Letters April 29: The value of dandelions; travel restrictions; praise for RCMP officer

Enforce restrictions across the board

Re: “Will new travel restrictions actually make a difference?” column, April 25.

With the glaring inconsistencies in the way that COVID-19 restrictions are being implemented, it is difficult to have confidence that these measures will keep us safe. Faith in the people making the rules is eroded every time the activities of some people are curtailed while other groups are allowed to do whatever they want with impunity.

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“The level of enforcement (by police), if any, is unclear,” reported the Vancouver Sun about the massive gathering of anti-mask protesters contravening public health orders at Sunset Beach last week.

Meanwhile, according to Les Leyne, the B.C. government is ready to give special powers to police to turn back drivers and issue fines for non-essential travel.

It is unconscionable that this welcome and necessary get-tough approach is not as equally or rigorously applied to super-spreader events that probably pose a bigger threat to public safety than irresponsible travellers.

If there was a murderer in our midst, randomly gunning down innocent people in the street, our police would be quick to act, demanding that all citizens go home and stay there — without exception.

But right now, there is a microscopic killer causing illness and death in our communities. The only ways to defeat it are vaccinating the population and enforcing COVID restrictions consistently across the board.

Doreen Marion Gee
Victoria

RCMP officer deserves praise

Re: “Island RCMP officer recognized for reconciliation work with First Nations,” April 27.

How very refreshing to hear about RCMP Const. Chris Voller’s support and work with the First Nations peoples. Congratulations to them both.

Sadly, negative press and commentary with respect to policing south of us, and here in Canada has been the norm lately.

This story reminds us that the vast majority of our policing women and men go to work everyday with one primary goal; to protect us, keep us safe and help us when we are in need.

Often, like is the case here, they go well beyond that demanding role to assist and support us in other ways. Thank you Const. Voller! You are credit to the profession you serve and the citizens you assist every day.

John Stevenson
Victoria

B.C.’s two-tiered medical system

We have, for years, had a two-tiered medical system — one for those fortunate enough to have a family doctor and one for those who, through no fault of their own, do not.

The difference in health care between the two tiers is enormous. Your family doctor knows you, will schedule you for appointments, keeps track of your health and records, makes informed decisions and can, if need be, advocate for you.

If you have no family doctor, it is up to you to try to find a walk-in clinic and try to get an appointment with a doctor who, most likely, only wants to address an urgent need. They don’t know you and there is no follow through.

My dog has a wonderful vet and I have a very good dentist. These are services I pay for and I would be happy to pay to have a family doctor.

Premier John Horgan didn’t mention this health crisis in discussing the budget. I guess he has a family doctor.

I don’t know how to fix this but the few government clinics they have opened to address the problem are over- subscribed. They won’t even take you on a waiting list. And the walk-in clinics are full right after they open.

Really? I’m supposed to have terrible health care because my family doctor retired a decade ago?

Jeanne Shoemaker
Victoria

Two sides to the mask debate

I shall be sorry when I am no longer required to wear a mask. For the past year, I have not had to take time every day to apply makeup or even to redden my lips. What a relief.

But best of all, I have been able to hide the wrinkles that have been developing as I’ve aged. In fact, even after I’ve had my two vaccinations and eventually become COVID-free, I’m tempted not to let on and continue covering my face. Until, instead of being criticized for not doing so, I may be ostracized because I look foolish.

Just goes to show there are two sides to every story.

Patricia Mortimer
Victoria

Balance kids now, the budget can wait

As an elementary school parent, I am disgusted at the draft budget released by the Greater Victoria School District.

First I read the drastic cuts being made to the middle school music program. Arts and music are crucial to children’s well-being and development.

Particularly for kids not embodying the norm, a creative outlet may mean the difference between surviving school and thriving.

Music is also of unique benefit to brain function. Science demonstrates that early musical instruction results in improved brain development, reaction time, sensory input organization and more.

My disgust deepened, learning of the cuts to the number of education assistant (EA) hours, a number already far too few.

EAs are vital to ensuring the smooth running of a classroom and safety of each child therein. With the intense isolation and strain children experience during the pandemic — which has seen rising numbers in self-harm, suicide and addiction in adults — we must expect more challenging behaviours from children struggling to cope, not less.

I witness this first-hand, as problematic behaviours arise repeatedly from children struggling to regulate themselves during an impossibly difficult time. Caring, skilled educators and administrators struggle, too, stretched thin, running out of both solutions and resources. They are forced to do their best with what they have, which is already embarrassingly meagre.

It is unthinkable to take more from our children, who have lost so much, and need our help now more than ever.

Beth Carswell
Vic West

Dandelions delight, and help save birds

Re: “How can we control all those weeds?” letter, April 27.

Unlike the letter writer who deplores seeing dandelions, I rejoice. Dandelions have many virtues. Their flaw, I think, is they are not native. Even so, they have many good qualities.

From a strictly esthetic view, their sunny yellow flowers early in spring gladden the hearts of many. I encourage the letter writer to attempt this view.

Then, too, those early dandelions are essential support for early bees who need nectar and pollen when it’s still chilly and little else is flowering. The native flowers that would have done that job are far and few between in this highly altered landscape. The letter writer despairs of not having pesticides ready to hand to fix the dandelion problem. Hallelujah! Poisoning the grounds around us, our own habitat, is devastating to the ecosystem that supports life around us, and us, too.

Do you like songbirds? Pesticides kill their food; don’t use them. Do you like butterflies? Pesticides kill them; don’t use them. Pesticides are implicated in harming domestic pets, resulting in family tragedies when beloved pets become sick and die much too soon.

Dandelions aren’t so bad. Please reconsider and accept that many people enjoy dandelions, for many reasons. Be happy.

Ann Tiplady
Oak Bay

Leave dandelions, they are not the enemy

Re: “How can we control all those weeds?” letter, April 27.

Short answer: you should not.

I used to buy into the propaganda (ever since the Second World War) from pesticide companies that dandelions are bad and must be eradicated.

However, I realized some time ago it is time to stop viewing these plants as the enemy; they are a great source of food not only for humans (all parts of this plant are edible) but also for insects.

It’s particularly crucial for bees and other pollinators in the late winter-spring when they need food. Why would we want to take their food away for the sake of “neat and tidy”?

The cruel COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a number of issues that are important to the survival of the human race. The war on dandelions is not one of those issues!

Barbara Irwin
Victoria

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