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Letters Sept. 14: Giving landlords a major haircut; different limits for different landlords; this is hurting our museum

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A for rent sign on a house in Victoria. DARREN STONE , TIMES COLONIST

Cap makes it hard to attract new landlords

So the provincial government has just told landlords that they are going to have to take another pretty major haircut.

Landlords have been told that they cannot raise rents they charge more than 3.5 per cent a year even though that is two per cent less than the prevailing inflation rate that landlords, like the rest of us, face.

Further, this comes at a time when property taxes that those same landlords have to pay have increased in some places upwards of 12 per cent.

Just doing some very simple math, it is hard to imagine how this kind of financial framework is expected to attract badly needed landlords and rental stock to our housing market.

Roxanne P. Helme, K.C.

Victoria

Municipal budgets should also be limited

It is no surprise that the NDP ­government has once again reached into the evil ­landlords’ pockets to deny an inflation-based rent increase for the coming year.

Perhaps Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon and his cabinet colleagues would consider a similar policy with respect to municipal budgets, as there is no denying that limiting municipal budget increases to inflation minus two per cent would help both tenants and landlords.

John Day

Victoria

Different landlords deserve different limits

Minister of Housing Ravi Kahlon justified allowing REITs to raise rents 3.4 per cent in 2024 because inflation is negatively affecting landlords’ ability to “keep rental units on the market.”

However, according to Statistics Canada (in 2017), “Shelter [at 26.8%] is the most important of the eight major components in the Consumer Price Index (CPI).”

CPI is one of the most widely used measures of inflation, and financial predators, in addition to excusing profiteering in housing markets on the basis of “supply and demand,” also blame demanding ever-higher rents on inflation, of which shelter is the most numerically significant component.

Small holders and multi-billion dollar real estate holding corporations are different beasts.

A homeowner renting out their basement and a giant corporation controlling hundreds or thousands of units on which intertenancy rents have already at least doubled in the past three years should not be allowed to raise rents by the same percentage.

Bill Appledorf

Victoria

A committee first, then action, maybe

Re: “After near-record drought in B.C., flood risk will follow,” Sept. 12.

Flooding after a near-record dry season and forest fires is a real and well-known threat.

The article says that the B.C. government is creating maps for high risk areas and creating a task force on emergency planning; oh, and providing free sandbags.

The critical time is in the next two to three months. Will this task force have boots on the ground, built up dykes and whatever is needed within a month? I think not.

So, people, go and get your free sandbags and try to save yourselves.

How many times have we heard politicians say “let’s strike a committee” when shown that there is a problem?

I guess they need something for a press release.

John Money

Duncan

Our museum hurt by revisionist interpretation

As a born and raised citizen of Victoria who enjoyed visiting the Royal B.C. Museum as a child, as a parent and as a grandparent, I am concerned about the new direction of the museum.

The RBCM website states, “We commit to interrogate assumptions and biases that lead to racism and prejudice.” Then the site ironically goes on to say, “We commit to anti-racist work, including disrupting colonial narratives.”

Surely, this statement is itself laden with assumptions and biases. It assumes that one people group as a whole (in this case the colonial immigrants) were morally inferior to another people group (in this case the First Nations).

Aren’t such assumptions and biases the very definition of racism?

The new interpretive plaque accompanying the “colonial” office in the Old Town exhibit is an even clearer example of, what appear to be wholly uninterrogated assumptions and biases.

On the plaque, First Nations are stereotypically described as wise, benevolent managers of the land from time immemorial. New settlers, on the other hand, are described categorically as single-minded exploiters.

First Nations are described as using and caring for the land’s resources in a reciprocal manner, always mindful of the future well-being of the people and the land.

Settlers are described as being disconnected from the land, motivated solely by “the greed of capitalism,” extracting and exploiting the land’s resources with utter disregard for the well-being of the people and the land, and as the primary source of Indigenous suffering and environmental brokenness.

It also assumes that capitalism (a system that has raised more people out of poverty than any other in history) is morally inferior to socialism.

What is on display here if not explicit assumptions based on implicit biases?

Please put the historical artifacts and documents collected by the museum on display to speak for themselves. Revisionist interpretations do not remove assumptions and biases; they only replace them with the museum directors’ assumptions and biases. This benefits no one.

Tom Williams

Victoria

Old-growth forests are essential in many ways

Re: “Three years after B.C.’s old-growth review, Talk-and-Log is intact,” ­commentary, Sept. 9.

I appreciated Torrance Coste’s fact-based expose, of the NDP government’s dismal record on protecting B.C.’s old growth forests.

After a summer of unprecedented drought and record wildfires, continuing to allow the decimation of old growth trees is unacceptable.

The B.C. government has spent more than half a billion dollars on fighting fires this year, and this doesn’t include the cost of rebuilding. If we don’t change course, future generations will pay an even higher price for our shortsightedness.

Old-growth forests are critical to reducing the risk of drought, heat waves, flood and wildfires. Here’s what the province can do to protect our remaining old growth trees: speed up deferrals for at-risk old growth; provide the promised conservation funding for First Nations to defer old-growth logging; quickly implement a biodiversity shift in forest management; provide transparent details of logging deferrals and current logging rates.

As climate journalist Barry Saxifrage detailed in a recent National Observer article, Canada’s wildfires this year alone have already emitted over a billion tons of CO2. That’s triple the annual climate pollution from burning fossil fuels in Canada.

B.C. can help chart a new forest management course for Canada. Our political leaders need only fulfil the goals laid out in their own Old Growth Strategic Review. Citizens across B.C. will come together on Sept. 28 to make that demand, and to call for an end to the current NDP policy of “Talk-and-Log.”

Ira Shorr

Victoria

When elected to office, respect our dignity

Members of Parliament are elected by Canadians who have entrusted them to formulate plans for the way ahead for our country.

Those elected should understand the honour they have been given and realize that theirs is a vitally important task that needs to be treated with respect. All elected members from every party need to sit together in committees and co-operate respectfully with one another until plans are complete.

There is absolutely no room for adolescent behaviour, name-calling or lack of attention to the tasks at hand. Parliament is our venerable seat of government and is meant to reflect the dignity of our country.

In fact, this needs to be the overriding principle of all governing bodies in our country — federal, provincial and ­municipal.

Jean Jenkins

Victoria

Want private health care? Look south

Re: “Enough health excuses, please give us results,” letter, Sept. 12.

We knew decades ago that the huge bulge in the snake’s belly (the baby boomers) were going to be retiring about this time and that there would not be enough young people to replace them.

Yet, no level of government was willing to deal with the looming crisis.

However, the writer lays the blame entirely at the feet of Health Minister Adrian Dix for the lack of medical personnel.

I think he should get ready to see a lot more areas where a lack of young people will be unable to fulfil the retiring positions such as in the police force, fire departments, teachers, etc.

As he no doubt can well afford it, he opines for a private sector medical option. South of our border there is a private sector system with quite a number of private insurers who I am sure will be happy to take his money.

Kathleen McMullin

Sidney

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• Email letters to: letters@timescolonist.com

• 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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