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Letters Sept. 11: Why Victoria's drivers are so aggressive; ticket the slow drivers; think of the kind of country you want to live in

Traffic on the Trans-Canada Highway near Uptown. TIMES COLONIST

No wonder Victoria drivers are aggressive

Victoria councillors Dave Thompson and Matt Dell say that intersection cameras will reduce traffic incidents downtown.

Thompson, having 10 years driving experience in Victoria noted, “that things are becoming more impatient and people are being a little bit more aggressive once in a while and we’ve also got the cellphone distracting people.”

I wonder if, in those 10 years, he has also noted the rat’s nest the vehicle corridors have become in Victoria. Endless streets prohibiting turns, many side streets blocked for vehicle passage, bike lanes tangled into the roadways with confusing light systems, endless construction, faded road lines, detours, potholes, etc.

Perhaps if more attention was paid to improve traffic flow by the councillors, driver impatience and aggression would subside and intersection cameras could be avoided.

Another reason, amongst several, to avoid downtown Victoria at all costs.

Edward Baess


Ticket the slow drivers, not the fast ones

Given the current traffic flow in the Victoria region I would suggest to the government to change the traffic speed limit signs from “maximum” to “minimum.” Traffic would flow more quickly and slow drivers could be ticketed, reducing the deficit.

Charles Krebs

North Saanich

Motorcycles are a hazard on sidewalks and paths

It’s time to require licensing of all motorcycles, and to get them off the sidewalks and bike paths, regardless of whether they are propelled by internal combustion or electric motors.

Brian Read


More concrete monoliths won’t solve the problem

Re: “Difficult measures needed as Greater Victoria densifies,” editorial, Sept. 1.

This contains an incorrect statement; “building more housing will reduce the cost.”

Many cities, including neighbouring Vancouver, have demonstrated very clearly that this reduction in cost does not happen with increased housing construction. There is no reason why it should do so.

Economics 101 tells us that increased supply only reduces cost when the demand is limited, which is obviously not the case in Victoria. Half the world, it seems, not only wants to live here, but also is willing to pay the price. Covering the Capital Regional District with concrete will only reduce livability without reducing housing cost.

A fraction of our population will always be in a position of difficulty in finding housing. Over centuries, the same situation has always been true.

The only feasible solution is for the rest of us to subsidize that fraction in some way so as make housing available to them, through selective taxation, direct subsidy or housing with supported rental.

Simply erecting more and more ugly concrete monoliths won’t solve the problem. Nor does permitting a development to go ahead on the grounds of providing a small proportion of “affordable” units, since that provision is only enforceable on the first owner or occupier; when the unit or building owner changes, it would presumably revert to market prices.

It’s high time for some more rational, creative, apolitical thought about the housing issue before we permanently disfigure the country without producing a solution.

Alec Mitchell


Decide what sort of country you want to live in

The conservative right rising in Canada is similar to our neighbour to the south over the past couple of years. This scares the hell out of me as I think this right-wing ideology is setting us back decades and smacks of discrimination against any minority of their choosing that they disagree with.

While watching The Handmaid’s Tale this year I saw many similarities to the activities across our southern border and thought that as Canadians we couldn’t possibly be swayed in a similar direction as it just seems like lunacy.

But here we are, it seems the Pink Floyd song “Brain Damage” describes perfectly what is happening. I beg every voter to exercise your right next federal election and think about what kind of country they want to live in.

Mike Wilkinson


Populist politicians share their approach

It has been relentlessly in the news, often via Twitter. For some commentators, populists’ influence is a puzzle.

Once we take account of the fact that we are driven by our social natures, however, the influence (and the influence of other populist leaders around the globe) is not hard to explain.

Successful populist leaders, almost by definition, know that they can succeed by playing to the crowd — a game as old as human history, the product of complex human psychology, and something that any successful (good or bad) political must master.

For example: Donald Trump is one populist leader of a modern-day tribe of voters, defining themselves according to what others regard as contentious attitudes and beliefs.

In a different age, large minorities – especially groups that are widely spread geographically and socio-economically – might struggle to identify a leader.

But in the modern worlds of social media, populist leaders have a power and unity that would be technologically and socially impossible in other times.

Ironically, Pierre Poilievre’s supporters share something with Trump’s, as do both of their opponents.

Clearly, Poilievre’s supporters align more with Trump’s views, as voters want to be part of a tribe that shares their identity, attitudes and accept the notion that everything is broken.

Perhaps the essential ingredient of the populists’ political success is that they clearly designed a political strategy to be an uber-conformist, leveraging a keen psychological intuition in persuading large enough numbers of voters that they are one of them, with that influence magnified by the power of Twitter and other social media outlets.

William Perry


Doctrine of Discovery has nothing to do with it

In the avalanche of letters about colonialism was the fallacious claim that the so-called Doctrine of Discovery had something to do with the topic.

Bunkum. It was a papal statement superseded by others within years and never had anything to do with colonization in what became Canada.

Its invocation by an American court came well after most colonization occurred in the U.S.

Advocates for Indigenous people should not forget their own history of territorial warmaking and enslavement.

The land claim settlement process should proceed without this misuse of history.

Steve Weatherbe


Let entrepreneurs lead with water bombers

Re: “Canada needs a national force to fight fires,” editorial, Aug. 25.

I agree with this article but would like to offer a different scenario. If Canadian business was not restricted by bureaucracy and red tape I imagine a new company could be created by the private sector to build fleets of water bombers similar to the Mars bomber working from Sproat Lake.

The plan would be presented to the public and a public offering would be available for investors. I’m sure many hearts swelled with pride every time that Mars champion entered the fray.

I’m also sure this company would succeed with purchase orders from other countries facing this crisis.

So, step back politicians and step up entrepreneurs. We can do this!

Ed Bird



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