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Letters March 2: Esquimalt doesn't need separate police department; Doukhobors shouldn't have received apology

A Victoria Police Department Esquimalt Division patrol car. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

Tiny Esquimalt doesn’t need own police force

An Esquimalt-only police force? Give me a break.

So Esquimalt (population about 18,000) is looking at having its own police force. Again. Why does such a small municipality need its own force and why do we have so many police forces in Greater Victoria (population about 400,000).

I was recently on vacation in New Zealand, population about 5.3 million. And the whole country has a single police force. That’s a single police force for almost the same population as all of B.C. (about 5.5 million).

Give your head a shake, Esquimalt. How about pushing for amalgamation of all the police forces in Greater Victoria, for a start.

Malcolm Parslow


Esquimalt council flogging dead horse

Re: “Esquimalt mulls re-establishing its own police department,” Feb. 29.

What are Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins and council thinking these days with regard to mulling over re-establishing its own police force?

As a homeowner who lives in Esquimalt, I can relate to the overall cost. However, it seems highly unlikely that Solicitor General Mike Farnworth is going to allow any switchover given that it was the Liberal government and minister Rich Coleman who originally mandated the merger between the two police forces back in 2002. One only needs to view the fiasco across the pond with Surrey’s transition to see what an ugly mess that has become.

And yet, every few years, Esquimalt goes through this same old song and dance routine at the expense of its taxpayers and all for naught. It’s time both the mayor and council quit flogging this dead horse and moved on to more important issues, like negotiating a better pricing agreement.

Shirley Waldon


There is more to leap‑year rule

Re: “Happy birthday, but being a leapling may need explanation,” Feb. 29.

An interesting article about leapies. There is one in my family.

The four-year rule is required to adjust for the seasons, but it’s approximate.

So, every 100 years, the leap is missed.

But this is also approximate.

So, every 400 years the 100-year rule is missed.

2000 was a leap year because it was divisible by 400. 1900 was not a leap year.

Learned this at Camosun, and was told it would be useful for happy hour.

Norah Macey


6/49 lottery odds are 14 million to one

Re: “Want to make real money? Stop gambling,” letter, Feb. 28.

In response to the letter writer’s remarks about Lotto 6/49 odds, I’d like to point out an inaccuracy. When buying a ticket, you are choosing six numbers from 49 numbers, not picking six distinct objects and then lining them up (he needs to divide his answer by 6x5x4x3x2x1).

The 14 million David Sovka wrote about is a good approximation of the correct number of distinct tickets.

Back in the days when I taught in Saskatchewan, to illustrate the futility of buying Lotto 6/49 to my students, I asked them to think about buying their same (favourite) six numbers every Wednesday and Saturday for 50 weeks per year (100 tickets per year). (Very) roughly speaking, their choice of six numbers would come up about halfway through the 14 million possibilities. As a result they’d win about once every 7,000,000/100 = 70,000 years.

I told my students that if they wanted to day-dream for $1 (yes, it was a while ago) then go ahead, but try to pick numbers that no one else is picking, such as 1,2,3,4,5,6. One student immediately told me her granny buys those numbers for every lottery. I checked with someone involved with the Saskatchewan lotteries and they told me that, at that time, if 1,2,3,4,5,6 ever came up, granny would have to share with about 1,250 others.

Not really worth a day dream for $3 nowadays, I’d venture. The sad thing is those who spend so much more.

Denis Hanson

Oak Bay

Build housing, but preserve city’s heart

Attending a Gothic architectural symposium at Wentworth Villa recently, I was reminded of Victoria’s beauty bequeathed to us from previous generations.

It is imperative that building more and more housing units does not eradicate the beauty of Victoria. Yes, supply more housing, but let’s not forget that destroying heritage neighbourhoods will look awfully stupid to future generations.

If this present council allows the destruction of our old downtown between Government and Wharf streets, what would be left?

A husk without a heart.

Patrick Skillings

Oak Bay

Doukhobors trained young terrorists

Re: “Premier apologizes to Doukhobors for how they and their children were ­mistreated 70 years ago,” Feb 28.

In all the years I have read the Times ­Colonist, this is the first article that I have found to be totally without redeeming merit. It’s not all the paper’s fault: Most of the blame belongs to Premier David Eby and his minions. But there is one sentence that is not a quotation, and I’ll start with that. “Hundreds of Doukhobor children were forcibly removed from their homes in the 1950s in part because their parents opposed government rules and refused to send them to public schools.”

