Letters Aug. 18: Decriminalize drug possession, truth about ICBC

Time to regulate supply, decriminalize possession

Re: “Island Health extends drug overdose advisory amid surge in incidents,” Aug. 16.

It’s upsetting to see Island Health extend the latest overdose advisory amid a surge of overdoses in the last couple of weeks. Don Evans, CEO of Our Place, hits the nail on the head when he says government needs to take the next big step. In the face of an overdose crisis that continues to take the lives of loved ones, especially youth, we need to look to regulating the drug supply and decriminalizing the possession of all drugs, as has been recommended by B.C.’s top health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry.

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This isn’t a criminal issue, it’s a public health issue. If we had successive traffic accidents on a roadway that was resulting in a surge in deaths of travellers, action would be taken immediately.

I appreciate that the B.C. government and Judy Darcy, the minister of mental health and addictions, have taken important steps. Regulating the drug supply and decriminalizing possession are the next logical, life-saving paths we need to take.

The lives of our loved ones, especially our youth, depend on taking these bold steps.

Ryan Painter
Greater Victoria school trustee

Changing lives versus saving lives

Re: “Why do we ignore the costs of addiction?” Aug. 11.

We see endless articles and letters in the Times Colonist praising the benefits of safe injection sites, iOAT, methadone, suboxone and many other methods for saving the lives of people using drugs. Clearly, these methods are saving the lives of drug-addicted people, but do they truly change their lives or do these methods merely facilitate their drug addiction?

With this in mind, I was pleased to read Bill Cleverley’s recent article in the Times Colonist, wherein he quoted Sue Donaldson (Pegasus Recovery Solutions), Don Evans (Our Place) and Dr. Ray Baker (addiction medicine) as they spoke on the use of opiates in treating the severely addicted.

It was thought-provoking to hear of the potential dangers of this treatment method and the often-forgotten fact that this method is only the first part in what can be a long process of recovery.

Keeping addicts alive with drugs does treat their physical symptoms, but one must ask the question, what about their mental health? Experience tells us that changing the lives of the drug-addicted can be much more challenging than saving their lives and it typically requires much more time and resources.

Nonetheless, if the cause of a person’s substance abuse is not found, it cannot be treated effectively and it will no doubt become self-perpetuating.

I think what Donaldson, Evans and Baker are telling us is simply this: Don’t forget the second part of the recovery process. We must continue saving the lives of the drug and alcohol addicted, but let’s not lose sight of the second and most important part of recovery, changing their lives and their futures. Doing both should be the goal of a caring society.

David Mansell

Learning the truth about ICBC

Re: “ICBC: Cap on claims shrinks sea of red ink,” Aug. 14.

I have been practising personal injury law for over 20 years and was completely incredulous when reading this article.

When are British Columbians going to be told the truth about the Insurance Corp. of B.C.? How can ICBC’s CEO expect us to believe that the “sea of red ink” is shrinking a mere four months after the imposition of an arbitrary cap?

There is no possible way that after only four months (a minuscule amount of time in the grand scheme) the number of car accidents, that have occurred since April 1 have had a significant impact on ICBC’s bottom line. Most of those matters would not be ready for assessment. Even if they were, then under either the previous system or the new cap, they would be minor and inconsequential.

In reality, there was a system in place that worked. We now have legislation that is a mess, fraught with uncertainty, which will cause countless court challenges.

All of the media blitz is about bamboozling the public into believing that ICBC’s financial trouble stemmed from increased incidents and payouts.

The truth is that for years ICBC was making a profit, but those profits were siphoned into general revenue to make the government’s bottom line look better.

The reason the red ink is shrinking is that the government is no longer siphoning the profits, not because they decided to decimate compensation for British Columbians who are injured in motor vehicle accidents through no fault of their own.

Lorenzo G. Oss-Cech

A nicer smell but still rotten

Re: “Sewage stink plaguing scenic N.S. tourist town cleared with new biofilter,” Aug. 5.

