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Letters Nov. 26: The difference between strikes and protests; care facilities for the mentally ill

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Protesters block traffic on Yates Street between Cook Street and Vancouver Street as they march to the RCMP building on Nov. 19, 2021. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Where are the limits to these protests?

I notice a real difference in how street blockades are handled versus how strikes are handled in labour management contract bargaining. Our laws need to be updated.

When a strike occurs, the boundaries of how that protest can manifest itself is quite tightly controlled no matter how egregious the dispute. There are laws, agreements made which are enforced, usually by both parties and if not, by the police.

The one huge item is that the strikers must not impede the movement of vehicles holding staff, customers, equipment, materials and product on and off the employer’s property.

Yes, strikers can walk back and forth, but must move to allow passage. They can attempt to discourage people from entering and are sometimes successful. They cannot block a public right of way such as sidewalks and roads.

Yes, they can walk back and forth but must yield, and responsible unions will ensure these rules are abided by.

Responsible employers will ensure their staff and contractors also comply. Failure to comply has consequences such as fines, arrests, etc., including lack of sympathy in the press and the courts. This discipline ensures their rights will continue.

So why are these groups supporting chaos and anarchy tolerated and not expected to maintain the same discipline? Why were they allowed to block a major road and access to hospitals, schools, ferries and airports?

Why for such a long period? Why is their “freedom” not fettered in the same way it is for others who also have the right to protest?

We are held hostage to these people at a substantial cost yet there are no consequences?

Yes, they have the right to protest, present their concerns and views, opportune others to support them, issue manifestos to lay out the issues and their solutions, solicit media attention, make noise and draw attention.

But with no limits? At any cost? Unfettered?

Elaine Anderson
Victoria

Time to take action against anarchists

Many others have voiced growing concerns over the tactics of eco-­warriors, but Gerald Pash’s comments about rights versus freedoms are right on the mark.

In Edmonton, these hypocrites used a liquid gas heater to keep them warm while they blocked a major bridge protesting a liquid gas pipeline! They drive (usually in old, carbon-spewing vehicles) to their sites, on bitumen roads, clutching their plastic cellphones, dressed in synthetic athletic wear. Did they not understand that an idling vehicle produces a lot more carbon than one that is getting to its destination?

Hopefully their family will never get stuck in an ambulance in a blockade. They and the public have little knowledge about the consequences of trying to turn the world on a dime. These counterproductive stunts are turning the public against their “righteous” cause.

And then, they are encouraged by someone (who used to have credibility) to “blow up pipelines.” Really? No matter how he subsequently phrased it, he clearly incited others to do damage. Isn’t there a law about threats, terrorist or otherwise?

Protesters clearly have no regard for consequences to themselves or the public. They are prepared to go to jail due to the nominal time courts adjudge and their funding allows them to thumb their nose at fines.

The long-term consequences of anarchy deserve a strong response.

When are the leaders in government going to give the police and judges a law and consequences that are effective?

J.R. Forest
North Saanich

How long to rebuild the Coquihalla?

I am curious about the predictions on how long it will take to repair the serious damage to the Coquihalla Highway. Some say geotechnical surveys alone might take weeks and actual repairs months.

There’s no question the damage is severe. But if you consider it took only 20 months to build the highway from start to finish in time for Expo 86, surely the fix should be faster.

Steve Housser
Shawnigan Lake

Open care facilities for the mentally ill

I can’t stress how incredibly saddened I was to read the article on Tuesday in respect of the sentencing of Aaron Chaignon and the violence which occurred in the courtroom.

My heart went out to Const. Jenny Lequesne and her family for the horrible life-altering injuries that she received in the line of duty while arresting the accused.

It is unbelievably sad for both parties because this incident and others of a similar nature continue to occur.

The government acknowledging that there is a large disconnect and a huge lack of care available for those with severe mental issues who need to be housed in treatment centres where they are being treated and cared for and being brought back, as much as possible, to safe and sustainable mental health.

