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Letters Nov. 21: Change needed for affordable housing; sickly salmon the new Mr. Floatie?

Letters from our readers: Bike valet and downtown safety; reducing our vehicles' footprint; a closer look at government contracts
Mr. Floatie, the now-retired mascot that called attention to the need for sewage treatment in Victoria, gives a news conference in Victoria in May 2017. A letter-writer asks whether a new version of Mr. Floatie is needed — perhaps a sickly looking salmon in bondage? DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Government contracts can be great deals

Re: “A quick question on government contacts,” letter, Nov. 3.

The writer from Nanoose Bay repeats a tired old trope by asking “Has there ever been a government contract that has ended up being on time and on budget?” and “Is there such a ‘unicorn’?”

As a physicist in Environment Canada for 33 years, I managed hundreds of contracts that were on budget and on time.

One contract stands out: Canada’s first green power purchase, for Environment Canada’s buildings in Alberta in 1997. Alberta’s new competitive electricity market provided a means to tender for green electricity. The contract-for-differences from Power Pool prices was won by Vision Quest Windelectric (“VQ”), providing wind power from Alberta’s first large wind turbine.

In 2000, price volatility saw Pool prices rising exorbitantly for two years. During that time, VQ paid Environment Canada to receive the green power — an amazing deal! To boot, Environment Canada gained ownership of emissions reductions from the project, in Canada’s first national greenhouse gas emissions trade.

In 2001, TransAlta bought VQ and over time became a major renewable energy producer. It also repowered its coal-fired plants with natural gas — ahead of regulatory deadlines. Canada now has thousands of wind turbines; the original three owners of VQ became millionaires; and I retired to Victoria.

Cynicism based on falsehoods has never gotten anything done in this world, and I urge the letter-writer to change his mind and believe in “unicorns” instead.

Leslie Welsh


A new Mr. Floatie needed, this time a sickly salmon

Washington state has announced that the remaining salmon farm in “their” local waters will not have its licence to operate renewed.

Is another new version of Mr. Floatie once again needed for pointing out to us the obvious? Today, a sickly looking salmon in bondage substitution for the retired smiling stool mascot?

This would not even be worth considering, except as a way to avoid the sting of our already enlightened American neighbours calling. Will it take another embarrassing mascot to get our own leaders to follow the science?

Study after study clearly show our ocean as equally suitable for permitting industrial level salmon aquaculture as it is for the dumping in of raw sewage. Land based, the damage to the ocean by both activities is reduced, if not eliminated.

But we’re sure to get another study…..

Kevin Norman

View Royal

Know what you will get with a vote for Trump

Donald Trump has announced a new bid for the U.S. presidency.

When you vote for a clown you get a circus.

Fred Mallach


Major change needed so we can afford houses

The 1990s marked the end of affordable housing, when Canada followed Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan to cut transfers of funds for housing, health care and education.

Brian Mulroney followed suit: cuts to social assistance, rising tuition fees, and huge debt loads for young people entering the housing market.

I fear the vaunted Missing Middle will be more of the same, i.e. developers amassing huge profits while decent housing becomes, for many, an impossible dream.

It’s time for real change, for our governments to do what it takes to care for regular people, not feed those who already have more than enough.

Roger Painter


Smaller vehicles would help Mother Nature

Time to downsize road vehicles to downsize tire residue fouling our waterways.

Time to tax road vehicles by weight every year. Vehicles weigh vastly more now than they did years ago. Vastly more steel, aluminum, paint, rubber, plastic, lithium, copper is extracted from Mother Nature’s bosom for the vanity of these mobile throne rooms.

Mother Nature will be grateful to the elected councils that can engineer the passing of such laws over the might of the purveyors of vanity vehicles.

Brien Smith

Campbell River

Thousands of cyclists taking care of their bikes

The City of Victoria is spouting about how successful the free bike valet service has been. More than 11,000 bike riders used the service for the past five months.

What does that say? One could conclude that 11,000 bike riders do not feel downtown Victoria is a safe place to leave their bike, on any street even if locked up with an expensive lock — it would most likely be gone when the owner returns.

Paul Baldwin


What matters is how we act to be not racist

Charla Huber’s recent column about racism makes wrong assumptions and comes to wrong conclusions.

First, a quick search reveals that it is a known psychological phenomenon that we are better at facial recognition of people of our own race. So her entire idea that her co-workers might be racist because they might have misidentified some Asian people they didn’t previously know, is unfounded.

Then she decides that she herself is racist, of which there is no indication.

The real problem here, other than her misunderstanding of facial recognition, is that she is looking in every hidden corner for every conceivable (or inconceivable) indication of racism. Look hard enough and you’ll find it, or fashion it.

Undoubtedly, we all have racist thoughts and instincts. The real question is how we analyze, think and act, in our efforts to live in a way that is not racist.

Richard Volet


Freeland’s comments suggest a need for mid-terms

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland makes at least $186,000 a year plus all her perks, and had to tell her poor children that she needed to cancel Disney+. I’m still LMAO over that statement.

She is the No. 2 ranking member of the House of Commons. I’m more then sure there are a few people who wish they could make about $3,500 a week.

Maybe it is time to look south of the border and maybe consider midterm elections up here as well.

Could you imagine how different things could be up here if the government knew they would have to be more transparent and not waste our hard-earned tax dollars if half the politicians faced the voters every two or three years?

B.W. Lowe


After the paperwork is done, the nurse has to pay $700

The experienced Korean nurse living with us finally made her way through the documentary requirements to apply to enter the profession in Canada to find she would have to pay $700 with her application.

Does Canada really want international nurses or is it just feel-good stance? Do Canada’s nursing associations want to open their doors?

Steve Weatherbe



• Email letters to:

• Mail: Letters to the editor, Times Colonist, 201-655 Tyee Rd., Victoria, B.C. V9A 6X5

• Submissions should be no more than 250 words; subject to editing for length and clarity. Provide your contact information; it will not be published. Avoid sending your letter as an email attachment.

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