This air isn’t fresher at all. That assumption is easily made when one doesn’t smell anything rotten. Many of the most dangerous chemicals have zero odour, colour, or taste. Crushed tea roots work as a strong air freshener and filter combo for the hydrogen sulphide gas. This filter eliminates the rotten-egg odour likely caused by sulphide component. Sadly, this gas and the methane gas levels emitted remain the same.

Monica Babic

Justin Trudeau has his priorities right

Re: “Trudeau has shallow grasp of his duty,” letter, Aug. 16.

This letter is yet another example of heavily flawed black-and-white analysis. Politicians especially on the right and their lapdog media cronies don’t care about jobs. Ross Perot famously said in 1992 about NAFTA “that giant sucking sound” you hear is all the jobs leaving the country. That of course didn’t stop Brian Mulroney from auctioning off our jobs to the low bidder. We sent him packing.

Justin Trudeau manned up while the stuffed shirts went into a pomposity parade. His priority must be the welfare of the nation, which logically comes from jobs. I’m not a Donald Trump fan, but give him full marks for standing up for American workers when his predecessors just gave jobs lip service. That is one of the reasons he got elected.

Trudeau was right to accept the ethics finding, but state his priority was jobs. He won’t be dotting I’s and crossing T’s when push comes to shove.

Grant Maxwell

Let’s hope Trudeau accepts voters’ will

Re: “Scheer calls on Liberal MPs to further probe SNC-Lavalin affair,” Aug. 16.

Clearly Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has hit an all-time low. How can he state that he respects the findings of the report issued by Office of the Conflict of Interest Commissioner and, at the same time, say that he disagrees with some of its findings.

He also says that he takes full responsibility for both his actions and the actions of those employed in his office, but refuses to say what that means.

Interestingly, he has spent the past four years apologizing on behalf of the Canadian government for just about anything you can think of, and yet he refuses to apologize to all Canadians, and particularly to his former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould, for doing his best to destroy the independence of her office along with her personal integrity and credibility.

One can only hope that when the people of Canada have a chance to send both Trudeau and his loyal and supportive caucus members a message in this fall’s federal election, he will see fit to accept the will of the people even if he will disagree with how some of us voted.

Bruce Cline

Doing the bidding of corporations

As evidenced with the scandal involving Justin Trudeau and SNC-Lavalin, Canada’s governance system, similar enough to that of the U.S., is basically one of either the established conservative or the liberal party when elected doing the bidding of corporate interests (e.g. the fossil-fuel industry) and the very wealthy.

It likely factors in why so many low-income citizens perceive futility in voting at all, let alone waiting in long lineups to do so, in what I see as corp-ocratic rule. And that voter apathy might never dissipate as long as both federal (alternating governing) parties reliably kowtow to big business’s thinly veiled threats to relocate its headquarters, large numbers of jobs and/or capital, or allow corporation lobbyists to write bills for governing representatives to vote for and have implemented, often word for word.

Frank Sterle Jr.
White Rock

We must safeguard our democracy

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

I was hopeful four years ago when I encouraged my children to vote for Justin Trudeau, but now I am disillusioned. His views today offend two of Canada’s founding principles: order and good government. Like Donald Trump and other western leaders, our prime minister and his cohorts are obsessed with the economic imperative at the expense of the rule of law, which is the true cornerstone of a just society of the type espoused by Trudeau’s father when he led.

Democracies around the world are struggling and giving way to narrow-minded corporatism and authoritarianism. We must safeguard ours and kick the Liberals out of office and demand reforms to remove the stench of partisan influence from the PMO and government caucus.

We need our leaders to govern morally with political distance from their parties, just like we separate church and state.

I am indebted to our civil servants for maintaining order during this troubling period in our political history.

Peter J. Smith

Learning from our mothers

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

Justin Trudeau has yet to learn what most us were taught by our mothers: “The end does not justify the means” and “Truth will always ‘Trump’ “alternative facts.”

Doug MacKay-Dunn
Qualicum Beach

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