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Letters May 20: Acknowledging downtown Victoria's problems; a need for parking; another term for 'monarch'

Bicyclists ride along Victoria's Wharf Street. TIMES COLONIST

Let’s not be ostriches, let’s tackle the problems

Re: “We can do better to embrace the value of the region’s downtown,” commentary, May 18.

I work downtown and the disarray and constant sense of fear is not imagined. The random attacks, having to walk on human waste in the morning when you are trying to get a coffee, watching people passed out in bus stops, and witnessing at least three or four overdose deaths in the street in the past year is not my imagination.

Yes, we can still go out and have dinner. Yes, we can still go out and support our local retailers. Yes, we can try to enjoy the few things that our great weather and mild climate offer.

But it does not mean we do it without the fear of being the next victims or witnessing the next example of human suffering at the door of our office.

I am sure closing the doors of City Hall, boarding up windows instead of replacing the broken glass, or just outright closing the doors of a business because the losses of shoplifting are unsustainable are not stories we hear. These things happen.

Stating that “there is a cognitive dissonance between our real-world experiences and the stories we hear about property crime and random violence” means the writer doesn’t have a clue what is really going on.

We can use the ostrich technique and hope the bad things are gone one day, or we can talk about them as the first step to try to solve the many issues we have.

I choose the latter.

Daniel Sanchez


Better parking needed when walker is required

What is keeping we two disabled seniors from enjoying downtown? Easy access parking in various places downtown where we’d like to go.

It’s hard for the elderly to parallel park or to walk very far. Those disabled have an even harder time.

We need our vehicle to transport a walker and purchases so public transit is not an option. Thus, we rarely get downtown.

T.P. Mancuso


Tax the rich, help those who are struggling

In these inflationary times, many Canadians are struggling. But the wealthy are doing exceedingly well. So well in fact that now, more than 25 per cent of our country’s wealth is held by one per cent of the population.

With growing needs — infrastructure, health care, non-market housing, eldercare, public transit, climate mitigation, mental health — to name a few, the federal government desperately needs revenue. Taxing wealth is a way to raise that revenue.

A national poll conducted by Abacus Data in 2021 found that 89 per cent of Canadians favour a wealth tax.

So what’s the problem? Wealthy people don’t want a wealth tax. And since wealthy people are more able to influence politicians, Canada doesn’t have a wealth tax.

Listen to Canadians. Tax the rich.

Kip Wood


Pay for your health care based on your income

I think it’s time we face it: “free healthcare for everyone” is killing this country. It’s devouring public budgets, while failing to satisfy public needs.

Some price mechanism that brings supply and demand back into balance is needed.

My suggestion: income-adjusted user fees. At the end of the year, along with our taxes, we’d get a bill for the health services we received — a bill that’s been adjusted for our income bracket.

K. Alex Bettenhausen


Head of state embodies what we are about

Swearing an oath in the name of Canada’s head of state, the king of Canada, is not really swearing it personally to an individual.

Our head of state embodies all that is good about Canada and it is that sense of country to which people are swearing when they make an oath.

As has been said before, if citizens are really vexed about this, they should be urging our politicians to initiate a constitutional review that might bring about change. In the meantime, please respect our head of state, the office itself and its customs.

David Collins


If ‘monarch’ a problem, try another term

I have a suggestion for the letter writer who objects to swearing loyalty to a person, and to everyone else who objects to Canada having a monarch as the head of state.

Don’t think of Charles III as a “monarch,” but as a “hereditary chief.” That should reconcile the problem.

Ian Cameron

Brentwood Bay

Given a choice, pick the constitutional monarchy

Re: “Coronation Oath offers many ­benefits,” letter, May 18.

I agree the sovereign king or queen is a far better choice than any geopolitical personage. In an imperfect world populated by imperfect people, I would make Hobson’s Choice of a constitutional monarchy every time.

Constitutional rights go back 800 years to the Magna Carta and further still in ancient common law that which Elizabeth II and now Charles III have sworn to uphold by promising to govern according to the law solemnly swearing same on the 1611 King James Version of the Bible.

Charles III hereby promised to defend our sovereignty as individuals and the sovereignty of Canada. Implicit in his promise before God is his promise to keep it so; untroubled by the interference of outsiders great and small.

By these promises each of us is a sovereign individual, our monarch also sovereign, the first sovereign among equals and he is our servant. The intention of the common law is that we govern ourselves with minimal interference from the state knowing as we do, right from wrong, and appoint as esteemed servants; those we trust to preserve our freedoms from those who have trouble distinguishing right from wrong.

In 1688 on the accession of King William of Orange, the Parliament of the day had the treasonous temerity to claim that Parliament was sovereign, a practice repeated over the years.

The Crown-backed Constitution makes plain that the people are sovereign and the natural law that long predates the constitution puts sovereignty utterly beyond the reach of parliament for all time. Parliament can no more attain sovereignty than touch the face of God.

For those of us employed by the government and have taken an oath of loyalty to the Crown, practise your craft honestly and bring no unlawful harm to anyone. By taking that oath any unlawful act or acts bring the reigning monarchs oath into dispute and remedy is required to establish balance.

