process organized by the Gorge Swim Fest Society to visualize an enhanced or new dock.

Nothing that we proposed matches in functionality and beauty what we enjoyed. Just compare the ease of entry and exit from the new ladders to the ones on the old dock. Or stand on any section of the new dock with lots of people coming and going to feel the stability.

We are winners on many levels when government responds to community-driven initiatives. One of the intangibles of this project is increased awareness by the many new swimmers of the beauty of and responsibility for our surroundings.

Another is the encouragement that community members feel when their voices matter, knowing that citizens can make a difference.

Sandy Jaques

Saanich

Ferry staff come to aid of man with back pain

A friend of mine was visiting Victoria last weekend when he developed significant lower back pain. As he had experienced this problem before he decided he would like to return to his home in Vancouver.

He was hoping to get a space on the upper car deck of the ferry so he would not need to leave his car during the crossing, but as luck would have it he wound up on the lower deck.

He attempted to persuade the deckhand that he was in pain and needed to lie down in the back of his car, but was told that would not be possible. He was told to talk to the purser and ask if they could be of help.

He did so, and after explaining his situation was told that there was a lounge on the boat which was not in use and that he could use a couch for the duration of the trip.

My friend was very appreciative and plans to write to the B.C. Ferries once he recovers.

Keep up the good work!

Bruce Cline

Victoria

Speed signs don’t work, but speed bumps will

As someone who lives in a Greater Victoria neighbourhood that already has 30 km/h speed limits, I can tell you that the reduced limits are ignored by residents and visitors alike.

Despite blind curves, hidden driveways and no sidewalks, some drivers will modify their speed slightly but less than 10 per cent reduce speed to 30 km/h.

Why? There is no enforcement.

Our police are as dedicated and professional as you could hope for, but they have other priorities and rightly so. But unless politicians are prepared to devote more resources to policing, this initiative is nothing more than virtue signalling by municipal governments to show they care but can’t actually change a thing.

I challenge the Times Colonist to contact the police departments in Greater Victoria and inquire if they have the resources to enforce the proposed changes. If not, then let’s not pour hundreds of thousands of dollars in signage and expect a positive outcome.

There is only one solution that works 100 per cent of the time, but is so unpopular that no elected politician will invoke the wrath of local residents. That is speed bumps, the bigger the better.

Cars will slow, trucks will as well and so will motorcycles and especially those annoying cyclists who imagine they are competing in the Tour de France so they can exceed the speed limit and blow through stop signs.

If speed bumps are good enough for airports, ferry terminals, hospitals and shopping malls, they should be good enough to protect pedestrians in our communities.

Or be prepared to spend millions on enforcement and keep on reading about the carnage.

Michael Butler

Victoria

Priorities, please — more money for Lytton

So let me get this straight. The B.C. government has committed $21 million to help the town of Lytton rebuild after being completely destroyed by wildfires.

And until a few days ago, the B.C. government was committing $789 million to rebuild the Royal B.C. Museum in Victoria.

Does anyone else think that those figures should be reversed and that our government has their priorities messed up?

Lia Fraser

Victoria

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