Letters April 16: Better COVID rule enforcement; it's poisoning, not overdosing

Enforcement must be strengthened

The COVID-19 restrictions are reasonable, but where is the enforcement? So easy to enforce the closure of restaurants (how many COVID cases from that source?) but not so easy to stop people travelling or congregating, even in public demonstrations, and certainly not in private places.

Moreover, isn’t it hypocritical, if not totally irrational, that the federal government is giving Air Canada billions while at the same time urging the public not to travel?

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Those of us scrupulously abiding by the restrictions and suffering significantly seem to be enabling the rule-breakers to go scot-free.

Judith Millar

Vaccine’s danger vs. other risks we face

Like most residents in B.C. (or the world) I am an interested observer of the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations in B.C.

I agree with the initial age-based priorities for seniors, and the recently changed priorities to hotspots and front-line workers.

What is causing me most recent concern is the delay in vaccination due to what appears to be very rare issues of blood clot complications in an environment where people continue to die in much greater numbers from COVID due to this disease.

And in the meantime we are killing our economy and putting thousands, if not millions, of Canadians out of work.

I am told to observe all the weekly changing isolation advisories, but I cannot make a well-informed decision to accept all the limited risks of an AstraZeneca or Johnson vaccine versus the risk of getting ill in almost any public setting.

I’d like to chose the former, but can’t. My confidence in government or science looking after my best interests is waning.

I could likely be killed in B.C. with much more certainty driving a car or riding a bike (a risk I freely accept every day) vs. a life-saving vaccination that now is unavailable to me.

Graham Wetter

Horgan’s ‘ton of bricks’ demands real action

Here is what a retired physician thinks that Premier John Horgan should do with his “ton of bricks”:

1. Immediately call a press conference and alert all B.C. residents that we are at war with a sneaky, cunning, insidious enemy called the coronavirus that has infiltrated all segments of society and we are losing the war! All levels of government have done too little, too late. The namby-pamby (“be kind”) approach has not worked.

2. Immediately issue a province-wide “stay at home” order for the next three weeks effective immediately. As demonstrated by New Zealand and Australia, the virus can’t spread if everyone stays at home.

3. The only exceptions to leave the home would be to get groceries, pick up prescriptions, seek urgent medical help or exercise (walk, run, cycle etc.) outdoors maintaining six feet distance from others.

Schools closed immediately for three weeks! Essential services restricted, and if meat-packing plants are deemed essential then all employees must be tested for coronavirus before going to work and weekly thereafter.

4. The police should arrest any rule-breakers and immediately cart them off to jail where they would be released after 24 hours and only after all their fines have been paid.

5. In wartime we don’t allow the enemy into our territory, and so all travel from outside B.C. should stop immediately. That means all airports, etc., into B.C. should be shut down immediately and all land border crossings into B.C. halted. You can’t fly or drive if you are at home!

6. Assign Dr. Penny Ballem to ensure rapid administration of vaccine so that 80 per cent of B.C. residents have received their first dose within three weeks. By then the numbers will be low enough so that testing and tracking can resume effectively, and then gradually start to open up.

Quit blaming the feckless feds for not delivering adequate vaccine to meet the three-week target. Look elsewhere for additional supplies — if Israel can do it, then B.C. can.

Former U.S. president Teddy Roosevelt’s “talk softly and carry a big stick” seems appropriate. We just have forgotten the stick!

Vic Wood, retired MD

AstraZeneca vaccine rollout praised

I would like to give a big “thank you” to the pharmacies that have so quickly geared up to offer those of us in the 55-65 year age range the AstraZeneca vaccine.

One friend was able to get hers last Friday and many more of us will receive it this week.

This will free up space in the queue for younger people to more quickly receive the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

Alanna Wrean

It’s poisoning, it’s not overdosing

Re: “1,724 drug-poisoning deaths in B.C.,” letter, April 14.

Dr. Richard Stanwick’s letter is, finally, an important voice calling the surge in the deaths of the addicted “poisoning” and not “overdose.”

An addict chooses to get high, but because of a toxic drug supply, ends up dying. For years the media refers to this as an overdose, like somehow the addict just did a “little too much.”

That is not the reality that addicts are facing. Their reality is that they are buying and using something poisonous because that is what is available.

It would be wonderful if all addicts could receive the counselling and addiction services that would allow them a different kind of life, but the reality is those services are in short supply.

Long term, as a society we must improve mental health and addiction services, but short term we must eliminate the poisoning.

A wise and just society might think that keeping addicts alive with a safe, regulated supply of narcotics is what we need until we can figure out the counselling and other addiction services that might really make a difference.

What we see now is a blind eye turned to the large-scale poisoning currently occurring on our streets.

Mark R. Fetterly

Grade 10 student made a powerful case

Hooray Samantha! Music to our ears … boo to the trustee music stoppers.

Grade 10 student Samantha Sheaff’s commentary regarding the school trustees cutting music programs was exceptional.

Bravo for letting us know what bad decisions are being made by those who have no feeling for how essential music can be to growth and enjoyment.

Samantha states her case so well it must be rewarded with a overwhelming public outcry.

May I suggest we all offer to donate instruments, cash and free tuition, etc. … and some of those lottery proceeds as well.

If we make enough joyful noise, those obviously tone-deaf automatons who triggered Samantha’s ire might learn to listen to what makes both young and old souls live in greater harmony.

Russell Thompson

Music programs? Cut elsewhere, please

If the Greater Victoria School District is wanting to save money, may I suggest its budget cuts be aimed at things other than music, which is irrefutably and demonstrably beneficial for growing minds.

Why I, and subsequently my children, were ever taught about things like the Peloponnesian War, The Lottery by Shirley Jackson or how to multiply fractions is beyond me.

Now in my 50s, I can look back and see clear, widespread, lasting value in music education. I’m astounded that the school board can’t, while it promotes the interminable shovelling of inconsequential garbage into students’ brains.

How did studying S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders ever help me or my kids?

Colin Gardiner
North Saanich

Vancouver Street change calls for more work

With Vancouver Street being re-configured as a cycling route, a formerly quiet parallel street is being heavily affected.

Heywood Avenue, adjacent to Beacon Hill Park (off of Southgate) now seems to have become a route to bypass Cook Street Village and Vancouver Street, with its new speed bumps and narrow width due to car parking on both sides.

Ideally, Heywood should service only its residents. However, traffic uses Park Boulevard, then right onto Heywood, in a quick detour around the village.

Dump trucks, school buses and many cars now use Heywood, most exceeding the posted 30 km/h speed limit.

Traffic calming would be appreciated, for example, speed bumps the whole length and “for residents only” signage. Our quiet side street is no longer quiet.

John Vanden Heuvel
Cook Street Village

Air Canada bailout means more of the same old, same old

I can’t get my head around the bailout of Air Canada. Here we are in the midst of finding ways of getting off fossil fuels, because hey, global warming, yet by bailing out Air Canada we’re saying that things haven’t changed at all.

Way to go, government for the people.

How bad do things have to be, like the out-of- control pandemic, like extreme weather, like countries at war, like we just don’t look around to see this world is in a real mess, before we do something.

Rebecca Evans
Brentwood Bay

Snail mail? That’s just unfair

I agree we should retire the term “snail mail.” Recently it took three weeks to get a letter delivered and just last week we received somebody else’s financial statement in our mailbox. Fortunately we noticed before opening the envelope.

Based on these experiences it seems unfair to snails to continue using the “snail mail” reference.

S.I. Petersen


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