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Letters June 7: Increasing equity; buy from your local farmer; quiet! it's a hospital

Strawberry seedlings being planted at a Saanich Peninsula farm. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

More ideas to increase equity in Victoria

I just really can’t understand the fuss about Victoria council’s extremely ­important initiative to “reduce the stigma around periods and work towards menstrual equity.”

Yes! Bathe City Hall in red lights and hoist the “period flag”… what could be more pressing in the minds of the citizens of fair Victoria? Bravo!

And in this spirit, I offer a few ­suggestions that may have slipped through the net but will doubtless be equally useful in uniting right-thinking residents:

1. In fairness, let’s think about the guys! (And I bet there’s a potential revenue stream from Viagra!)

“Today we join efforts to reduce the stigma around erectile dysfunction and work towards penile equity. City Hall will light up in blue and display the flag at half mast.”

2. Or other bodily functions not to be mentioned in polite society:

“Today we join efforts to reduce the stigma around bowel dysfunction and work towards stool equity. City Hall will light up in brown and display the Mr. Floatie flag.”

3. Finally, for anyone driving downtown who has enjoyed the impressive benefits of the “transportation improvements,” I’ll bet this one will get thousands more out of their cars and into a pair of Spandex:

“Today we join efforts to reduce the stigma around cycling dysfunction and work towards transportation equity. City Hall lights will be non-functioning and the flag will remain a tangled mess at the base of the pole.”

Irene Zaffaroni


Greater Victoria farmers face plenty of risks

Re: “Local strawberries come at a high cost,” letter, June 4.

The letter seems to imply that the farmer is gouging the consumer. That would be nonsense!

Those of us who farm and provide food for Victorians do so with nothing but risk. We try as best we can to keep our prices affordable.

However, the past decade has been nothing but challenges for our industry above and beyond the norm.

Our input costs have skyrocketed and labour wages have gone through the roof.

Many farmers have to employ immigrant labourers, which includes an onerous and rigorous immigration process and one of the requirements is the housing of these excellent, hard-working people.

More than often, they are paid above the minimum wage.

And we are forever challenged by the influx of cheaper foreign-sourced produce that creates a false expectation for some consumers.

We are far more fortunate here than we know, and in so many different ways. Please, count your blessings … and keep buying from your local farmer to bless them too.

Brett Smyth

Smyth Farm

North Saanich

Support our farmers, eat their strawberries

It is time for all of us strawberry lovers to gorge on the local berries. They are up a bit early this year and they are as sweet and as delicious as we fondly recall during the winter months.

Sure, they are a bit more expensive than the imported berries, but they are so worth the extra dollar or two for the quality and flavour.

It is important to support our local growers because, if we fail to do that, it will not be long before our local farms could be gone.

Now to eat some more berries.

Elizabeth Hanan


Getting bigger, getting smaller is evolution

The recent tongue-in-cheek letter proposing we use our technological genetic ability to develop smaller people in order to reduce our impacts on this small blue dot of a planet has already taken place.

However, it had nothing to do with genetic manipulation but more to do with adaptation over 100,000 years.

Some 40,000 years ago, the average height of European males was 183 centimetres (six feet) and 10,000 years ago the average height was just 162 cm (five feet, four inches). Some 600 years ago, however, we began to get taller and now the average height is 175 cm (five feet nine inches).

What is perplexing, and may be the reason we don’t seem to be able to work ourselves out of the corner we’ve painted ourselves in, is our brains have gotten smaller.

Over the past 100,000 years our brains have lost 100-150 cubic centimetres in size and most of that loss occurred in the past 12,000 years.

So, if we want to reduce our impact on the planet we should continue on our evolutionary path and if that path resembles what the late author Kurt Vonnegut imagined, we’re all going back into the ocean resembling seals.

Phil Le Good

Cobble Hill

Please, try to keep quiet around our hospitals

Vancouver in 1994, at St. Pauls Hospital. My father just passed away.

The doctors and nursing staff were caring and compassionate. The noise was offensive, the tires screeching, horns blaring. The start of the hockey riot.

Myself and my family tried to drive home. We were met with pounding on our car, shouts and taunts. As you can imagine, it was an extremely traumatic night.

