Letters April 10: Learning from Australia; skip the euphemisms; making Victoria better

Can we learn from the Australian example?

A note from my daughter in New South Wales on March 29: Her mother-in-law was expected to be arriving from Brisbane, Queensland, in the next few days, but the city and surrounding hot spots had gone into a three-day lockdown because of an outbreak of eight community transmitted COVID cases.

Eight. At the same time, other Australian states, including New South Wales, imposed restrictions on travel from Queensland.

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This week, I sent my daughter a note reporting 4,000 new cases in B.C. over the Easter weekend. The response from Down Under: “Zero here.”

The lockdown ended, her mother-in-law is visiting and they’re off on a wine tour in the nearby Hunter Valley; all bittersweet for my other daughter, who has not had anyone outside immediate family in her Ontario home for a year.

Granted, Australia does not share a lengthy and porous international border as we do.

Still, goods and people do enter the country and anyone arriving from abroad automatically spends two weeks in a quarantine hotel.

The Canadian government and our good Dr. Bonnie Henry will be well aware of the Australian example.

It has been more than two years since I’ve seen my southern hemisphere daughter and grandchildren, and I worry that if we don’t soon get tougher on travel to and from the Island and the province, it could be a lot longer.

Gery Lemon
View Royal

Dr. Henry, spare me the euphemisms

With all due respect to Dr. Bonnie Henry, I am sick of hearing very serious issues called “challenges” and potentially deadly and spreadable variants called “concerning.”

Call a spade a spade and instead of worrying about alarming the public, stop minimizing and start dealing.

We need to take more measures, not fewer. We need to take steps to stop tourism to Vancouver Island, stop the spread of the contagion through arriving travellers as well as imposing more serious consequences for people who flout cautions and put others at risk.

Things aren’t improving. They are getting worse and it is far more than challenging and concerning.

It is deadly.

Launa Palset
Victoria

Take a hard stand to stop the pandemic

I’m pretty sure people worldwide are fed up with COVID-19. Those countries that have leaders that are willing to come down hard, to do what needs to be done to stop the spread, should be applauded.

In Canada, COVID is out of control. First our seniors, the older population, people with compromised health.

Now it’s younger people. Still our leaders don’t take a hard stance.

If we had done the lockdowns right, we wouldn’t be in the midst of this pandemic quagmire. Open, close, open too soon, close but not tight, open again, close again. We’re all fed up and tired.

Let’s do the hard stance. Lock this country down so tight that COVID has no place to go but gone.

It’s not OK to spread COVID when you think you are entitled and do not wear a mask, it’s not OK to travel and bring back variants. It’s not OK.

How many more people have to die?

Rebecca Evans
Brentwood Bay

Another day of too many COVID cases

Like Canada, Australia is a federation with a strong central government with a similar population. And like Canadian cities, Australian cities constantly rank in the top 10 of the world’s most liveable.

But unlike Canada, Australia implemented an early draconian hardline response to the pandemic resulting in low COVID numbers and a quick return to normalcy.

The equivalent of our provinces, Australian states not only restricted intrastate travel within the country, but at times, travel between geographic regions of the same state — complete with road checkpoints and enforcement by police.

Although our government’s response to the pandemic has been commendable in a North American context, as our numbers on Vancouver Island climb to record highs, it’s sometimes difficult to understand (notwithstanding the constitutionality) why our province has not adapted similar hardline tactics.

Dave Nonen
Victoria

Honorary degree for Thunberg is wrong

The University of British Columbia is giving Greta Thunberg an honorary degree.

Thunberg is an activist demanding the world address the effects of fossil-fuel use, carbon dioxide and general air pollution.

Current activism uses whatever confronting activity necessary to promote opinions on climate concerns. In this case confronting world leaders, world population and world opinion against the fossil fuel industry.

Thunberg champions a commendable ideology drawing many to the cause. However, I object to the method of intimidating people to that narrow cause without discussion on its effects on world economics.

The young are especially influenced. Thunberg was well tutored to deliver a speech to the United Nations Assembly. That performance was well orchestrated with an audacious tone spewing fierceness to an adult audience of captive world leaders.

Her main promotion is to call upon world youth to walk out from their classes in order to join demonstration protests. It is wrong to perpetuate demonstrations every week, drawing students from education institutions.

Public schools and universities are education facilities. Drawing out students is a cost to our system. Youthful protesters are drawn to excitement of causes without understanding social effects and consequences.

Man’s ingenuity and creativity will solve the climate problems. Not from the influences from foreign environmental groups who dabble in our governance and economy.

I do not support these disruptions, nor should UBC honour people who do. Canada is filled with green plants consuming carbon. We are a small population contributing less than two per cent of world pollution.

We are not the problem globally. Honour our efforts, not loud speculators.

Bruce E. Hornidge
Port Alberni

Progressive council is making Victoria better

Re: “Give high marks to Victoria council,” letter, April 7.

I too appreciate the recent op-eds and letters acknowledging the positive actions that Mayor Lisa Helps and the duly-elected, progressive majority on Victoria council are taking.

These changes to make our city more livable, walkable, and bikable — and thus more socially, culturally, and economically vibrant — are long overdue. Allocation of scarce public street space is wildly out of balance in favour of private cars and against everyone and everything else.

The humanitarian disaster of homelessness and untreated mental illness and addiction unfolding in our streets and parks is not the fault of Victoria council. Health and housing are mainly provincial and federal responsibilities.

This disaster is due mainly to decades of cuts to social programs by right-wing governments to pay for tax cuts that mostly benefit the rich.

Despite some recent funding improvements, the provincial and federal governments are still not addressing this humanitarian crisis with the adequate disaster response that is needed.

Naturally, Victoria councillors sometimes make blunders.

But overall, I say kudos to mayor and council for doing a great job during these incredibly challenging times, and staying focused on making our city more sustainable, vibrant, and people-centred.

Graham Briggs
Victoria

Decisions on bike lanes boggle the mind

What is the thought process when new bike lanes in Victoria are considered? Do Mayor Lisa Helps and council members look at data over many decades and figure out where collisions between drivers of vehicles and cyclists have taken place? I doubt it.

It boggles the mind that Richardson Street and Kimta Road are going to be altered in any way whatsoever while Gorge Road East is clearly a death trap for cyclists.

Likewise, the new bike routes for Jubilee, Oaklands and Fernwood seem to fall into many critics’ favourite category: solutions in search of a problem.

Is Gorge Road East not getting the attention it deserves because nobody running the show in Victoria uses that road to cycle into work?

It would be illuminating for the Times Colonist to provide a map for its readers that indicates approximately where our mayor and council members live in relation to the bicycle routes that have been approved.

Trevor Amon
Victoria

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