Yes, indeed. And the other part was that their parents, members of the Sons of Freedom sect, were indoctrinating them to bomb, burn and kill in the name of religion. Here are the opening paragraphs from Terror in the Name of God, written by Vancouver Sun reporter Simma Holt in 1964. (I had a very small part in that book: I researched wire service articles for Simma.)

“Arson was a mother’s lesson in love to her child. Hate was truth. Violence was the religious expression of that truth.

“Thus the child Harry Kootnikoff grew up, in a hidden plateau in the interior of British Columbia, Canada, protected from the other truths of the world beyond the hills in which he lived. His childhood lessons, given to him as his religion, became his philosophy of life, the philosophy of the true Sons of Freedom Doukhobor.

“On February 16, 1962, Harry Kootnikoff, with friends trained as he was, with kindred dedication, prepared to act out their training. They set out to bomb a post office in a village on the shores of the Columbia River.

“At 11:05 that night their home-made bomb exploded, completely demolishing the car in which they were riding. Harry was instantly killed, the others injured. Harry was then only 17 years old, already the leader of a gang of youthful terrorists. He died as he was trained to live — in violence.”

Apologize? $10 million for “historical wrongs”? For people who blew up bridges, power lines and railroad tracks, and burned the homes of their neighbours who were not members of the sect? O tempora, O mores!

Ian Cameron

Brentwood Bay

Favouring adaptation over mitigation

Some of the most ardent supporters of adaptation are likely in the fossil fuel industry. If so, it may be classifiable as part of their more quiet misdirection efforts.

While adaptation is necessary, it also takes our attention away from the root cause of our climate woes, namely fossil fuel emissions, and burning carbon in general, which includes the rotting of logged wood into the atmosphere.

Much adaptation involves the building or replacement of infrastructure, and since we have not as yet electrified a lot of our energy sources, this only adds to climate change and the chaotic weathers from which we all suffer, directly or, often unknowingly, indirectly.

Harvest failures, building destruction and ill health are substantially eroding the wellbeing of those of us thousands of miles from the damage, and it has been increasing since before we reached 1.2 degrees, let alone recent touching 1.5 over the preindustrial baseline. There might be no permanent going back, but we can still slow down the advent of increased harms if we hasten to replace our fossil fuel burning and the resulting global warming and pollution. The time difference will be significant.

It is the need and responsibility of everyone to act so gas, oil, and coal are left in the ground and with them the carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxides that will kill not only ourselves prematurely, but those we do not know, perhaps far away, upon whom we depend for food and other vital material resources and skills.

Glynne Evans


I need the help of an engineer

As a man of limited education, and after learning of, and visually travelling through the kilometres of tunnels — tunnels under hospitals, through many urban districts in Gaza — I need the help of an engineer.

Mr. Engineer, how does one burrow under hospitals, residential areas, parks and avenues, unseen? How does one dispose of the tons of earth, unseen? Where do you mix the concrete, bend the rebar, unseen? How do you do this without someone saying: “Hey man, what’s happening?”

It reminds me of the many countries that saw, barely 85 years ago, the open doors of the Jewish family homes, the families gone. Were they silent because they agreed with the disappearance of friends and neighbours? Probably not. It was a “keep your head down, we could be next” time. Yes, fear of retribution was ever present. We live for the safety of our kith and kin.

Dare I compare Hamas to the Black Shirts of Nazism, employing brutality, corruption and, don’t forget, the truncheon? I think yes.

Before you condemn Jew or Palestinian, walk a mile in their shoes.

Whitney Moyer


Canada cannot stand by and do nothing

Canada has a stellar reputation when it comes to speaking truth to power historically. We joined both world wars understanding that to allow others to invade countries could not be something condoned with our inaction.

The letter writer who blames Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for giving more money to help Ukraine fight a war it didn’t start has made me boiling mad. Trudeau’s name is bandied about by people who need to find a target for all that is wrong with our world.

This is a simplification of the problems we are all facing. No one politician or figure in history can be held accountable for all that is wrong — except maybe Russian President Vladimir Putin when it comes to the attack on Ukraine.

Canada joined two world wars without a large army, and its role was commendable in each world war. If Ukraine falls to Russia and Trudeau does not at least financially support its efforts, I’m certain harsh words in the future would be deserved.

Don’t complain, letter-writer. At least it’s not our young people going en masse to die. Yet.

Erin Lumley



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