Fast forward to today. On June 2, I was at the renal unit at Royal Jubilee. A staff member pulls up and sits in her car with her rock music blaring so loud the windows on her car rattle and her speakers crackle.

It’s very disturbing to patients who sometimes spend up to 10 hours a day (including driving time) keeping themselves alive.

The staff at renal are kind and generous. But obviously not all hospital staff are that way.

On this day, I approached the staff member who was with another staff member. I asked her if she thought this noise was appropriate for a hospital zone.

She responded in a mocking laugh saying “we play music for our patients all the time.” I said “not this kind of music.” She said “be quiet lady.”

Retired from nursing myself, I would never do this to patients.

Is this what our healthcare has come to? Where has the peace in hospitals gone?

“Quiet, hospital zone” no longer applies.

Maria Leboe


Victoria council ignores the real issues

Re: “Moral grandstanding a national embarrassment,” letter, June 5.

As stated in the letter, the City of Victoria seems to have lost its mind! How can it get so “woke” without attending to the matters that adversely affect our daily lives?

I don’t recall seeing, or hearing about, any effort to present the public with this kind of junk during an election campaign.

Someone should have told us that a new flag would fly weekly or monthly to acknowledge someone or something while ignoring the dismay in the other issues facing Victoria: homelessness, snarled traffic, deteriorating downtown, etc.

Mark Engels


No fault insurances a sign of bigger issues

Weekly we get calls from distressed accident victims who cannot believe that the bad driver who injured them cannot be required to pay for the sometimes considerable inconvenience pain and suffering the innocent victim has been put to.

When David Eby was attorney general he introduced no-fault accident legislation, gleefully claiming that rich lawyers would no longer be able to profit from acting for accident victims.

The problem is that without lawyers involved, the victim who by far received the vast majority of any settlement or judgment, is not compensated at all.

The no-fault scheme is supposed to feature “enhanced accident benefits.” That seems to be a myth. We hear from accident victims and service providers that reasonable requests for payment of accident related treatment is refused by ICBC adjusters.

So now we have two entities not responsible for the consequences of bad driving: one is the bad driver and the second is the intransigence and unreasonableness of ICBC.

The no-fault system seems to be a failed experiment.

No fault seems to be the consequence of a dogmatic and inflexible view by our premier of the way society should be.

In this respect and from his equally bizarre insistence that lawyers, instead of being independently governed, be governed by a strange combination of lawyers, notaries and lawyers’ hired paralegals seems to be a reflection of our premier’s deep-seated prejudices.

Part of the idea of this change of legal structure is that the public will have greater access to legal services, i.e. court. It’s inconceivable that the notaries will ever appear in court for anybody.

In this respect and many other questionable initiatives our premier seems to be the NDP version of Donald Trump, insisting that his way is the only way regardless of the consequences.

F. Kenneth Walton, K.C.

F. Kenneth Walton Law Corporation


Stepped up to the plate, but still waiting to hear

Re: “A stronger military? Fill some of those jobs,” letter, June 4.

Although Canada isn’t the only NATO member state that doesn’t meet the two per cent defence spending target, it is the sixth lowest out of all 32 countries. Also, most other countries that don’t meet the target have made plans to eventually do so, which Canada hasn’t.

The fact is, NATO has had this two per cent target for a decade. Canada wants to remain part of this club but isn’t willing to meet its obligations. There comes a point when being part of a club but not doing what the club has agreed to just becomes rude, for want of a better description.

As for the separate subject of there being vacant armed forces jobs, I imagine that the main reason why this is the case is that the pay is relatively low. Increasing the pay is another reason why Canada should spend more on defence.

But as for personally stepping up to the plate, I have seen the civilian role of accounting clerk at CFB Esquimalt advertised at least three times this year and every time I have tried applying.

I have a post-degree diploma in accounting, along with various experience, but have yet to hear anything back.

I wouldn’t mind so much if they just sent me a short message saying that they weren’t going to be moving forward with my candidacy for the position. But nothing. So having tried to step up to the plate, I think I’m entitled to speak out on the issue of Canada’s military.

Matthew Cousins



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