Letters April 30: Where Macdonald belongs; involuntary care; lab assistants’ pay

Macdonald belongs in Royal B.C. Museum

Re: “Macdonald belongs in Bastion Square,” letter, April 28.

Let us support Mayor Lisa Helps and suggest that an ideal place for the statue of John A. Macdonald is the Royal B.C. Museum, where historical artifacts are housed.

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Placing the statue in the museum along with an accurate, as possible, description of Macdonald, his government and policies will provide a learning opportunity for all of us.

It is not only time to take the statue out of storage; it is time we learn the positive and negative policies of his actions and as the adage says, “learn from our past”.

By placing the statue in a public place such as Bastion Square, we are venerating the man and everything he stood for, forgetting that not everyone benefited from his actions and that such statues can be hurtful reminders of a past that favoured certain privileged groups over others.

I am not a fan of cancel culture, but rather a believer that it is time we learn and be given an accurate depiction of our history and not maintain a colonial account of it that still exists within our society and educational institutions.

What better place to learn about the history of all who made our nation what it is today than in a museum.

The Royal B.C. Museum is the perfect venue for learning where history is presented in a context that allows for a broader understanding of not only ­Macdonald, but all who played a ­significant role in the development of Canada.

Susanne Holunga
Victoria

Put Macdonald into a museum

Re: “Macdonald belongs in Bastion Square,” letter, April 28.

The John A. Macdonald statue should be relocated to a museum where the full context of the “much postiveness” and “some negative postioning” can be fully explained.

Public spaces should be reserved for celebrating inspirational people who have achieved without the detriment to others, people like Terry Fox for example.

Blake Crouch
Esquimalt

Do not rush return of Sir John A.

Re: “Macdonald belongs in Bastion Square,” letter, April 28.

I attended all the reconciliation dialogues hosted by the City of Victoria before COVID-19 prevented their continuation.

They were very popular, even having to move to larger facilities. Many learning and discussion opportunities were offered, about Canada’s and British Columbia’s relationship with First Nations, as a result.

I did not have the impression that, as the writer stated, the statue was “placed in some dark and dusty place in 2018 without any public input or pubic understanding of its relocation site.”

My understanding was that the city would follow up the relocation and appropriate signage, acknowledging all the contributions (including those seen as both good and bad) of Sir John A. Macdonald after input from the public and at such events as mentioned.

As important as this is, I don’t think a relocation decision should be rushed.

The city is already being severely ­criticized for acting, or not, on so many other issues that to me have a higher priority.

My hope is that when it’s possible again the series of reconciliation dialogues will continue.

They offer an effective way for the public to participate and perhaps even open their eyes to new ways of seeing.

There might also be less likelihood of backlash over whatever decision is then about the statue and its signage.

Lorna Rennie
Victoria

Historical statues could be explained

Re: “Macdonald belongs in Bastion Square,” letter, April 28.

Rather than attempting to erase history perhaps we should simply provide pertinent information, both the good and not so good.

In the case of Sir John A. Macdonald’s statue, a suitable plaque explaining his two-dimensional life would be appropriate.

This would provde a balanced and accurate historical reflection on the impact his life had on our nation.

Tony Southwell
Victoria

They need help to make their own decisions

Re: “We need to offer involuntary care, but as a last resort,” commentary, April 27.

It breaks my heart to see someone’s brother, father, sister or mother out on the street being avoided and feared.

Julian Daly sums up the fact that there are some who are so unwell that they will need extra help to be able to get back their equilibrium so that they can make decisions for themselves.

Thank you, Julian Daly of Our Place, who has frontline experience, for saying what needs to be said.

Wendy Wardle
Cadboro Bay

Involuntary care is the best answer

Re: “We need to offer involuntary care, but as a last resort,” commentary, April 27.

As a social service provider, it took courage for Julian Daly to make this, as he put it, “provocative and to some controversial” recommendation.

It also took insight, experience, and a deep concern for those most marginalized.

Most of us agree the old institutions were inhumane. However, the need for a new and improved complex care system for the small but impactful set of people we see suffering on the streets is undeniable.

For many, a stable address is the base from which their life-changing journey begins.

For some with severe trauma, mental illness, and/or addiction, however, there is need for involuntary, 24-hour, secure care to properly support their journey to recovery.

For this small group, the current model of community-based services is simply insufficient. Tertiary care, managed on a human scale, with the goal of independent living is missing from our community’s offerings.

It is a critical we strike a balance between accommodating individual rights and protections, and preventing our present reality: People dying in despair – and literally dying – in the streets.

These are our neighbours, family, and friends, and we are failing them.

Those in political office will tread carefully in exploring this idea, and there will be strong voices against it; but when government steps into this arena to consider involuntary care, I am confident they will find much of the public is already there.

