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Letters March 21: Becoming a citizen demands more than a mouse click; don't cut the police budget

Lily, left, and Leo Ferris have a moment while their mother, Su Man, from China gets her citizenship in 2019. A letter-writer suggests granting of citizenship should require an in-person visit, not a click of a mouse. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

Citizenship demands more than a click

As immigrants from Argentina, my parents and I had the honour and privilege 50 years ago, in 1973, of becoming citizens of this great country.

To this day I remember walking into the citizenship courtroom in downtown Vancouver alongside about 150 other applicants, participating in the ceremony and being sworn in as a new Canadian, with the ceremony ending with the singing of our national anthem.

It was a very special event and truly made me feel like a Canadian.

I understand that due to a difficult couple of years, the government is swamped with backlogged citizenship applications, but Calgary MP Tom Kmiec is spot on.

Becoming a Canadian citizen by clicking a mouse would deprive many new Canadians of a very special moment that will be in their hearts and memories for the rest of their lives.

I was in a room of 150, but if necessary, hold future events in theatres or even larger venues until the backlog is gone.

We do most things online or with a click of a mouse these days, and yes it is efficient, but it is also very impersonal. The process of becoming a Canadian should not be completed with a click of a mouse.

Gabriel Roder


Telling it like it is, a message that is needed

Re: “Please, Victoria council, do not ignore public safety,” commentary, March 18.

Thank you, Rick Anthony. Gives me hope and faith that there still is some sense and sensibility in this city.

Telling it like it is, and so brilliantly.

I hope you’re listening, Marianne Alto, Matt Dell, Jeremy Caradonna and the like. Seems Stephen Hammond (who knows what’s crucial) and as usual the few are outnumbered once more by the cocky crew.

The commentary letter is a must read for Premier David Eby, with his current flock.

Colleen Rhymer


Tell council members what matters to you

I was horrified to read that Victoria’s police budget request was not being met by the sitting council.

I care about my safety, not bike lanes and patio eating.

Please, Victoria, stand up and support Chief Del Manak and VicPD officers and show them that they have our support.

Council works for our community, we don’t pay taxes for what they want.

Be heard before it’s too late.

Judith Cameron

James Bay

Bring back tough love to get us back on track

It appears from letters to the editor that a lot of Victoria’s residents are fed up with drug and crime problems downtown.

We vote in mayors and councillors who want to sugar-coat everything. They think that pink unicorns and their social experiments will save the day.

Has anyone ever heard about tough love? It worked when I grew up in the 1960s. Police were brutal, yes, but we also respected them when they spoke to us.

We didn’t get into trouble and had innocent fun. I would have multiple beatings if I spoke to them the way people do today.

I honestly don’t know how they do their jobs anymore. The laws protect the wicked and we are left to be vigilantes in our own communities.

There is a show called Scared Straight. It probably wouldn’t fly any more with current ideology in our schools, but every kid needs to see this program.

Another great one is Seattle is Dying. This one needs to be watched by every government official at every level of authority.

It won’t take them too long to see that our precious Island and the Lower Mainland have gone down the same road. Look to Portland or San Francisco if you need more evidence of social programming gone wrong.

I’m not in law enforcement — probably as far away as it comes. But it’s time to get back to tough love and start supporting your local law enforcement and let them start locking up these folks for a bit.

It would save us billions in broken, stolen or burnt-down property claims that you and I as consumers will ultimately pay when we buy something.

Not to mention how fast our police, firefighting and paramedic costs will go down.

Shift the money for once to allow us normal people to get on with (what should be) a normal western lifestyle.

Tim Kehler


Pay councillors more to get higher quality

There is always much public discussion when municipal councillors decide to raise their own pay. However, local councillors are paid not much more than a pittance, given their mandate to manage a local government.

Perhaps if councillors were paid a reasonably generous living wage, and were expected to turn out on a daily basis to actually do something, we might attract more candidates who have some applicable professional management skills and a broad vision.

This might alleviate the current situation where our cities and municipalities are managed by groups of hobby politicians with personal agendas, each endorsed by a tiny percentage of the electorate, who are I believe presently engaged in promulgating numerous daft policies that will negatively affect our communities.

The amount that we would have to pay in order to attract qualified people to council pales in comparison to the damage done by misguided amateur management.

“You get what you pay for.”

Ray Morgan


Let’s try some new ideas about transit service

It’s time for a “Socratic discussion” on transit; time for a respectful dialogue between individuals, asking and answering questions, such as “what if,” to stimulate critical thinking.

What if in every B.C. city with a comprehensive transit system, every person gets an annual pass? What if everyone has to pay a taxable benefit for that pass?

What if there is an income floor, below which a benefit need not be claimed? What if there are other suitable exceptions?

What if we extend this to children? What if we extend this to tourists — “Hey, Victoria has free transit”?

What if that results in less cars and more buses? What if that results in reduced road repairs?

What if that results in more parking for those who would never take a bus? What if it reduces congestion for cyclists?

Based on monthly passes at $85 and seniors monthly passes at $45, the highest benefit claim would be about $1,020, or $540 for a senior.

