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Letters Nov. 15: Long live urban deer; remembering local computer pioneers

Letters from our readers: Leaf blowers, the King and that heavy ferry.
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A deer enjoys a snack in a Rockland garden. Letter-writers say humans have created the environment where deer are forced to forage within urban boundaries. TIMES COLONIST

Long may the deer thrive in our community

Apparently, according to a recent letter-writer, deer are a much more serious threat to city trees and urban forests than people.

So when local councils decide that they want to modify neighbourhood roads or to densify an area with new, larger buildings, it’s the deer that are coming along with chainsaws and cutting the trees down, is it?

Any difference that deer make by eating seedlings is surely going to be marginal compared to what people are doing.

As for the idea that they’re dangerous, I have never had any problem with them. Judging by the letters over the past year, far more people have been injured by out-of-control dogs than deer.

We are all entitled to our opinion, not just people who seem to have an irrationally strong dislike for animals. And my view is that deer are wonderful creatures. I love seeing them around.

Long may they continue to exist in Victoria and Oak Bay.

Matthew Cousins

Victoria

We’ve given the deer no other choice

With our rapacious clear cutting and urbanization, deer and other animals have no other sustenance choice than peoples’ back yards. We have only ourselves to blame.

Mary Andrews

Victoria

Computer pioneers are remembered here

Re: “Computer pioneer lived quietly in our midst,” Nov. 8.

I’d like to thank Jack Knox for his thoughtful piece on Kathleen Booth. In the mid-1980s, there were a few graduate students working at the Institute of Ocean Sciences who would cherish periodic lunches and discussions with both Kathleen and (Andrew) Donald Booth.

We only ever knew him as Donald Booth.

While very kind, Kathleen was quiet, especially next to Donald, and unfortunately we did not hear much of her significant contributions. But Donald was a character, and we hung on every word as he told us stories of the early development of computers.

While at Birkbeck College in London (1950s), he designed and built computer hardware, while Kathleen perfected programming techniques. He would describe his pioneering research with John von Neumann (who he referred to as “Johnny”) and the development of the first electronic computer memory system, a magnetic drum, which we would now refer to as a hard drive.

Prior to Donald’s passing in 2009, he commented that he read obituaries to see who he’d “beaten.”

While life is not a race, these two pioneering champions of early computer development will be fondly remembered by those of us who were fortunate enough to know them.

Richard Dewey

Victoria

Was Germany really broke between the wars?

Re: “Let’s take another look at the legacy of war,” letter, Nov. 12.

The letter places blame for the Second World War on the allies who had defeated Germany in 1918 “by the imposition of unrealistic imposition on the defeated party” – the Germans.

In his book The Victim Cult, Mark Milke quotes historian Sally Marks from her book The Myths of Reparations: “After the war, by August 1919, the allied powers delivered more than a million tons of food and more than a hundred thousand tons of clothing, soap and medical supplies” to Germany.

Milke calls this “a mini Marshall Plan, akin to the post Second World War rescue that aimed to reconstruct Europe rather than leave her bereft of industry and starving.” Milke also writes “even the claim that Germany could not afford the demanded reparations was false. Germany kept its tax rates lower than those of the victors precisely to aid that specious argument.”

If Germany was so poor, how was she able to build up such a huge rearmament of planes, tanks ships and submarines when she invaded Poland at the start of the Second World War?

Bernard G. McIntyre

Nanaimo

Better ways to make a climate argument

I am dumbfounded that environmental activists would seek to damage or destroy art created by a pioneering environmentalist.

Emily Carr revered and celebrated nature through her work, and was an early champion of Indigenous ways of honouring the land. Particularly in her later art, she expressed concern for the negative impacts of logging and other industry on natural spaces through paintings such as Odds and Ends, Reforestation and Above the Gravel Pit.

I understand these activists are passionate about their cause and feel the need to devise extreme acts to capture our attention. However, attention is not the same as audience engagement and/or, ideally, commitment.

There are better ways of creating a compelling message about the global climate emergency than destroying the painting of an artist who sought to convey essentially the same message through her art.

Maureen Foxgord

Victoria

More weight means more fuel, more wear and tear

Reading that the brand-new B.C. Ferries vessel Salish Heron is 48 tonnes overweight, and can therefore carry fewer vehicles, is annoying for users.

It is also very wasteful, because throughout its service life the ferry will have to displace an extra 48 tonnes of water as it moves. This will require more fuel and more wear and tear on its propulsion systems.

Those responsible for this “mistake” should have to help cover these costs. All too often, when dealing with government procurement, no one is held responsible and taxpayers are left holding the bag.

S.I. Petersen

Nanaimo

Real stories of wartime experiences

Re: “So many stories, so few Second World War veterans left to tell them,” Nov. 11.

Jack Knox nailed it again with his tribute to veterans whose stories he has shared with us.

Nothing like hearing real stories of wartime experiences to make us appreciate the true meaning of Remembrance Day, and how much we owe to our our oft-forgotten heroes.

Brian Case

North Saanich

Count the veterans who died in every way

It appears to me that one of the most egregious omissions in all the Remembrance Day activities is the forgotten members of the military who die during their service in all manner of incidents.

I am specifically talking about the thousands of members who die during training, through accidents or from diseases — all while in uniform.

These personnel are totally forgotten when we count by situation, usually conflict, those that have died in service.

