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Letters Sept. 19: Keep your dogs under control; need to help the farmers who feed us; paying the rent

Protesters at Saanich Municipal Hall in June who oppose a proposal to require leashing of dogs in more places. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Respect wildlife, keep your dogs under control

Re: “Owner fined $500 after off-leash dog chases heron at Cadboro Bay Beach,” Sept. 16.

I totally approve of dogs as pets over and above the work they can be trained to do. They provide much needed companionship, and can be used as a means to teach children kindness to and love of animals.

However, humans have a tendency to be blind to anything that falls outside their capacity to control, such as wildlife. Love of animals must extend to all life, not just pets.

Not only for their own sakes but for the ecological services they provide to make this world a liveable place.

So I advise dog owners, if they don’t have complete psychological control over their animals, as some apparently do, to please leash them in places where there is likely to be wildlife, over and above people who may have issues with dogs.

Mary Andrews


Farmers feed us all, so please help them

Re: “Farm-to-consumer cannabis coming to Vic West,” Sept. 16.

Where is the farm and what food is produced for customers? Eggs? Vegetables? Only cannabis you say! A large warehouse to me is not a farm in any sense of the term.

Across Canada small farmers who produce food for our consumption have been struggling to get their micro-grow cannabis plots to produce saleable cannabis without much success.

The idea, and that of the various levels of government, was to allow farmers to continue legitimate farming with a small crop of cannabis to augment their income.

Most have failed to succeed and given up growing cannabis as the prohibitive cost of licences along with the paperwork governments demand is overwhelming.

Also the commercial growers’ reluctance to embrace these farmers has been a factor as well.

I am disappointed that provincial and federal authorities have not stepped up to offer these farmers the guidance and support they need.

Meanwhile the illegal unlicensed growers continue to flourish.

Just remember the farmer feeds us all.

David Caddell


Give the money to the food bank at UVic

The University of Victoria is about to spend more than $25,000 on repainting a crosswalk.

Firstly, by their very nature, crosswalks are a model of inclusivity — reducing risk for all users. Consequently there really is no need for a “dedicated” crosswalk.

Secondly, the UVSS has a student food bank. Perhaps the $25,000 should be directed towards this need. It is somewhat ironic that food vouchers were used as a bribe to attract disinterested students to attend a focus group.

Cathryn Hughes


Give a tax credit to help cover rental costs

Re: “GST to be dropped for construction of rentals,” Sept. 15.

This might provide some relief in future years but absolutely nothing for folks who are hurting now.

It has been suggested that no more than 30-32 per cent of gross income be spent on housing costs, the bulk of which, I imagine would be rent.

It would help if those families, where their rent was more than 32 per cent of the gross family income, received a tax credit, refundable preferred, for the difference. The landlord would need to provide proof of rent paid.

Andrea Racicot

A renter in View Royal

Dog issue costing too much money

Saanich council is proposing to pass a bylaw that will prohibit dogs completely, or require them to be on leash, at the majority of Saanich parks 24/7, year round.

Implementation of this bylaw will cost Saanich taxpayers $5.3 million to $7.1 million with an estimated ongoing operational cost of $800,000. This will pay for new signage, enforcement and fencing at the designated off-leash areas in the proportionately few parks where dogs will be permitted off leash.

The CRD advises that excluding Gyro/Cadboro Bay park there have only been 182 dog related complaints in all of Saanich parks within the last year. (I’ve excluded Gyro/Cadboro Bay as there is a particularly passionate resident there reporting regularly; this is not representative of the general volume of complaints in Saanich parks.)

Without a proper democratic process, including consultation with impacted stakeholder groups (all Saanich residents!), council cannot possibly know whether the majority of Saanich residents support this bylaw and the associated expenditure.

There are much higher priorities where this money would be better spent.

Leslee Bolin


Saanich should reconsider pets plan

It is not surprising that the Saanich People, Pets and Parks strategy and proposed changes to animal bylaws have generated significant energy and response.

This is due to the manner in which the strategy and proposed bylaws have been developed. There has not been opportunity for people with various needs and views to come together as a working group to develop a fair and balanced strategy.

This has led to conflict and discord in our community that could have been avoided.

This is not about the “rights of dogs.” It is about the rights of dog owners who walk their dogs off-leash and those who have concerns about off-leash dogs.

Both have legitimate rights and ­concerns that need to be addressed. The problem with the proposed bylaws is that they do not balance the rights of both groups, will add significantly to our ­taxpayer burden, are not based on ­accurate information, and if passed, will lead to continued conflict between ­citizens.

Saanich Mayor and Council are considering significant restrictions that will ­disproportionately impact citizens who need and enjoy walking their dog off-leash (for the mental and physical well‑being of themselves and their dogs).

There are solutions that will meet the needs of all citizens. Given the amount of feedback this issue is generating, clearly Saanich must step back and take time to redevelop the PPP strategy and animal bylaws.

John Braun


Thanks for the great health care experience

Re: “Put someone else in charge of health care,” letter, Sept. 15.

In light of all the angst, blame spreading and thinly veiled partisan politician bashing vis-à-vis our health care system, I’d just like to say the following.

This past Monday I went to Royal ­Jubilee Hospital for a total knee replacement that thankfully happened as scheduled and went just as prescribed.

