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Letters Nov. 24: With rights come responsibilities; highway-protest blockades must end

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People gather for an anti-vaccine protest in front of the legislature along Belleville Street in September. People have the right to not be vaccinated, a letter-writer suggests, but governments also have the right to protect those who have chosen to do so. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

Personal responsibility comes with rights

Re: “Refusing vaccination isn’t just playing COVID roulette with your own life,” Nov. 21.

Lawrie McFarlane’s assertion of “situational ethics” regarding those who would invoke personal freedom as a justification for refusing to be vaccinated misses the mark.

The minority of the population who claim that it is their right to refuse being vaccinated is correct in that choice. Where the argument fails is that no one has the freedom to act contrary to the best interests of their fellow citizens. Rights and freedoms are not synonymous.

You have the right to go through a red light, but you do not have the freedom to do so. Freedom to do so is restricted by the law established by the democratically elected governors of society and ultimately by traffic conditions.

Likewise, citizens have the right to refuse to be vaccinated, but in the interest of public safety those elected to govern have a duty to restrict attendance at locations where the unvaccinated will impact others or refuse to take precautions to reduce the risk.

A year ago, health-care workers were lauded daily as saviours and heroes; a condition that is tarnished by a minority of colleagues who emphasize their misunderstanding of freedom in a democracy and abrogate their duty of care.

The peace, order and good government promised in the Canadian constitution and the Bill of Rights depends on the goodwill of every citizen to obey the law, take personal responsibility and care for the community. There is no situation where rights come without personal responsibility.

Gerald W. Pash
Victoria

Average citizen gets blocked on the highway

During a provincewide state of emergency following last week’s deluge and our ongoing road closures, on Sunday we were treated to a road blockade that caused unprecedented stress as we tried to use the Pat Bay Highway for essential travel.

We were attempting to take a family member to the airport for an urgent flight on Sunday evening, only to find ourselves on a detour that first took us east of the highway and just as we re-entered the highway, we again found ourselves in a mass of vehicles who were not able to proceed northbound.

After significant delays, we were able to use several backroads whilst avoiding recent road closures, we eventually reached the airport with less than a minute to spare.

Should there not be greater consequences for those protesters who take it upon themselves to decide how they will harass and impede the public on a primary highway, particularly during a provincewide state of emergency?

We wondered, if a politician’s roadway or access to their essential travel had been affected, whether the political will and prompt law-enforcement efforts would be in place to prevent such unnecessary hardship?

Sadly, we learned that this situation for the average, law-abiding citizen doesn’t seem to generate an effective response from our police force, as the highway was blocked for well over two hours.

Renate and Alex MacKenzie
Saanich

On the availability of doctors, again

In my household we have worked out a possible theorem: In Europe and especially Scandinavia, when we were there on a sabbatical back in the late 1970s, it was easy to see a doctor — there were lots of them.

I had a facial mole removed and a small skin transplant done in a hospital clinic by a doctor who was sitting smiling with his nurses drinking coffee, and they offered me one — no crowds of patients.

Low or no tuition [universities more or less free], a very high regard for doctors and high self-respect but not expecting high salaries, relatively equal pay to skilled auto technician supervisors, we discovered.

The state is socialized with high- earning business earners taxed highly, and a general acceptance of “the collective” needs. Adequate apartment-style housing for almost everyone at any stage of their job cycle. I am not sure about the present-day situation there.

Here the opposite: expensive housing, few places at few medical school universities with high tuition, and no acceptance of a “collective” social responsibility, generally speaking, except among certain political movements.

Janet Doyle
Victoria

David Suzuki is not the navigator we need

With more and more of us getting aboard the good ship Climate Change, the need is more than charting a course against pipelines and inciteful comments to blow them up.

We need to undertake ethical family planning and reduce our consumption rates.

With at least a dozen offspring and a mega-home in Vancouver, David Suzuki is not my navigator on this journey.

Patrick McAlister
Victoria

Does the end justify the means?

How disappointing to hear David Suzuki say pipelines will be “blown up” if our leaders don’t act on climate change.

It appears whether it’s right-wing nationalists in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, or left-wing radicals like Extinction Rebellion on pipelines (and remember harassing the premier’s wife at their home), or tearing down statues and throwing them into the harbour or setting fire to churches to protest past injustices of Indigenous people, the common thread is societies around the world are turning to violent action to accomplish their “righteous” causes.

However “virtuous” their goal may be, it is severely weakened by their non-righteous, non-law-abiding methods.

Vladimir Lenin’s view was the end always justifies the means. In my view he was wrong.

Wayne Cox
Saanichton

More and more anarchy is being allowed

On Sunday a militant bunch was allowed to block off both sides of the Pat Bay Highway for about one and a half hours.

Obviously this caused a lot of problems for a lot of people, especially people who were trying to make a ferry.

Why are these unlimited protests continually allowed to happen?

Yes, they have their “rights” and peaceful protests are allowed, but citizens have rights too. Why should we have our rights infringed upon to satisfy their militant agendas?

Holding up traffic for hours on major roads and bridges by people who have nothing better to do is totally wrong and should not be allowed.

What these people don’t seem to get is that by doing this they are building up more and more “bad feelings” toward their “cause” and the protesters themselves.

Is this what society is becoming? More and more anarchy where there are no laws enforced, unless you’re just a law-abiding citizen, and funded protesters and agitators are allowed to do anything?

We are getting to be one sad, pathetic society.

Mike Bartholemew
Saanich

Enough is enough with highway blockades

Returning from Sidney on the Pat Bay Highway on Sunday at Elk Lake, I looked over and saw six protesters were blocking all the northbound highway with signs against the RCMP.

Cars were backed up for miles and an ambulance with full sirens had to come over to the southbound lane to go north.

This is insanity. We need a law to arrest people who are obstructing a vital highway. People are going to die.

I’m sure ferries were missed, and think of all the needed gas wasted while the road was blocked for two hours. Enough!

Pat Rose
Esquimalt

A minimum amount would end hoarding

If the government wants to stop people from hoarding gas, why not set the minimum purchase for gas at 30 litres regardless of how much gas is actually pumped.

This would quickly make topping up a thing of the past.

Bruce Cline
Victoria

Gas restrictions got me thinking

The company that offers us an electric car that comfortably carries four folks, four bags, for 400 freeway kilometres, and is ready to do it again four hours later — for less than $14,000 — will finalize a cash sale with me before Friday.

I don’t need chip-powered screens and inter-web doodads; I don’t need auto-drive death-trap doohickeys. I need a cheap car and a clean conscience.

Doug Stacey
Esquimalt

How about a tunnel through the Malahat?

Switzerland has a population of eight million people and has built the longest rail tunnel in the world. It opened in 2016. The country also boasts a myriad of rail and road tunnels. Their climate is harsh.

Why can’t we in B.C. build a tunnel through the Malahat? That would solve the isolation problem Victoria experiences every time the highway closes.

Of course, here in B.C., once the crisis is over, our leaders will kick the can down the road yet again.

We pay a host of taxes that are supposed to be used for transportation infrastructure. Use some of that money to address this problem. I would even pay a toll to use the tunnel.

John Morrison
Mill Bay

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