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Letters May 25: B.C.'s COVID response; saving the Island's rail corridor; the costs of inflation

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A letter-writer suggests the province’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic was not as comprehensive as many B.C. residents believe. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Not a perfect response, but still excellent

Re: “B.C.’s COVID death rate higher than Ontario’s,” letter, May 21.

There is a saying attributed to Nobel Prize-winning economist Ronald Coase that states: “If you torture the data long enough, it will confess to ­anything.” ­Comparing data from various ­jurisdictions is meaningless unless you can verify that every jurisdiction used the same data-collection process and interpreted it in the same manner.

It has long been understood that the actual number of deaths worldwide due to COVID is higher than reported. It is also important to consider age demographics and underlying health factors when considering the statistics.

All deaths due to COVID are tragic and heartbreaking for families, and while the number of deaths in B.C. due to COVID cannot be disregarded, there are other measures to be considered, such as the fact that B.C. did not have to petition the federal government for military assistance to deal with the crisis, while Ontario and Quebec did.

Was B.C’s response perfect? Of course not. It was a new and mutating virus, and I believe Dr. Bonnie Henry and the Ministry of Health did an excellent if imperfect job in managing the crisis.

We owe them a debt of thanks.

Pat Jackson
Victoria

Preserving rail corridor is a top priority

I take issue with this quote in the May 20 article regarding the Island Corridor Foundation business case for the former E&N right-of-way:

“No commitment has been made by the province regarding the rail corridor and more discussion is needed, the ministry said.”

Twenty years ago, Vancouver Island First Nation and local government leaders showed unprecedented collaboration and vision by forming the Island Corridor Foundation to ensure the protection of the corridor. Without this foresight and leadership, the corridor would have been sold off piecemeal and lost forever.

For 20 years these same groups have championed the cause of rail on Vancouver Island to senior levels of government. It appalls me that after two decades the province feels more discussion is needed and the finger-pointing between the federal and provincial governments continues.

As we dither and procrastinate, we stand a very real chance of losing that corridor forever, an unthinkable possibility that would be catastrophic for Vancouver Island.

It is simply not good enough for senior levels of government to continually lay the blame elsewhere. We must collectively ensure this vital transportation corridor is protected and invested in, and we must do that now.

It must be a priority for all.

David Screech
Mayor, View Royal

Tough to make ends meet, so don’t insult us

We all make choices everyday how to spend our hard-earned dollars. With the current inflation, in particular the price of gas, those choices have become more dire.

There is less and less discretionary spending, for even the smallest luxuries. Home ownership is a far-off unobtainable dream, unless you are the fortunate few with parental financial assistance.

Fictional scenario: single, registered health-care worker making $25 per hour.

Who is lucky enough, in this economy of part-time work, to secure 67.5 hours bi-weekly. $25 per hour equals $3,656 gross (before taxes). Net monthly earnings of $3,000.

A small basement suite with a monthly rent of $1,500 leaves a balance of $1,500. Less hydro $60, phone $50, basic cable/internet $100: we’re now at $1,290.

Transit is not an option due to work start time, so gas would be a minimum of $180.

This is at 229.9 cents per litre, two fills per month at $90 each. That’s with no unessential driving, just to and from work, and a few trips per month to the grocery store. Less car insurance of $90. We’re now at $1,020.

Groceries are heavily impacted by fuel costs, so even for one person, monthly groceries are $600. Pension monthly saving $100. We’re now at $320.

The remaining balance has to cover extra medical expenses, not covered by either MSP or work extended benefits. The occasional haircut. Clothing. Car maintenance and repairs. That $320 disappears very fast.

The provincial government’s plan to spend $1 billion on a new museum (even over seven years) is outrageous, ridiculous and insulting to the ever-shrinking middle-class worker.

Nelly van Schagen
Victoria

Museum replacement will not get cheaper

I wholeheartedly support the recently announced plans for a new provincial museum.

The current building isn’t up to the task of housing and displaying B.C.’s documents and artifacts (and the stories they hold), putting them at risk. The need has been known for a long time; I took part more than a decade ago in the redevelopment consultations noted by Angela Williams in her May 19 commentary, “Museum replacement has been a long time coming.”

I recognize there are other pressing social concerns, but this endeavour is crucial in the long term to our telling ­ourselves now and in the future who we are and were.

The shutdown period offers an unparalleled opportunity for museum outreach province-wide and beyond. This initiative won’t get any less expensive if we wait.

Moira Dann
Victoria

Sirens drowned out the marching band

I was really looking forward to seeing and hearing the Spectrum Community School Marching Band.

Try as I may, it was impossible to hear much of whatever they were playing over the loud sirens of the vehicle behind the band. How very disappointing.

Parade organizers: Please do not place competing sounds near each other.

At least the people operating the sirens should refrain from doing so near the judging stand.

Ron Stevens
Victoria

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