There are those that say that the institutions are inhuman and work against those people with mental-health issues, but how many people need to have their lives destroyed or be so seriously affected before appropriate steps are taken to house — and yes, forcibly if necessary — to protect not only themselves but others as well.

The government continually talks about affordable housing, but mental-health housing would go a long way to helping to alleviate much of the physical and mental unrest and suffering that we appear to be experiencing in our fair city.

Hopefully the government will take the necessary steps as quickly as possible to open some care facilities for the mentally ill to give them a home and more importantly, the necessary treatment to bring them back from the hell in which they live daily.

Ernie Kuemmel
Oak Bay

Servers should have double vaccinations

I request the B.C. government to mandate all servers in restaurants and bars must be double-vaccinated.

Many people do not realize the staff are not required to be fully vaccinated; they stand over the clients, they set and touch all tableware, serve all food to the customers, prepare all food either cooked or raw, clean all areas and tableware.

If the customers who enter restaurants must be double-vaccinated and show proof, as well as ID, I request the employees of restaurants must also comply with these regulations. They also have entered the establishment.

Until this is the law, I will not be able to eat in restaurants or bars.

When I inquired of a server if he was double-vaccinated, he replied: “It is not legal of you to ask me that, it violates my privacy.”

However, I had to show private health care information and private ID when I entered the restaurant; he also entered the restaurant.

I am in favour of vaccination and showing proof. I would like to enter restaurants and feel safe. I call on the government to make this the standard for restaurants.

V.F. Oakes
Victoria

Electric streetcars will take us forward

Until 1948, Victoria was home to a large system of electric streetcars that served most parts of the city before the power lines and rails were torn up in a short-sighted decision to transition to lower-capacity, fuel-guzzling buses.

Around the world, including Toronto, this beloved mode of transit continues to be used as an effective way of transporting high volumes of passengers, and new low-floor technology has made streetcars accessible to all.

Victoria needs to begin thinking about its future and bring back this efficient and eco-friendly system, and while the new density planned for Langford and other Capital Regional District municipalities is reason enough, the current fuel crisis provides extra motivation.

There are certainly costs involved in building this type of technology, but they are significantly lower than Skytrain and subway costs, and represent an opportunity to begin the process of truly reducing greenhouse gas emissions while making our city more livable for future generations.

Ethan Smith
Victoria

Remember the good that Macdonald did

Re: “Having second thoughts about Sir John A.?” letter, Nov. 20.

To answer the question: Have I changed my views about removing Sir John A. Macdonald’s statue at Victoria City Hall since residential school tragedies have been revealed?

About 150 years ago, similar or worse tragedies were going on in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, Africa, Asia, virtually around the world at that time, and long after, virtually to the present in many of these countries.

There is never any justification or condoning of these horrendous treatments; however, we should not lose sight of Macdonald’s beneficial achievements, especially to western Canada.

Without his vision of the transcontinental railway uniting this great country, we would certainly be living in United States territory today.

We would have no universal health care, renegade militias, exponentially rising multitudes of ‘legally procured’ automatic handguns and assault rifles and a rabid, divisive Republican political ideology.

For saving all of us from that, despite Macdonald’s failure to act in an enlightened way, well beyond all known policy exercised by all world leaders of the time, I still believe that his statues should remain, perhaps with plaques, inscribed with a more balanced narrative, affixed.

Ron Wurtz
Shawnigan Lake

We need another fence in the downtown core

Isn’t this great? A beautiful building, the Alix Goolden Performance Hall at the Conservatory of Music, will be behind an ugly wire fence at Pandora and Quadra to prevent criminals and drug users from destroying it.

Using the same logic, maybe it would be a good idea to put the same style metal fence around City Hall to keep the mayor and a certain four city councillors inside City Hall in order to prevent any further destruction to downtown.

Paul Baldwin
Victoria

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