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Letters Sept. 17: Queen's holiday is not the best approach; let me choose my own tip

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The coffin of Queen Elizabeth II is carried to RAF aircraft at Edinburgh Airport, Scotland, on Tuesday. Letter-writers have suggestions on better ways to honour the late queen than a holiday. ANDREW MILLIGAN, POOL VIA AP

Do students know why school was cancelled?

Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside is woefully ill-informed if she believes that teachers, kindergarten to Grade 12, were prepared to adequately explain to their students why they will not be in school on Monday.

I doubt that any accurate educational- and grade-appropriate materials are being communicated to schools and teachers by the Ministry of Education.

I taught for more than three decades in the elementary grades, and never once did I have a curriculum that addressed the role of the monarchy, or for that matter made any mention of them or their role.

I am also concerned about vulnerable students missing school-provided breakfasts and/or lunches, never mind before- and after-school child minding, which is often onsite in schools that on Monday will be closed.

Decisions like this make me wonder if the NDP is actively striving to lose the next election.

J.R. Ross
Nanaimo

Better than a holiday, a lasting scholarship

A holiday for some and not for all? Seriously, is this the best way to remember Queen Elizabeth?

How about doing something more lasting like endowing scholarships at colleges and universities across Canada for studies in animal husbandry or veterinary medicine to assist those involved with two of the Queen’s loves — horses and dogs (corgis).

Richard Savard
Esquimalt

Provincial government, put the students first

Once again the children are left behind and we have yet to hear what is best for children in our province.

Premier John Horgan’s decision to follow the lead of the federal government for national mourning and close the schools on Monday is astonishing and short-sighted.

This was the perfect teachable moment to guide the students in a mindful, meaningful way about losing one of the world’s greatest monarchs.

Students would get a much better understanding of this historic event in a classroom setting, rather than playing mindless games while their parents are scrambling to organize child care.

Does the government not remember what the last couple of years during COVID were like for our students? They will never close the learning gap, and yet here is another day “off.”

At the very least I would have thought that the premiers could have come together and, with consensus, made a united informed decision about how best to honour Queen Elizabeth, rather than once again making a decision in isolation, further dividing the country.

Shame on this government for not standing up for our students … one of our best natural resources. Please start asking yourselves what is best for our students and parents who are the future of our province, and not looking at public-sector collective agreements that may bring in more votes.

Jane White
Qualicum Beach

Let customers decide how much to tip

Re: “Now 15% is rude: Tipping fatigue hits customers as requests rise,” Sept. 16.

A few years ago, it was customary to give a 10 per cent gratuity when eating or drinking in a restaurant or pub. The credit card machine would give us a choice of 10, 15 or 20 per cent for a tip.

If we were somewhat satisfied with the service, it would be 10 or 15, but if it was great, then it would be 20.

But alas, this is no more. The new machines now offer new choices; 18, 28, 30 per cent, or some other combination starting at 18 per cent. What is more disturbing is that the tip amount is calculated on the total of the purchases plus the taxes.

In B.C., there is a five per cent GST on meals, and 10 per cent PST and five per cent GST on alcohol, so the tip calculation includes these tax amounts. Why should customers tip on taxes, since the taxes have nothing to do with the service offered?

Of course, there should be tipping, since it is a means of showing our appreciation for the service received. But tipping choices should be left to the customer.

Most people now believe they are coerced into high levels of tipping. The machine should simply let the customer enter his choices, be it a percentage or a cash amount.

Also, any percentage calculated should not include the taxes.

Roger Cyr
Victoria

Victoria candidates, prepare for lower pay

Now that the Victoria civic election is launched, the candidates must be eager to disclose their platforms, as in pay for work.

Since the major job of council is to regulate housing and neighbourhoods, those candidates backing the middle-housing myth will be anxious to give up at least half their salaries if elected.

After all, they want to abrogate their duty by giving unelected planners complete control over all aspects of zoning with no input from taxpayers so, of course, they will want to forgo their pay for a job they will no longer do.

Patrick Murphy
Victoria

We already have a two-tier medical system

Let’s face it. A two-tiered medical system already exists here: those who have a family doctor and those who do not.

Chris Foord
Oak Bay

Thanks, health-care workers, for all you do

It seems to me every day is filled with health-care complaints. Granted, there are many issues, but I wanted to offer my thanks to those workers, especially at the Royal Jubilee Hospital, who have assisted me twice recently with prompt attention, smiles and grace after my recent surgery. In one case, visiting emergency, the other for a CT scan.

I am no one special, yet I felt I was given VIP attention in my opinion and experience. It feels to me like there is some “magic in a bottle” at the Jubilee as all my interaction with staff was positive.

My heartfelt thanks to those in health care for everything you do.

Terry Voth
Victoria

Look at the evidence on COVID in schools

Re: “Don’t blame schools for high COVID rates among B.C. youth: provincial health officer,” Sept. 15.

Given all the comments I see these days about “evidence-based” everything, I am amazed that no one has bothered to look at the evidence in this case.

The pupil-teacher ratio in B.C. is about 18:1, so the pupil-adult ratio (including teachers, aides, secretaries, and custodians) is about 15:1, which provides lots of adults for a comparison.

How does the number of school-employed adults who were infected with COVID compare to the adult population in general? If it’s greater, then being in a school was probably contributory.

If not, then Dr. Bonnie Henry is correct, and being in school was not dangerous to pupils.