Between the folks at Rebalance and the various professionals that I interacted with at the hospital, to a man and women each and everyone was most cheerful, helpful and obviously proficient in their various duties.

I believe I was given world class “service” – so here’s a shout out to all of you – cheers!

No doubt there’s always room for improvements in a system that’s constantly running at the redline, but it was reassuring that it works once in a while!

Phil Smith

View Royal

Red-light rules and human behaviour

As noble as the ideas about no turns on red lights are, there is a stark reality to this. Over a month ago the corner of ­Watkiss Way and Burnside Road was changed to stop right turns on red that would cross the Galloping Goose crossing (only after a cyclist was seriously injured by a car making a right turn on red).

Still, 10 to 20 cars per hour make now illegal right turns on red and you can double the infractions if you add cyclists crossing illegally.

I have twice seen a West Shore RCMP officer in a vehicle observing the corner and both times the officer strictly observed their cellphones while car after car made illegal turns right in front of them with no action.

The sad reality is that bad human behaviour will continue no matter what we do.

Scott Clark

View Royal

Food price strategy is just hypocrisy

Maybe it’s just me, but are there others totally frustrated by the Trudeau government’s brazen hypocrisy when it comes to stabilizing food prices?

First of all, so nice of these slumbering summer slackers to finally tumble out of their holiday hammocks to take note of their cascading poll numbers to address an issue — yes.

But only after consumers have already endured endless months of stratospheric food prices! Of course the real Liberal goal is but a self-serving SOS ­(political Souls) and has little at all to do with empathy for Canadian consumers pummelled for too long by high food prices.

Secondly, isn’t this the same government that in June passed through to the Senate the Bloc-sponsored Bill C-282 (‘C’ for Cartel !), an amendment to our trade act to further enshrine Canada’s dairy cartel?

By means of the government-sanctioned supply management system, consumers are forced to pay the cartel’s exorbitant prices for poultry and dairy products which comprise up to 20 per cent of an average grocery bill.

Trudeau’s attempt to mollify the Canadian consumer by finally asking the ­grocery industry to stabilize prices is based on sheer self-interest, oh, and on a milk truck full of udder hypocrisy too.

But maybe it’s just me.

Gordon Zawaski


B.C.’s health-care issues should make us mad

I was horrified to read that Health Minister Adrian Dix was reported to say the overcrowding and overnight closures of hospital emergency rooms was the new norm.

This is diabolical from a politician who probably ran for election on the proviso of making a difference.

It is funny how many people run for elected office because they want to make a difference, but then find there are all sorts of barriers to doing just that.

The COVID pandemic certainly showed how unprepared we were for such an event. It’s the old thinking that nothing like that will happen here, so we don’t need to prepare.

Population data systems can educate anyone in a position of leadership how the various demographics of population are going to change over the decades, therefore there ought to be no surprises when population demographics alter, such as aging over younger age groups.

Planning opportunities seem to go ignored until there is a panic. Then it is too late.

Health care, education and housing are all prime examples. However trades personnel have also been ignored; salaries commensurate with cost of living; climate change.

While everything we do costs money, and we all have to live within a budget, many people work two or three jobs just to make ends meet.

It is time to increase taxes of those in the high earning levels. If corporations don’t want to pay higher taxes then they can move as they obviously don’t care enough about the ordinary person.

Like Premier David Eby said he was white with anger over a dangerous criminal being out on day parole with no supervision, I wish he was also “white with anger,” as I am, over the crisis British Columbians are experiencing today .

Ann Maffey


$50,000 for an infraction is far too high

Re: “Saanich presses pause on plan to restrict off-leash dogs in park,” Sept. 13.

Another point Saanich council might want to consider during its two-week “paws” for thought is its decision to level a maximum fine of $50,000 for contravention of its proposed off-leash restrictions.

The maximum fine for almost all summary offenses in Canada is $5,000, not $50,000. This includes the summary offenses of public nudity, trespassing, causing a public disturbance, taking an auto without consent, and carrying a weapon while attending a public meeting.

Does council really believe that walking a dog off-leash in an unsanctioned area comprises a civic violation that merits a fine 10 times higher than these other acts of civic disobedience?

Did Saanich mean to make the maximum fine $5,000, but missed a typo – yet another example of inadequate preparation behind the amendment that was posted to the public just four days before council met on Sept. 11?

Or is council actually trying to terrify people into submission, rather than drawing them by persuasion and good governance towards greater community consensus and social harmony?

Stephen Slemon


Auditor needs to check provincial accounts

Funding for health care is sufficient in Canada. The problem we hear that there is not enough funds for health care is because the federal government is not doing a follow up to see that their health-care money transfers to the provincial governments are actually going into the Ministry of Health bank accounts.

The federal government transfers money to the provincial governments, which deposit these transfers in the general revenue accounts.

The federal government has send auditors to each provincial Ministry of Finance office and check to see if the health-care money transfers were actually used for health care.

We can assume that all provincial governments are not putting these funds totally into health care, and keeping the balance of the total in general revenue to pay for other expenses not related to health care.

The federal government must do a paper trail audit on the provincial governments to make sure that all health-care transfer funds go directly into the Ministry of Health bank accounts.

Joe Sawchuk



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