Letters Aug. 16: Trudeau’s behaviour, free bus rides, waterfront development

Trudeau has shallow grasp of his duty

Re: “Trudeau breached Conflict of Interest Act, says ethics commissioner,” Aug. 14.

Apparently our prime minister has a very shallow grasp of his duty to all of us. As the principal lawmaker of our land, he should uphold a fundamental tenet of Canadian social order — the rule of law.

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Instead, he thinks his primary duty is to save jobs and will subvert the administration of justice to do that. Fortunately for Canada, we had a stellar guardian of justice in then-attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould. Her reward for being right was to lose both her job and her party.

Trudeau’s caucus should invite a true leader and woman both of principle and judgment back into the Liberal fold. Unlike the present incumbent, she would make an excellent prime minister.

F. Kenneth Walton, QC

Stay the course on free bus rides for youth

Re: “ ‘No’ to region-wide free youth transit; Victoria going ahead,” Aug. 14.

Congratulations Victoria on staying the course and keeping your “heads out of the sand” regarding free youth busing. The region, however, is “missing the boat” with voting it down. You might even discover how economical it is if you don’t require the necessity of bus passes. Just let the kids walk on.

If you need to, issue passes for the “questionable” age group, say age 15 and above. The school system (a.k.a. taxpayers) can save money when teachers take their classes across town for events during the slow times in mid-day.

The environment saves the impact of the use of multiple automobile transportation. The youth riders of today become accustomed to using buses and become the paying adults of the future. Good luck with your quest!

Doug Boulter
Kingston, Ont.

Paying passengers should get seats

Now that Victoria has approved this controversial move of free bus passes for youth, one would hope the grateful young riders would, without having to be asked, give up their seats to their elders (the paying passengers) who might be standing.

Perhaps the transit commission could enact a policy that if you pay, you get to sit.

David and Jacqueline Sheppard
Mill Bay

Where bike-lane money is coming from

Re: “Kudos to Victoria council for bike lanes,” letter, Aug. 14.

A correction to my Aug. 14 letter. I erred in stating that the next phase of Victoria’s cycling network will be funded only through the federal Gas Tax Fund. While most of the $6.6 million will come from a Gas Tax Fund allocation, the Vancouver Street improvements will be partly funded by a Federation of Canadian Municipalities Climate Innovation Program grant, and project funding will also include development cost charges as appropriate.

Victoria is also applying for a Bike B.C. grant for the Harbour Road protected bike lanes.

Again, kudos to Victoria council and staff for their great work securing external funding for this important project.

Graham Briggs

Benefits of bike lanes somewhat mystifying

Re: “Kudos to Victoria council for bike lanes,” letter, Aug. 14.

As the letter-writer points out correctly, the funding for the bike lanes needed to be targeted to infrastructure and could not be for other uses such as policing. Yet when it comes to public money, there is only one source for it.

The benefits that the writer claims these bike lanes will bring are somewhat mystifying.

“Help make our streets safer for all.” Separating certain types of traffic from others is safer. I get that. But it is at the expense of other traffic (car, pedestrian).

“Increase the percentage of people who bike” and “reduce the percentage of people who drive.” Expected, but will there be proof?

“Reduced fossil fuel emission.” The recent bike lane additions have increased my partner’s commute to downtown by five to seven minutes each way. I have to think this impact is not isolated to just our experience.

These funds could not be used for policing, but it could have been used for other infrastructure projects. Which possibly could be of greater benefit to the city, but perhaps less flashy or less anyone’s pet projects.

I don’t know what I think of investing so much into bike lanes. It certainly does make it safer for some. Yet, it complicates how we move about, and if we don’t all follow the rules, there can be fatal results. These changes come at considerable cost not only now but also for maintenance and repairs in the future.

Bill Pybus

Macdonald visited, still a carpetbagger

Re: “Conversations about the past can be tricky,” comment, Aug. 7.

Thanks to the letter-writer who pointed out that Sir John A. Macdonald did eventually visit Victoria, in 1886. When I claimed in my recent letter that he had never even set foot in Victoria and was a classic parachute candidate, I should also have specified that I was referring to when he was campaigning and serving as MP for Victoria.

His later visit was ceremonial, and did nothing to remedy the fact that his 1878 election by the Conservative party machine, in his absence, was a cynical piece of carpetbagging.

He represented Conservative party bosses, not Victorians.

The statue erected in his honour in 1982 by a Conservative association arrived without public consultation, never mind consultation with any of the First Nations communities that his policies helped dismantle.

In his opinion piece, Patrick Wolfe claims that we should not be so eager to judge past figures by current standards. Carpetbagging was carpetbagging in the 19th century, and that negative term was invented then to describe it.

Decimating Indigenous communities (for whatever reason) was just as genocidal in the 19th century as in the 20th, as D.W. Higgins’ 1905 book The Passing of a Race and More Tales of Western Life documented over a century ago. Righteous indignation is not always self-righteous.

Andrew Gow

Origins of the term ‘First Nations’

Re: “ ‘First Nations’ versus ‘First Arrivals,’ ” letter, Aug. 13

I’m happy to clarify that the term First Nations is indeed “very Canadian.”

It originated at a time when we used to talk about Canada having two “founding nations” — the French and the English.

Indigenous leaders pointed out that they had, in fact, been here first and that given that there are many Indigenous nations (a.k.a. “bands”) they would like to be known collectively as Canada’s First Nations. Makes sense to me.

Pieta VanDyke

Too much building on Victoria’s waterfront

Re: “New Gonzales Beach retaining wall upsets some neighbours,” Aug. 13.

There are two obtrusive developments in progress that have destroyed the natural foreshore of Victoria’s only sandy beach, our beautiful Gonzales Bay.

The city is behind the times in taking the environmental concerns of the population into account when approving these monstrosities.

How many more of these developments do we want on Victoria’s waterfront?

Madeline Rigg

Kudos to our lion-hearted cops

Re: “Police use stun gun to subdue emu on the lam in Chemainus,” Aug. 14.

For their dogged pursuit of Mr. Emu on the lam and preventing a cat-astrophe. They soar above mice and men, and above bad metaphors, protecting We the Sheep from lupine behaviour of angry birds.

Hopefully other critters will not emulate this animal-rights freedom activist.

Barkingly yours,

S.M. Shuler

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