I truly believe that we need to recognize the contribution and sacrifice, through normal, everyday and human occurrence.

Please join me in remembrance of the these dedicated, conscientious and stalwart members.

Perhaps our leadership will acknowledge this situation next Nov. 11.

J.F. Logan

Courtenay

Play our national anthem to close the ceremony

I noticed with dismay that the last item played at the Remembrance Day ceremonies was the British national anthem God Save the King, which was also done at Ottawa’s ceremony.

Canada claims to be a truly independent country but cannot conclude something so vital to us as the Remembrance Day ceremonies with our national anthem O Canada. I long for the day we will be truly independent in every way.

Jerry Blumenschein

Victoria

Forget the monarchy, we should be a republic

I am surprised at the number of correspondents belittling B.C. Ferries for their eminently sensible decision to remove portraits of the monarch from their vessels.

These monarchists are implicitly criticizing the majority of the countries in the old British Empire who have declared independence and abandoned allegiance to the crown.

Let us hope that Canada follows Australia when Oz becomes a republic, and declares itself a true democracy.

Albert Macfarlane

Port McNeill

Useless meetings as the planet heats up

The leaders of the world have met about the climate 27 times. That’s a lot. Yet throughout this time our planet has steadily heated up.

It must be obvious that the ever more extreme weather patterns are because of global warming. The costs for alone this past year‘s damages are tremendous.

Small countries that hardly pollute are asking for real financial help. I think they should not hold their breath. The world is tackling so many problems, there will hardly be a rush to fulfil those wishes.

Our leaders have certainly not be leading their industries to change and they themselves have not pushed hard enough.

Banks and governments still invest into fossil fuels and the profits are just too high to sacrifice. All those people have children and grandchildren and they don’t care what life they might have.

It’s difficult to understand. All those meetings are useless and pollute more.

Karin Hertel

Saanich

Hurting the soil with our leaf blowers

During the fall there is almost a constant bombardment of noisy, gas-spewing leaf blowers and hedge trimmers.

In Victoria we seem to be obsessed with removing all leaves from lawns, gardens and elsewhere because they appear untidy. Meanwhile California has banned all gas-powered landscaping equipment, and Oak Bay is moving in that direction.

One town in the Netherlands, Eindhoven, has found a different solution. Why not let fallen leaves lie?

The city is trying to change people’s perception about how public spaces should look. The city is encouraging its citizens to let leaves decompose or be mulched. Allowing leaves to remain adds richness to soil and insect biota.

By creating the manicured look we are actually impoverishing the soil. So why not let leaves decompose on their own or landscapers’ munchers and at the same time get rid of these gas-spewing machines?

Al Niezen

Saanich

Why do we need so many MLAs and MPs?

B.C. is planning to increase the number of electoral ridings from 87 to 93.

Six more MLAs to elect, in keeping with representation by population. Vancouver Island will add one, making 15 MLAs to be elected on our little rock with a population of 840,235.

On average each electoral district has a population of 56,000, which I consider to be ridiculously small. I do not know when it was decided that for each 56,000 people we would have one MLA.

I imagine it is decades old and is, by now, out of date and out of touch with reality. That number should be changed to at least 100,000 people, so that Vancouver Island would elect eight MLAs, the same number as in 1960. Province wide, instead of having 93 MLAs we would have 51.

I don’t know how much money it costs per MLA per year, but reducing the number would add significant funds for housing, and health. Also, the cost of renovating the legislature to seat more MLAs would be avoided

Instead of increasing the number of MLAs each few years as our population grows, the number of MLAs should be fixed at around 50-60, with each one representing the aforementioned 100,000 people.

The same goes for the federal government. Take a look at how much the feds are spending renovating the House of Parliament.

Mike Woods

Saanichton

Time change? Really, we don’t need to do that

Everyone has an opinion or question about the time changes, and apparently we are waiting for the Americans to make a decision.

I see that it would probably be important, with cross-border rail services. But I assume that could be worked around.

My question is: If it is all such a big deal, why does a small section of British Columbia not change the time?

When I worked in the mines at Chetwynd, the time was not changed. There was a sign on the highway north of Prince George that said that the time didn’t change. The only hardship was getting the time right to call home to Sooke to talk to the wife. If it works for part of B.C., why not for all parts?

Tim Young

Sooke

Conservatives offer a Canadian MAGA version

Re: “Poilievre still supports convoy, but will wait to weigh in on evidence,” Nov. 10.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre’s continued support of the “Freedom Convoy” is just the latest demonstration of the Conservative Party’s unfitness to govern our great country.

When a photo of previous Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and fellow Saskatchewan MPs with Ottawa convoy protesters surfaced, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson blasted the Conservative MPs, calling the photo an “absolute disgrace” and demanded an apology from the group.

A photo of interim Conservative Leader Candice Bergen having dinner with a convoy organizer who was arrested several days later had been labelled “aspirations to overthrow” our duly elected government and may very well have been efforts for a Canadian version of the U.S. attempted Jan. 6 insurrection. Bergen wasn’t wearing her camo “Make America Great Again” ball hat in that photo, but that may simply have been due to conforming to restaurant etiquette.

The current crop of Conservative leaders became seduced by Trump tactics and thankfully it didn’t sell in this country. Poilievre has yet to show he is capable of a pivot; therefore, political oblivion awaits him and possibly his party.

Wayne Cox

Saanichton

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