Letters Aug. 17: Preserving Langford forest, terrific HarbourCats season

Langford forest should remain a forest

Re: “Langford councillors advance development plan for forest, despite residents’ dismay,” July 8.

Langford council and a local developer have an opportunity to be heroes. They could set aside the beautiful 70 acres on Latoria Road as parkland. Or at least a big chunk of it, to benefit the community for years to come.

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We now know climate change is real. Humanity must make big changes quickly. Last year, the work of thousands of international scientists on climate change was published. It recommended immediate and drastic action in order to avoid climate catastrophe.

In recent weeks, a report was published that shows trees are by far the best, cheapest way to mitigate climate disaster.

The study advocates planting one trillion trees around the globe. Ending deforestation, they said, is at least as important.

As our region embraces higher densities, we must plan ahead to preserve trees, and to create more parks for the many more people that will live here.

Yes, we need affordable housing. But even more, we need to keep the planet habitable.

Every politician should be reading the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recommendations. Every person should consider how we can implement them.

What would “drastic action” look like? How about this: governments buy and protect existing forests, like the one up for development in Langford. Old growth forests and mature urban trees should only be removed if all other alternatives have been exhausted. Why? Just one mature tree sequesters more carbon than 200 to 300 saplings. It is not “replaced” by one or two saplings.

How about it, Langford?

Grace Golightly
Frances Litman
Nancy Lane Macgregor
Patricia Johnson
Mariann Burka
On behalf of Community Trees Matter Network

They’ve already apologized this month

Re: “PM in conflict, refuses to apologize,” Aug. 15.

Should we really expect our PM to apologize for Canada’s own SNC-Lavalin Watergate? After all, his party did apologize for the slaughter of thousands of sled dogs. More than one apology per month could reflect badly on a party already known for its bush-league international bungling.

Jim Corder

A terrific HarbourCats baseball season

Congratulations to Jim and Lori Swanson and the entire Victoria HarbourCats organization for their infectious enthusiasm and hard work puttinag together another thoroughly enjoyable summer season of quality baseball and game-day entertainment.

As part of the West Coast League — the “Diamond Standard” of summer collegiate baseball — the HarbourCats are indeed a treasure to the city. Go ’Cats go!

Stan Davis

Our heavy reliance on computers

Re: “Computers are fed by humans,” letter, Aug. 13.

I agree with the letter-writer’s statement that computers “cannot make decisions on their own because they are dependent on us.” I would, however, add one important proviso: “… so far.”

Even as we speak, technologists are working diligently to develop artificial intelligence — machines capable of learning and thinking for themselves. It is no longer so great a leap to imagine a future in which humans are subservient to Terminators or HAL-9000s, which they themselves created.

On second thought, considering how dependent we have become on technology for daily living, perhaps that future is already here.

David MacFadden
Port Alberni

Fear and anxiety about eldercare

With millions being spent on facilities providing eldercare, many questions arise. Providing care, especially for those with dementia, is challenging enough, but has the the design of huge hospital-like buildings been researched adequately?

Other countries such as the Netherlands are successfully building home-like villages.

We see another concrete structure coming soon to Victoria. And where will the necessary and specifically trained staff be found as the numbers and ages of the elders increase? Nurses and care aides from other provinces will find it difficult to find accommodation in Victoria, and salaries may not cover the rent. Time spent providing care is not adequate for complex needs.

Many retirement residences (and some of the residents) have never planned for the progression of needs. As health declines, assisted living becomes intermediate care and long-term care.

People are shuffled further on down the line — having to move yet again, and waiting for months. For many of us headed down this path, the future holds much fear and anxiety. Care where and from whom?

Judith Hodgson

Origin of UN peacekeeping forces

Re: “Cenotaph ceremony to honour peacekeepers,” Aug. 8.

Since United Nations peacekeeping taskings were conceived, Canadian forces have committed to more than 35 UN peacekeeping missions. In so doing our forces have earned well-deserved plaudits internationally.

As noted, Lester Pearson was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his promotion of Canadian troops in the peacekeeping initiative that enabled a truce between Egypt and Israel. Canada led the 1956 to 1967 United Nations emergency force (UNEF I) in Egypt during the Suez crisis, with further participation there from 1973 to 1979 in UNEF II. Both these taskings kept the NATO-critical Suez Canal open.

Seldom noted is the fact that it was the U.S. ambassador to the UN, Henry Cabot Lodge, who had the idea of a UN peacekeeping force. He gave the idea to Lester Pearson, then our federal minister of external affairs.

The success of both UNEF I and II resulted in not only Pearson’s award of the Nobel, but also contributed to both his subsequent selection as leader of the Liberal Party of Canada and later becoming our prime minister.

Middle East confrontations have long weighed heavily on our national politics.

Ron Johnson

Not enough legislature sitting days

When Premier John Horgan was the NDP official opposition leader in B.C., he complained 24/7 that the former B.C. Liberal government did not have enough sitting days in the yearly fall legislature session. On Oct. 3, 2016, he said the B.C. Liberals were a government that did not want to be held accountable. Horgan said the whole notion of parliamentary sittings is to hold the government accountable.

Interesting how things change when Horgan goes from official Opposition leader to being the premier of B.C. When Horgan became premier of B.C. in 2017, he held a fall sitting that lasted 35 days just to prove his comments above.

In 2018, he cut the sitting days down to 29 days and in 2019 the fall sitting will only be for 20 days. Isn’t that amazing, that his words of wisdom have taken a complete 360-degree turn around from when he was the leader of B.C. opposition. Cutting the number of sitting days in the fall legislature is telling the B.C. taxpayers, that John Horgan’s NDP government does not want to be held accountable.

Joe Sawchuk

Many risks associated with cannabis use

Re: “Legalizing pot is proving to be a public-health disaster,” comment, Aug. 11.

Lawrie McFarlane is right on the money when he calls out the legalization of marijuana as a public health disaster.

In 2016, I was called to testify before the federal Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation. I started my presentation with a letter of endorsement from leading world health organizations that supported my opposition to Bill C-45.

I also presented dozens of studies on the risks associated with use, only to be shut down by the chair of the committee, who explained that they were not there to discuss if the country was going to legalize this drug, but rather how.

Key studies of scientific evidence on marijuana risks to reproductive health, on pot-induced psychosis, and of addiction were left unaddressed by the Liberal government. Trudeau rushed the legislation through with help from point people in the Senate, and the Greens and NDP played their part in supporting this reckless change in public-health policy.

Pamela McColl

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