Letters, Aug. 25: Hong Kong protests, the dangers of guns

Canadians should value freedom of speech

Re: “Pro-Hong Kong, pro-China protesters vent on Vancouver street,” Aug. 18.

I am flabbergasted that there are counter-protesters in our area that are coming out against pro-democracy in Hong Kong.

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I cannot understand how someone can move to a democratic country, where we have free speech, and therefore where protests are allowed in the first place, and yet be against a pro-democracy movement in another country. If people feel so strongly that Beijing always gets it right, why leave China in the first place?

I cannot pretend to understand the situation in Hong Kong so well that my opinion is the only valid one, but I do feel strongly that neither does Beijing. I think it’s important to understand that the capital of China is about as close to Hong Kong as Ottawa is to us.

Do we feel that Ottawa always understands what is best for us here on the coast? Of course not, but luckily we have the freedom to go out and protest when we feel that Ottawa does have it wrong.

The freedom to voice your opinion is a right that all people deserve, as long as your opinion is not harmful to anyone else, of course. The people of Hong Kong used to enjoy that freedom and are seeing it eroded bit by bit, and they are now pushing back.

I believe that anyone who calls themselves Canadian, or is even just fortunate enough to live here, should really see the value in protecting freedom of speech, and should be in support of such a movement.

Simon Pauze



Put down placards and smell the coffee

Re: “Pro-Hong Kong, pro-China protesters vent on Vancouver street,” Aug. 18.

How dare you people come to Canada and disrupt other Canadians by airing your grievances against each other on our normally peaceful streets? If you enjoy that sort of activity, then go back to Hong Kong where you will fit in nicely with the angry mobs.

Or here’s an idea. Get a bunch of your compatriots together who are of opposing persuasions and discuss your differences over a couple of double doubles.

Rowan Raphael



Hong Kong protests here pose a question

Re: “Pro-Hong Kong, pro-China protesters vent on Vancouver street,” Aug. 18

Seeing the protesters along Granville Street in Vancouver, in front of the Chinese Embassy, with one side protesting for democratic rule in Hong Kong and the other side in support of Chinese rule, brings to mind one question:

Why are those opposed to the rights and freedoms associated with democracy in Hong Kong living in Canada, where totalitarian/capitalist governing doesn’t exist, but democratic rule does?

Steve Hoffman



People having guns a danger to the public

Is anyone else getting tired of hearing police reports of no danger to the public every time someone is shot or killed in Victoria?

It seems to me there is indeed an extreme danger to the public when people are running around with guns, and shooting them off. I think it is time we got serious about guns in our country, and made them illegal on our streets. How about a mandatory jail term for possession of a gun?

We do not have a National Rifle Association in Canada steadfastly insisting on the public right to bear arms and shoot other people. It is time we divorced ourselves from American insanity and insist that guns are not permitted in our society. I suggest possession of a gun in a public place be rendered illegal.

Dave Vogel



Error is still an error, and election was open

Re: “Macdonald visited, still a carpetbagger,” letter, August 16.

Andrew Gow thanked the letter-writer who pointed out Gow had been wrong in claiming in his letter that John A. Macdonald had never visited Victoria.

But he went on to try to justify his inaccurate statement by claiming that he meant Macdonald had not set foot in Victoria while campaigning for a seat. That does not excuse the fact that what he wrote in his letter was untrue, so he should apologize for his mistake, not make excuses.

Gow is also incorrect to claim that Macdonald was elected in 1878 by “the Conservative party machine.”

Although running for the Conservative party, he was elected by the citizens of Victoria in an open election. One reason he was elected is the gratitude most citizens of Victoria had for the vital role Macdonald had played in bringing British Columbia into Confederation. His promise to build a railway across the Rockies was what made union with Canada possible.

Calling Macdonald a “carpetbagger” is a misuse of the term originating as U.S. slang in 1868, after the Civil War, to refer to Northerners who moved to the South seeking private gain.

Although today the word can also be used for any outsider running in an election, it is usually reserved for an unscrupulous opportunist. Macdonald was running as the leader of a political party in 1878 as the man who brought prosperity to Victoria after B.C. joined Confederation.

As an add-on, throwing around terms such as “decimating Indigenous communities” and “genocidal” does not give credit to an academic who should know better.

Gordon Switzer



Crash shows danger of interchange’s design

I would like to thank the individuals — three RCMP officers, two ambulance attendants, several firefighters and three witnesses — who came to my aid following a motor vehicle accident on Sunday on the McTavish/Pat Bay Highway interchange.

I do not have the names any of these individuals to thank them personally. The assistance provided by every one of them has restored my faith in humanity.

I am thankful there were no significant injuries. However, given the disastrous design of the McTavish interchange, the situation could have been much worse.

Specifically, I would like to bring attention to the danger at the exit from the second inner lane to the McTavish circle and road, where one must travel across the path of a vehicle entering from Canora Road.

In my case, the vehicle entering from Canora failed to obey the yield signs and clipped the rear quarter of my vehicle, spinning it in the opposite direction. The offending vehicle was a rental driven by an out-of-province driver unfamiliar with the overpass.

Emergency personnel indicated this accident was only one of many they have attended at this location. The incident will no doubt play out over and over again with tragic consequences until something is done to correct the flawed and treacherous design.

In the meantime, drivers beware.

Cathy Korpela


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