Jeff Bray
Executive director
Downtown Victoria Business Association
and co-chair, Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness

Victoria city council priorities questioned

Re: “Loss of cops will change ACT team response to volatile clients,” Jack Knox, April 28.

The discussion of the outcome of Victoria council’s rejection of the budget request to permanently fund the trained plainclothed police officers who accompany the Island Health Assertive Community Treatment teams is missing an assessment of the funding priorities of council.

It seems funds are readily available for endless bike lanes, the changes to Clover Point that most citizens do not seem to want, and the like, but $243,000 can’t be found for these very successful teams that “provide medical care, psychiatric help, access to housing and help managing medication and money,” which puts this model program in jeopardy.

Given the well-publicized situation on these issues, the priorities of Victoria council are really difficult to comprehend. Is there no way they can be held accountable for their actions, or in this case inaction?

Terry McGinty
Victoria

Start the repair by removing the sign

Here is a concise recent history of homelessness in Victoria: A few years ago, there was a small, Victoria-sized problem; now there is a huge, too-big-for-Victoria mess.

What happened? Some local messiah-wannabes decided to “solve” the small problem. Who can forget the mayor’s declaration, ‘We’re going to make homelessness history!’

How’s that working out?

Now, in addition to the giant problem, we have its complements of unsafe parks, distressed neighbourhoods, and crime — including violent resistance to attempts at policing.

In her April 27 commentary, Victoria Coun. Sarah Potts, while casting blame at others, proclaimed that by next month the problem will be solved. I bet she’s off by about a mile, but in any case, we should know soon.

For now, the first need is to stop it from getting worse. Taking down the “Homeless come here” sign would be a good start.

Michel Murray
Saanich

Own a house here? Then take the ferry

Re: “A serious idea for cutting ferry ­traffic,” letter, April 28.

Good news (bad news) about millionaires in our region: If B.C. Ferries were to permit passage to millionaires only, most homeowners in the capital region and the Lower Mainland would qualify!

Mark Brown
Victoria

Pay lab assistants what they are worth

I recently retired as a medical lab assistant (MLA) for Island Health after nearly 20 years. When I read the the claim that the average wage for MLAs is $60,000, I burst out laughing.

In what region does an MLA make $60,000 per year? Certainly not Vancouver Island!

Please let me know and I will seriously consider moving there to re-enter the workforce and help with the shortage.

MLAs employed at Island Health (those that take your blood in hospitals, ERs and outpatient labs) have been playing catch-up since 2004, when the government cut their wages by 15 per cent. They make just over $25 per hour. Working full time, the gross pay would be just over $49,000 per year.

And this is only since the latest negligible increase as of this month. Lifelabs advertises wages of $25 per hour.

There is no chance of “moving up the ladder” to a higher paying position, because there simply are none that exist without completely returning to school and choosing a new career in a different area.

To become a MLA has become incredibly expensive, with a one-year, full-time program (at Camosun College) that costs more than $14,000 for Canadian and over $21,000 for international students. It includes a seven-week unpaid practicum. How does one pay this debt and still live in the capital region?

The answer to why there is a lab staff shortage is obvious. They are simply not paid enough for the conditions in which they work, the responsibilities they have to their patients, and the hours they cover.

Joanell Storm
Brentwood Bay

Editorial message is long overdue

Re: “Our travel restrictions are too little, too late,” editorial, April 30.

The editorial gets two reactions from me:

1. Bravo. It’s right on target.

2. Another headline: “The Times Colonist editorial on travel restrictions is too little, too late”.

Myer Horowitz
Victoria

Sending cars to the old cycle routes

I’ve ridden Richardson Street to Oak Bay many times and never had a problem. I have more commonly ridden Fairfield Road into town. Fairfield is already a busy road, diverting cars from Richardson onto Fairfield will make my bike riding less safe, not more.

Vancouver Street? Of all the streets to choose, the one with the biggest hills! How is that supposed to encourage anyone to ride a bike?

The irony is that as the streets that used to be the best routes for cars get clogged up due to bike lanes, side roads I used to use exclusively when riding my bike have become my go-to routes to efficiently get around when driving a car.

Malcolm Dew-Jones
Victoria

Careful what your cat eats when outside

Warning to all owners of indoor pet cats. Our beautiful loving flame point Himalayan cat Sugar Baby had to be euthanized because she ate the leaves of a Peace Lily plant, which destroyed her kidneys.

Lilies of any species are very toxic to cats. I was unaware of this fact to my regret and sorrow.

Bill McIlwraith
Brentwood Bay

Property tax deferment will be more costly

I just received my property tax deferment statement. The interest rate has been raised from 0.45 per cent to 1.95 per cent, an increase of 433.3 per cent.

I don’t remember Premier John Horgan holding a press conference on this topic. Sure didn’t see this coming. So much for assisting seniors to stay in their homes..

David Heard
Mill Bay

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