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Letters March 22: Climate action is needed now; Victoria-class subs worth the price

The new CEO of pipeline giant Enbridge Inc. says regulatory uncertainty in this country has resulted in a "lost decade" for Canadian LNG production. Enbridge workers weld pipe just west of Morden, Man., Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods

Tell politicians that we need to act on climate

What if you were experiencing severe physical distress and running a dangerously high fever? You’d likely seek immediate medical attention. Someone might call an ambulance to get you to Emergency, stat.

The ER physician examines you and says, “Your diet is killing you. Stop the junk food. If you want to go on living, you’ve got to switch to a healthier diet.”

Well, the planet’s health-care team, the International Panel on Climate Change, has said as much in their latest report.

Our fossil-fuel diet is killing us. Earth is running a perilously high fever. The planet’s support systems are failing. We’re in deep trouble.

The remedy? Decarbonize. Fast.

The IPCC report warns Earth’s support systems are severely compromised, primarily by the burning of fossil fuels. Rising global temperatures will lead to more and more catastrophic weather events. We are near tipping points, where cascading consequences will be unstoppable. People will continue to be displaced. People will continue to die.

According to the report, we have a brief window of opportunity to change course. There is hope — if we act now to end fossil fuel use and scale up clean energy alternatives.

Yet the B.C. government has just announced plans to further expand LNG.

We cannot meet our greenhouse gas targets now. Expanding oil/gas infrastructure is taking us in the wrong direction.

Speak up. Tell Premier David Eby, Environment Minister George Heyman and Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness Bowinn Ma that you want your taxpayer dollars invested in renewable (solar, wind) energy infrastructure — not subsidies to the excessively profitable oil/gas industry.

If you say nothing now, what will you say to your children and grandchildren when they ask what you did when you knew?

Karyn Woodland


Herons will know the cruise ships are back

Looking up at the cold Pacific night sky on Dallas Road across from the James Bay docks, a single silent heron, wings wide, glides past low above me and I marvel at my place and space.

I have noticed their increasingly frequent low fly-bys this early spring from nesting grounds in Beacon Hill Park. Their evening overflights will soon change direction.

They don’t know that cruise pollution is soon upon us all.

John Fry


Submarines offer value for the money

While the government can be faulted for delaying a decision to acquire the Victoria-class submarines, thereby increasing the cost of refreshing and “Canadianizing” them, the deal allowed Canada to get four boats for the price of one in an ostensibly non-cash arrangement in return for the United Kingdom’s access to Canadian training areas.

Since 2005, Canada’s four submarines have sailed in multinational exercises with NATO in the Atlantic as far as the Balkans and Norway and in the mid-Pacific biennial RIMPAC exercise. HMCS Chicoutimi spent six months in Asia Pacific with a port visit to Yokosuka, the first Canadian submarine visit to Japan in 50 years.

The crew spent time monitoring sea and air traffic to North Korea. They have sailed with Joint Interagency South and Operation Caribbe countering drug traffic and piracy. They have sailed to Canada’s North on Operation Nanook to Baffin Island and Hudson Strait.

Long service periods for submarines are necessary because, like a space shuttle, whether you are in inner space or outer space, help is not nearby and keeping the crew safe requires deep maintenance.

In the meantime, the navies of India, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Japan, Korea and, importantly, China, have all modernized and expanded their submarine fleets.

Australia is expected to spend $386 billion to buy five American nuclear-powered submarines to replace their troubled Collins-class boats.

Every major regional navy on the Pacific has modernized or expanded their submarine fleet in the past 20 years, while Canada has yet to make a decision regarding future capability.

Gerald W. Pash


We really don’t need a bumpy ambulance ride

Folks, I hope no one really takes seriously the notion about using speed bumps for speed enforcement.

Let me paint you a brief picture: You just finished painting a window on the second storey of your dwelling when suddenly you slip and fall off your ladder.

Now, thanks to the brilliant use of speed bumps, your ambulance takes twice as long to reach you, and then causes more harm as it transports you to the hospital in continuous vertical oscillations.

Same goes for any other emergency vehicles.

More thought is needed before we are subjected to these ill-conceived plans.

John Reilly


Lowering speed limits can reduce fuel efficiency

Assuming that Victoria and area drivers have basic motor vehicle competency, if roads are well designed, and the driver is paying attention to his driving, reducing the speed limit has little or no effect on safety.

In fact, lowering the limit has the opposite effect; it produces rash decisions and dangerous driving habits.

On the other hand, if the roads are not well designed, no speed is safe for pedestrians. The driver gets confused and driving suffers.

For example, taking an existing road and shoehorning in a pair of dedicated bicycle lanes changes a well-designed road into a poorly designed one. Similarly, if the driver is not paying attention to his driving, the speed limit is irrelevant; he’ll hit someone anyway. Ergo, distracted driving laws.

Drivers are not stupid, or at least most of them aren’t. They drive at a speed at which they feel comfortable to handle almost any eventuality.

Traffic engineers find the speed that 85 per cent of drivers will drive at, and that’s the speed limit. That means 15 per cent of drivers will exceed the limit. However, if you impose a lower limit, more drivers will exceed it. They won’t slow down.

Oh, and slowing down increases greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent since cars must downshift to obey them.

The upshot is, leave the speed limits where they are (50 km/h), and enforce what you have. The result will be a safer driving experience for all.

David Hansen


For a better downtown, beef up public safety

If Victoria city council wants to encourage residential development downtown, it should also beef up the budget for policing.

It is to be hoped density in the downtown core will put brakes on the cancer of urban sprawl spreading into our ever-dwindling countryside.

More people living downtown ought to generate more business and encourage less driving and more walking, thereby reducing pollution and helping stop global warming.

But this will not happen if potential residents and business owners do not enjoy the right of safety. Humane policing should help make that possible.

Mary Andrews


Random acts of violence need to be addressed

Is there any individual or group outside of Victoria city council that believes that there is not a serious issue of ongoing random acts of violence in the streets of Victoria?

New initiatives are needed to address this situation.

First, bring in a teaching professional accountant to train every council member in the fundamentals of business budgeting.

For example, the purpose of budgeting is not to “bring all departments in line with other city budgets.”

Budgeting should be based upon priorities. For example, if one department has an urgent need to address, and the total budget is fixed, then move funds from other departments to address the urgent need.

Second, have every councillor take a late-night shift with a police officer so that they can fully understand the serious situation out on the streets of Victoria.

Third, call in outside resources now, and don’t wait for a lengthy appeal process to start to work on citizen safety issues, and fund accordingly.

Door glass smashed at City Hall, while council focuses on bringing budgets in line?

Victoria is burning. We need help now.

Rodger Darbey


This man will die, but the system is frozen

I have never felt so angry in my life.

A young man we have supported and cared for, for over 20 years, is going to die on the street. No question about that. It is only a matter of time.

Many others share the same fate.

The source of my anger is that the system stands there frozen, mouthing off the same conflicting narrative that they know what they are doing and that our loved ones are in good hands.

We have repeatedly begged the system to step in and help this man.

When he dies, as he surely will, our family is going to sue everyone who has stood in the way of getting this man the help he has been denied as a human being.

The collateral, emotional and financial damage to families is immense.

Deryk Houston



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