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Letters March 16: Premier's facile comments won't halt protests; credit for the end of the sewage saga

A pickup truck drives on the highway toward Ottawa in February to attend the anti-government protest that occupied the national capital’s downtown. Many letter-writers suggest a similar protest in Victoria would find few supporters here. Cole Burston, THE CANADIAN PRESS

Glib putdown won’t stop surge of extremism

B.C. Premier John Horgan tells the “freedom” riders to “get a hobby.”

It’s a cute line, but cute doesn’t cut it when it comes to what is clearly a surge of extremism.

As one zealot on a convoy website put it: “Horgan: this is my new hobby.”

And for James Bauder, who’s been instigating convoys since 2019, it’s his perpetual hobby.

Health measures have been eased, yet Bauder persists in assaulting Victoria with noise, diesel and disruption. This Bauderite intransigence reveals that health measures are nothing more than a pretext for an assault on democracy.

Bauder bluntly states that this invasion is retribution for how its citizens vote. Victoria is his target, he said on March 6, because it’s “a very intense, deeply rooted NDP-Liberal stronghold.”

How dare we vote as we choose!

Security intelligence experts have long warned that Canada faces a rising threat from right-wing extremism. The zealots’ weeks-long occupation of Ottawa and their throttling of key economic corridors has only emboldened them.

Engaged citizens intent on defending democracy need more than just glib political putdowns.

Larry Hannant

Find better ways to cure society’s ills

So, freedom convoy leader James Bauder stated that God told him to do it. I can recommend an excellent audiologist.

Perhaps, with improved hearing, he might change his focus on what society’s ills actually are and find more productive ways to cure them.

Lorraine Mainwaring

Freedom convoy is not welcome here

The organizer of the freedom convoy group of individuals has stated they are prepared to be in Victoria two to three months. I am wondering who is financing these people who are not working, have semi-tractor trucks, pickups or cars that need fuel, maintenance, insurance and possibly monthly payments.

Begs the question: Are they paid protesters? If yes, who is paying them?

Hopefully they have read a newspaper or seen the news that it is not mandatory to wear masks now and vaccine passports won’t be necessary after April 8.

Go home and get a job. Victoria does not want you.

Joan Atherton

Mandate protests will make Canada better

As a regular participant in the anti-mandate protests in front of the legislature, I would like to respond to the commentary contrasting these protests with the war in Ukraine.

I agree that international affairs and events are important. The war in Ukraine, which is resulting in death and destruction, is horrible and should be ended as soon as possible.

That doesn’t mean we should stop trying to improve our own country at the same time. To me, both issues are important and worthy of effort.

If we cannot resolve our own internal division, we are less convincing when trying to help other societies resolve their divisions. By providing a concrete example of a healthy society, we show communities around the world what is possible.

For us to be a global leader on social issues, we need to resolve our own disagreements about rights, responsibilities and freedom.

I am very supportive of individuals doing what they can to support Ukrainian people and international stability — everyone should do what they think will help the most.

I personally believe that resolving the debates around the effectiveness and proportionality of COVID mandates will help ensure Canada is the best society it can be.

I also believe that improving Canada will help the international community in a meaningful and positive way.

Scott Newson

Give credit to Harper, none to Anderson

Re: “Treating Greater Victoria’s sewage: Cleaner ocean, but ‘kinks’ remain,” March 13.

There was no mention about the fact that the Stephen Harper Conservative government, in July 2012, passed an environmental law that made it illegal to dump raw sewage into the ocean.

The Harper government also provided federal funding for a large portion of a new sewage plant.

Without this federal law, Victoria would likely still be happily dumping sewage into the ocean, with Mr. Floatie still making regular appearances, on and off shore.

Also missing from the article is the mention of the name of perhaps the most vocal critic of a CRD sewage treatment system: David Anderson, the former federal Liberal environment minister under Jean Chrétien.

Anderson was one of those individuals who claimed that ocean currents were safely taking care of the sewage. He wrote several letters to the Times Colonist stating this.

Bill Wilson

Mr. Floatie and sewage treatment

I suppose it is only fitting that the Times Colonist should glorify our own local poster boy of the post-truth era, on the front page, no less.

The narrative captured by Mr. Floatie and his ilk trumped the expert but contrary opinions of oceanographers and public health officials alike and resulted in a net-carbon-producing, tax-eating, sludge-making boondoggle destined to hamper public spending and burden taxpayers in the CRD for decades.

Nice work, James Skwarok.

Dave Nonen

Time for council to think ahead

It is time for councils around the province to show that they can actually think further ahead than the next term election. The cost of construction and repairs can be minimized if councils start long-term planning.

Case in point is the public toilet in Victoria that has been in the news recently.

When street and sidewalk is either being repaired, replaced or installed, councillors should have enough forethought to design and prepare a site for all future improvements. It requires an increase of 10% for a project, but will ensure that future projects will not have to rip out yesterday’s work, make the improvements and then return the site to what is required.

Quit these reactions and start long-term planning with forethought. If I lived in Victoria, I would be very mad at all those responsible. One would think that the Johnson Street Bridge fiasco would have opened councillors’ eyes on their responsibility.

Robert Tritschler

Here’s an idea, let’s cut down another tree

What is this mysterious power that Victoria’s city, mayor and council have over the health of trees?

I have noticed over the years that whenever a tree is in the way of a pet project, it is described as unhealthy or unsafe.