In closing, ask yourself, are we a constitutional monarchy in a way that means anything, or are we not, as above, it is Hobson’s Choice and I know where I would rather stand.

Keith Ballantyne

Salt Spring Island

No need for a ban, let’s all be courteous

Re: “Ban throttled e-bikes on trails, cycle paths,” letter, May 16.

E-bikes are all restricted to a 32 km/h maximum speed, and as a responsible person I find it difficult to travel at even that speed while avoiding off leash dogs and gaggles of pedestrians spanning the whole trail while they ignore my polite bell and “on your left.”

A fit cyclist without an e-assist will regularly pass me on trails at speeds exceeding 50 km/h and are at much greater risk of causing an injury to someone else or their pets.

I’m trying to get fit while commuting and sometimes need to take a break so I use the throttle. This doesn’t make me fly like I’m on a motorcycle, but maxes out at the 32 km/h that my bike is legally allowed to reach, and depending on the grade of the hill won’t even reach 20 km/h.

What is needed is courtesy from all trail users instead of everyone acting like they should be the sole users of the trail.

The Galloping Goose is covered in signs indicating that bikes yield to pedestrians and both groups yield to horses. It also says a bike should ring its bell and the rider call out “on your left” to warn pedestrians of your impending passing.

The pedestrians should be aware of their surroundings and allow traffic to pass, and keep their pets under control and we can all live together.

Richard Despres


To fix what ails us, we need electoral reform

There is only one cure for the endless complaining by the public about the various levels of government — real electoral reform. Obviously, our adversarial and archaic all-powerful leader party systems have got to go, democracy should be about co-operation and consensus.

None of the existing parties will try to institute something as simple to understand and use as a ranked preferential ballot with a 50 per cent requirement to get elected.

A requirement that would increase voter turnout and end the current practice where the majority of votes cast in most elections are redundant because all the votes for non-winners are meaningless. But it seems our politicians like split votes and the undemocratic “first past the post” and want nothing to do with representative elections.

Most provincial governments can easily institute a preferential ballot for civic elections where it is badly needed. They can call for a referendum where preferential ballot is an option for all elections and not just with the choice of the convoluted and confusing proportional representation.

Just like the Liberals’ promise to institute electoral reform most promises just get tossed out the window when a party comes to power and re-election becomes their only goal.

Various organizations have tried to make Canadian governments more responsive to the public’s needs through electoral reform, but the brick wall of party ideology and powerful corporate lobbyists is a hard one to break through.

We need to work for a democracy with more active non-partisan public participation in all aspects of government.

Ivan Olynyk


Your room temperature may be too hot or cold

Re: “Get the Earth back to room temperature,” letter, May 17.

The letter writer says he will stop complaining about the heat ( or perhaps the behaviour of some people like “well site geologists”) when the Earth finally cools down to room temperature and stays there permanently.

All good and well but for which part of the Earth is he desiring permanent room temperature? The Inuit will not thank him, nor the Bedouins, if by room temperature he means, say, 20 C. And what does he mean by “permanent”? Was it ever thus?

It is an old saying that everyone likes to complain about the weather and nobody know what to do about it (though some think otherwise).

Boudewyn van Oort


Would-be scholars should listen

It’s a tragedy that a group identifying itself as “students” would seek to silence Jordan Peterson.

Peterson is a fully credentialled academic, a university professor and a long-time practising psychologist highly skilled in his profession, as well as a best-selling author.

It’s utterly arrogant of “students” to seek to silence Peterson, directly challenging our democratic fundamental of “free speech.”

These angry students either haven’t read Peterson or viewed many of his YouTube videos — or they are simply closed-minded to his positions and arguments.

I would expect far better of would-be scholars — and academics. The principle of free speech is apparently not valued by these whiny folks.

Garry Gaudet


Live and let live, let everyone have a say

Full disclosure here: My only source of knowledge of this subject comes from the Times Colonist articles.

I really know nothing of the content of the Jordan Peterson rally except that it seems to be a group of LGBTQ (etc.) folks and their supporters who wanted the city to cancel a permit for Peterson to speak, and failed, because they vehemently disagreed with his content. In short, they wanted to stifle his right to speak to a group of like-minded individuals.

Well, on the basis of that, the LGBTQ community would have to cease and desist displaying their particular brand of social construct in any form whatsoever, because it is certain that there are those in the community that vehemently disagree with their conduct and behaviour.

Certainly any Pride Parades would have to be banned.

Live and let live, people. If you don’t like it, don’t go.

David Hansen


Discrimination from members of council

The unfair comments made by Victoria’s mayor and councillors at a recent public hearing should be of concern to all.

To suggest that opposition to views expressed by residents are made by those who are “change resistant” and “not changing with the times” are discriminatory comments directly targeting seniors.

These old blanket statements are undermining and often used by many to shut down further discussion when seniors express an opposing opinion (to a person/s who is not a senior).

The writer is correct in saying these kind of statements are condescending, they are also dismissive and very insulting to seniors. We should never hear these age-discriminating statements from anyone, let alone a mayor or councillor.

We are living in a time where age is truly the last frontier of discrimination.

Coletta Rese



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