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Letters May 11: ICBC rebate is vote-buying; protect free speech; homes, not hotels, needed in Langford

Readers’ letters, Victoria Times Colonist, May 11, 2024
B.C. Premier David Eby announces a rate freeze on ICBC’s basic vehicle insurance at Hillside Shopping Centre in Victoria on Wednesday, May 8, 2024. GOVERNMENT OF B.C.

Even with insurance, he paid full cost

It really is just common sense to look at lower ICBC rates and realize that ICBC has to be paying out less in order to make it all work.

And certainly Premier David Eby has told us that lawyers are making less from lower personal injury claims and the victims are receiving smaller claim payouts.

But maybe you really want to think about that in case you are involved in an accident.

I was rear ended by an out-of-province licensed driver who was driving an uninsured car with bad brakes (I know, the trifecta of bad luck).

I was stopped at an intersection on my motorcycle when it happened. The 600-pound bike launched ahead and fell over onto its side, sliding across the road. I was fine (quite spry for an old guy) but there was damage to the motorcycle, and it had to be towed.

The police attended and issued a report stating it was 100 per cent the other ­driver’s fault.

Imagine my surprise to be told by ICBC that there was no damage to my bike. I had to pay for the bike to be towed and repaired.

I chatted with three adjusters, the process went nowhere and I was on the hook for all costs.

Be aware that what you’re not paying in premiums is balanced against the ­services you are also no longer getting.

Nigel Beattie


Better ways to use that auto insurance rebate

As much as a $110 ICBC rebate is always welcome, why not use that $400 million to invest in something substantial, such as transportation?

I am sure the Vancouver Island railway lines could be refurbished and rolling stock purchased with at least some of those funds.

Susan Clamp


They are buying votes, not dealing with debt

What a joke! What a pre-election attempt to buy votes! The provincial deficit will be about $8 billion this fiscal year and is projected to be $7.8 billion next year.

That’s not COVID spending. That is NDP lack of financial management discipline. And rather than using the ICBC surplus to help pay down the debt or allocate it to the health care budget, they are trying to buy votes.

Ian Munroe


Grant McKenzie says what needs to be said

I believe Grant McKenzie of Our Place has it right when he says “I don’t believe leaving people in their addiction is compassionate because it doesn’t improve people’s lives. A large infusion of funding is needed for prevention, recovery and the kind of long-term treatment that has proved to be effective. Only recovery will improve their lives.”

How many more deaths (and homeless) will it take for governments to make policies that will change such lives?

C.J. Karch


Homes, not hotels, are needed in this area

Langford council needs to face the reality of our housing crisis rather than give consideration to approve the rezoning for a hotel and with thousands, if not more, living in tents on our streets.

We don’t need more hotels but houses so all families have a decent home in which to live.

Crime, drugs and other social problems will continue to rear their heads unless all governments are cognizant of those who are mentally affected and homeless, due to this crisis, or there is no hope.

Governments need to address this social problem, now, not later.

Caroline E. Whitehead


Protect free speech, even if feelings hurt

Free speech is more important than your hurt feelings.

If you wish to write pompous letters to the editor, camp out at the legislature or express your beliefs, within civilized limits, you are entitled to do so (not blocking traffic or obstructing others’ right to lead their normal daily lives, of course).

If you wish to express your disagreement with those opinions, you are equally entitled to do so.

What you absolutely cannot do is call for those people to shut up, be silenced, be cancelled, removed, fired or punished.

People gave their lives to preserve the right to free speech, which does not exist in maybe 50 per cent of the world we leave in. We must preserve it, even when we don’t like it.

The right to free speech is more important than your hurt feelings.

Martin Hill


Her achievements more than forgotten postcards

In the 1970s, that “Esquimalt woman,” Sherry Kirkvold, was my student at the University of Victoria while I taught botany and plant ecology for Marc Bell when he was on his sabbatical.

As a naturalist on cruise ships and special expeditions, Sherry became an expert on marine life along the Canadian Pacific and Arctic shores and a top wildlife photographer.

Kirkvold is one of the most valuable citizens of Greater Victoria. Ironically, it was a Giant Turtle forgotten postcard that got her on the front page of the Times Colonist.

Adolf Češka


Library hackers and sensitive data

The hackers who demand money from some B.C. libraries are threatening to release their stolen data to the public, including phone numbers and email addresses.

They don’t appear to have a sense of history.

Not so long ago, when phones were on landlines and mail came to a street address instead of an inbox, we called such data “the phone book.”

Personally, I wouldn’t mind having an updated “white pages,” with mobile numbers and email addresses. If I lived in one of the affected communities, I might hope the library refuses to pay up. Even if that meant people would know about my overdue books.

George Jamieson


Victoria carries burden for entire region

The recent Raeside cartoon that depicted the disorder on Pandora Avenue as representative of the City of Victoria was out of line.

As a very concerned constituent, I resent this righteous finger-pointing, as this municipality has accepted the ­majority of responsibilities in ­providing for the homeless population for the whole of Greater Victoria for many years.

We struggle to serve this population by employing the same practices while expecting different results.

As a former education administrator, I draw on an analogy of placing most ­students with physical, behavioural, mental, addiction, etc. challenges in one school.

One would not want to even imagine the chaos. This untenable situation requires a 13-municipality task force that also includes representation from the federal and provincial levels of government to draft actions so as a region all available resources are pooled and brought to the table.

This would allow all the regional ­“villages” to be involved and contribute their fair share to this immediate, core need.

Imagine if such a task force could measure its success by having every homeless person housed or receiving care in an appropriate treatment facility by working together.

As a region, we all benefit if our Garden City’s central core is enabled to put its best foot forward for Princess Anne and all of our many visitors.

Elizabeth Kozak


Emergency rooms a symptom of care crisis

Because there are no more clinics and the family doctor is inaccessible when you’re sick, emergency rooms have become clinics.

The emergency room I was in was packed, with everybody from sweet people to senior citizens who could hardly sit up, waiting hours for help. I wonder how many just stay home and die because they don’t want to put up with this.

I saw old people who were motionless for the whole time they were sitting there, not a move. That’s wrong.

There’s no help for the people sitting there. You just sit and wait.

I was fortunate to get a good doctor and after eight hours get good medication.

The system has broken and something should be done about it.

James West



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