And if no one has those numbers at hand (although I think they should have them), then comparing school employees’ rates of absenteeism during COVID to the rates from three years ago will provide a reasonable proxy.

Ian Cameron
Brentwood Bay

Government restricted revenue from rentals

Re: “Vacancy control harms renters,” commentary, Sept. 15.

I have been serving and educating rental housing providers for over 25 years. While I agree with the writer in his focus on Manitoba and the lack of supply in B.C., he missed the most important fundamental point that is causing small landlords to leave the business.

There was a legislated and reasonable rent control formula in place since 2004: Inflation rate plus a two per cent base intended to cover minor maintenance costs. The NDP government removed the two per cent in 2018 and has completed the obliteration of this formula by replacing it with a political decision.

The result has been an average annual “allowable” rent increase of 1.3 per cent a year, not for one year, for each of the five years from 2019 to 2023.

No business can continue to operate with such a restriction on revenue. Rental housing providers face the same rates of cost increases in property taxes, insurance, and labour as do all other businesses.

The difference is the NDP doesn’t prevent any other industry from increasing prices to at least stay in business.

Al Kemp, president
A.G. Kemp & Associates Inc.
Saanich

Don’t let the woke fool you; Poilievre is OK

Re: “Pierre Poilievre fills me with chills,” Sept. 14.

It’s entertaining to see the woke progressives’ hysterical reaction to Pierre Poilievre’s successful leadership bid; the propaganda machine was clearly primed and ready for action.

I don’t know whether the letter-writer is helping to disseminate that propaganda or is merely an indoctrinated acolyte, but she is mistaken on all points.

Taking them in order:

1. It’s absurd to extrapolate “against vaccine mandates” to mean “against vaccination.”

2. The truckers’ convoy wasn’t “violent coercion.’”

3. It’s absurd to conflate Confederate flags with “foreign participation.”

4. Legal firearm owners are statistically less likely to commit any kind of offence than even the public. The vast majority of gun crimes are committed by people who ignore gun laws. Oh, and I rather like the word “freedom.”

5. Reconciliation appears to consist mainly of writing an endless stream of very large cheques. This has to change.

6. I’ll bet the letter-writer $100 that abortion and same-sex marriage rights are not debated.

7. You can’t tax your way to prosperity. Lowering taxes provides more incentive to find work, which gets people off social programs. It increases GDP (and lowers crime), which generates more tax revenue which can be used to fund social programs for those who really need them.

8. I used to regard the CBC as “beloved” too, but not any more. It’s become a woke mouthpiece of the political left and is far from unifying.

9. Let’s invoke the Devil himself: Donald Trump. When you’re as far left as the so-called “progressive” movement, everything else must be branded “far right.” Discussion and debate are forbidden.

M.H. Ward
Victoria

Traffic enforcement is a lower priority

Re: “It’s rare to see traffic laws enforced,” letter, Sept 15.

The letter said there were all kinds of drivers doing dangerous things driving their cars, and nary a police car. It’s become a real social issue.

I retired from Saanich police in 2000. In my 25 years there, the priorities of the force were misdirected.

Traffic enforcement was discouraged. What was encouraged was follow-up from break-and-enters, which was important.

I could go on and on because that letter is so relevant.

Randy Johnson
Sidney

In Saanich, a study on traffic issues

Re: “It’s rare to see traffic laws enforced,” letter, Sept 15.

The letter is 100 per cent correct and they apply equally in Saanich.

I, along with several neighbours, have been in regular contact with Mayor Fred Haynes asking him and his council for help.

His help has been offered in the form of a multi-year study that will avoid any criticism in time for the upcoming election and kick this can down the road, allowing him to say “we have heard you and are working on it.”

There will always be a large segment of the population who see the posted speed as a suggestion only, and not a maximum. They, as a course of driving, go 10 km/h over the posted speed.

Police resources are such that the cost of residential policing is high when compared with highway speed enforcement and other actions, and any revenue generated is much less, due to the volumes, making it a low priority.

In my opinion the most effective way to reduce speeding is with the use of speed calming systems such as speed bumps, traffic circles, chicanes, street narrowing in spots, and visible radar signs.

These are effective and permanent and do work and less costly then the level of policing necessary.

Clearly there are more effective and less costly ways to improve the safety of residential streets.

Brian Reynolds
Saanich

Local candidates must fight intimidation

With most of Victoria council not seeking re-election, and so many candidates entering the race, it seems likely that this year’s municipal elections will be, if not a repudiation, at least a sharp change in direction.

This is, perhaps, to be expected. Those in power are blamed when things go wrong, whether deservedly or not. And the past few years have been exceptionally difficult for us all.

But such frustration also creates fertile ground for an ugly, reactionary politics.

Consider the last year: Effigies of politicians hanged at the legislature. A Pride Month event at a local café cancelled after threat of a shooting. Continuing hostility toward the unhoused, as though people can be criminalized into having homes.

People I know have spoken of being harassed or threatened.

This is ultimately a reflection of our national and international politics, where the new leader of the Conservative party is a man who has marched alongside convoyers (only days after the world heard testimony that Donald Trump wanted to lead the mob in-person on Jan. 6). But local government will have power to damp down the flames in our community — or fan them.

The first responsibility of every candidate must be to confront intimidation as a political tool.

Candidates must commit to repudiating such behaviour; to being transparent with the public to deny conspiracism room to grow; and to avoiding reactionary rhetoric and punitive policies (e.g., “tough on crime”) that will pour fuel on the fire.

Anton Brakhage
Victoria

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