Taxes paid on that benefit would range from about $391 a year down to zero. Basically $1 per day, a half a litre of gas, 20 per cent of a coffee to go, a scratch and win ticket, cellphones more than five years old and theoretically anything you buy at the dollar store.

So let the discussion begin, send in your “what ifs” and see if we can mine something progressive.

Bill Carere


Based on a career, school liaison teams work

Re: “Manak decries ‘stereotypes’ over call to end liaison teams,” March 17.

If the stance taken by the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association is reported accurately, their experience is in total opposition to mine after a career in education spanning 35 years in Regina schools, several as principal of schools in the inner city with significant enrolment of Indigenous students, often more than 50 per cent.

I agree totally with the police chief, who appears to believe the liaison program cut a few years ago was a mistake.

If the GVTA has found the negatives they describe to be true, I would strongly urge them to address the issues, solve them, and support once again what I believe is so very important in enhancing the trust between students and the police.

The GVTA being quoted like this in the newspaper and taking this negative approach to having the police represented in our schools is so harmful all on its own.

My experience over decades on the front lines has shown clearly both students and their parents are pleased with the relationships established with the police in the liaison program.

I also note other jurisdictions such as Saanich and Sooke appear to differ from the GVTA.

Ken Culham


Stop allowing slash fires in our community

Smelly, stinky fireplaces are bad enough. At least they provide heat to a house.

What I don’t understand is why we allow slash fires.

On my ride to Sidney the other day I was nearly choked by this outdated and environmentally horrendous practice. It is not necessary and should be outlawed.

Mark Barnes

Cordova Bay

Speed bumps might work, but they can cost lives

Speed bumps might deter speed, but if you are having a heart attack or any other such ailment which requires paramedics or an ambulance, would you want them going over speed bumps? Every second counts.

Around parks, schools etc. sure, but not residential streets. I’ll honk every time I go over one on such a street.

A speed hump will only make me honk longer.

Gerald Marantz


I have a gender, and I want it noted

I have no objection to people choosing no gender on their birth certificates. However, I do object to people deciding that MY gender will not appear on government records.

When I got a COVID shot at the Cook Street Health Unit I asked why my gender appeared as a blank (-).

I was told that some people object to having a gender on their health record. I said that I did not and would like it to appear.

They said they were not allowed to enter a gender. Who is deciding that I can’t have my or anyone’s gender recorded? How dare they?

I don’t interfere with their private life, so please return the favour. They can have anything they like recorded.

I do not see how a small percentage can determine what my choice is going to be, and I think a government agency should not allow a few people to determine that most people can’t have recorded what they wish.

I would appreciate knowing if the health authority knows this is going on or if I spoke to one person who wanted it her (?) own way.

Jean McClennan


Find a better way to measure the pay gap

Re: “B.C. introduces gender pay ­transparency,” March 8.

Premier David Eby has noted that employers will be required to both identify and close gaps in pay for work of equal value. In a separate commentary, Katherine Berz argues that more needs to done to encourage girls to be more interested in mathematics and science.

I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments expressed by both individuals and hope that they are successful in meeting the the goals they have expressed.

The problem is that it is highly unlikely that the pay equity gap will ever be closed, as the statistic used to identify the problem is seriously flawed from a mathematical or statistical perspective.

The pay equity gap expressed as the ratio of the average hourly wage of women versus men is, as I’ve said, is a flawed statistic that has not changed much over the past 50 years. It is also unlikely to change much as a result of the introduction of the new legislation.

I would respectfully suggest that society has changed significantly over the past 50 years and that pay for work of equal value is much more prevalent in the workplace today than it was in the past.

So, in my view, it is time to come up with a better statistic for measuring the change. Something that might happen if we’re able to get more young women interested in STEM.

John Cook


In our political system, let’s just get along

In Canada, we are privileged to live in a democracy. That makes us lucky beyond belief.

But rather than appreciating and supporting our precious political system, we are allowing it to deteriorate into an unworkable mass of criticism and toxic, insulting diatribes.

No one — least of all our elected officials — should be able to get away with hurling defamatory comments to people who happen to be working “on the other side.”

If, for example, the government offers a possible workable solution to deal with a problem, it should be up to the opposition parties to be congratulatory and supportive.

They could kindly offer suggestions on how to ameliorate the proposed solution, but it should never be OK for them to make negative comments and simply denigrate people’s best efforts.

Politicians who are unkind and insulting to other members need to be asked to leave the session until they are willing to be polite and co-operative.

Everyone in Parliament needs to work together as a team to make our government function well and simply accomplish the things that so urgently need to get done.

They absolutely don’t have the time to waste on backtalk and foolish political manoeuvrings.

Politicians, please co-operate, be kind, work respectfully together and make our political system function as it so vitally needs to do.

Jean Jenkins


The risk in having a fool for a patient

Re: “Book offers advice to doctor yourself,” letter, March 8.

Going back several centuries, others have advised that “no man ought to be his own physician, for fear of having a fool for his patient.”

On the other hand, just think of the extra space available in hospital if this is taken literally. There might of course be increased demand for gravesites and cremation facilities, but we can handle that.

Albert Macfarlane

Port McNeill


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