Most recently a public toilet will result in the death of a Kwanzan cherry tree downtown that is described as in poor condition. The hornbeams along Government Street are suddenly at the end of their lifespan.

The aspen that stood at Wharf and Government streets for decades was declared unsafe. Many, many other trees have been destroyed for bike lanes and other “improvements.”

We are always told that trees that are cut down will be replaced. Even leaving aside the issue of whether a sapling can replace a mature tree in beneficial ways — where are these sprouts?

And now seven flowering plum trees on Menzies Street between Simcoe and Niagara streets are going to be cut down to move the sidewalk.

They are blooming now. Go visit them. Say goodbye.

Ian MacDonell

Immediate action needed on health shortages

Recently my doctor of many years informed me that he was leaving Victoria and was unable to find another doctor to take over his practice.

Now I join the multitude of doctorless individuals who form queues under canopies in front of walk-in clinics, some as early as 6 a.m. Often the clinics are at capacity and sick people have no other recourse other than the hospital ER.

Thus greater strain is being placed on the already overtaxed hospital system. Is this the health-care model we want to envision for the future?

Recently I read in the Times Colonist the plan is to bring in thousands of refugees. These people will undoubtedly need medical care, diagnostics and hospital beds.

The time is now ripe for the government to take immediate action to address the health-care shortages and develop a concrete plan of action to remediate the deficits.

Please don’t wait until the next election, as the situation is not improving.

Janet Cohen

Physician’s assistants have a role in MD crisis

There is another option to the increased use of nurse practitioners, one that would not deplete the number of experienced nurses on the front lines.

Physician assistants would be supernumerary, an extra resource. Federally, they are already widely used in the military. According to a recent CBC article, this profession is also regulated provincially in Ontario, New Brunswick, Manitoba and Alberta. Nova Scotia is running a pilot project to assess feasibility.

In the U.S., there are about 150,000 physician assistants in 50 states who work in hospitals, medical offices, community health centres, nursing homes, retail clinics, educational facilities, workplace clinics and correctional institutions.

In the U.K.’s National Health Service, they are known as physician associates and currently work in general practice (internal) medicine and emergency medicine.

Why is B.C. so far behind in regulating this valuable profession?

Diana Chana

Taxing used cars is just not fair

Upon reading Les Leyne’s article on changing the present system of buying and selling used cars, I guess it is not enough to tax car sales time after time.

I think it is about time that the taxation system was changed so that the middle/lower income residents got a tax break.

It is about time that a fairer tax system generate more funds coming from all sectors of the community, federally and provincially. It is about time to institute a family tax system and also a minimum tax for each family.

By no means do taxpayers and companies get away with finding net zero and thus paying no taxes.

I was a stay-at-home mom as I had two children that had health challenges and a husband that worked away from home every other month, so I was designated to stay home.

My former work partner and her husband (also two children) made the exact same take home pay as my husband. They paid $6,000 a year less in income tax!

This was so for 30 years, adds up to a lot more money in their pocket for their retirement. The tax system is most unfair.

In the 1950s and 1960s, businesses and corporations contributed their fair share of taxes to help fund social housing, health care, etc.

It sickens me that this unfair system has not been changed much in all my years as a taxpayer.

Lynda Slater

Seems like Russia is always the enemy

Why is it we are constantly at odds with Russia? For all of my adult life, starting when I joined the Royal Canadian Air Force at age 19, my country along with many others have had to be vigilant with Russia and its aggression.

I can remember sailing from Montreal to France in 1958 to join the Canadian air base in Marville, France, which at that time was part of NATO. Russia and the Iron Curtain were the enemy and we had to be ready for war at any time. Security at the base was pretty lax, but we still had to be on guard duty with rifles with fixed bayonets but no bullets. Strange.

NATO counties were always practising with air manoeuvres in readiness for conflict, and I was there as a jet-engine mechanic servicing F-86 fighter jets. I can remember Operation Carte Blanche when all NATO air forces in Europe were participating.

There were mock air battles, some near our base, and I witnessed a Canadian jet chase a British jet into some low hills nearby. There was a puff of smoke as our jet couldn’t pull up and over a hillside. A lot of pilots in NATO lost their lives practising to get better to fight Russia.

Fast forward to today, 66 years later, and we are still facing the same enemy, Russia. NATO is still alive. But times have changed. Gone is the Iron Curtain, but it seems something more dangerous lurks as its replacement: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the threat of nuclear war, sabre-rattling by its dictator, Vladimir Putin.

How can the world watch an invasion of an innocent Ukraine just because it hasn’t signed a piece of paper to become a part of NATO?

I know the Russian people don’t want war and they are feeling the pain of most of the world ganging up on them with sanctions. Most wish for Putin to go, but it reminds me of history where Nero fiddled while Rome burned.

Grant Hall

Protesters, Putin should both just go home

It was interesting to read that Putin Vladimir brought his convoys into Ukraine because it is a “deeply rooted NDP-Liberal stronghold,” and James Bauder is bringing his Freedom Convoy into Victoria because we need to be “de-nazified.” Or maybe I have that reversed.

Either way, we are all fine and perfectly capable of looking after ourselves. Can you both just go home?

Steve Huneck


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• Mail: Letters to the editor, Times Colonist, 201-655 Tyee Rd., Victoria, B.C. V9A 6X5

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